Posted by Artist RWB Fri, May 02, 2014 14:39:29
I have just finished drafting an artist statement for a new work "Shipping Translated"; this is a silent two channel video [duration 1h 5m 20s]. I am pleased that the total number of frames [188,160] is similar to the gross tonnage of the largest of the container ships that I observed during the making of the work.
Here is a copy of my Statement:
The global transportation of produce, goods and waste by increasingly large container ships, and containers moving around the world concealing their contents from general view, demonstrates our mutual interdependence. This includes world wide connections and connections that are not readily apparent.
This interdependence is underlined by the natural environment in which the ships operate. Both sea and sky/clouds are part of the same global water cycle. Furthermore, both are part of global systems of currents; what happens in one place has effects elsewhere.
These global (closed) systems of interconnectedness deeply resonate with three extracts from John Donne’s Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions: 17 – Meditation that influenced my making of this work:
... all mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; ...
... No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. ...
... any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind ...
To underline this interconnectedness and interdependence, the entire work was recorded at the UK’s largest container port, Felixstowe, during lent 2014.
Posted by Artist RWB Thu, April 10, 2014 15:58:37
Delighted that my profile is now live on AXIS
, and at how my MAstars profile
has been included in the MAstars 2013 e-yearbook
I am currently working on a number of new video pieces that I hope to show over the summer.
Posted by Artist RWB Tue, February 11, 2014 17:57:31
The maid (Le nana)
I really enjoyed watching this film yesterday; for me it was a brilliantly made, nicely restrained film. It was a great exporation of the human condition, relationships, healing and the tranformative power of true compassion and care.
The careful use of dialogue with well chosen visual points of view with long cuts provided an intimate, contemplative study reminiscient of the work of Dogme 95 and Lars Von Trier
Posted by Artist RWB Thu, February 06, 2014 12:34:32
I was pleased to be able to view work at three of Sheffield's galleries last week [29 January 2014]
- "The Artist Proposes
" It was interesting to see the work in progress of the 4 artists currently in the Pltform residency sceme.
- "Double Screen (Not Quite Tonight Jellylike)" - Anna Barnham
I was captivated by this video installation and it was great to be in contact [on twitter] with Anna Barnaham [@Banana_Harm] who provided me with this link to the great accompnying pdf document [a hard copy is also apparently available at the Site gallery shop]
- "Pole Position: Polish art in Britain 1939 - 1989
" - the impact of modern (20th Century) British based Polish painters. I could have lingered here even longer. I was struck by the apparent cross fertilisation between these artist and the likes of Graham Sutherland and Francis Bacon. It thus seems regrettable and surprising that these Polish artists have not had more recognition and exposure.
3] Millenium Gallery
- printmaking "Printing Sheffield
" - I was expecially interested in the linocuts and the accompanying artist talk [on video] by James Green. I was struck by how tactile his process is - especially as he uses a spoon instead of a press to ensure even contact between the inked lino and the paper.
- it was also good to be able to revisit "Inside the Circle of Fire: A Sheffield Soundscape
" a sound and visual installation that I first viewed in September. I was struck with how important the images are to the soundscape - it is a much depleted experience merely listening to the audio than expierncing the cumulative effect of the audio with pictures.
Posted by Artist RWB Wed, February 05, 2014 20:34:08
Over the last couple of weeks it has been good to view a wide range of work at a number of galleries:
25 January: Ftizwilliam, Cambridge
I especially impressed by the Italian sacred works from the mid 13 to the early 14 hundreds in particular such iconograhical works as Ceccarelli's The Crucifixion
- there was something moving about the combination of the antiquity and the deep spiritual usage over the centuries.
I also enjoyed the Edmund de Waal interventions
28 January: Impressions, Bradford - Paul Reas: "Dreaming About The Good Times?"
Whilst I had hoped for a little more from this retrospective, there were a number of particulalrly strong images; most notably in the thoguhtful use of colour - often red.
For me, my main dissappointment was absence of uniqueness. Indeed, many of the images reminded me of the work of Martin Parr or Bruce Gilden.
28 January: National Media Museum, Bradford - Chris Harrison: "Copper Horses"
This was a stunning show exporing both his personal family [especially in relation to his father] as well as the wider issue of the decline of skilled manual industry. The images were carefully composed and thoughfully hung. It was good to linger and reflect. There was something about this body of work that was special and unique.
The contrast between my reaction to these two shows has prompted a degree of self relfection - I have concluded that it has stregnthed my desire to make work that is personally meanigful and that can show a different way of viewing. This confirms my practice of my work being about something and meaning something - and that that something has significance.
Posted by Artist RWB Tue, February 04, 2014 12:03:57
It is good that BBC world service have recently made such an informative and thought provoking audio documentary on slavery, past and present.
I would highly recommend spending 17m 30s listening to this programme [first broadcast Friday 31 January 2014]
Some useful resources for further information were also signposted, viz:Anti-Slavery International
BBC Freedom 2014
Posted by Artist RWB Thu, January 02, 2014 18:48:17
Delighted that Axis web promoting the Axis MA star review of my Assimilation work by Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts' curator - Amanda Geitner on twitter
Posted by Artist RWB Mon, December 09, 2013 17:30:32
Last month I had a very useful and stimulating day in London. Visiting the Whitechapel Gallery; The Photographer's Gallery; and, The V&A.
This visit helped to renergise me as I continue to explore and discern the way forward as I seek to build on my Assimilation (Games) body of work. I am still minded to continue adding to the body of work to make 490 [70 x 7] individual pieces.
Posted by Artist RWB Tue, October 15, 2013 18:03:08
Here are a few thoughts about the exhibitions I have seen over the last month or so:
"This me of mine" Opening at Ipswich Art Schoolhttp://www.cimuseums.org.uk/whats-on/2013/09/21/this-039-me-039-of-mine.html
I was impressed by the breadth of work, by 25 artists, dealing with expressing one's point of view of the world, of using ones voice.
For me, I found this to be an affirmation of my own work as I endeavour to practice "art as prophetic voice".
"Khora" [work 5 artists currently working on their Fine Art MA at NUA], Opening at Stew, Norwichhttps://www.facebook.com/events/520783971346157/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
I found the wall text engaging: Khora is a philosophical term described originally by Plato as a receptacle, a space or an interval. Jacques Derrida followed, by using the word Khora to describe a “radical otherness” that “gives place” for being.
Using these terms and ideas as a starting point, five artists have responded to the notion of Khora and the idea of “place” in its many different forms. ...
It was though evident of how much the viewers perspective is influenced by even just a few lines of wall text; it provides an apparent context and a lens through which to view the diverse works of the 5 artists.
"Gib’s Mir", an exhibition of works by Nicholas Byrne and Gili Tal.Opening at Outpost, Norwichhttp://www.norwichoutpost.org/Nicholas_Byrne_Gili_Tal_press_release.pdf
Although I was intrigued by the paintings on perspex and the irregular use of suction cups as the apparent means of hanging, I was more interested in the open portfolios of work on the floor and considering whether the works had been always been intended to be shown in that unique way - so that underneath an overlapping piece of work there may - or maynot be more of the drawing.
" and Houghton Sculpture Park
at Houghton Hall
It was wonderful to see the collection in the house designed for it. I especially enjoyed Bartolome Esteban Murillo, The Crucifixion
Pieter Paul Rubens, Friar's Head
However, it was in the sculpture park that I was really moved especially by these works:
Richard Long, Full Moon Circle
Zhan Wang, Artificial Stone 85
James Turrell, Skyspace
This was the real highlight of the whole day, the site specific construction, the walk up the gently sloping wooden pathway, to finally entering the gallery space through double spring closed, where suddenly and surprisingly confronted with a wonderful framed vista of the sky, seen through an ope aperture that framed it in such a way as to encourage contemplation. It was an uplifting, mood changing, almost spiritual experience. Interestingly, I have now [today] discovered that the artist is a Quaker so this space for spiritual contemplation is absolutely intentional.
Posted by Artist RWB Wed, August 28, 2013 22:53:54
Posted by Artist RWB Fri, August 23, 2013 05:02:52
Looking forward to the MA show
being open to the public in a week's time.
For ease of reference, here is the link again for my segment of the online catalogue:Richard Brooks MA Fine Art
Posted by Artist RWB Fri, August 23, 2013 00:14:10
Posted by Richard Mon, August 19, 2013 23:57:36
Today I have been working on updating my artist statement as part of my preparatory work for the rejuvenation of my website.
This is my new [general] artist statement, it is deliberately brief so that my new home page can be sparsely populated:
Brooks’s work is informed by his personal faith, sense of vulnerability, bereavement, and, his personal experience.
Brooks’s practice centres on addressing social justice issues of the human condition. He avoids making work of any individual person; so that neither, is the individual stigmatised, nor is the work not unduly personalised.
Posted by Richard Fri, August 16, 2013 08:25:58
It was good to successfully complete the show installation, critical evaluation and collating my research files for yesterdays hand in.
Here is the brief summary of my Masters Project:
During my MA project I have continued my practice of using my blog alongside a more
private notebook for my reﬂective journal. In addition I have continued using Twitter as a micro-blog often as a means of speaking out.
These have assisted me in the development of my practice as I have continued in my
enquiry into art as a prophetic voice.
My research methodology has remained largely practice based as I have established that thinking through making is a key element in my practice.
I have continued to use a range of resources in my research as I investigated the three strands of art, theology and social justice. Latterly I have relied more on making electronic copies of key online resources rather than printing them out. This has also been the case with documenting gallery visits.
For the Masters project I have made four complimentary works: -
quicktime video in real time at actual size showing the assimilation of powder
in the milk.
50 black and white photographs each with a painted game of noughts and
crosses on it. (nb I am submitting the box set of the 50 images for the MA
10 minute quick time video of the coastal scene with no trace of human
Assimilation (27 million)
9 hour 46 minutes quick time video that documents the counting of
27,000 rice crispies in real time. As time progresses the bowl is almost
completely obscured by rice crispies.
I anticipate continuing in this practice and further developing my art as prophetic voice prompting questions about injustice and stewardship. I will continue to make both moving and still images; sometimes contemplative and at other times disturbing.
For those who want to read more, here is my Critical Evaluation, available as a pdf download:
I am now really looking forward to the MA show opening at the end of the month http://www.nua.ac.uk/madegreeshow2013
Here is the link to my online catalogue for the show: http://www.nua.ac.uk/madegreeshow2013/catalogue/richardbrooks
Posted by Richard Thu, August 08, 2013 20:23:46
It has been good to work together preparing our spaces this week, and having the opportunity to discuss our work with one another.
I wanted to make my space "holy", set apart for a purpose. As part of my methodist spirituality I believe that things are made holy by use. This prompted me to play some sacred music, St Matthew's Passion, Bach (in it's entirety) as I worked, both painting on my exhibition "Games" print and in organising the room in preparation for Monday's installation. This was premeditated, so I especially brought in the music recording and borrowed a set of good speakers from media resources.
I also found it good to explore using a noughts and crosses type grid on the floor to compliment the print and the placement of the 4 elements of the show, and also to reference the Labyrinth as a meditative/ contemplative aid. Conceptually I think it does work, but I am uncertain whether it is fully appropriate in a shared space; and I am also concerned that I might be trying to put too much in and not giving enough space for the different piece to speak for themselves and to have a conversation with one another.
Posted by Richard Wed, July 10, 2013 13:09:43
It was good to spend Monday afternoon at the V&A, where I concentrated at looking at work in a few areas, although I also enjoyed seeing the modern design section and the book illustration prize winners.
