My crit notes 26.11.19
Debs Critique notes 26/11/2019
Derek: Have you got any closer to getting someone to draw whilst giving birth?
Donna: Something about the two painting with the umbilical cords add a link with the knitting. Those two really work as they are very intimate. (Referring to the tow conjured pieces done for the Chaiya award)
Anya: Black drawing with words on is very heavy and overwhelming.
Zana: Very Archival and very human.
Anya: The one with the most paint on is a merging of different styles.
-Iconography in the gold halo.
-The woman being bathed in paint.
-Background relates to post birth.
- Could you put it on canvas?
Zana: The works has movement and a stillness at the same time and a finished and unfinished feel.
Derek: The darker piece with writing on is intense. There is no more room to add so it feels finished.
Zana: You have worked into that piece more. Was wondering why is it so dark and heavy? What is the connection to modernity?
Anya: There is a confusion with the detailing of the face. The decision of whether to add in the face or not.
Zana: Funny how Chris says to separate them out as we were just talking about intersectionality and hybridity in the seminar.
Anya: Like the one with more paint on it as it becomes more fun and perhaps slightly kitsch.
(You asked if the blood in the paintings could be problematic. It was discussed that it depends on the audience and where displayed).
Zana: Wondering what would happen if you used actual blood, milk or earth in the paintings.
Jamie: embedding them into paintings rather than referencing them i.e. blood.
Donna: Sensitivity and intimacy in sections of the paintings/drawings. What would happen if you just took these sections and took away everything else?
-In what is going on there are moments of sensitivity about the moment.
Anya: Crouching picture is alive. You can feel the tension in her legs. Wondering how you can keep that. Drawing people from life would help.
Zana: Complications would be good to show. You seem to be showing idealisations notions of birth. Yet birth and death are so close.
Anya: How do you show more than the ideal birth?
Donna: Writing piece read thus morning had fear in it.
Anya: Felt really exposed during her C-Section as the father could see internal organs. There is a real exposure during birth. And every individual has their own experience of birth.
Donna: piece with the unbiblical cord and placenta has a fairy tale aspect to it. (You explained that it could be because those images were conjured in your mind).
Zana: Saw the umbilical cord as an anchor.
Anya: Really doesn’t understand the knitting. (You explained you brought them to show you were still thinking about it, but the material may not be right. Maybe catgut would be better).
Jamie: Suggested the knitting could be hung off the wall as an extension of the umbilical cord.
Anya: Not everyone has given birth, but we have all be born. Although we don’t have a conscious memory of it. The women are the main focus in these images although there is a baby in them.
Donna: in the one with the most paint it could be just bundle of cloth the woman is holding.
(You had questions around surface and whether the paper worked).
Derek: Suggested stretched canvas.
Donna: Panels rested on the floor. Canvas can be problematic a one feels they must be more finished.
Anya: some of the works show the Marian ideal – wooden panels might suit that idea more.
(The group all agreed they liked the problematic paper as the texture and quality was raw and related to the images and you were questioned if the quality of paper mattered to you).
Anya: board could be reworked into.
- What do you want to capture? (You mentioned you wanted to capture the fact that giving birth is a major life event and that we should be promote this as an act of bravery rather than hide this event or be ashamed of it. Women shouldn’t put themselves down in talking about this event with language like “baby brain” “silly mummy” etc...)
- Be careful to not take away from other viewpoints. (For example, People who hate their scars).
- Your earlier research of it being over medicalised was interesting. Could this feed into the work in some way?
- Documenting giving birth would be interesting to do but also could be a different way to Reid the event for those involved.
Donna: It would be interesting to draw more people to whom I don’t have a family or friendship connection, as I have drawn lots of friends etc who have been pregnant, would the outcomes would be different?
Donna: The spaces were you exhibit will perhaps determine different outcomes and have an impact on the work produced in matters of sensitivity. A hospital would be a much more sensitive space to exhibit in than in a gallery.
Derek: There is no reference to the partners watching the birth or surrogacy etc..
Zana: what about questions around egg donations and not knowing the mother. (Zana told a story of a friend who couldn’t produce eggs so had an egg donor and they have no idea who the mother is).
