I have lots of blogging to catch up on. Instalments about talks I’ve listened to by Sean Edwards, Ruth Claxton, Waving Not Drowning (event by Turning Point West Midlands) and a visit to the Artes Mundi exhibitions in Cardiff have been just waiting for the typing mood to wash over me.
In the past few weeks I have deliberately held back from writing about my practice as I simply needed to paint and focus on the images. It can feel disconcerting blogging about stuff when I haven’t got other artists to discuss ideas and progress with (apart from virtually, mostly) giving me constructive criticism. Hence, I have been focussing my applications towards opportunities that offer mentoring over anything else.
I’m currently writing (still) about ‘Chaotic and Orderly art’ (extremes of the spectrum), looking at Cornelia Parker, Jackson Pollock, Pierre Mondrian and Andrea Zittel. I’m finding this exhilarating and frustrating (the slow pace of work) and my first aim is just to have a short essay 500-1000 words approximately that I can then share and invite feedback from people working with similar ideas. I was hoping to get it ready to send as a synopsis for the Birkbeck Artist Identity Symposium in May (I’m going to be in the audience at least), but it was nowhere near ready…plus the whole thing is geared to PhD level (but – this doesn’t usually stop my approach!)
I’ve tentatively moved into a space to use as a studio at the Abergavenny Community Centre, with the possibility of being there a couple of days a week.
With Meadow Arts I am working on the social media side of things and looking at specific parts of the website, really enjoying getting stuck into this and as a bonus I am being introduced to many artists I haven’t read about before and discovering Art World galleries and groups and finding interesting material along the way I wouldn’t otherwise have discovered in the form of idea’s, curator approaches to exhibiting, collaborative ways of working and artists working with technology and materials in ways I hadn’t begun to imagine.
Things I’ve been doing recently:
Bringing in found symbols of lost hope – i.e. used scratchcards and lottery tickets (keep seeing abandoned cards and tickets, whole and torn up, many people buy these regularly and perhaps therefore have the perpetual hope of financial freedom?) have felt compelled to do something with them. So far one has floated within an intuitive piece – being ‘bandaged’ into the work.
Things I am considering bringing in or changing about my work:
Working with own favourite phrases as starting points-> raging torrent, wood for the trees, sheer weight of traffic, poculum meum (my cup runneth over), KISS – keep it simple stupid (or rather the reverse, keep the complexity!), step-by-step, continue like there’s no end, Have you got a job yet?, pulling my socks up, get real, gulf between dream and reality.
Growth and plant forms keep appearing in my work – what about pushing it further somehow?
The Hereford Framework Magna Carta project is my most focussed area of practice right now working alongside seven other artists. My response to the Magna Carta started from my interest in the physical form of the Charter and the script. As with Shakespeare’s first folio (old English in that), I am interested in the language used in its original form – in the case of the Magna Carta it is Medieval Latin. Around the time I was first researching for this project I witnessed an occasion when Latin was used as a communication barrier and one-upmanship among children and this galvanised me into thinking what might happen (possibly has happened to a different degree) if I took this to an extreme of a future situation where those who read and write Latin are the only ones allowed access to books and the other half must live their lives without text (in my imaginary world, it is a punishable offence if you aren’t born into this privilege) – this other half must live physically and learn by doing things and learning by watching others (apprenticeship) and copying as we are programmed to do via mirror neurons. Of course, this has all played out in my head and I see the physical people – I call them the visuals as having the advantage really through stronger relationships and doing things together. Rose-tinted specs time!
So – rather than me simply imagine – I am trying a little method acting and (trying) to learn Latin for the Latin (literates), while also trying to make what I write in Latin harder to understand and less readable by writing it in my left hand and from right to left. I am trying to find as much spoken Latin to listen to to get the hang of it as possible. I wanted to hear the Magna Carta spoken in Latin (cannot find this anywhere I have access to), so I have found a Latin teacher who is going to record himself reading the whole Magna Carta for me. So – method acting for the visuals (illiterates) means doing more physical things, which initially means digging the bottom of my garden for a Wild flower garden. I have a general idea of doing more hands-on practical things for this role, I am a fairly impractical person so this will take some doing.
What I am currently doing in my practice (separate to Magna Carta) is intuitive and feels too undirected. I don’t want to plan so much that I second guess, but I need to give myself a little structure at least so I can see work building up and progress of some kind.