I was surprised to note that white cube space was not predominant - often the walls being blue or red - this was even the case for the Making It Up: Photographic Fictions where the walls were blue. In this show a few works particularly drew my attention:
Oliver Boberg Anliegerweg (Residents Path) 2000 [click here to go to image]
Xing Danwen Urban Fiction, No.23 2005 [click here to go to image]
Andy Wiener's 6 C-type prints from the series A Rakes Progress 1986
I was also moved by the sacred silver and stained glass especially the stained glass and its ancient tradition and the relationship to iconography that resonates with my own practice. The highlight in the glass was Frank Salisbury's The Ascension which had such strong echoes of much earlier works including the Murillo work that I viewed earlier in the year at Dulwich Picture Gallery. Under The Ascension was placed a sculptural object [Ichthys Font 2004-05 optical glass by Colin Reid; Plinth by Jim Partridge (on loan from Art and Christian Enquiry Trust)] that seemed to be enhanced by and enhance the stained glass; I hope to produce such a dialogue between my pieces so that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
I enjoyed once again immersing myself in the heritage of photography as I perused the V&A photographs collection [click here to see a V&A's selection of photographs from that collection]; I was particularly pleased to view these works:
John Reginald Homer Weaver, Avila Cathedral Interior, Spain, 1920-30 [for me, this evoked a similar emotional pathos to Josef Sudek's studies of Prague, especially the rebuilding of the Cathedral in the 1920's; both sharing the wonderful luminosity of light streaming into the space]
Francis Bruguière, Cut Paper Abstraction 1925-7
Man Ray, from the portfolio 'Electricitè' 1931
Maurice Broomfield, Methylating Company, Hull, Distillery, 1935
Ilse Bing, Rockefeller Center and Chrysler Building Tops, 1936
Tibor Honty, The Summer Evening, 1952 [which to me resonates with the earlier work of Josef Sudek, as might be expected by Honty's 1933 relocation to Praha]
Robert Brownjohn, Street Level, 1961
Robert Adams, Newly Occupied Tract Houses, Colorado and Outdoor Theatre and Cheyenne Mountain, 1968 [these so strongly resonate with the slightly later work of Lewis Baltz that it is clear that they were indeed both part of the 'New Topographics' movement.]
Bernd and Hilla Becher, 6 Gelatin Prints 1974: Silo for Coal, Big Pit Colliery, South Wales ; Lime kilns, Brielle, Holland ; Water Tower, Kirkham Gate, Near Leeds, England ; Pit Head, Fosse Noeux No. 13, North France ; Gas Holder, Power Station Essen-Karnap ; Cooling Tower, Zeche Waltrop, Ruhr, West Germany
I was also interested to look at the presentation of the tapestries as I thought that this could potentially inform how I hang my Assimilation [Games] piece - the subdued lighting did resonate with my current thinking but the actual method of hanging did not.
The final two items that captured my attention were:
1. Thomas Gainsborough's showbox made to show his oil on glass landscapes; I enjoyed the whole aesthetic and the intimacy of the personal, individual viewing of the work.
2. John Constable's Landscape Oil Sketches I was intrigued by his attention to detail, even in his sketches and yet they still posses the spontaneous emotion; I found this encouraging as I am often moved to make a photographic sketch, still or moving, while still maintaining the potential for a more significant work.
Posted by Richard Tue, July 09, 2013 22:15:41
I was pleased to be able to experiment with projection in my allocated space. I was pleased with how the projection could fill the whole wall, but I am unsure how best the projector could be housed.
It was really helpful to know my show space, I am beginning to again be able to visualise how my work might look in the show.
I am currently wrestling with projector vs LCD screen. I am trying not to be seduced by how a projection could fill and transform the space, as I would be then concerned that any other element might just appear to be a subsidiary rather than prompting the desired dialogue between the various elements.
Posted by Richard Fri, July 05, 2013 09:55:29
It was good, if daunting, to be informed of our MA degree show spaces.
Initially I was shocked by how large a space it was.
However, as I began to reflect on the space and recall my planning to date I was really pleased that I do have three adjacent walls - and that one of them is an Eastern wall. This means that the Assimilation [Games] print can indeed be hung on the East wall as is appropriate to iconography.
Posted by Richard Fri, July 05, 2013 08:50:46
I found this rather unsettling as all the logistical constraints were presented; and this made it difficult for me to discern a way forward, to visualise my work in the show.
However, it has helped me to make some progress in thinking through possibly making a multiple for sale at the show; I could make a small edition of [say 5] hand coloured prints of the Assimilation [Games] picture. These would be hand-painted over the game already embedded within the digital print, making it simultaneously embedded and accumulative. Yesterday's session [2013-07-04] further clarified my thoughts and I am now intending to make these approximately A4 size so that they can be considered for inclusion in the show's vitrine.
Posted by Richard Tue, June 18, 2013 10:10:15
Last night I was thrilled to be awarded second prize for Assimilation.
I thus thought that it would be good to provide an expanded statement about the work [NB the theme for the Bishop's Art Prize 2013 theme is Darkness and Light
Assimilation, comprises is a series of three silent videos made during Holy Week and Easter 2013. These show a malt chocolate milk being assimilated by and assimilating the hot milk so both are changed. Each having a unique pattern of assimilation. This resonates with the uniqueness of every person, yet each being made in the image of God. It also speaks of the particular action of the Holy Spirit in each person.
The work is also concerned with exploring social injustice, in particular people trafficking and homelessness. It is informed by my personal faith, sense of vulnerability, bereavement and experience of being a volunteer both at a winter night shelter for the homeless and a soup kitchen. It speaks of how we all make a unique difference and the potential to exercise good stewardship, guided by the Holy Spirit, to make a positive difference, to bring positive change, to radiate hope and light to challenge the darkness of injustice.
Posted by Richard Sun, June 02, 2013 15:45:15
I was pleased to hear this week that my work has been selected for the exhibition at the Hostry, Norwich Cathedral (18 to 30 June).
On Thursday, I was relieved that the Hostry does have floor power sockets and so I have been able to use the preferred wooden box design for the low plinth in which the iPad will be installed.
For completeness I have attached a pdf of my submitted text, notes and diagrams:
It has been an interesting process to explore how to use the iPad so that the video loops, but so that it is not interrupted by the touching, inadvertent or otherwise, of the iPad; whilst facilitating straight forward daily start up and shut down of the video by the invigilators. I am looking forward to continuing to work on this and of performing tests to this set up and composing and checking the invigilators' instructions of the coming days.
Posted by Richard Sun, June 02, 2013 09:26:05
I found it useful but rather sobering to be guided round the exhibition spaces that will be used for the NUA MA Fine Art show. It made it very real and made me feel quite daunted; and it demonstrated how much that I need to adjust my vision for exhibiting my work.
It is quite frustrating that there are no power points installed in any of the floor spaces; especially as I recently observed there to be such provision in the stone floor of an old 12th century church!
I wonder whether power could be run from above using the lighting gantry if a false wall was to be built to house the large [42"] lcd screen on one side and to hang the large print on the other. It was good to learn that there are some high quality short throw projectors available though, and this is causing me to reconsider whether to use projection - the seascapes filling the space down to the floor would work well, especially if the windows could be blocked out sufficiently to allow projection in the space with the wooden floor.
After the undergraduate shows I will need to conduct some experimentation to ascertain the quality and the size of the projected images. Potentially the log stove vistas could be projected life size at at a realistic height. So potentially two or three projectors might be required in order to facilitate showing the log burner and the seascapes from the floor level up, and the segments of counting rice crispies at a somewhat higher level. This could be achieved by making a two [or more] channel video and using a computer to project the two synchronised channels.
I would also like to explore how projecting on to the silver vinyl would work and whether the large "Assimilation Games" print could actually form the back drop to the projection which would only be briefly fully visible if a short period(s) [of a few seconds] of blank projection were built into the video loop. Again I would need to experiment to see if a black or white or indeed grey or whatever projection would work best for the 'blank screen'. I am quite excited at the prospect of exploring these possibilities as such a presentation strategy seems to compliment and resonate with the theme and title of the work [i.e. "Assimilation"].
The positioning of the two plinths [one with the bowl of rice crispies and one with the iPad showing the "Assimilation Drinks" video loop] would need to be carefully considered, as would the positioning of the two projectors. As I would still like the placement of the various elements to have some resonance with labyrinth. In addition I need to consider the potential for shadows and interruption of the projected images by both the plinths and the audience and how to best utilise or minimise this effect. The "Assimilation" text would be awaiting discovery on the opposite wall [together with the projectors].
Posted by Richard Sat, June 01, 2013 17:57:20
It was good to be able to give my Masters Project work in progress presentation last week and to receive such helpful feedback.
For the record, here is a pdf of the presentation, including my notes:
The constructive feedback included:
- NO text on rice crispies plinth - to avoid unduly directing the viewer.
- Consider either:
- making a large [120cm x 90cm] giclee print on foil of the preferred photograph and painting directly on to that pristine print;
- ways of displaying a small single print on a large wall space.
- There could indeed be, as suspected, issues with the pre-visualised floor plan,
in part due to logistical constraints such as there being no power sockets in any of the floors so cabling would be an issue.
Posted by Richard Sun, May 19, 2013 08:08:04
It was good to view the three new exhibitions
and the new installation yesterday, I was especially interested in observing the ways that the works had been displayed and presented; as I continue to consider the optimum way that I could show my work at the NUA MA degree at the end of August.
I was especially impressed by the hanging of the Tapa: Barkcloth Paintings from the Pacific with the some by subtle use of magnets and some by hanging on a soft roll and a few combining the two. The overall effect was very powerful and created an ambience in the gallery that resonated positively with the works and encouraged me to examine the works in even more detail.
The hanging by concealed D-rings of François Morellet's large acrylic paintings was also very effective; it ensured that there was no distraction to the work by the method of hanging. These  works were also of interest as they were enlargements [4:1] of his earlier  works; this encouraged me as it seemed to further validate part of my current practice were I am painting on a small 15x10cm photo and then significantly enlarging it to make a large piece that resonates with a banner. I like the banner motif as it seems to resonate with both a protest placard and a sacred wall-hanging.
In contrast, Giorgio Sadotti's installation: THIS THIS MONSTER THIS THINGS left unconcealed trailing wires, DVD players, amplifiers and audio players; but these actually added to the impact of the piece rather than being a distraction from it. As part of the installation there was a small library of books around a Frankenstein theme; this worked well as a juxtaposition and effective contextualisation of the work. I also enjoyed the intimacy of the work, it was in the small tower gallery, and a maximum of 2 viewers were permitted at any one time; I was fortunate enough to be the sole viewer and I was drawn to closely examine the work in a much more personal and intimate way than I would have been had it been in a larger gallery space.
The resource room further helped my engagement with the works, it provided space for reflection and further reading about all the current works; it might be good if such a space could be provided in the NUA MA Fine Art degree show. Indeed this helped me to discover a further work at the gallery:
Oliver Beer's Outside-In which is now permanently installed in the entrance lobby, but with such subtle, unobtrusive signage that leaves the visitor to discover the work for themselves - I especially like the wording of the do not touch notice which commented on the fragility of the work and asked visitors not to touch the work, except by interaction of the ear.
Posted by Richard Fri, May 03, 2013 14:21:50
This week I have been making some more Assimilation Games
Having reflected on the Construction Distraction show, and feedback received about it, all these images are in portrait format. I am pleased with the contradiction of showing the underlying landscape in portrait rather than landscape format.
Here are low resolution scans of the ten pictures [Assimilation Games #41 to #50] that I have made in the past week:
Posted by Richard Sat, April 27, 2013 13:31:17
Yesterday, it was good to be able to revisit the Metropolis: Reflections on the modern city at Gas
Hall Birmingham [runs until 23 June].
