Week 18 -13/02/17

I’ve been focusing on organising all of my work for hand in and making final adjustments to my essay. In the pre-assessment tutorial it was nice to get some general feedback on my most recent work.

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People commented on the painting beyond the initial projection drawings appearing quite static, so this is something I might want to think about. I don’t think it really matters to me that it is explicitly obvious that the works began as video, as ultimately although I wanted to show movement, the overall idea was about the static nature of the viewer and how we look when we are viewing. I might consider painting from projection over the current ground on the canvas (which was painted from a sketch rather than the video footage.) I think the reason for the static-ness is that I am not working at speed because I am focusing on keeping proportions right and capturing the right expressions. Perhaps a way of combating this is to keep the ground effectively ‘traced’ and then working into the painting totally freehand afterwards.

I’d also like to document the process a bit more – so that the painting does not totally loose its initial connections with video, while still being substantial and worked into. Something that I also want to look at is space – the videos all in some way capture the domestic space, so it is important to me that I fully understand this space and translate the depth into my work.

Looking back on this unit, I’m really happy with what I’ve produced – however in future I think I’d like for my development to be more visual than verbal/written. I want to fully explore how I work and what I like about my paintings. I’d also like to see how I can expand from this. Last year it was really important to me to be able to move beyond 2 dimensions, and so  it would be interesting to see how projecting works on a 3-dimensional object I think. I definitely want to look at more exhibition opportunities and to start thinking about how my comments on the viewer move into the real of the exhibition.

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Week 17 -06/02/17

I finished a draft of my essay over the weekend, I’m still  sort of in a bit of confusion with it – my fatal error was that I didn’t have a set in stone plan for the essay and what I wanted to argue. I’ve been doing lots of research however because I had quite a general focus it was difficult to reference specific points that were relevant. I sent the draft to one of the tutors and got some really helpful feedback, and so I think I’m at a point where I’m happy with it and have everything finalised.

I then started to continue painting – I finished one of the ones on paper and I’m really happy with the result. After some feedback from someone in my studio I decided to paint in the numbers that I had used to identify the film I was using and the specific time frames that I’d painted from. I think as a title it’s nice, although they’re essentially they are a collection of numbers, it hints to the video, which I think is important. I’m thinking of mounting it somehow to make it look a bit more substantial

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I then started painting on one of my canvases after re-stretching them both – I’ve painted the ground freehand, working from one of the ‘sketches’ from projection. currently I’m quite happy with it, however don’t know how I’ll incorporate the different frames – I think I want to make it quite warped – showing movements as two separate people and then maybe layering a different film over it using only the silhouettes of the subjects in different locations.

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Week 16 – 30/01/17

I’ve been focusing mostly on my essay this week – I struggled a bit initially as I had a bit of confusion about the focus of my writing and didn’t really know what artists would tie in well as examples. I’m essentially trying to look at artworks in different places and how environment can affect the way a piece of work is read. This stemmed initially from looking at Jeremy Deller’s Open Bedroom exhibition and how artwork is displayed in a domestic environment. I tried to take quite a critical stance on the white cube gallery space – I’ve become sort of annoyed with galleries after the visit to the Tate a few months ago – I think now that I’m an art student and I know  what’s involved in making, it’s quite difficult to see artworks as things that are sacred or untouchable. I see my  own works as quite disposable, but then maybe that’s something to do with me, rather than the rest of the world.

I had a bit of a blank day on Wednesday – it sort of got to the point where I just couldn’t look at the essay anymore, so I took a bit of a break and did a little bit of  sketchbook work, I’m hoping I’ll get a bit more focused at the end of the week so I can finish a draft – I really want to get it done as soon as possible so that I can use the rest of the time before hand-in to carry on painting. I think I’m pretty happy with what I want to do now in my work – I’m really happy with how my initial projection one is looking and so am exited to experiment more.

Week 14 – 16/01/17

For the most part, this week I’ve been continuing to experiment with painting from projection, and then painting without reference, trying to use my already recorded footage as a basis for my work.

Currently I’m still working on rolls of paper for cost effectiveness, but will probably be scaling up to canvases soon. These works are mostly grounds at the moment, but I plan to keep working on them using appropriated imagery and stills as reference material until they are substantial finished pieces.

I also started the second set of workshops, skills 9,10,11 on Tuesday. I chose text out of the options that we had – partly because I want to develop my writing skill in a way that makes it more concise and effective and partly because I have a general interest in creative writing. We visited Utopia, a project by Rory MacBeth in Norwich, where the entirety of Thomas Moore’s utopia is painted onto the surface of a disused building that was scheduled for demolition in 2009. Obviously the work was meant to be temporary, but has remained intact and disused for several years, sectioned off by fences to keep out squatters and/or vandals. We were then asked to come up with a short text about the building, whether it be fictional, critical or descriptive. Me and a few others decided to breakfast the barrier to be able to see the building up close. I was really intrigued by it as a space or ‘no place’ as the literal meaning of ‘utopia’ indicates.

