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...?
Staying at a friends house Graham Mobbs and surrounded by his ceramics and the art art he has collected over the years including some of mine. His pots are strong hand built off thrown forms which he dents and hits to re-shape. Black and white mostly they speak of the beauty of deformity and a lack of symmetry. These pots are made and hit and remade again. They seem like a beautiful metaphor. The stresses that the clay is put through to be what it is. I am stuck by the nature of the colour and glazing, muted and yet bursting with energy. These pots seem like human forms yet hint at an almost forgotten functionality. At once a pregnant form and then again a vessel. The bare flesh of the surface covered in places by glaze and then in other places exposed and vulnerable. The forms are strong the clay is solid but the forms seem to take off from the surface they stand on, reaching up.
There are drawing too, done with the same energy and spontaneity informing the marks made on the pots.
There are pieces of work here that I have made too. Mostly mother and child in theme. My enquiry around the depiction of a Marian theme, much more gentle in style than the current work. There is no visceral depiction here. Graham expresses concerns about the splashed elements on the new work, “what is it” he asks, “why is it there?”
I find I like this old work and wonder if seeing it again will make me loom again at tenderness, the question asked in my tutorial with Josie. Do I need to find a tenderness or is it already there the the last three pieces? Do they not have tenderness and reality? As I approach new work this week I can continue to ask this....
Three Stranda to Tabatha’s work:
Play and colour
Sound and listening
the first slide is a moth: it hears sound through it belly and this interests Tabatha as she investigates how we hear and respond to sound. Second slide is the inner ear of a whale the size of a large fist, it represents the primal quality of sound.
Recently working with A hearing specialist Andrea Streit who is trying to regenerate the hair cells of the inner ear. This brought about a whole new experience of academia. Different languages of science and art that separated at the time of Aristotle.. The project included workshop with scientists exploring hearing and listening; hearing can be passive whereas listening is active. Using sensory deprivation embodied some of the changes to when hearing is damaged. An exhibition coming at Christmas working Andrea Streit and a Choreographer to make audience aware of their listening. Peace is made using paper and light from the window the sound of paper rolling becomes part of the piece and the visuals look something like a bit of viola. This is a way of recording the sound of actions. It is beautiful visually as well as engaging as we consider the sound the paper makes as part of the actions.
This year she was part of the exhibition spare parts she made large globes to put up to the air changing the hearing experience
She received funding in 2015 to produce a felt room which was shown in Karst and London. She use underlay to dampen the sound within the room. Arched to the walls in complex folds. Using a score for an Opera singer she demonstrated the sound effects of both the closed chamber and then the outside space. Within the chamber chamber the enabled the audience to hear the throat and the body it was an intimate performance contrasted with the outside space where this was not the case. This lead to a a corner piece exhibited at the Science Museum.
The dispensary enabled Tabatha to work with another community of people, those with dementia. Tactile objects made from wood worked with patients introducing a process of exchange this piece enables those who experienced it to reflect and to use their memory the objects went exactly like any one given object but had likenesses of familiar objects. This enabled collaboration with local wood turning experts and with the hospital and patients.
Most recent community engagement project has been the art weekender in which Tabatha worked with the community on union Street where Jeger used to have its studios and workshops. She set up a stall in the street with games to encourage public engagement to produce portmanteau that would be brought together to make a new thing. These large shapes where then hung together on the street, large pattern pieces in the Plymouth colours of green, red, black as almost a metaphor for reshaping and regeneration. It was difficult working on the street and that came with lots of extra responsibilities like T.V. and writing etc. Visually beautiful but not possible to leave them out unsupervised.
Has recently also been working with Autistic children in France setting up a centre for Autistic children that gives them a non institutionalised space and build up non verbal interactions,drifting from linguistic norms.
Tabatha’s work is such a strong example of excellence in practice and community and social consciousness.
I have spent this week working in these three mixed media drawing for submission to the Chaiya Award exhibition in the Oxo Tower in London next spring. The exhibition theme is God is… I feel my recent work around birth and motherhood fit into this theme in that I want to show that the traditional Marian ideal Has no place in modern thinking. These paintings demonstrate the power and energy of birth. I am attempting to show the tenderness and the rawness of these moments. Each woman is alone in the picture surface and she is ambiguous in her ethnicity in a deliberate attempt to make this about a change of perception. To be very different in concept to the mother and child paintings of the Madonna.
Tutorial with Josie Cochran
I came with the question, how do I determine what my question is? What is the work answering. The thoughts and questions that Josie has offered and asked have helped me to consider this.
What is the relationship between subject matter and methodology?
What is my question? Is it about the nature of drawing and is drawing about the shape of something... Josie felt that everything I do seems to be drawing...
The shape and fitting of the body around the body can be seen as a line that expands and grows. In much the same way as the wire figure. How did it feel to do that? Was it drawing? What is drawing to me?
Maybe I could think of story telling is a type of drawing.
Using a visceral material like cat gut to knit has links to traditional materials ; Like rabbit skin glue used in painting.
Materials: What can they do and where to they come from
How do I feel about the physical movement that drawing has?
Look at hospital rooms nhs projects... how are other people responding to similar questions when there are parameters like working with the NHS. How do you make work that tends people... what happens if I’m making this drawing for a specific person; just for them and on one else, that does or doesn’t trigger a reaction or trauma? How to produce work that is tender? what if they need tenderness?
Look at Lucy Stein painter/drawing mythology
Consider Birth and lineage as drawing a line. Consider movement, wrapping and tracing...
Drawing as an expression of extremes, not traditionally a confrontation means of making art
Lynette Yiadon-boakye figurative painter. It’s the why that I might find useful about this artist.
Big questions to ask:
what is the work doing???
What do I want my work to do and who is it for??