I enjoyed again viewing a piece of Ola Kolehmainen's work, Shadow of Church, 2006; and Jochem Hendrick's Front Windows, 2009 [and I was impressed by the quality and purity of the audio, I find it difficult to know how this was achieved - there was a complete absence of background noise, no wind, no traffic, no trains no birds, no aeroplanes, despite it being located opposite a railway station, and yet the sound seemed to relate too closely to the amount and manner of glass being broken to be done separately in a sound studio. However, I also noticed that the clouds were hardly moving and wondered if the pauses between the windows being broken had been elongated in post production so that the original happening took considerable less than the 6min duration of the video. This in itself became a distraction to my engagement with the work, perhaps some ambient noise would have actually been less of a distraction allowing me to better engage with the actual work rather than being distracted by how it was realised.
I was also moved by Semyon Faibissovich's Take the Weight off Your Feet, 2009. This painting explores the marginalisation of some people in society as it focuses on an impoverished woman in his own local of Moscow - he paints based on a photographed made on his mobile phone. This resonates with my own concerns and practice.
Posted by Richard Wed, April 24, 2013 18:37:00
I was pleased to be able to see the Metropolis: Reflections on the modern city
show at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
I have since found a useful press release pdf from Birmingham Museums
The personal highlights included works that seem to resonate with my current project, these included:
Christiane Baumgartner, Ladywood, [2010, (video 4m 36s)]
Nicolas Provost, Storyteller, [2011, (video projection 7m, 30s)]
Beat Streuli, Pallasades, [2001, (video 45min looped)] it was good to see this again, having seen it at Beath Struli show at Ikon in January. It plays tricks on the mind/eye as one expects people to cross from one screen to the other - but they do not which makes it strangely compelling as one drawn in to the details of the videos.
Yang Zhenzhong, Let's Puff, [2002, Two screen digital projection] This was really effective and the production values were excellent, in particular the synchronisation of the two parts was exquisite.
Grazia Toderi, Orbite Rosse (Red Orbits), [2009, Two channel video installation] This was impressive and had a wow factor, it felt like an experience not merely a viewing. I aspire to be able show a work with such impact.
Mohamed Bourouissa, L'impasse (the dead end), [2007, Lambda print on aluminium]
Gardar Eide Einarsson, Untitled Landscape (Tear Gas Canisters), [2012, inkjet on aluminium]. This reinforced my inclination to experiment with producing black and white photographs as inkjet prints on aluminium to explore the comparative luminosity of such prints as compared to inkjet prints on paper and darkroom prints using traditional silver gelatine photographic paper.
Jochem Hendricks, Front Windows, [2009, Video projection, 6min]
As well as the Metropolis show I was also impressed by Hughie O'Donoghue's, Three Studies for a Crucifixion I, [1996, Carborundum print], and was moved to study them more closely and to discover the more about the work.
Posted by Richard Wed, April 24, 2013 09:19:14
This was a very useful and positive experience - working together with 2 other MA Fine Art students, Dina & Claire. We all had our own particular concerns, things we wanted to experiment or try; and yet the show worked well together, with plenty of space to best show the works. Our work seemed to work well together and to start a further conversation.
I was able to try printing on clear adhesive vinyl that can be applied directly to the wall, as I have been impressed by a number of exhibitions at Ikon, Birmingham, where the pictures have been stuck straight on the wall.
I was pleased with the glossy clear vinyl, the detail in the images was retained and it successfully rendered the allusion of a false perspective - almost as if viewing the vista through a window on which a game of noughts and crosses had been painted with vermilion coloured acrylic paint.
I had tried printing both two grids of 20 images and one large rendition of a single image. All the painted photographs were scanned at a resolution to make prints same size as original and then I rescanned a small number at a much higher resolution so that a large print, up to size A00 could be made. This was very definitely experimental, I was doubtful how well a 10 by 15cm print would scan and print at 60cm by 90cm but I was really pleased by how well it did actually work. However I had expected the impact of the pair of grids to be greater than they were - these worked less well than I had hoped and anticipated.
It was also good to be able to try out a 58 minute video that included seascapes, chocolate milk drink, log fires in a wood-burning stove, and brief extracts of counting rice-cripsies. I was particularly pleased with how the log fires projected, with the flickering orange from the flames effecting the whole space. I received some positive feedback about the peaceful seascapes, which I found particularly encouraging as it supports my intention to make contemplative work.
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Posted by Richard Mon, April 22, 2013 12:47:26
Had a really good research visit last Saturday as managed to have three productive gallery visits.
 Dulwich Picture Gallery - to see murillo & justino de neve: the art of friendship where I was particularly impressed by The Infant Jesus Distributing Bread to Pilgrims
where the different types of bread seemed to suggest each person had a particular bread especially for them.
It was good to learn how Neve's patronage of Murillo was an extension of his concern for ordinary people as demonstrated through his charitable education and health projects; this provides me with encouragement as I seek to exercise a similar integrity in my work.
At the time the following works were also noteworthy:
Three Boys, c1670
Invitation to a Game of Argolla, 1665-70
 Tate Britain - to see
[a] Simon Starling's Phantom Ride [which I had heard discussed on Radio 4's Front Row] I thought the staging of this site specific video installation was tremendous, how the video could be viewed from either side of the screen and how the sound was made to fill the entire space of the large Duveen Sculpture Galleries.
[b] Looking at the View [which I had seen in The Guardian - in a few of articles - including an online slide show and Framing the view: six artists reveal how they choose landscapes ] I was impressed by the eclectic collection of work, but I thought some of the work would have worked better if it had been presented differently, e.g. Wolfgang Tillman's Concord Grid could only be viewed in close proximity because of the gallery layout, but the overall impact of the grid was best seen from a distance, but this could only be achieved by viewing it a a fairly acute angle.
In my notes at the time, I also observed the following:
Paul Graham, b1956, Roundabout, Anderstown, Belfast, 1984 (layers of symbolism in an initially mundane vista, & then notice the running soldier, & then the graffiti
Lucian Freud, Two Plants, 1977-80 (ultra realism)
Wolfgang Tillmans, Lutz and Alex sitting in the trees, 1992 (noticed the uncluttered hanging of the large unmounted print (about 6x4 ft) simply using 4 white bulldog clips at each corner each secured to wall with a basic nail!)
John Brett, The British Channel Seen from the Dorsetshire Cliffs, 1871 (beautifully renders the wonderful beam of sun light in sky & as falls on sea- very uplifting)
Tacita Dean, Disappearance at Sea 1996 (14min film) (really beautiful and uplifting use of light especially seeing the background vista thro the lighthouse lens).
Wolfgang Tillmans, Concord Grid, 1997 (4 rows of 14 a4 photographs on paper perfectly lined up but taped to the wall- overall grid did have impact but would have perhaps worked better on a different wall where the viewer was able to see it at more of a distance).
 Tate Modern
[a] Transformed Visions here the personal highlights included Rothko's Seagram Murals, which I again found to be a uplifting and spiritual experience; Germaine Richier's Shepherd of the Landes which I found has really stayed with me over the last 10 days; and Alfredo Jaar’s two light box installation Lament of the Images 2002 was powerful and beautiful
[b] Ruins in Reverse This was an overpowering exhibition which did not seem to engender prolonged contemplation within the gallery space as it was almost an audio visual sensory overload. It makes me mindful of my selection of work and that the overall effect maybe somewhat different to an encounter with a work by itself.
Posted by Richard Wed, April 10, 2013 16:52:23
The tripartite concerns of art, theology and social justice are examined in such a way as to promote an ongoing three way conversation rather than a two way argument.
To realise this intention the exhibited work comprises three elements. Each element is in itself multi layered and is not simply a representation of a single interest. The work is contemplative, to be lingered over and to be reflected on.
The first element is 77 games of noughts and crosses painted in vermilion acrylic on small black and white photographs of places of sanctuary. These photographs range from the picturesque rural landscape, to places of shelter for rough sleepers, to seascapes. This subverts the children's game and makes for a disturbing encounter where the viewer is invited to reflect on the spectacle.
The second element is a series of silent single viewpoint videos of spaces of reflection. These include seascapes, log fires and malt chocolate milk being assimilated by and assimilating the hot milk so both are changed [each time a unique pattern of assimilation is observed]. These videos are shown on a small high resolution screen that invites the viewer to engage with the work on a more intimate level.
The third element is envisioned to be a collection of 27 million rice crispies. Each individual rice crispie is different which resonates with the uniqueness of each individual person. 27 million reflects the number of people currently trapped in modern day slavery. The repetitive nature of counting the contents of several packets resonates in some small way with the drudgery and exploitation faced by such victims. The viewers will be invited to take away a single rice crispie, resonating with sharing, culpability and empathy.
The three elements are drawn together under the umbrella of a single title Assimilation.
Posted by Richard Wed, April 10, 2013 14:53:23
The last session before Easter, a group tutorial was really useful; it was both encouraging and challenging. It has stimulated much thought and reflection over the past few weeks.
I was encouraged by how my experimental work was received but challenged as to how best to present it in the final exhibition. It was also good to contemplate whether still to have the diptych[s] or to have another third element alongside the video and the vermilion painted photographs. I have also been considering the best strategy for displaying the video work[s]; it was good to have a discussion about the choice of large projected versus small higher resolution. I am still currently of the mind that a small high resolution screen, such as on a 7inch tablet would be the best, it would invite the viewer to draw in closer to the work and would contrast and complement the large number of 15cm by 10cm painted photographs. It would provide an interesting starting point with which to engage the viewer, as they are disturbed by a mass of painted photographs that subvert the a children's game whilst apparently damaging images of places of sanctuary and refuge and then find a small screen on which are meditative video which provide a more peaceful object of contemplation.
I am thinking of making a symbolic number of such painted photographs that would provide another layer of meaning; perhaps a suitable number would be 77 as this is the number of times the Bible teaches that we should forgive the same person for wronging us in a similar way [7 itself being a symbolic number which signifies wholeness, completeness and perfection so 77 [or as in some translations 70 x 7 (i.e. 490)] really means always, or every time].
I think that it would be good if I did have a third element so that I maintained a tripartite dialogue between the works which keeps the conversation going round in a circular way rather than as an argument between just two constituent elements.
However, I have still got a broad range of ideas for this third element, it could be a diptych as originally envisioned, a video [possibly projected], or an object [or collection of objects].
The main ideas I have had for such a collection of objects are:
(a) a found disposable cup and discarded cardboard that have been used and discarded by a rough sleeper;
(b) a collection of many small items referencing the tragedy of people trafficking and forced labour.
For this latter idea I have considered rice, coffee granules, sand; but, my current preference is for rice crispies.
On closer inspection each rice crispie is different, rice is associated with the East where many trafficking victims originate from and there is the opportunity to present them in a number of ways - they are more stable than raw rice having been cooked and thus less risk of significant deterioration during the course of the exhibition. My aim is to have 27 million rice crispies, one for each person currently trapped in modern day slavery. I plan to count the number contained in a few packets and to take an average to work out how many packets I would require. This could then be either displayed in a [number of] large transparent containers &/or forming a [number of mounds]. However I realise that I might have to scale back this ambition due to space and financial constraints.
Posted by Richard Tue, March 19, 2013 11:08:14
It was good to spend much of last week painting with vermilion acrylic paint on 40 selected photographs of rural and urban vista that share the theme of sanctuary, be it beautiful countryside, contemplative seascapes or known places of shelter for homeless persons.
The painting was constrained by the conceit of rules that I had imposed on myself - painting the lines of the grid in the same order and painting each line in the same direction - left to right for horizontal lines and top-down for vertical lines with the [bristle] brush strokes being repeated to provide a texture of parallel lines which were intentionally translucent to allow the detail of the photograph still to be discernible on closer inspection.
I enjoyed the resonances of the grid; the fact that it has multiple layers of referencing, - as previously stated [in my reflections on dialogues 2013] it resonates with the abstract concern with the grid and with self imposed rules of art making; it also references the grid in a camera view finder; the compositional rule of thirds; it also resonates with the contemporary preoccupation with social media and the popularity of tagging or hash tagging people, places and issues in posts; and finally it is also a reminder of the emotive power of art in the grid's resemblance to a large musical sharp.
