This week I have stayed overnight in Plymouth at the air B&B that I used so much last year. It felt good to do this, working in the library last night and then today I have played all day in the the print making studio with the blizzard book. I was to present making it as a skills share session but the students didn’t arrive. Instead I experimented with it and sharing how to make it with Claire and Paul.playing felt good.
ClicLuchita Hurtado is 98. She is an artist. She has worked alongside some of the great artists of the 20th century almost without recognition. Today numerous articles and papers are being written about her. She has a solo exhibition at Hauser and Wirth, New York.
Imagine walking into her studio....
It is brightly lit with large windows. Painted white; full of creative order. She is sparklingly alive, almost magical. When she speaks her New York accent doesn’t fully hide her Latin American roots. Her eyes have sparkle and she looks like she will laugh at any moment. She invites you into the studio. Walls and windows painted white, pictures pinned up for inspiration and remembering. The studio is ordered and tidy. There is a piece of work there, a landscape that is Luchitta’s own body. It is painted with a bright blue sky, something like the sky’s she must have grown up with in venezuela. The Earth is represented by her naked body as if viewed from her own eyes. In the Made in LA exhibition of 2018 this piece is displayed with other paintings showing sky and feathers and views of the sky though “holes” in the Earth as if you might be a small animal looking up out of a burrow.
Luchita has spent her life in the company of accomplished artists, she was married to two; Wolfgang Paalen and Lee Mullican. She had a first husband who she married in New York when she was very young. She is coy about discussing this expect to laugh about running off with Lee at one point.
At 97 she has a good grasp of her story and her studio gives evidence to recent and consistent working. She speaks with a quiet and delightful passion about her connection to the earth and especially the trees. Somehow in her studio it feels like being with someone who is almost mythical. She is used to the shadows as she has hidden in them at times stoping work almost entirely in the Ruth of her children and then later in to support her artist husbands.
The death of one of her children from her fist marriage probably brought the marriage to an end and the insistence that Paalen that he didn’t want children possibly ended their manage her third child who she had with Lee Mullican was 11 years after her first. Her life and studio seem ordered she is keen to talk but doesn’t make you too comfortable, her strong mind refutes any suggestions about her life that have been retold wrongly. It a long life and she is acutely aware of it. It is nice to talk about her paintings. You get a sense that too many people want to talk more about her life and the lives of her artist world. She is generous when she talks of others and all that they have done and shared.
Was she a feminist you ask, of course and right in the midst of the American Feminist Art movement. There were groups of women artist that met up in the70’s to share and to talk. Women like Jenny Chicago and Mimi Shapiro. Although Mullican encouraged her to work she tells you she found it difficult to accept that she was working as well as him. She had a studio and she made work but it was somehow different.
Her place is hospitable and she says she has always been busy with people. You can relate to that you are too and you have given up time for children and a husband’s career. She has forty years on you, if you have forty years left will you be working so well and with such strength?
k here to edit.
Concept or function of author
Art and/as autobiography
What is the function of the author? In other cultures the ‘author is not so eternal or important but the performance or event might be. Not owning image or ‘thing’ as in icon painting.
Western view of author
How does art question authorship/identity?
Explorations and undermining idea of artist through collaboration, anonymously, or in participatory or collective practice.
The named maker rather than ‘the studio of...’
Frieda Kahlo: autobiography
Autoethnography: practice routed in self and ethnic or practice root.
The concept or function of the author
We can not read, receive or view an art work without being conscious of the context of the work.... Umberto Eco write in the the role of the reader about this, we are not blank canvases and essential neither is the work/book/film. They all have a context. Rather than there being a meaning in the work, its meaning happens once it is viewed. However does a pre-existence of meaning have to be there for there to be meaning.
Lévi-Stauss from making work something just comes out by chance from our context rooted in lived experience that is not ours that belongs else where we are just a conjure but not the originator...
performing a role not owning it. A point of intersection between larger culture and the story that has to be told now. Still responsible for the work but passive to the something that happens; allowing it not owning it? This moves away from the artist as an individual ego.
Julia Kristeva: text in terms of two axis, coding the way we look at text the vertical axis, (synchronic) connecting author to others and the readers viewers context and knowledge; the a vertical axis (diachronic) connects to other text past present and future. ‘\”every text is from the outset under the jurisdiction of other discourses which impose a universe on it.
Synchronic being a horizontal selection of outfit as a whole that works together when we get dressed.
Diachronic comes from a vertical selection on trousers or tops shoes etc..
synchronic: the cat sat in the mat
Diachronic: the cat, dog, panda, walked, jumped, stood, sat anywhere.
Authorship is an historical invention
Authorship gives authority. As in the bible being the authorship of God. Chaucer’s story telling using Plato I thin stories to give authority to the tales.
The Modern author in European context, routed in Age of Enlightenment, post-reformation self analysis and sense of individual... as a good Protestant I analyse myself and take responsibility for them.
Model survives in art practice:
Originality origin authenticity innovation signature genius monograph solo-exhibition attribution, creation.....
why do we frame things in this way as a way of getting to know art/artists.
Artist might become generous curators, collaborator, dialogue,
As artist the question must be asked where do I fit.