Kieran: Miracle births (Talked about a friend who had cancer which meant she wouldn’t be able to give birth but defied all odds and had a baby).
Anya: So many stories. Everyone has their own story but it doesn’t mean you have to focus on all of them.
Kieran: Interested in the idea of a diary to document the stories of the people you draw.
Anya: Think about consent/ ethics of exhibiting work. That the person you draw can chose to remove the work at any time during an exhibition.
Kieran: what would you give back to the person you draw? (You said you always allow them to have an image of their choice).
- Maybe you could knit with pregnant people or group to get a conversation going.
Anya: Hates the material of the knitting works.
Zana: The material doesn’t seem related to earth or body.
Anya: Scale of works maybe slightly bigger.
Zana: Like the small ones as well.
Lizzy: Small one has much more of an intimacy to them and the large ones have more of an impact. Couldn’t take my eyes off he lager ones all morning. Think you really captured the relief and joy in the faces whilst showing pain.
These three iPad drawings are sketches for ideas about the actual piece but I possibly like them in their own right.
At my tutorial it became very obvious that I am try to say too much perhaps in each drawing and as I had begun to make a piece with an under lying written background it feels right to explore maybe three ways of looking at the representation of women in pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood. The three obvious views are those from a primitive view, a traditional view and a modern view.
Working in my sketchbook I have been thinking of the words I might use in the same way as I have been working on the charcoal pice begin last week...
these pieces enable me to separate out some of the thinking around the drawings and what I am trying to say. Having found the gold painting in my friend house that I had produced so long ago it feels interesting to be working with a traditional view and to question it more vigorously.
To begin the work I have produced three pages in my sketchbook using words and different materials. I really enjoyed mixing up the pigment form Fremington Quay for the mud/earth primitive painting, and painting the words with a rigger paint brush but I guess really they should be painted with my fingers... I wonder if the image of the woman should be a body print...?
I have begun to work into this drawing with paint. I am planning to add an element of Gold. This is a picture worked up from a photograph that Jo sent me of her daughter who has just recently had a baby. Jess sent me the photo to say this is what Postpartum mum’s look like. She was expressing milk and had a blood stained towel on her lap, she was possibly feeling that she looked exhausted but I could not help noticing that she actually looked quite delighted I want to use this image for the traditional painting of the three births images...
I don’t want to over work the infant as I like the unformed nature of the current drawing...
chris Cooke: Artist talk
Nicosia in Cypress on Turkish Greek boarder.
Thinking about the paintings and reflecting in my tutorial with chris.. I am working on words for a background. This piece will be the modern representation of motherhood so I am using lots of the words that are said around pregnancy and birth today. Both positive and negative. These words are then written over each other in an attempt to make a velvety black surface which will the be rubbed back to form the image. I have been trying out different erasers to investigate which ones work best. I have three now, a putty rubber, a very old plastic one and for fine details or lines an electric one.
Made straight after MA
“ BIRDS” on screens on perches and sound. Edited for the first time digitally.
The monitor began the enclosure of the bird woman... alongside 7 hour performance. Own body painted in colour and bird pose” hides” the fully nude body and alters the potential for the gaze of the viewer.
Performed in Buffalo NY in a windows on a street. Eight landscapes; two performers as bears viewed from out the “shop”
Worked with costuming in acting an impossible transformation, I feel different not exactly my self only a person “being” a bear. If I say a woman is like a bear or bird I question “bear ness” or bird-ness” or “woman-nes” Transformation creates a displacement
Two bears again.. one white one brown and one naturalist.... difficulty of self representation presenting the self as something other. White and brown bear or the same but different one cannot exist without the other.
Grandma Baba And little Boris
Powerful non liner editing lots of pre-editing. A Russian story... using subtitling and miss quoting. A fiction between the narrative and process. Developed Boris from a dream and a loose depiction of one if the Grandma’s. Brought Buffalo alive as Russia.
Collaboration again with another artist Steven ?
At an art school in Lithuania for 14 -17 year olds. Help to keep the school from closing.. from of documentary what the film didn was so interesting about keeping the school existing.