Over the week as I painted, first solely the grid then followed by 39 games, the pictures accumulated on the work table and I was pleased with their cumulative visual effect; it disturbed, giving dark undertones of violent incidents. It somehow speaks of suffering and the despoilment of the places of sanctuary or contemplation. I am pleased with this effect and it seems particularly poignant that it is an apparently innocent simple game that is doing the damage; this seems to me to resonate with how easily, and often unintentionally, and thoughtlessly we can fail to be good stewards of our resources, gifts and relationships. This seems to strengthen the spiritual undercurrent in my work - that we we need God's help, inspiration, and strength to enable us to exercise good stewardship, whether or not we acknowledge it at the time and that this is made possible through the once and for all self sacrifice of Jesus.
Posted by Richard Sat, March 09, 2013 11:31:12
I am currently doing some experimental work of painting a noughts and crosses grid and then placing O & X in turn by using numbers 1 to 9 drawn from rummikub tiles. I have decided to use the colour vermillion because of it's resonances with blood and life. I have decided to use acrylics rather than watercolour because of its permanence and to avoid the resonance and reference of traditional spotting and colouring of photographs.
Posted by Richard Fri, March 08, 2013 08:22:39
I found yesterday's symposium interesting but frustrating; in a different setting I would have liked to engaged in further discussion on a number of issues with members of the panel.
I was surprised, and somewhat disappointed, that there was no real discussion of what "abstract" and "painting" could mean and encompass. I would have thought that this could have been a useful exploration, particularly if done relatively briefly at the start of the day, that could have widened the discussion and reflection to encompass a broad range of artistic practice. [As was done very effectively by Steve Felmingham in his sessions last term where he proposed that drawing was almost all encompassing]. A discussion about the definition of painting seemed particularly apposite with Avis Newman's reported assertion that she is not a painter but makes works on canvas; so I was rather perturbed by Michael Brick's somewhat dismissive comment that it is not a n interesting question and is easy to answer - it is something to hang on the wall [but rather the how]. This seemed to me to be somewhat prickly and unhelpful - especially as elsewhere the painting as object, with sculptural qualities was being considered. To merely reiterate that and then refer to not getting drawn into a discussion about what is art seemed a little ungenerous; I would have thought a discussion on what art is would have been interesting, useful and stimulating. The defence, that did not want to rehearse the arguments of 40 years ago did not seem completely valid, or logical; especially as it was then discussed how much the world and the art world had changed and that expressive abstractionism may reappear. So the arguments of 40 years ago where made in a completely different context and I would have thought would bear reconsideration in the current climate - the arguments will not be simply the same but will have moved on, not least due to the changing context and climate.
I was also troubled by Michael Brick's contention that being an artist is just a job, whilst I do agree that we should not take ourselves too seriously for if we do it can stifle our creativity. For me being an artist is a vocation, there is a compulsion to make work [if I am not making I am incomplete]; I never stop being an artist I am stimulated and provoked even when I am trying to relax.
Michael Brick's contention that art is merely information and has no meaning, likening it to railway tracks which carry the meaning; was deeply perturbing. I agree that all viewers bring their own preconceptions to a work and that all will read a work differently. I would actually go further, the same viewer at different times will receive the same work, in the same location differently on each occasion. Furthermore the location of the work will effect how it is read; the work will not only transform the place in which it is shown, the location will also transform it, there will be a mutual assimilation [which resonates somewhat with my ongoing video works about drinking powder being assimilated by and assimilating the hot milk in which it it placed.] I would also wish to argue that this is also true of literature and other cultural forms, and even at the basic level all see/perceive colour and tone somewhat differently, but this does not imply that it is all meaningless. The artist will have a motivation, an intention for the work, to challenge, to question, to make something aesthetically pleasing, or challenging; and for me it is in this that there has to be meaning by definition. I would wish to amend Michaels metaphor and to state that it is the gallery, book or other place of display and presentation that is really the railway tracks, it is these that provide the conduit for the art to travel from the artist to the viewer along with its inherent meaning. For me if art is meaningless, then what is the point? Surely art can have deep meaning that is not readily able to be verbalised; it can have subtle nuances and resonances that can provoke reflection and questions and widen the viewers horizons - meaning that they see the world a little differently.
However I was particularly struck with the general fascination and preoccupation with the grid and with the challenging disregard for the general rules of composition, such as the rule of thirds. This seems to resonate with much of my current picture making where I am often placing the horizon as central rather than on a third and how I am frequently placing the focus on the centre.
The preoccupation with grids strongly resonated with my intended experimental work, where I am intending to paint a noughts and crosses grid over the photograph and then use random numbers [1 to 9 picked a random from folded bits of paper] to complete a game until O or X win or it is a stalemate; alternating between which starts. This rule making, or working within constructed constraints, also resonated with much of the practice discussed yesterday.
Posted by Richard Fri, March 01, 2013 11:58:19
I have found it very helpful to work on my MA masters project proposal in parallel with beginning to draft a proposal for a subsequent research degree.
I am maintaining my focus on art, theology and social justice. I have now formulated this into a preliminary title for my research proposal which also seems helpful as I develop my MA work; the title being: Art as Prophetic Voice.
This prophetic voice encompasses a compulsion to speak out on matters of social injustice such as exploitation, neglect or discrimination; for me I would perceive this compulsion as being God inspired, regardless of whether the particular person would see it as such [although I realise that this could be controversial, depending on the world view of that individual].
I am hoping that this cross fertilisation will continue, especially as I am hoping to build on my MA work in my subsequent research.
I am currently reviewing my MA masters project proposal before final submission next week, after which I intend to provide a downloadable pdf of my final proposal, in a future post.
Posted by Richard Fri, March 01, 2013 11:13:34
It has been good to review the videos I have made since the hand in for the last unit. This was partly in preparation for last weeks tutorial but I have subsequently further reviewed the work to date. This has led me to conduct further experimentation using music with the visuals.
I have now decided to publish this work in progress on youtube, contained in a single playlist. This will be regularly updated with more footage and versions as I continue to investigate using music and other audio.
I have decided to use vimeo to publish my resolved works in due course.
Your mobile does not support playing flash video.
Posted by Richard Fri, February 08, 2013 16:30:06
Sheffield Millennium Gallery: Monday 28 January 2013
This was a really interesting and stimulating show covering a range of artists, periods and art forms. I was impressed by the use of gallery text that gave some insights into Ruskin's ethos and views. However I was disappointed that this was not fully supported by their website that contained little of the gallery text, only a few examples of the works and did not give a full list of the works in the show. Although it is good that there is now a link to download Jacqueline Yallop's accompanying Force of Nature essay; this was also available in the gallery but it is good to be able to study it further away from the gallery.
One particular text that stood out and seems to resonate with my current research and practice was:
Seeing the Landscape: All great art praise
For Ruskin, understanding the landscape through art was a form of religious celebration
This seemed to link so strongly with my research interests and current practice that I am investing some time in researching Ruskin and his writings.
The highlights of the show for me included:
Dan Holdsworth Andoya 2006 c-type photo
David Nash Wooden Boulder 2004 film
Julian Opie Jet Stream 2011 continuous computer animation
Kathleen Herbert I may be a wage slave on Monday but I am a freeman on Sunday 2011 HD video
[the audio was disconcerting, so much so that my companion found it difficult to view the video for any more than a few seconds; this seems somewhat counter productive, surely it is not advisable to make a work too uncomfortable so that viewers do not fully engage with it]
Kathy Prendergast Land 1990 canvas, fabric, paint, wood & metal
Alfred Maskell Landscape 1898 photograph, gum bichromate print
It was interesting to note from the gallery text that: "Unlike Ruskin, Maskell believed that photographs could be considered art." [It was disappointing to find that Ruskin did not recognise photography as a valid art form.]George Davison Reflections, Weston-on-the-Green 1899 photogravure print
Again the gallery text was worth noting: "Like Maskell, Davison was a founder member of the Brotherhood of the linked ring. Critics applauded him as one of the first impressionist photographers ..."
Posted by Richard Sat, January 26, 2013 15:47:08
I was really pleased with how it went this morning - well worth all the hard work. I have attached below a PDF copy of the Exhibition leaflet for ease of reference:
In addition here are the three videos that were being screened at the exhibition:
Paradise Part III - Paradise Circus: Home Sweet Home (2010)
Paradise Part IV - Coronation Anthem Number 1: The Royal Estate (2011)
Alternative Link for "The Royal Estate"
Paradise Part VI - Assimilation 2 (2012)
Your mobile does not support playing flash video.
Posted by Richard Fri, January 25, 2013 13:32:10
It has been exciting to work on this show; making decisions about work and installation and taking into account the location [Landseer Road Methodist Church and Schoolroom].
It has satisfying to spend time working out the installation and ascertaining the most apposite works for the event.
[The show is part of the weekend events for Poverty & Homelessness Action Week and although the show is on Saturday morning the works will remain on view for the Sunday morning service which is also focussing on homelessness. On Saturday morning there will also be hot drinks available, for a voluntary donation to the Ipswich Winter Night Shelter (IWNS) and the opportunity to donate new adult socks and toiletries for the IWNS (any surplus will be forwarded to the Ipswich Umbrella Trust).]
Yesterday it was good to make a number of reprints for exhibition at the show.
Here is a selection of the works that will be in the show:
From Paradise Part 2 (2010):
From The Royal Estate (2011):
From Assimilation 2 (2012):
In addition some video works will also be shown.
Posted by Richard Thu, January 24, 2013 15:58:22
I had a really inspiring and thought provoking visit, that had three distinct elements
1. 19th Century paintings in the round room
In particular I was moved by one particular painting:
Never Morning Wore to Evening But Some Heart Did Break, Walter Langley 1824
2. Revealed Government Art collection
18 months ago I had viewed a previous rendition of this show [At Whitechapel Gallery, London]. It was interesting how different the show appeared in a new setting and configoration. This provides much food for thought as I contemplate not only how to best configure my degree show in August, but also how to best install my work at a solo pop up exhibition this weekend in Ipswich [at Landseer rd Methodist Church].
The work that this time was especially captivating was Ori Gersht's Being There: White Mountain, 2001
3. The Private View of Arrow in the Blue, the first west Midlands Koestler Trust exhibition http://www.koestlertrust.org.uk/pages/midlands13/exhibitionmid13.html
I found the whole show moving and inspiring but Released was especially poignant.
Posted by Richard Tue, January 22, 2013 08:10:49
Made using web based resources to explore ways of documenting frequent regular videos. I also had a further exploration with using sound which this time seems more effective, as well as different framing etc.
If you can not view the above embedded flash video, here is the link:
Your mobile does not support playing flash video.
Posted by Richard Thu, January 10, 2013 00:54:40
It has been good to consider my progress and practice at the end of this unit as I have gathered and collated all my work and research.
I realise that for the MA project it would be good if I could undertake such a review on a regular basis and not merely after 7 to 8 months work prior to the hand in and final show.
I am especially pleased with the video "Assimilation 2" in which I have managed to begin to address and explore art, theology and social justice. I think this will be further developed as I make preparations for the degree show installation where a evolved rendition of this video is envisioned to be shown alongside one are more photographic diptychs. These diptych[s] are currently expected to also be evolutions from the current diptychs.
One element of this installation that I want to particularly resolve is that of the size of the images of the different elements. This will not only influence how the work is received by the viewer but it will also have a significant impact on the number of diptych that would be possible to show.
I also realise that I need to continue to develop the research, in all three streams alongside my work in further developing and establishing my studio practice. Indeed, I believe that it has been a great opportunity for me to be able to be a weekly volunteer for the Ipswich Winter Night Shelter [this will continue to March]; this has already informed and further motivated my work.
