today I have been working in the art department at Kingsley school. I'm hoping to have some interesting collaborations here but today I am just working with the press to produce some embossed images using the small single object print plates. it was hard to get enough pressure but in the end they worked. This ghost of an image on the paper feels transient and is a haunting form for the plastic.
I have very much enjoyed working in printmaking studios and this has been my main area of practice over the last few months. It has been very good to get my own press up and working as well. I have enjoyed exploring this as a way to use the plastic I have been collecting from the beaches around Bideford.
The single object collographs seem to show the horror of the plastic much more strongly than more complex images. I have played with lots of different types of printmaking and more recently my desire to have a go at everything has been somewhat distracting. Leading to a less considered more “kid in a sweetie shop” approach. Over the last two weeks I have been focusing on producing single object embossings. These are small 5CM square plates that I am arranging as single prints and also grouping randomly or mimicking a scientific layout like that of microscope or specimen slides. The print plates are as interesting as the prints and embossings they produce.
I have spent a few years of trying landscape lines in my sketchbook: is entail taking a line for a walk across the landscape covering multiple pages in my sketchbook. The blinds have recently been translated into plastic lines. Arranging the fan plastic into liner drawings across the floor or in the studio. Often I have sorted them through colour which has made them appear quite painterly and perhaps then failing to convey the message that this plastic is the result of something so destructive and horrific. A paradox comes into play, one that could be said to be found in plastic itself; plastic has been a world changing invention its use has enabled untold developments but it has been responsible for an environmental disaster on a cataclysmic level. I continue to collect the plastic from the beach and I continue to consider ways I might use it within my art practice attempting to avoid being overly dogmatic and more collaborative in my approach.
The on going question of my artistic response to the plastic pollution within the sea and more accurately the earth as a whole has led me to consider my practice as a painter. To question the use of materials and to consider other formats for working. Of course actually leaving painting behind entirely has been impossible. It is a thing I enjoy and relish too much. I have continued to work with paper and to reuse old canvases both my and other artists. My subject matter has been the sea and my thoughts about the water pollution and a flotsam and jetsam floating within it. These images have been explored both through printing and large scale AO paintings on paper. I have explored the use of the paper I have left from producing a large installation piece Upper Room in 2014. I used these paintings to explore concerns we have about damage. The paintings were fixed to the floor and I asked people to walk on them and then to consider how this felt. Although this was rather dogmatic and its outcomes there was a correlation between a fear of damaging the paintings and the anxiety that some people are beginning to feel about the damage being done through plastic pollution. It was interesting to think about how unhappy people were to walk on the paintings and consider how much more concerned we should perhaps be about the damage we cause daily to the natural world.
Throughout the year I have maintained my drawing practice both through life drawing and sketchbook work. Drawing remains the foundational element of all my art practice whether overtly or not. At times I am drawing with traditional materials but I haven’t joyed exploring the potential to draw with different media and materials; paper plastic and found materials. The Landscape Lines of the last few years have led to a drawing practice focusing on drawing with continuous lines. These work as trails across the paper as well as drawn in plastic and and drawings on the sand. I have not recorded as many of these as I might...
Deborah Last: Art Practice: self evaluation. Year one MACAP 702
This year has been about discovery and change within my working practice. The storytelling narrative that existed in my work previously has become more activist in nature and is not just about the stories we tell about the landscape but has become one of seeing what we as humans have written on the landscape itself through pollution and littering. I have continued to be fascinated by the landscape lines that I was drawing before the start of the MA and these have at times been made up of plastic flotsam and jetsam. My work has continued to retain a strong aesthetic and I continue to investigate ways to challenge and inform this element of my work.
It was hugely helpful to present the work at the Art Exchange and then the following week for my Critique. Having a critique session with the artist Simon Pope help to continue this in relation to my working practice and ideas. I feel as if there are already years’ worth of suggestions and ideas to try and to test. I’m looking forward to some time over the summer months in which to continue to do this. I have hugely benefited from being able to use the different facilities within the art faculty and have spent a lot of time in the printmaking studios.
I have been very influenced by the writings of Suzi Gablik and this has encouraged me to look for a more dialogical practice. I have set up some collaborative projects which I hope to complete over the summer. I have very much enjoyed beginning to put my work into a critical framework though I feel this area of my study needs more time. I wish I could do these lectures again in the second year.
Aims and objectives
In my proposal aims and objectives I suggested that I would use sound and have not done so at all as this didn’t seem to fit with the route that I subsequently took though I do still think it might become part of my practice. I have however begun to consider what it means to be human within the landscape. This is where the work has grown from as I have become increasingly interested in the impact humans are having on the non-human world.
I am working towards collaborative and a multi disciplinary practice but this has not been fully realised as yet. I have in many respects been concentrating on the thinking and critical context of such a practice but now I need to get out there and do it.
I have spent the considerable part of this year taking apart my existing art practice and questioning the way I wish to proceed as an artist. I have become increasingly aware of the environmental impact of traditional art practices and have questioned my own practice within this context. Alongside this I have been able to learn new skills within the print making suit and this practice feels a like it has a lower impact as it is a paper practice on the whole. Within my own practice I am phasing out oil based printing products and do not use solvents at all. I have enjoyed turning the flotsam and jetsam from the beach into prints.
Personal development profile
I feel somewhat at a turning point in my practice as I begin to put a new practice together; this can and does feel at times somewhat daunting as I decide what to keep and what to change. I don’t really want to continue a practice that runs on several levels; I have done that for too many years. I am looking to find a practice that explores materials and methods but is perhaps much more coherent. I am still painting, but in a different way. I would like this whole practice to be my artistic profile, not lots of separate threads.
I have presented a proposal to the Burton Gallery Bideford but as yet this has not come to anything although there is a good deal of interest from them. They are currently going through considerable changes and not able to do anything at the moment.
I hope to be working with a school in the last few months of the summer term. There is a group of us who will be working with the Hamoeze Charity in Plymouth having gained funding from the University to do this.
I'm really pleased to depart of the MA Collective show at the Exeter Phoenix.It showcases work we have don over the MA year. I am showing a screen printed Landscape Line.
Spent the morning screen printing to produce the canvas bag. Really enjoyed being in the busy studio.
really pleased to be part of this and enjoyed helping to set it up. So much to see in this show and such a variety of printmaking. Good to see the work of students, technicians and associates all hanging together. should have brought my prints from my studio but didn't so just had the bag to put up.
Today i was able to print the lettering i have set up for the canvas bag to collect plastic from the beach. Printing on the letter press printing press made it very quick to do. I had black in so as to get a really good scan to translate the image into a screen print. it was good to experiment with different coloured papers as well.
In the afternoon I had a chance to have a go at offset printing as Jo LB wanted to show how it worked so I got to play. i worked with sea colours and thought of imagery around looking through the water.