Rolland Bathes, the dead of the author
The meaning comes at the arrival of the text/work when there is encounter. He saw the traditional view of author/artist as tyrannical, enclosing the week according to one person’s intentions. Work might be better to lose its pre-eminence and steps down to the field of interactions.
(Kennith Goldsmiths work/writings using plagiarism/appropriation as the work. )
Only viewing, engaging and interaction brings meaning to the work
Micheal Foucault what is the author
The author/artist function is to characterise the existence, circulation, and operation of certain discourse within a society’
Author is not attached to everything that individual does and the author might be attached to a number of functions of that individual.
Foucault suggests that subject must be stripped of its creative role and analyses as a complex and variable function of discourse.
We might analyse the cultural setting of the author and purpose and use of artist/author and how is it deployed. Who is useful to for the artist/author to exist? Where is the function? Could ask them sort of questions of functions like teacher or mother. It is this kind of working out. What would be missing if the concept was not there? Does there have to be preposterous. Is the use most useful to art dealer or book agent.
Artist uses ‘mode’ to create ‘matter’; where does the freedom come from to allow them to do that within society? What is an artist? What is the function of that?
It is asking the question why am I doing this and what it is about? Are we not answering this within a wider social structure and beyond the artist as an individual. Is it important that we find a category or context in which to work.
(Watch the ‘film red shoes’ to do art is to breathe.. )
Style could be first person voice or a collectors note, academic, conversation.... imagine having a conversation with.....?
Who is the project important to
This week we have met in our groups to put together a project that we could imagine applying for funding for.
Today I took some of the studnets from my art classes to a workshop with Merlyn Chesterman RE. Accomplished printmaker and member of print group Pine Feroda. She is a senior fellow at the Royal Society of Printmakers.
She was hugely generous and welcoming. Very quickly making us all feel at ease with this new technique. The wood panels were surprising easy to work with. Much more pleasing than a lino print. We did small test pieces and then were given larger panels to begin a more finished piece. I worked with a painting from my sketchbook of Welcombe Bay. Without thinking started by making the mistake of forgetting the image would reverse in the printing process. However it quickly became clear to me that it would work much better as a two colour print and would be an interesting image even if it was reversed. Merlyn showed me how to produce a second block so I could do this. Printing the first blocks image into paper and then offset printing this onto the second block.
We also worked on a graded colour inking up which I haven’t done before but was so much easier than I thought it would be and very effective.
This was such an enjoyable day. I loved watching my student being taught be someone else. She was impressed with how they worked together and how hard they all worked. I don’t remember to photograph my finished prints and annoyingly damaged them transporting them home. One student produced an amazing large scale print which Merlyn and she inked up together. I remembered to photograph that as it was a rather lovely and slightly dramatic end to the day.
I have begun to play with making my own slides using acetate, inks and Brusho. I want them to be fleshy and inky. Flowing with colour and granulation. They are small and can’t fully be seen until they are fixed into the the slide holder. The “paintings” are 35mm by 22mm. I played with making a few then in the evening took them upstairs and put them in the projector. They were so much more than they looked on e projected. The salty ness of the granulation showing up in beautiful detail, the flours bright and illuminated. I place them in the side box “museum of memories”. It feels like this bricolage is taking shape.
Today we began a new lecture series with Rachel Dobbs.
Such a great session so full of information and ideas I cam e home buzzing with possibilities and ideas.
You should aim for great starting points with questions that are not closed. What is the need? What do others want? What is missing? Who else is doing this? Who is living the need? What is happening elsewhere? Could you run a sister project from someone who has already had similar ideas?
Others will know what works, what doesn’t work, bring collaboration.
What is missing?
Do lots of research. How does your project fit with other strategies and initiatives? You don’t want to duplicate. You need to understand what already exists.
Who else is working on projects in this field? Speak to people. Not completing but collaborating? If they don’t want to collaborate find what makes you different.
Who to partner up with. Don’t do it on your own!
Again what’s missing!
so how do you know? Where are your citations? No sweeping statements!
Are people involved
Consultation process. Find out stuff out, prior knowledge, gather information. Radiators not drains...
Stats and Surveys: local authority stats online etc, ie demographic info.
Clarify what is the problem you are trying to solve?
How big is it?
What is going on in this area. Dint ask close a questions like do you agree with me about what we should do but ask what do you think is missing, what should we do, what are you ideas...
What is it a problem or what is causing it and can it still meet the need even to some extent?
What are the underlying problems?
What is your project?
What do I want to achieve?
How are you gonna do it?
Aims are general and broad what do I want achieve overall?
Use your aims to test everything. So you need good aims and they need to be worthwhile...
Asking why am I doing this is really important! Check that this is answered by the aims.
Don’t jump to activity too quickly! Your aims should be objective not subjective. Instead of “best party ever” you would write “activity that is memorable fun involves something unusual or special...”
Objectives are more specific. Indicators or targets.
how can I break down overall aims into a check list of objectives. Ask good questions to get these.
How your going do it needs to be about POSSIBLE outcomes.... more than one answer.... which version is the best answer?
Going through various outcomes with pros and cons...
Which is best and which is possible and realistic!
Today we began a new lecture series with Rachel Dobbs.