I am looking forward to further working on picture making and exploring the tripartite juxtapositions between the video and the diptych[s].
Posted by Richard Wed, November 14, 2012 20:33:34
It was encouraging to receive some encouraging feedback for my Learning Agreement
last week. I have attached a copy below for information:
It was also good to discuss our draft [revised] artist statements; after carefully reflecting on the comment I received I further redrafted it and here is the latest rendition of my Artist Statement:
Richard Brooks is a visual artist who critiques issues of social ethics; as such he has been influenced by writers such as Charles Dickens, and informed by his theological studies. Brooks’s life experience of personal vulnerability has been significant in informing his work. Brooks’s work is predominantly realised through utilising photography and video.
The, apparent, verisimilitude of photographic, still and moving, images resonates with the desire to examine the human condition. A photograph is assumed to be true, it seems to provide evidence of that time and place. Brooks uses this presumption to challenge and raise questions for the viewer.
Although his work explores the human condition Brooks chooses not to make any individual the subject of his images; as this would unduly personalise the work. In the same way the locations of the vistas are not readily identifiable by ensuring that the location is not explicitly disclosed.
His work is contemplative so that the viewer is encouraged to linger and engage with the work and its subject matter. Brooks uses different elements in juxtaposition to create a dialogue between the works which prompts further reflection and questioning by the viewer.
I expect that this statement will be progressively further redrafted and refined before the final MA show in August 2013. I did find it rather challenging to compose when the art work is still very much in progress; I am far more comfortable writing such a stement once the work has been more fully resolved and substantially realised.
Posted by Richard Wed, November 14, 2012 20:03:13
It was good to go to Coast 2012
opening day to see some of the exhibitions at Sheringham and to attend the Art and the Sea Study Day/Conference with Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
There was so much material that I am still digesting it two weeks later!
Of particular interest was the presentation by Artist Fran Crowe especially the discussion of her Saving a Mile of Sea project; this resonated with my own exploration of gathering detritus from human activity on a weekly basis from Nov 2011 to May 2012 along the same 200m stretch of beach. It was also encouraging to learn of the platform that she has set up for artists and writers in Suffolk and East Anglia to share their exploration of issues relating to the coast, as it states on the website, Landingstage:
Landingstage.net is a space for ideas...
We are a growing number of Suffolk artists and writers interested in coastal and climate change.
This website lets us explore these changes and our relationship with our environment here on the Suffolk coast.
The two presentations by speakers from The Crown Estate [Professor Mike Cowling, Chief Scientist, The sea and changes through time; and Professor Robin McInnes, Art and coastal change in East Anglia] were particularly illuminating, so much so that I have subsequently received two of the reports that Professor Robin McInnes was instrumental in producing [A COASTAL HISTORICAL RESOURCES GUIDE FOR ENGLAND; and, ART AS A TOOL IN SUPPORT OF THE UNDERSTANDING OF COASTAL CHANGE IN EAST ANGLIA].
After the conclusion of the study day it was good to be able to view some of the art work in the festival, although I think that the shows could have been improved by giving greater space to a smaller number of works.
Posted by Richard Tue, November 13, 2012 20:43:56
It has been good to be able to concentrate on making new pictures today and then subsequently reviewing and organising the pictures and making initial minor adjustments before selecting the preferred photograph for each vista.
- in the morning I worked in an urban environment wandering as a flaneur particularly observing evidence of where the homeless had taken shelter
- in the afternoon I worked on the coast to observe the beautiful pre dusk light on the beach
I am still exploring how best to select and present such contrasting vistas as dyptichs; which juxtapose the fragility of the human condition [including the issues of inequity] with the sublime landscape. As I reflect I am reminded of how easy it is to be distracted by one and not have due regard for the other.
Posted by Richard Mon, November 12, 2012 15:42:54
This moving and challenging, Jim Loach 2010, film Oranges And Sunshine
[viewed 29 October 2012] addressed the forced emigration of British children from UK to Australia that continued for two decades up to 1970. Many were wrongly told that they had been orphaned, whilst some mothers had been wrongly reassured that their child had been adopted by a loving family, in the UK. When in fact most of the children were institutionalised and used for child labour, with some being sexually abused.
It was shocking to realise that the film was effectively a dramatised documentary of relatively recent events; which were wholly unacceptable.
Despite identifying individuals and places, it seemed to resonate with something my practice in it's examination of a social ethical issue.
Posted by Richard Mon, November 12, 2012 11:21:03
I have continued to work on the video of the chocolate malted drink powder being absorbed into the hot milk; each observed happening has continued to be unique.
I have made a number of video sketches using a small compact camera on a tripod. I have also been pleased to be able to make a couple of higher quality videos using equipment borrowed from NUCA.
I have selected two contrasting instances to run consecutively in one video. I have now posted a lower resolution copy of this online. [A photographic still from the video is shown below:]
As I continued to reflect on the videos I became aware of some resonances with the student prize winners of the Jerwood Drawing 2010 prize, James Eden and Olly Rooks Burst video of graphite filled burst balloons where the intervention by the artist was limited to the positioning the paper, filling and bursting the balloon and recording the series of happenings. [This was a puzzling, intriguing piece that has remained with me since I first viewed it at the Fitzwilliam in February as part of the Grey Matters: Graphite show].
At present the my Assimilation video is silent which seems to aid the contemplative mood as it avoids potential distractions of audio; however, I also keep finding myself considering using audio to add a juxtaposition to the work and in particular I am attracted by the effect of having a soundscape of the sea on a shingle beach could have on the work. If I were able to have the sound through speakers rather than headphones I think that this soundscape could tie together the different elements of my MA show so that the audio would be the backdrop against which the photographic video and the diptych[s] would be encountered. I decided to experiment using audio.
Having now spent sometime experimenting with using sound and discussing the effects, I have found that unless the sound is at a very low volume it is indeed a source of significant distraction. I have also found that by not having the sound it allows more space for the viewer to bring their own thoughts and layers of meaning to the work, indeed this can include an imaginary audio element [such as the sound of bubbles popping] which providing a real tangible soundscape prevents and can make the work less engaging and contemplative - which is the opposite to my intention. I have thus now decided not to have an audio element to this piece.
Posted by Richard Wed, October 31, 2012 12:11:01
This was another excellent study day at ECAT led by the photographic artist, John Williams
It was stimulating how JW made photographs that were in themselves 3d artefacts.
Chris Burden then led a thought provoking discussion on the act of seeing - how by seeing merely the surface something deeper, emotional is also perceived/ communicated. He went on to observe that our viewing is pre-conditioned and organised through our native culture.
He went on to liken the vocation of artist and priest to being that of seeing and haring - to see things and people as they really are and to share these insights - to lead others out of Plato's cave. This I found very affirming and encouraging as it seemed to resonate well with my aspirations for my own practice.
In the afternoon we built and experimented with simple camera obscura; and it was enlightening to see how a small slit rather than a round whole can be used to distort the image. This has really intrigued me and I have noted this as an avenue for future exploration as, at present, it does not seem to be a relevant process for my current work. I was interested to see how this effects the way that other animals will see, such as cats that have [slit] elongated elliptical rather than circular pupils.
However, the thought of being able to distort the image, as it is either made or projected through a slit, does seem to have potential to critique the blinkered distorted view of the world that most of us have. We see it from our own viewpoint, which is distorted by our own preconceptions, experiences and interests and perhaps even of how we would either like it to be or fear that it is.
Posted by Richard Wed, October 31, 2012 11:41:42
I realise that I have omitted to share the mind map that I made as part of my preparations for the second weekly session on 11 October. This provides me with a good umbrella under which to frame my ongoing practice and research:
Posted by Richard Wed, October 31, 2012 11:27:18
The following question was suggested for my reflection:
"How important is an understanding of context, in the development of your practice?"
Having reflected over the last six days on this question of context here are some thoughts:
I accept that context is important to my work.
I am aware that my personal history, my research, both general and specific, and my world view from a faith perspective, all intertwine to inform and inspire my work.
The associciations with how the work is displayed also impact the reading of the work, and I think it is good if the work is able to transform the space in which it is located, or to at least engage with it.
However I also realise that the viewer will also come with their own context or "cloud" and this will impact on how they receive and perceive the work.
Thus I think that the context can be changeable and ephemeral, depending on the preoccupations of the maker or the viewer at that particular time. The context of making and viewing is a complex multilayed changing sea that I find, is advisable to try and assess; however, I do not think I will ever be able to truly fully understand it.
Posted by Richard Tue, October 23, 2012 12:06:38
It has been good to peruse and review the photographs I have made in the past few weeks. I found it satisfying and stimulating to work on them and to share a couple of images during my tutorial yesterday.
In this image [provisionally titled: 12 10 12] I explored juxtaposing/ contrasting a sublime sunset with ongoing issues of social justice/concern. This is referencing our lack of true engagement with suffering and injustice that we learn of through the news. In this image I used a daily email of the news digest [from the Guardian] for the same day as that of the sunset.
Having discussed this yesterday, with both my tutor and another MA student, it has crystallised and progressed my thoughts. I now am more aware of the difficulties in using text in this way; if the text is too obvious it runs the risk of making the work too didactic and closing down the possible readings of the work; but, if the text is too subtle it becomes too difficult or impossible to read. I am thus now minded to working on making a diptych with any text being limited - perhaps only to the title[s].
I can envisage the diptych being made of two large [ i.e. in the region of 90cm by 120cm] prints hung close together one showing sublime uninhabited landscape and the other showing some grotty doorway or car park. This second image would be of also of a local location known to be a place of shelter for a homeless rough sleeper. I have chosen this line of enquiry as my previous research into human trafficking revealed that homelessness is not only an issue for victims of trafficking who have escaped or been discarded, but it also forms a constituency from which traffickers recruit/ trick people into forced labour/ domestic servitude or sex slavery.
I have also started working on a meditative piece - a video of chocolate malted milk drink powder being slowly assimilated into the hot milk which gradually changes colour. The powder on the milk is gradually absorbs the milk and then sinks bit by bit into the milk before being completely assimilated, and on each occasion, thus far observed, it is unique sequence. I hope that this piece can accompany the diptych and that the three elements will play off one another.
Posted by Richard Wed, October 17, 2012 13:08:57
So far this month I have made a three research visits to galleries:
4 Oct 2012
Alphabet, Michael Craig-Martin [A Hayward Touring exhibition at The Gallery at NUCA]
This was an impressive show of 26 screen prints, the installation of which enhanced the viewing experience using 5 surfaces to both provide sufficient space for each print and also to have the effect of disrupting the expected sequence. This resonated well the works themselves where the object and the letter in each print do not correspond
5 Oct 2012
By the Rivers of Birminam, Vanley Burke, [at MAC, Birmingham]
This powerful retrospective of photographs documenting the Caribbean community in and around Birmingham over the past 5 decades. All the images were B&W and the continuity of image making had the unsettling dislocating effect of being unable to readily distinguish the era for each image without closely examining the image and even then, I was often surprised when I checked the date in the accompanying text. The installation and pictures worked well together to engage the viewer more closely contemplating the work. This is the result that I am also seeking for my own work.
13 Oct 2012 [Firstsite, Colchester]
Sorry I'm Late, Anthea Hamilton
The piece that I found most engaging and satisfying was the Yogic Travolta Screensaver & Clock, 2012 over 5 large screens (London, Paris, Tokyo, Milan, New York) as one entered the building; referencing clocks showing world times that might be found in large banking institutions.
Painting, Collage, Film, Humphrey Jennings
In one work Jennings had applied paint to a photographic silver gelatine print; the paint was a spectrum of colour that was parallel to and balanced the tall industrial chimney in the photograph. He was exploring the intertextuality of the two media to make a unique dialogue in the work. When I first viewed this piece I was reminded of some of Gerhard Richter's work where he used a similar technique with found colour photographs and I wondered whether Richter had been influenced by the work of Jennings decades earlier. As yet I have been unable to discern whether or not Richter was influenced by Jennings.
