This evening my class was just me and one student so while she was working I was able to play, working with ideas from yesterday’s critique. It looks like I might have found a way to make slides in which the contents of oil and water move about.... I have been working on the illimination of the rectangle of light that the slide dictates by making paper ‘masks’ for the slide edges. I have also been playing with the shape of the triptych, making it out of paper and decorating the back.
About a year ago I was invited to curate an exhibtion for Art For Life at Musgrove Hospital in Taunton, Somerset. Today after inviting artist and collecting the work together and a fair few months of planning it was the day to hang it all. It has been good meeting all the artists and selecting the work. There are seven artists in the exhibtion, Merlyn Chesterman, Duncan Hopkins, Mike Woollacott, Hilary Paynter, Zoë Hyde, Sandy Brown and my self. Having selected the artists it was good to see how the look of the exhibtion unfolded and woked so well in the two different gallery spaces. As we were hanging we had really positive comments from people walking by. The paintings seemed to connect with people. Below is the exhibtion information,
As human beings we have long made connections to the sea. Before the days of easy travel it was a vast, unexplored expanse of water; a place where fishermen ventured to catch food and explorers voyaged to find new lands. In our modern world we can explore the sea from the comfort of our sofa. In recent months we have been equally enthralled and worried by programmes like Blue Planet, but we continue to be inspired by the sea. Many people have memories of being on the beach on holiday, walking along cliff paths and enjoying coastal views that take your breath away. The artists in this exhibition are inspired by the coastal landscape, especially North Devon. Their inspiration comes from different aspects of the coast: our human connection, the vastness of the views and the power of the sea.
Throughout the week art work has been dropped off to my studio for the Coast exhibition I am curating at Musgrove Hospital for Art For Life. Today I went to Sandy Brown’s studio to collect ceramic pieces that will be included in the exhibtion. The pieces need to be smaller vessels to fit within the cabinets available. She has new cup and plate pieces and large tiles. Her studio overlooks the Torridge Estuary at Appledore. There are the influences of this location embedded in the work. We selected work togther from her store next to the large bright gallery that houses much bigger work. She is working on Temple piece that are large ceramic constructions, free standing structure that form walk in Temples. They are possibly the biggest pieces of ceramics to have been made by a studio potter.
Today has been spent drawing and making. Experimenting with wet materials and constructing new truptych pieces. I’m not sure about the nature of the wet materials, they work better as projected slides.
Experimanting today with projections of slides painted to describe the wetness of existence and birth. The image is projected onto triptych style wooden constructions. These pieces are made to reflect the shapes of icons painted often to represent Mary and the Christ child. Often these images portray an idealised and unreal image of the holy family. There is a forgetting that Mary went in to have other children and was not in fact a virgin for very long possibly having been betrothed at 14. I want these pieces to hint at the science of excistance like microscope slides. The projections hint at the materiality and moisture of the birthing experience. The two folding edges are mirrored inside. This slide shows them unfunished. I have thought to turn the whole piece into a mirror but the effect was rather unsatisfactory.
Today we had critique sessions for Danny, Sue and Jo. It’s really helpful to see other people work and to listen to the group discus the work. Danny was up first with his soft sculptures. The phallic and the grotesque mixed with cute colours and soft textiles. Request to touch brought about playfulness and and differential kind of relationship to the sculpture as an object compared to being viewed just as an object with out tactile connections.
Susan was asking questions around the context of display and exhibition of her predominantly domestic object. Again we were invited to be active and to arrange photographic images of the objects in a non-hierarchical fashion. Also working in ceramics bring a different dimension to the works and questions around display.
Jo brought the now unfolded paper planes and three complete led canvases. There were questions around the display and delight in the qualities of the paper works.
Research methodologies 1
We are engaging in research practice alongside the work that we’re making.
We will have a theoretical perspective. (For example I might be considered to be working within the research paradigm of post feminist, post modern thinking)
The research might not ask one single question but might include a number of approaches. It will be important to discern where one’s practice lies. Theoretical, topical, parallels and presidents, formal or strategic.
