I’ve found this week quite productive – we’ve been doing the initial preparations and having discussions about the upcoming interim exhibition. I was a little bit apprehensive – having not really had many discussions in the studio I wasn’t sure whether the physical amount of work I’ve made was substantial enough to present to a group of curators, however I felt like I got a lot of interest and ideas from the people who will ultimately be displaying my work. I’m starting to find a natural focus around the idea of authenticity and the viewer – something that I feel has followed me right through from the beginning of last year.
I spoke a bit more about work to do with a domestic environment and how domestic display might influence my practice – I think ultimately I want to continue with this, however I got quite a lot of interest in my portrait paintings as art objects in their own right. I think my studio sort of promoted an idea that I’m being very productive (working with a lot of materials etc) and although in a way I’m not churning stuff out at the moment, I think just doing things for the sake of doing them is helping me to find some flow. I sat down and did a large mind-map of all of the things that interest me currently in my practice, thinking about how and why I make work etc, and found a common recurring theme of the viewer/spectator. In painting particularly, the viewer is perhaps the most important – it could be said that in conceptual art it is possible to ‘see’ without physical representation, whereas painting relies wholly on the visual. In thinking about this (and also in desperation for subject matter) I started recording my house watching TV during the evenings. I was quite interested in how there is this sort of unspoken dialogue between someone watching something technically inanimate, and then the added layer of someone watching that. I’m sort of imagining the image of the deadpan faces of the people watching TV mirroring the faces of a viewer looking at my work – unconsciously identical in the greediness of the eye – absorbing information without any physical reaction or stimulation. My thought process at the moment is to try and create some sort of video piece, either as a standalone piece/installation, or as something to work from in my painting.
I also found the curation part of the task really interesting. Although the main focus was trying to just get a general feel of the work involved, and how perhaps we might use and separate the space, it was nice to discuss the work of others in a very professional manner and make connections between work and artists. There was something very ‘human’ overall in the work – whether it be about human emotion, perception, sexuality or identity. We’d already managed to start thinking about artists that could have conversations or works we felt would offset each other nicely, and although there is still quite a lot of coordination to do with artists, we’ve thought about commissioning works etc. I’m also quite interested to curate the space – my research at the moment is centering a lot on how space and environment might influence a piece’s reading, so I’m excited to be working not only with the ‘white cube’ gallery space, but also in an environment where discussion is encouraged and the space will be functional.
In addition to this I went to a life drawing session this week – really loved it even though at the moment I’m not sure if I will be continuing with portraiture or moving on to something else, it was nice to have a bit of directed drawing time – even as a therapeutic activity. I was happy with what I ended up with sketch wise, and worked a little bit with basic acrylic painting afterwards