Posted by Richard Wed, October 17, 2012 12:50:56
It was interesting to find this reflection on the vandalism of one of Rothko's "seagram murals"
- especially after the discussion at NUCA the previous week.
One of the questions that Lucy Winkett poses that I think is particularly telling and relevant to my own practice:
If an artist themselves makes something designed to provoke a reaction, can such a reaction be objected to?
Posted by Richard Tue, October 16, 2012 20:58:32
Over the past few weeks I have watched several films that I have found stimulating and thought provoking:
The Kid With a Bike (2011)
I found this to be a thoughtful work exploring growing up and the impact a few choices can make on the rest of one own life and on those around us.
Dersu Uzala (1975)
This I found to be a moving examination of the human condition, particularly of finding oneself in an alien environment having to rely on the beneficence of an other who knows and is at home in that culture. It thus also reflects on the nature of true friendship.
The Hide (2008)
Interesting, beautifully shot, two character thriller, with careful & thoughtful use of light and environment that both maintained engagement and visually communicated mood and emotion. It also challenged preconceptions about how quickly we make judgements about a person.
A Separation (2011)
This was a moving study of the conflicting pressures of family commitments as the participants struggle to find the way forward as the parents face the agonising decision whether to emigrate to give their daughter the best opportunity or stay and care for the grandfather who has Alzheimer's
Posted by Richard Mon, October 15, 2012 16:17:45
It was interesting to see the range of work in this show by Pilvi Takala
. I was especially impressed by the installation comprising three different screens, two showing a different chapter in the work where she had filmed herself within an office environment, and the other displaying the internal emails that her unusual behaviour had provoked.
Posted by Richard Mon, October 15, 2012 12:54:04
This was the first session in the Nature, Art and God
series, at the Edmund Centre For Arts & Theology
This was led by the artist Mark Cazalet [for more information on Mark please see his own website].
Mark introduced his practice describing a key element as "imagining the gaps between the words". He went on to argue that art and theology is never closed but always a discussion and that artists are most cogent when they question. Indeed much of artistic practice is about loosing and finding and persevering. He also saw himself as a flaneur as he asked where is beauty and where is divine. He also referred to Paul Clay stating that art makes visible - art suggests not describes; so can state things one way and then look at the opposite.
This I found resonated with some of my practice as I wander as a flaneur seeking to ask questions whilst noticing the mundane environment.
Posted by Richard Mon, October 15, 2012 11:13:40
I am now going to use this blog and a hand written notebook as two parts of my reflective journal as sometimes it seems more apposite to use that specific format.
This conclusion, and reflections on my work and practice can be found in the critical evaluation that I produced in August, a copy of which I have attached below:
The Pecha Kucha that I had previously worked on earlier in the summer also helped to inform and develop my critical evaluation; this Pecha Kucha is attached below:
I am also continuing to maintain my twitter feed, including highlighting matters of social interest and concern. I realise that this has become an important part of my practice.
Posted by Richard Tue, July 24, 2012 12:02:36
It was encouraging, informative and challenging to share my statement and to discuss it with Nic and my peers. It was also good to listen to the statements of the rest of the group.
Here is a copy of my Artist Statement:
Posted by Richard Wed, June 27, 2012 10:02:16
I have been interested in finding Dov Lederberg's work and have enjoyed perusing DL's website this morning especially Dialogues & Anti-logues - 2004/10.
I was also particularly struck by DL's  statement that:
...the Hebrew word for art is A-M-N אמן which shares the root and nexus of meaning with the Hebrew words for Faith and Truth. Hopefully, I am involved with all three.
I share DL's aspiration to be involved with Art, Faith and Truth.
Posted by Richard Tue, June 26, 2012 18:33:37
It was good to find the Open University material, on their website and podcast; especially to watch the video supported by a detailed transcript which concluded with the challenge:
Yet, are people who have been trafficked always asking for protection or are they demanding rights? What if the language of protection and the very idea of victimhood are not part of the solution but part of the problem?
This is something that I will have to carefully consider so that my work does not and is not perceived to be, contributing to the problem!
Posted by Richard Tue, June 26, 2012 18:11:15
This Sanctuary Sunday
event was also part of the Refugee Week
I was especially moved by the Ice and Fire Asylum Monologues about two individuals:
- the refugee form the Congo made destitute by the UK Border Agency's lack of compassion and understanding
- the refugee, who had fled for her life from Uganda, having to leave chidden and family and forced to flee in the later stages of pregnancy.
These testimony's were truly shocking, how refugees, including young children are detained, imprisoned, the apparent lack of even basic understanding and sympathy on the part of the UK border Agency - and I fully endorse how the Mayor of Ipswich responded: "Not in my name!"
The other item that made a deep impact on me was the personal testimony of the Bishop of Kigali [Rwanda], Louis Muvunyi - how he had escaped the genocide by being in Tanzania at the time and how his sister had escaped to sanctuary in Hotel Mille Collines.
Posted by Richard Tue, June 26, 2012 17:42:22
I found it most therapeutic to spend the afternoon screen printing.
It was good to practice - both mixing the dye and medium to get the right tonality; and the technical aspects of making prints. I was pleased that I was able to further develop my technical skills.
By spending the afternoon making prints I felt somewhat demotivated and re-energised after struggling rather for most of the day.
This reminded me of the personal importance of making work to my practice and more general wellbeing.
Posted by Richard Tue, June 26, 2012 17:21:49
I was pleased to be able to see the Holmberg and Rafman
show; especially as it had been featured in The Guardian
earlier in the month.
The performance aspect: being greeted with -
Congratulations you are the most recent visitor
was both amusing and a little disconcerting; perhaps even detracting from my experience of the rest of the show as I became a little preoccupied with that phrase. However, that might have been the intention to disturb the "normal" encounter that the viewer as of a show, and it certainly had the overall impact of lifting my spirits.
Posted by Richard Tue, June 26, 2012 12:27:01
Following my tutorial I found it helpful to make a further print [and secondary impression on tissue]; this provided me with some reflective space that allowed me to consider further what had been discussed at the tutorial.
I was reminded of how in the past I have found it useful to use the making of work as a tool for thinking and reflecting on discerning how to further progress my work.
It was also encouraging to examine and collect the three prints that I had made a couple of days earlier.
Posted by Richard Sat, June 23, 2012 12:48:30
It was good to be able to discuss how my current work fitted into the context of my previous work - how it seems that each piece is in part a progression of the both my most recent work to that date and indeed all of my work to date.
I was pleased to receive some more suggestion of artists to consider and to have my research about Grayson Perry affirmed.
I found it useful to also have a discussion about critical evaluation and to recieve the practical advise to keep asking myself why something was important. I encouraged that my strategy of making more reflective and mediataive work, to encourage the viewer to linger in their consideration and to ask themselves questions, rather than making more didactic work, was well received. However I was challenged by FP's assesment that the work of Dickens was very didactic and illustrative.
I felt happy yo have been able to discuss how my faith influences my work and to discuss how some secular work can provoke a spiritual repsponse; and it was good to be reminded that it was only my personal opinion that while Rothko's Seagram murials when installed together do provoke such a response one in isolaation does not.
However, I left the tutorial feeling a little unsettled and wishing that I had asked to discuss my learning agreement; partly because that had been my proposed enquirey is acceptable, realistitic, appropriate and achievable within the given time constraints
Posted by Richard Wed, June 20, 2012 20:43:54
I have been fascinated to watch the three part channel 4 documentary All In The Best Possible Taste,
which has documented GP
as he conducted his research for making six large tapestries, The Vanity of Small Differences,
about the remaining differences in British classes. I was particularly struck by how much he was influenced by relies paintings of the past and by the work of Hogarth, Particularly The Rakes Progress
series of paintings [and etchings] - GP
even, inspired by Hogarth, included a dog in each work.
I am hoping to be able to make time to be able to see the tapestries at the Victoria Miro in London next Thursday [28 June].
Posted by Richard Wed, June 20, 2012 20:30:57
Over the last few days I have found a number of additional sources of research for refugee/ people smuggling and people trafficking.
This has included:
- three iPhone apps, with a fourth due for imminent release;
- several iTunes U podcasts, including material from the Open University, University College London, and Stanford;
- UN reports from both UNHCR and UNODC as well as United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons and the United Nations Blue Heart Campaign against Human Trafficking
I have bookmarked and made pdf copies of these found resources and downloaded the relevant podcasts and apps for further study in due course. I have also used my twitter micro blog to bookmark many of these resources and to raise awareness about them.
Posted by Richard Wed, June 20, 2012 20:14:03
I found it satisfying to spend the morning making three more prints together with "offset" prints on tissue paper from each of the 3 prints.
I was also encouraged by the prints that I had made last week now that they were all dry; so I am looking forward to collecting the 3 new prints tomorrow [Thursday 21 June].
I have also found a few used boxes that I might be able to use to house the prints, duly completed with the details of each of the gleaning visits to the beach.
Posted by Richard Mon, June 18, 2012 15:30:07
It was good to attend this event, to have a couple of brief discussions and to gather some printed materials - especially the booklet of refugee stories that are especially relevant to Ipswich.
I look forward to studying this material and to attending further events this week.
Posted by Richard Mon, June 18, 2012 12:05:19
Over the last few days I have been pleased to be able to locate a number of additional resources. These include:
Ric Stott, an artist, Methodist Minister and Art Psychotherapist; some of his art work deals with challenging social ethical issues.
Refugee Week, this runs from 18 to 24 June this year, and I am hoping to be able to attend a number of the events as part of my research. To this end I have booked my place on the Ipswich Sanctuary Sunday event and I am going to go to the Ipswich Launch event that is taking place today.
Posted by Richard Mon, June 18, 2012 11:30:55
I enjoyed making my first prints from the plate I had finished preparing a week earlier
I was pleased with the proof so I continued to print several copies as I intend to use the prints as a log on which I will record the details of each of my gleaning visits to Felixstowe beach. I used a number of offcuts of paper as I intend to trim the prints to be only a little larger than the plate. This enabled me to experiment with different types of paper and for future work I am attracted by the warmer off-white paper [e.g. this would be good to use for my litho print]. I was also able to experiment with the effect of producing two and then three prints from the same inked plate and also of producing, in effect an offset print, from the fresh print onto the ultra-thin backing paper [which can still be viewed as a non-mirror image through the paper]:
I would quite like to use this as the top, blank sheet of the log. I am thinking of using a simple small cardboard box to house the completed prints, possibly covered in old newspaper fragments to resonate with the finds; the top of the box could include a copy of the print, rather than it being the top sheet inside the box. I am looking forward to exploring this further when I have completed all the prints.
Posted by Richard Mon, June 18, 2012 11:01:05
The session was led by Richard Peat and provided some useful information about the support that is available in planning how to develop my career as an artist.
It has been good to be able to download and revisit the presentation.
I was also pleased to submit my learning agreement for the Self Negotiated Unit [SNU] and I have attached a PDF copy to this post:
Posted by Richard Tue, June 12, 2012 16:56:48
I have continued my research into people trafficking and have found a number of useful resources.
These have included press reports in The Guardian and The Telegraph; these intern pointed me to the salvation army which has produced a six month review on supporting victims of people trafficking and provided accounts of three diverse personal stories from former victims. Quite rightly they put the well-being of the former victims as paramount; so do not provide access for interviews. This I think is good, these people should not have to relive their traumatic experiences through being exposed to press and academic scrutiny. Although it would be good to obtain a digest of short accounts that had already been gathered by frontline workers such as the Salvation Army.
It is noteworthy that, as The Guardian article highlights, over 40% of all trafficking victims are male and that, of all victims, 45% were trafficked into prostitution and 43% into forced labour and 8% into domestic servitude.