Bulgarian project... did project first in lesson on how to be European. Whilst there became interested in textiles market. Reminded of early digital forms. Worked with women to embroider Pac-Man cloths.... took a long time to embroider and produce, women were very interesting, lots of their jobs were not gendered but needed now to do this work for money... ended with big dinner event. Enjoyed working with this group of women and liked the project
Lessons in language
Lesson two actor was from Skype lessons to learn Bulgarian. Done whilst on a residency. Funded by European institution. Investigating what it means to European...
Questions around method, surface and subject
Consideration need to be made about the thing I’m saying. Can I have the Marian ideal, primal/primitive and the modern images of birth within one image? No, possibly not, though I have been trying perhaps to do that. The two conjured pieces have something of the Vermeer about them which makes them seem old whereas “born of a woman” seems more contemporary, more active. Could there be the potential for a triptych depicting the Marian idea in one, the primitive and the modern in two others? Could I consider different methods for each piece, gold for the traditional view, mud for the primal primitive view, something other for the modern view? I would need to avoid being too obvious and cliched.
What am I saying around birth? Trying to avoid the sentimental and giving voice to the things we say around mothers, looking at the words these could be the basis but why? Who is this for? Can the work speak for itself without a]having art writing. Is the work telling the view what to think? They are not strong enough yet.
These three pieces are still not singing, though born of a woman is more so. It’s is much more active and about a previous ten minutes, the birth.... I’m still searching for method, this might come from looking at the words drawn last night but really covering the surface until they are a palimpsest that is then erased to show the drawing. A good example of this type of drawing is the work of Hughie O’Donoghue. The black charcoal is a velvety surface that is erased and rubbed away and somehow alive. The energy evident in this would work well with the energy of the subject I am working with.
The knitting might be a way to find the dialogue that I want to inhabit the work. I would like to find women who I could draw both pregnant and birthing and have not been doing too much to pursue this line of enquiry. This would give more weight perhaps to the drawings.
The method needs to be resolved and perhaps more sophisticated. Might I draw on MDF board that is primed with gesso and then it would hold the mud drawings and the charcoal.
They need to be sprayed three times not spray varnished....
So targets coming out of the tutorial: resolve the method
refine the drawing, making it more active and powerful
critically frame the work. What am I saying/asking?
‘Subject to gesture”
(2017) working with Benjamin D. Duvall. Created a text that went into a microphone that went through to guitars and snare drum which had other objects on them then audio them arrived at the speakers. So you didn’t hear the speaking in the room you heard all the sound that had interrupted it. Performed 27th April 2017. Text draws in language on public speaking for example how to do a good ted talk, business presentation etc, used text took references to the body from those text. The language was much more aggressive when put through social media. These are both aspect of the body and behaviour that is managed in official culture and social media. A book version was produced. Not recorded or filmed well as in the room it was multi layered but the recording becomes much more distorted.
Presented as part of art weekend 2017 in Plymouth Athenaeum.
Content derived from “proper” speech. Which directed Mark through a space and instructions to speak, it is a score and a choreography. Text written by Mark and then sent randomly as instructions to Mark through headphones
‘Material and transition” (2018)
Looking at voice and breath. Up to and not including the phonic stage. Involved drawing and projection and sound and performance.
Longer project “some variation” 2019
Working with gestures and not sound. Looking at ways to use gesture in ways that avoids closure and arrival. No closed hands or grasping or gathering or pointing. No finality to gestures they are ambiguous but recognisable. Interested in how do we make art now... making art in a world where narrative, etc seem to be taken over by colonialism, capitalism, etc, the two performers in the piece are a pair, but resitting being read as dialogue or oppositional in anyway or having a narrative. The frocks are partly to take us out of the ordinary and possibly make the figures more sculptural. At the moment it’s in the sketch stage.
Susanna asks why is this not a conversation. Mark’s reply is that they are resisting giving and taking, resisting the materiality or the commerce of that. What does it mean for white middle age man to dialogue around privilege, post colonial, middle class world that isn’t just signalling...
markleahy.net instagram; @gmarkleahy
It leads me to have a question: so now that people who are not white middle class men finally have a voice does this piece instruct us to be without signals, to speak but say nothing...?