I would guess that I am leaning towards the strategic question and framework. Why am I here on the course how do I want my practice to develop? Within which context am I working?
Research design will give evidence of the journey or quantify the research we have done... how you did it and why.. tells the story on some level, doesn’t have to be chronological.
Motivation and rationale.
What topics am I connecting with?
What do I not know that is in the way or stopping me doing what I want to do?
Which practitioners will help me?
Planning a manageable focused project.
Most projects start too big! The scale of the project can be measured in
1. number of words (2-3,000)
2. Time available
3. Amount of research required for the topic.
4. Complexity of structure.
The written work is not a percentage of the project but sits alongside the whole module.
How much research time do I have? Get reading now! Blogs are useful research already....
could I present mine as a book, maybe a womb book!
Good idea to work backwards from the deadline.... which is June
Focus: narrow down the question, not taking everything on! What is it I’m investigating? It might be good to block writing time out in the diary! Staying overnight on Tuesdays might facilitate this? Give time at the end to make it all look nice, even if that’s just getting your images at the right resolution.
Appropriate fields of reference:
Types of research will identify appropriate field ie interviewing mothers about birth or how they might view their mothering and the ending of it.
Branch out from this. Use the references in the books or ask the subject librarian. If working from an artist how have they been influenced and within which context are they working? Follow leads. Look widely and broadly while the question is settling. This might bring something new to the question and then the process focuses after this.
I arrive with work I have been fiddling with but feel concerned about the constant barrage of life that has kept me away from working and progressing. I have not done all I wish I had to this point.I had brought all the playing and fiddling that I have been doing over the last few months but it has felt distracted and disconnected. It amounts to more than I thought it would and there are ideas but not fully formed and lacking direction. I have been floundering.
We look at the triptych pieces talk about the Madonna and potential for using some of these images as staring points. For example the Madonna de parto and
Far Angelica’s nocturnal aunciation with its flicked and poured paint!
We once again talk about technique and oil used thinly as glaze with a clear painting medium and then pouring and the mixing into that... pour with squeezy bottle etc.
Potential for two pieces of work for the exhibtion;
One with a painted slide projection
One painted on the wood with a projector to illuminate with no slide in the projector. This helps me relax about everything. This is possible and might result in more wok than this because I’m not panicking anymore!
I first met Magdalene in my second year BA. Meeting her changed the way I was working. Suddenly I had a method and making and took off. My pots were inspired by pieces I had seen in the Ashmolean, Oxford. They were legged pots that had a human feel. Hand made and ancient.; full and rounded. I made pots with triads of legs and necks, twisted and only possible through hand building which I had learned from Magdalene.
Later on in a very different life as a teacher, Magdalene’s son arrived at the school we were in. I couldn’t believe it as I had talked so much about that moment, that day of transforming in my work. We began a friendship. She is a hugely generous person with her time and encouragement.we met in her studio, ate together, swapped prints.
Now in my second year of my MA I visit my daughter in Leeds, she suggest we go to the Hepworth as the exhibition there looks interesting. She has no idea that it is Magdalene’s. As we look it up I can’t believe it. Her I am rather blocked and a little bit unhappy with my work at the moment and I am going once again to be hugely inspired by this woman.
It is a wonderful exhibition. So intelligently and thoughtfully put together. The quiet, carefulness and slowness of Magda’s work is evident in the curation. The powerfulness of the image is breathtaking. How wonderful to fully acknowledge where inspiration has come from and see it so evident in the juxtaposition of Magda’s work next to, Lucie Rie, Hans Coper, Picasso, Degas, El Anatusi, Yinka Shonibare and so many other artefacts and artists drawn from her own cultural mix of Kenyan and European influences.
The magic of seeing the work has not failed to be inspiring...
This little book holds watercolours panted fro my imagination about the journey of birth. The spine needs to be made with different paper as the music bears no relationship to the paintings. I have my hospital notes from the Nankem Hospital in Coonoor, India, where my first two children were born. This would make better paper for the Blized book spine. I love that the book can be completely deconstructed.