This is really useful data that will help to inform my future work, that I hope will question some of the common pre-conceptions about people trafficking.
The HTF [Human Trafficking Foundation] is also both a good resource in itself and also provides a very valuable list, including links, of further resources.
Posted by Richard Mon, June 11, 2012 17:18:51
I have just found a useful resource for current and recent theological articles that will help in my ongoing research that will inform my work and practice. These articles deal with a number of current social issues from a range of Christian theological perspectives.
This "Rethinking Mission" website has a very extensive list of articles that can be readily accessed online; this list spans 18 pages and includes many current eminent theologians.
The first one I am going to study is Choosing Life or Second Life? Discipleship and Agency in a Mediated Culture By the Revd Gary P Hall
GH "looks at how the media can blur a person’s perspective of reality, and asks whether this will turn the Christian life into a capitalist pursuit of happiness".
He considers that: "for many people living in media-saturated, overdeveloped societies, any distinction between actual reality and a mediated pseudo-reality is blurred. Another facet of life in a media-saturated context is that of being regularly confronted with impressions of destitution, violence and ecological degradation whilst at the same time being further distanced from the realities represented through communications media and their „virtualizing‟ tendency. This rapid change in our relation to reality has, I suggest, profound theological and missiological consequences." [extract from his abstract]
Posted by Richard Mon, June 11, 2012 16:44:30
There were two very comprehensive shows by Yto Barrada
and Bedwyr Williams
; leaving the rather pleasant problem of being spoilt for choice for material to contemplate.
My visit actually commenced outside the gallery, on the "IKON Slow Boat" narrow boat cinema where I viewed a screening of "Balcon Atlantico" by Hicham Falah and Chrif Tribak (Morroco, 2003; duration 20 mins) [all the films being screened had been selected by Yto Barrada]. This was an interesting piece, subtitled in French and English, that captures a series of excerpts of fleeting conversations that took place on sea front, overlooking the Atlantic ocean. At times it was difficult to follow the duel subtitles, especially when there was also arabic text on screen; but this confusion did actually resonate with the rest of the piece. I thus wonder whether or not it was intentional; either way it did not prove to be too much of a distraction. Watching the film in a long boat, that although mored still moved a little on the camel water, resonated with the film and made for a more immersive experience.
It was interesting to see the Bedwyr Williams "My Bad" show in the light of his "walk a mile in my shoes" that I had seen in Ipswich eight days earlier. I was impressed by how effectively BW's work had transformed the gallery spaces where they were situated; I especially enjoyed how he had even transformed the entrance to the whole gallery building by his "Ikon Under Siege" (2012) piece:
This formed a commentary on how the arts are being effected by all the cuts in the current economic climate. I enjoyed his intelligent use of humour, or satire, as he performs his social commentary; this leads me to again consider what place, if any, does/ should honour and satire have in my own work. It has also been interesting to later read Laura Cumming's review of "My Bad".
I found my self even more effected by the other show - which I found myself viewing multiple times: Yto Barrada "RIFFS". I was especially moved by the two films: "Beau Geste" (2009, 3min) and "Hand-Me-Downs" (2011, 14min). It was also good to subsequently find a 7min film that introduced Yto Barrada as the Deutsche Bank's Artist of the Year 2011. I was drawn to the detail in her large square format photographic prints that draws the viewer into examining the apparently unremarkable scenes in some detail that rewards by revealing almost hidden layers of detail and meaning which are sometimes signposted by her use of titles. I am attracted by the contemplative nature of these works and this has reaffirmed my ambition to be able to make such a significant and contemplative show with my own work that deals with my concerns for social ethics.
Posted by Richard Mon, June 11, 2012 14:05:54
I found it encouraging and enriching for the 9 of us to share together our project ideas; together with the discussions and feedback that followed each idea.
I was reassuring and encouraged to be reminded that the project should be what I want to do, and not what I think might be expected of me. It was also useful to receive guidance concerning the need the envisage the audience and location of display [not necessarily in gallery space] in planning the form and content of future work.
It was good to discuss my past, present and further work, particularly for it to be recognised that my personal concern for the issue of people trafficking was encrypted in my recent beach gleaning work. I also appreciated being able to discuss how this work could be brought to some kind of conclusion, it was good to receive a positive response to my idea of using printmaking to make a kind of log book which would then be completed by hand to systematically document the findings for each beach gleaning session.
I was pleased to be able to share my dilemma as to the best way forward to progress my work towards a final conclusion next year; I had felt in need of some feedback and guidance, which was duly forthcoming. I also find the actual process of discussing my ideas also help me to develop my thoughts.
I was pleased with how frankly I could express my project and aspirations within the group; this was quite liberating in itself.
I thus intend to take note of these constructive discussions and to focus my work over the summer into conducting further research. This research will be mainly focussed on people trafficking/ modern slavery, but I may also explore something of the history of slavery and forced labour. The starting point for this research into modern slavery will be to study the various reports from the JRF [Joseph Rowntree Foundation] and Anti-Slavery International that I have recently gathered together. In addition I would also like to invest some time in undertaking a theological reflection with a particular regard to the theologians who argue the case for "God's bias to the poor" and who speak of God's concern for the afflicted and the oppressed; such a theological study would be envisaged to include consideration of key biblical texts [which would include several passages from the Old Testament Prophets and the Gospels].
This research will form the basis for my future artistic response, both in form and content. I envisage that this artistic response will not really properly begin to crystallise until the next unit in the autumn.
Posted by Richard Fri, June 08, 2012 14:44:33
It was good to spend another morning going through the next stages of the etching process. By the end of the morning my plate was etched and cleaned - ready to make a proof:
I am looking forward to returning to the etching workshop to a proof print and then a series of prints.
Posted by Richard Wed, June 06, 2012 21:19:49
I have also been continuing to reflect on my initial draft proposal; this has confirmed my earlier conclusion that I need to plan how I can address these concerns during the next 4 teaching blocks and not merely the next one.
I have discerned divergent possible strategies for how to address the current unit:
1. I could focus on research looking at: social ethical issues, especially people trafficking; art and theology in dialogue, especially liberation theology and basis to the poor, this theological enquiry could also include undertaking a number of appropriate Biblical exegesis; and investigating the current art practice of artists whose work and/or practice has some resonance with my own.
2. I could focus on continuing to make experimental art work with a view to, at the end August, being in a position to discern the best media/ process to realise and present my art work next year; so that the subsequent time could be better focussed on working towards that outcome.
3. I could continue in both my practical and theoretical research with the aim of being in a position to be able to visualise the final outcome of realised work that will be exhibited in August next year.
I am concerned that [1.] would result in spending significantly less time on developing my studio practice; whereas [2.] would mean that I would not be addressing my need to improve my theoretical grounding; and [3.] does not seem to be focussed sufficiently.
I am thus continuing to reflect and to consider the way forward.
Posted by Richard Wed, June 06, 2012 20:29:29
It has been good to spend the day undertaking the etching induction and to work on my first etching plate:
I am looking forward to continuing the induction and process tomorrow and hope to make my first prints. I am considering printing an edition [of say 30]; the individual which then be used to make a log to record each of the ongoing visits to the same stretch of beach to gather the detritus from human activity. These could form a work in their own right, or could be used as labels for each collection of finds. If it were the work I would consider whether to bind it as a log book or to display prints on the wall.
Posted by Richard Tue, June 05, 2012 18:47:51
I have found it satisfying and rewarding to work on my poster mock up [see also post 61 below
] and I am intending also using this as the starting point for my etching.
For the etching I am considering using the above format but with my litho stone composition as the basis for the image rather than this photograph. I will have to give this further consideration during my induction tomorrow.
Posted by Richard Tue, June 05, 2012 16:58:37
During my current research I have also found the Anti-Slavery International website
to be a useful resource, particularly:
The Slavery On The High Street Report that has just been published [1 June 2012]
and the Slavery on the High street summary [Jun 2012]
and it is shocking to see how many of our high street shops and supermarkets are culpable as can be readily seen in this table and footnotes.
Anti-Slavery International also provide a valuable online resource library of numerous reports including a number specifically relating to trafficking.
They have also produced a map showing the products of slavery which I found to be rather disturbing.
Posted by Richard Tue, June 05, 2012 12:42:25
Posted by Richard Mon, June 04, 2012 18:52:20
This was an interesting show, with a good range of work from the Saatchi collection. My highlights were:
The "Boneshaker" by Brian Griffiths (2003) was an impressive wooden sculpture to start the exhibition, made of wood from old furniture and so large that it had had to be assembled in the Gallery; but it also fruitfully bore further prolonged enquiry. It was an intriguing, and somehow uplifting piece that despite its imposing size was not overwhelming.
Aleksandra Mir's "Newsroom" (1986-2000, 2007) was a series of large drawings drawn from a meticulous gathering of copies of Newspaper frontages over many years. Initially, because of their style and content, I mistook the drawing to be prints; this confusion was good and it seemed to add to the depth of the work. It was good that some of the drawings were on the wall of the initial gallery and they seemed to have a positive dialogue with Griffith's "Boneshaker" with furthers drawings being in a smaller gallery adjacent to this room. The small gallery's walls being filled with these works made for an interesting installation piece inits self. I hope that I will be able to realise and present my work in a such a way that not only do the individual pieces work, but they also compliment one another to form a complimentary coherent installation.
The other works that engaged me were:
Steve Bishop's "Christian Dior - J'adore (Mountain Goat)" (2008) [Taxidermied goat, concrete, chalk];
Guerra de la Paz's "Nine" (2007)[Mixed media sculptural installation] this was an intriguing sceptre that is remade in each location with all the found secondhand clothing - it seems good that it is unique in each location that it is exhibited;
Tessa Farmer's "Swarm" (2004) [Mixed media] - here the case had to be displayed in the museum, rather than the art gallery due to it's size and the access to the gallery, however serendipitously this seemed to work even better among the natural history specimens;
Bedwyr Williams's "Walk a mile in my shoes" (2006) [Installation with size 13 shoes, written notes, poster, shelving and foot-rests], this was surpassingly moving and almost spiritual.
Posted by Richard Mon, June 04, 2012 18:19:22
It was good to be able to share, in some depth, in pairs, our initial ideas for our projects and to be able to also have discussion with Tom. The feedback and discussion was very useful and productive. It was also good to engage with the larger group and to briefly share our ideas and feedback.
It was good to be able to contribute to on another from our own experience.
Through this process, I came to understand that my project proposal was more like what my aims are for the remainder of the MA rather than just for this unit. I thus now need to spend some time in careful reflection, to take a more strategic view; so that I can set myself milestones for each unit in order to fulfil my overall aim. I need to limit the scope and be more focussed, but to remain flexible to the work evolving and leading in unexpected directions.
I am still currently undertaking this reflection, and wonder whether the focus of my work for this unit should be to research the art, theology, and social ethical concerns rather than on trying to force the studio work beyond its current rather experimental or embryonic stage.
Posted by Richard Mon, June 04, 2012 17:27:33
For the sake of completeness, I thought that it would be good to share my initial notes for the project proposal, these notes were made in preparation for the SNU Project Proposal workshop that was held on 2012-05-31.
PROJECT PROPOSAL NOTES
- Art & Social Ethics & informed by faith/ theology
-> Prophetic Voice , speaking out [like Dickens and Hogarth].
- Art & Theology in Dialogue
-> How the [Liberation] Theology of justice and freedom impacts on art practice & in particular on my own art practice -> Driving me to make work addressing social concerns.
- I aim to make a meditative work that will prompt/ encourage the viewer to ask questions about social injustice.