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I chose to write a sort of critical piece of writing on utopia about my opinions of it as an artwork and as a space:

img007.jpgI quite enjoyed the exercise, as it prompted me to think about the use of words as an artistic tool, however I think that I didn’t really get much out of it in terms of physical skill.

Week 13 – 09/01/17

I’m feeling really positive this week. I spent not a lot of time over the Christmas break, which although probably wasn’t great in terms of how much work I made, really helped me to clear my head and put a pause on overthinking things. For this reason, I didn’t really have a huge amount to talk about in my tutorial on Monday –  again, although face value doesn’t seem like a good thing, meant I could talk about my general work ethic and how I  progress forward with my practice.

One of the only things I really produced over the break was a painting for my aunt as a birthday gift. Again, this stems back into the idea of art being lessened maybe by a domestic environment and possibly being used for decoration, however I really loved pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.

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I began by making a collage, because I really couldn’t think of anything specific to paint. The collage was then cut down, and I used it as a rough guide to start the painting. Eventually though, I moved away from the image completely and worked on the painting  just from imagination. It was really freeing to  work in this way – the pressure of getting it ‘wrong’ dissipated and although I was still  ultimately focused on making a ‘good’ painting, there was a lot more creative freedom and I became really absorbed in it, adding details and working uncharacteristically for my usual style.

Me and Craig talked about this in tutorial – in moving away from the perfect portrait and back to the painting in its own right. Although I feel that it is important to challenge the idea of painting as static and formal, I think I’d benefit a lot from starting literally with a blank canvas and stop painting on scavenged objects unless/until it becomes important. Ultimately I’d stopped focusing on this idea altogether by trying to capture a realistic image in a traditional way. Hopefully this realisation will give me a lot more motivation in my practice – I think the less I think about the outcome, the more successful the work will be and the more likely I am to actually start painting, removing the fear of getting things wrong.

I revisited the idea of projection painting, because I think out of the  works I produced last term they were some of the most successful. I started working smaller, and with a more diverse palette.

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I really like  this  outcome, although at this point  I will probably use it as a ground/sketch and work into it further using reference to an image but not projecting over it. I want to keep it quite abstract in points, but build it up in others, to try and create a sort of hyper reality. I would also quite like to start working on canvases so that the works feel a bit more permanent and valid.

Outside of my studio practice we had a project from our research context lecture to complete, making a small work for a ‘postcard exchange’ to aid discussion about value of art. I liked the exercise, unfortunately I didn’t manage to take a photo of the postcard I made, but it was essentially a watercolour portrait using one of the reference photos I got off my dad. I found it really interesting. Some of the postcards were really ‘valuable’, mainly because people wanted them the most, and after deliberating random allocation of postcards, we ended up going round in a circle and picking which  card we liked the best. If only one person had a postcard as a favourite, they were allowed to keep it, but if more than  one liked it, they had to play rock, paper, scissors to decide. I thought this was quite a fair idea at first, however this meant that when you lost your ‘favourite’ card, you were then forced to chose one that you may not have liked entirely, rather than  having the opportunity to chose another as  your favourite. I ended up with a postcard that was blank except for “Say something about this…” written on the front. I wasn’t really that keen on this card – mainly because I don’t really have a lot of appreciation for conceptual art (especially in an environment where you are asked to stop and think a lot) and because it didn’t really have any value in terms of difficulty/effort to create. I think if it had not been a postcard, or had been in an art context rather than just a postcard among a dozen others on the floor, it may have had more value, or if someone else but me had ended up with it they might have given it value by liking it. However to me, it is an object that I have no affiliation with.

I also  took  part in a thematic group crit on the everyday today. The discussion focused on the idea of the  everyday – whether or not the everyday can be beautiful, if it is worth making art about, and how a viewer might connect with the everyday.We looked at an egg – a simplistic, everyday, organic object and how as an artist,  you might take inspiration from  that. In my practice, I focus on the domestic in term of subject matter, and in display. I find that I am  quite an ordinary or boring person – I have no real stories to tell, or points to make in my work. I don’t have a particular interest in the political where I feel  that I can make a personal comment on things without appropriating. For this reason, I think I have particular interest in the everyday because I can  make a personal comment on it and feel comfortable and valid in  doing so. I think especially at this stage in my life,  where nothing particularly exciting or upsetting has happened to me, the domestic is a natural focal point for my work.