Peter Kennard/ KennardPhillips
Gilbert & George
Ola Kolehmainen [for the meditative nature of his work]
[Please also see earlier post Current Artists on 25 May 2012, which provides links for many of these artists]
Form of Proposed Work
I am unsure of the form at present, so I intend to explore the use of:
- Video / Audio Video
- Printmaking -> Posters
Research Methods To Inform Practice
Making experimental work using a range of forms/ techniques [as listed above]
Other research to include:
- Gallery visits
- Library Resources
- Online Resources
- Critical review of my own previous and ongoing work
To research both art practice and social ethical issues [such as people trafficking]
How these Methods Communicate My Ideas
By making a meditative, rather than a shocking work, it is hoped that the viewer will engage more deeply with the work and the social ethical issues it questions.
Plan & Difficulties
Plan - make schedule for a range of experimental work & other research.
Main Difficulty - at present I can not yet pre-visualise how the work will be realised
-> so it is not clear how to best focus my practice.
-> Perhaps I should initially concentrate on research, including experimental making and to then critically reflect to discern where that should lead.
Posted by Richard Mon, June 04, 2012 16:57:57
It was good to be able to spend some time engaging with this iconic work, the show had a strong emphasis on LW's work for the Mexico 1968 Olympics
and has been generally well received - including being featured by the BBC
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this design show; I was impressed by the curation, installation and presentation. In particular the fact that a number of the logos were installed directly on to the wall, rather than a [framed] print being hung on the wall seemed to make the show far more engaging. The show seemed to me to have a good natural flow and the collection of work and their display worked together extremely well to virtually make an installation piece in it's own right.
Posted by Richard Mon, June 04, 2012 16:30:49
It has been useful to reflect on the clear suggestions that CR
made as to how I could improve and develop my formation and practice as an artist.
These suggestions included:
- I need to continue to both visit galleries and to deeply reflect on the shows and their presentation;
- I need to try and consider further about how I might realise and present my work in a gallery space;
- To further increase my knowledge base so that I can be more fully grounded;
- To continue to explore printmaking, this may lead to printmaking having a greater role within my personal practice [a series of posters could be one way to realise the work];
- To continue to consider text, text works could also provide a mode for realisation.
During my ongoing reflection and consideration of this feedback I have spent some time contemplating making a poster. This would be in vertical [portrait format], still using newsprint and would have both image and text elements. My thinking is to also include space where detail can be added by hand: these details would be date of visit and finds. Although I am still considering whether it is best to allow space for the finds to be listed or to print a table where the types of finds would be printed and the quantity, if any of such items on that occasion would be recorded. In either case the posters would form an evidence log; which nicely resonates with how the finds from each occasion have been separately bagged and labelled.
On further review I decided that it was better to have space for a list of items rather than a chart, as too much space would be given over in the table to item that were not found on that particular occasion.
I have thus now decided to produce a digital mock up to help aid my ongoing discernment of the best way to progress the work. I hope to make and upload this mock-up in the coming week.
Posted by Richard Mon, June 04, 2012 15:53:02
It was good to have another chat, and subsequent email correspondence with, Deacon Kerry, the author of the people trafficking article, that used some of my images. To be asked whether I might return to the subject resonated strongly with the sense I was already having of being drag back again to that area of concern.
It was encouraging to hear how Kerry had used my "Damaged" images and how they had been received.
Posted by Richard Mon, June 04, 2012 15:20:55
Last month it was good to discover a book that will help in my ongoing reflections on the dialogue, within my own practice, between art and faith/ theology.
It is especially useful to have SH's extended introduction with includes something of here working practice. I look forward to deeply engaging with this book and expect that it will help to inform the ongoing development of my work and practice.
It has also been good to find Sophie Hacker as a current artist whose faith informs their work; and especially to learn of ACE (Art and Christian Enquiry) [an educational charity that promotes dialogue between faith and the visual arts] and SH's involvement as a trustee of that organisation.
Posted by Richard Mon, June 04, 2012 13:54:35
It has been good to spend some time reflecting on a range of art work that I encountered during my visit (last month) to Chatsworth; both inside the property (particularly in The New Gallery
exhibition space) and in the extensive grounds. I was moved by Sean Scully's Wall of Light Red Day Leaving
This was enhanced by its position at the end of the corridor causing the work to be framed by the architecture, which really complimented the piece well.
In the grounds, particularly near the cannel, there was an impressive retrospective of Sir Anthony Caro. However, this was somewhat spoilt by the proliferation of signage stating "Please do not touch or climb on the work";
this signage was so close to each of the pieces that it somewhat detracted from the vista and the context of the placing of the works in such impressive locations.
Furthermore, the other works in the grounds, including Nash and Long did not have such signage to spoil their sympathetic location; some could argue that this even implied that touching and climbing of those other works was acceptable!
It was great to encounter and discover almost hidden works and how they related to their environment. I was particularly moved by the Richard long piece:
I particularly enjoyed how this work, by Richard Long, had been installed IN the lawn rather than merely on the lawn.
And the David Nash piece which just seemed to work so well in that specific location, especially the dialogue that was created between the art work and the dead tree:
I was though somewhat surprised at the lack of signage for the works that were installed outside; especially when compared to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park which seems to succeed in providing symapthetic signage to credit the artist, title and year of work but without detracting from the overall installation in the outdoor environment.
Posted by Richard Fri, May 25, 2012 22:40:58
Over the last couple of days I have been reflecting on which "current artists" are working with similar concerns and influence/ inspire or resonate with my own work. The artists that I have thus far identified are [please click on artist to open either their website or an artist information page provided by a gallery]:
Peter Kennard (to 2001) and kennardphillipps (from 2002 to date)
Posted by Richard Fri, May 25, 2012 12:32:07
Below is a copy of the synopsis for my recent video piece:
Art Experiment: Dreaming of A Better World
Video, with sound [duration 4min 35sec] (2011-12)
Since autumn 2011 I have been documenting instances of paused TV/dvd/ iPlayer etc within my own domestic setting. Concurrently regularly returning to a specific 200 metre stretch of beach gathering detritus from human activity.
The images of the gathered rubbish are emblematic of how we mistreat one another. The audio seascape resonates with the ebb and flow of the human condition.
In the video, the juxtaposition between paused TV images and images of gleaned beach detritus is a metaphor for how we are preoccupied by the trivial, whilst we simultaneously damage our natural, and human, environment.
And here is the link to the video:-
Posted by Richard Fri, May 25, 2012 09:49:51
It has been good spending the last couple of weeks working on this video, adding photos documenting paused TV/video/iplayer that had not previously been included; all such images appearing in strict chronological order in the work - creating interesting relationships and apparent narratives.
I also added a couple of further images of collections of found detritus and changed the placings of some of the previously including photographs of detritus to take account of the additional images of paused screens. All the photographs of collected detritus appear in chronological order according to the date of their collection - but the two time lines have deliberately not been precisely synchronised, but rather deliberately spaced to create aesthetic and narrative interest.
I then went on to crop all the paused images to be the same size [in postcard proportions] so that the contrast between the paused images and the photographs would be more consistent and definite. The audio then had to be further readjusted to take account of the new duration etc.
It was also good to build on the work I had done on the pamphlet to produce a 100 word synopsis of the work.
Posted by Richard Fri, May 25, 2012 09:38:12
It was good to see these 4 pieces in the lower gallery; which complimented the "Submerged-Spaces
" show. A sense of occasion and anticipation was given by having to travel down to the underground lower gallery.
I was surprised at how well it worked having 3 multiscreen works in the same room with a large, single screen projected piece in the next room. The projected piece was the only one with an audio element, and although the sound bled into the other gallery space this did not really detract from meditating on those three works.
I enjoyed the show and was pleased with how the gallery space had been utilised to provide the physical and aesthetic space conducive to meditating on the works. Such a meditative space and encounter is how I aspire for much of my work to be encountered.
Please click here for further information on the show from the SCVA website.
Posted by Richard Fri, May 04, 2012 10:36:14
It was good to receive further feed back on my pamphlet and to have a constructive discussion about details of the text and images; I was encouraged that the improvement over last weeks draft was evident.
For future reference purposes I have now uploaded a pdf of this pamphlet:
For a future pamphlet it might be worth exploring little or no text and to just let the images interact with each other and the viewer.
The discussion on the text has given me some useful food for thought which I hope to apply in my composition of 100 words for the Bishop's Prize submission; perhaps I do not need to give such a specific example or if I do include it to alter the tone of my language - I am seeking to challenge people and to encourage self questioning - but I want this to be accessible; I do not want my words to come across as patronising [I had tried to avoid this by using "we", thus acknowledging my own culpability as well - but perhaps this did not completely work].
As I reflect on this it prompted me to further reflect on my video and on how I might further adjust and refine it, especially with a view to submitted it for exhibition. I am starting to consider including a few [around 6 ] additional images, so that all the instances of paused TV/ DVD iPlayer etc [ 5 additional images - one from this week and about 4 from previous months that had been omitted from the current version of the work] and all the collections of detritus [1 additional image from the gleaning of Wed 2 May 2012] are included.
2 May 2012 - Paused DVD and collection of detritus from Felixstowe beach:
I also want to further explore the use of screen and image size to contrast the images from paused screens and images of gathered detritus.
Posted by Richard Wed, May 02, 2012 20:36:24
I have been pleased to be able to make some adjustments to the video and I now feel more satisfied with it.
The adjustments have included:
1] Adding some additional images of the collections of detritus. This means that most of the collections of gathered items are now represented within the video.
2] Adjusting the timing of a number of the images and the positioning of some of the images of detritus etc that had already been included; such that the video now seems to me to flow better.
3] Adjusting the size of the rendered output to 1080 by 540, and making the images of detritus etc fill the space but contrasting this to the images of paused TV/DVD etc fit within the space. This has made for an improved, more consistent contrast between them.
4] The sound has also been reviewed and adjusted so that the volume and fullness audio is decreased for a time and then fades out at the end of the work.
As I am now much more satisfied with the work to date I have published a low res version of the latest rendition of the video on youtube.
Posted by Richard Wed, May 02, 2012 20:03:41
It was good to return to the same stretch of beach after an interval of a few weeks. I was pleased with the range of finds - that included a roof tile; twine & rope; weathered fragments of textile, plastic and metal; and a partially inflated balloon that had lodged in the groyne.
Due to the weathered nature of many of the finds they seemed to contrast with the last visit; with many of the items on this occasion appearing to be flotsam and jetsam rather than of a more local origin.
I found this visit quite therapeutic and helped to encourage, motivate and re-energise me in my work. I hope to continue such visits, but now on a more infrequent basis, every few weeks, rather than on a weekly basis.
Posted by Richard Wed, May 02, 2012 14:44:37
This afternoon I have enjoyed continuing to work on my pamphlet and exploring positioning of the images and text in relation to one another including the reverse side of the paper - especially with regards to the title page and how the images are hinted at before the pamphlet is even opened, and how the title (in reverse) is partially visible above and below the image.
Posted by Richard Wed, May 02, 2012 11:21:49
It was good to spend a couple of hours at MAC yesterday, viewing their new artist allotment scheme
- where the arena gallery has been split into 10 plots with an artist or group of artists being allocated a plot to use as an exhibition space during 2012. This would be good to be replicated in other regions; indeed I wish there was such a scheme in Norwich where perhaps the current cohort of Part Time MA Fine Art students could work together to put on a rolling program in one such plot.
In the first floor gallery there was a fantastic video installation by Tom Price Sentinals. There were three projections [man 10, man 11, and man 12 (all 2012)] that could be seen from front or back each showing a different 3min stop motion animated video of a sculptured head with minimal head movement but with the eyes moving and incredibly well done representation of blinking.
I really enjoyed the physicality of the installation and was impressed by how three complementary silent videos could fill, but not overwhelm such a large gallery space. It transformed the space into a space for meditation and exploration. I aspire to be able to make such an installation myself; to create a space for meditative contemplation where the viewer can engage with the work and the questions it raises - to create the space which could provide the opportunity for fresh insights, new horizons or priorities - i.e. for change.