Week 12 – 12/12/16

This week, my main focus was preparation before the winter break, trying to make sure I had some sort of idea about my plans for my future practice and also my essay. I had a group tutorial session this morning – I was a little bit unprepared,and again, quite confused about the specific direction of my practice. I spoke a bit about the ideas talked about in the 3rd year crit last week, anyhow my work revolves around found objects and whether this is important, and also raised concerns that there is not really a clear link between the portraiture work I was doing and the larger projection piece. Th general feedback was just to continue development, and that in terms of direction, my large projection drawings were more successful. this work is again something that I want to continue with, but have not yet approached – I’m hoping that the break will refresh me a bit and clear my mind ready to come back to these works in the new year with a new perspective.

One thing I was quite excited by this week was a few photos I found while looking for reference email. I found a lot of pictures of my mum and dad from when they were about my age – as images I think they’re really interesting, and perhaps more genuine as reference material than some of the photos I’ve been trying to take in the house of my flatmates. Again, not really sure how I’m going to utilise these images, but from an aesthetic perspective, I really like them and might like to use them somehow in my work, even just as something to paint when I am feeling relatively uninspired. I might try and make my work more pictographically – a representation of an image where the subject is the focus, not the style – however this might pose problems with my work becoming quite time consuming and even more difficult to approach.

Week 11 – 05/12/16

The week started with our curation crit – I was really pleased with how it went, there seemed to be a general feeling on both sides that the activity had been a learning curve and perhaps an impetus for further work. It was a little disappointing that some of the artists didn’t show up, as it would have been nice to hear the opinions of some of the artists who had maybe been less involved or had problems with the process. Overall I think that the issues that we faced with hanging, publicity, and disagreements with artists were ultimately resolved and I’d like to  think that we were helpful and professional throughout. We were all very much involved with the process and so we were all able to contribute during the crit and answer questions about curatorial decisions.

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Our hand screen printed leaflet, folded in an irregular pattern with artist names and statements on the reverse

Aside from this I had quite a busy week – on Tuesday I had a 2/3rd year group crit, which was quite helpful in terms of looking at my practice in a different perspective. Although not many people showed up, it was refreshing to get a totally different group of people’s opinions on my work. When making, it can be really hard  to step back and look at the work as a whole rather than just a string of works. They picked up on the fact that I’m continuously using found objects in my work, which is something I don’t often think about. I think on a subconscious level I use these found materials and leave the works relatively unfinished because It provides added interest to  the work before I even begin. I think as well it reaffirms the painting’s ‘object-ness’ and becomes less of an image and more of a physical thing. I did go through a phase where I was really interested in expanded painting and assessing the limitations of a painted image, and this has flowed in to my work quite a bit. I put myself under a lot of pressure not to be boring or predictable – I want to make work that is quite new/unconventional, and because I often doubt my painting skill, this is how I process this. It was also mentioned that I maybe don’t need  to paint, as I already posses the reference image which essentially says the same thing – but there is something about paint’s materiality and its immediate connotation of ‘art’ that keeps me interested. The process, which requires a lot of time – I think adds value, compared to an image that takes less than a second to capture in a photograph.

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I also had a drawing workshop this week, again, not many people showed up, so I think on a personal level I was bit disappointed, as I was looking forward to working with people from a different year group. It was quite difficult initially to get into I think – I’d booked the topic at the start of the year and so the theme wasn’t hugely relevant to me now, but it was nice almost to step out of my creative practice and do a separate project based  on something completely  different. I collected quite a lot of footage and photographs based on the brief – in the end my main focus was a piece of textured glass that was opaque from a distance, but when I put my lens right against it I was able to see the vague shapes of people and buildigs on the other side.

I really liked the blurred, wetness of these images – although they are really uncertain you get a weird sense of seeing things through the eye of a something organic.

this was my outcome – the piece was collaborative, however I think because there were so few of us at the workshop, it was difficult to merge the works into each other and make the piece inclusive. We communicated verbally, but when it came to the task of drawing, everyone sort of allocated themselves an area and stuck to it. Personally I was really happy with what I produced – what started out trying to represent the texture of the opaque glass gradually became a sort of bugs eye view. Then alongside the cctv camera  drawings I added (trying to blend my  work into that of the person next to me) it could almost be a collection of monitor screens. I think while thinking quite a lot about the conceptualisation behind my practice, this project was a welcome break  really. It was nice to produce something without consequence and spend an isolated period of time doing something continuously and exclusively. I think when I am able to make a work like this, very quickly and in a focused way, I’m so much happier with the result. I’m sort of motivated now to start making again.