Art Practice -Work In ProgressPosted by Richard Wed, May 02, 2012 10:48:26
It has been good to continue to work on this over the last few days, tweaking the text and experimenting with both, changing the size and positioning of the two images, and the positioning of the folds. I look forward to finishing my pamphlet later today.
I did contemplate uploading the pdf of my pamphlet to this blog, but currently I have decided against this, due to my preference for the physical object where the viewer has a choice of how to view it this ability is significantly reduced with a pdf.
I have maintained my desire not to make the pamphlet too precious, to avoid fetishisation, as this seems to better resonate with my current work - where I have sought not to beautify the detritus etc. Thus I have ratified my decision to make the pamphlets simply on a desk jet printer using economy printer paper, using fast draft print settings to, symbolically, use as little ink as possible.
GeneralPosted by Richard Wed, May 02, 2012 10:38:58
I am somewhat disappointed that the River Ocean Research website
has still not been updated and still refers to the 2011 LowTide festival as a forthcoming event on 14 May 2011. This has taken place each May, since 1995, on the Saturday with the lowest tide; it seems a great shame if this has now ceased and seems to underline the importance of asking probing social and environmental questions in general and in art in particular.
NUA - weekly MA sessionsPosted by Richard Fri, April 27, 2012 11:46:26
It was good to see the wide variety of approaches from the seven of us who shared our pamphlets or draft pamphlets.
I was really encouraged by some of the feedback I received - that it was moving, that it really shared something of myself and the fact that some people requested a copy as they really liked it.
This reassured me, but I realise that I need to be less reliant on receiving such encouragement and need to try to be more self sufficient/ self confident in my own right about my work.
NUA - weekly MA sessionsPosted by Richard Fri, April 27, 2012 11:32:34
I returned somewhat nervously to NUCA today, following the Easter break. Unfortunately at the moment I am still struggling, particularly with having confidence in myself and in my work.
I was thus really pleased to have such a constructive discussion about my draft pamphlet and the latest rendition of my video. I was encouraged that they were well received; I was particularly encouraged with the feedback to my use of sound in the video and my use of different sized text in my pamphlet giving differing levels of detail and information.
It was useful to have some constructive comments about how I might progress with them; e.g. explore making the contrast between the paused TV images and the images of detritus/ gathering more consistent in the video; and exploring the positioning of the images in the pamphlet - perhaps so that they are not so conventional and encroach of the fold and/ or extend right to the edge of the paper.
This has given me some useful food for thought and reflection as I tweak the video and pamphlet over the next week.
It was also good to consider how my work might progress over the next term; as I feel the video is somewhat of a milestone, it seems to denote an opportunity for pause and reflection whilst I can develop a different work returning to my more usual photographic practice. I intend to continue to document instances of paused TV etc within my domestic setting and to continue gathering detritus from the beach - but on a monthly rather than a weekly basis; but I also am anticipating making a series of meditative, considered photographic images that will still be motivated by my deep concerns for social ethics.
Research VisitPosted by Richard Thu, April 26, 2012 11:54:17
Last week, it was good to spend a morning here. I particularly liked the living room area where the viewer was encouraged to encounter the works in no particular order and to be drawn to whatever was of interest - as they would in had they visited the Sainsbury's residence.
The photographic and video works by Avi Gupta - There Is Here, I found very encouraging. |How he had made works in the domestic settings he had visited. I especially enjoyed the video which had very subtle elements of movement, but I found the transition between segments to be too abrupt for my personal taste - it disrupted my sense of meditation which, for me would have been better preserved by using slower, more gradual transitions.
Research VisitPosted by Richard Thu, April 26, 2012 11:36:10
It was good to spend an afternoon in the Cathedral and to particularly meditate on the paintings by Anneke Kaai
that were inspired by the psalms. I was though rather disappointed in their presentation - they were to the side of the main entrance - near the chapel on basic display boards - I think the works could have been far better displayed and could have been better used to transform the space like the iconography works at Liverpool Cathedral did a couple of years ago.
I enjoyed the large aluminium sculpture The Way of Life by Jonathan Clarke; this I found moving and uplifting.
GeneralPosted by Richard Thu, April 26, 2012 11:26:14
It was good to recently watch a number of episodes of Simon Schama's BBC series A History of Britain
. It was particularly striking to see parts of the Bayeux Tapestry
- especially the segment which depicts a mother and child fleeing from their home which is being burnt by rampaging soldiers. This is particularly significant as it is perhaps the earliest depictions of the innocent victims of war which was later expanded by the like of Goya.
Art Practice -Work In ProgressPosted by Richard Thu, April 26, 2012 11:16:29
It has been good to spend some time over the Easter break working on my video and on my pamphlet.
I was pleased to be able to combine a few threads in my approach, content and presentation of my pamphlet; so that it incorporates being folded out, some of my reflections and it seems to compliment the video. It was good to explore the use of different size text and the relationships between different panels as it was folded/unfolded - I did not want to loose this so this confirmed my choice of a printed pamphlet rather than an e-pamphlet.
I have enjoyed working on the video, I found it satisfying that it incorporates so much of the work I have been doing, whereas I was somewhat frustrated that the prints were only a small concentrated distillation. I did consider adding text - perhaps as a ticker feed listing dates and items of detritus; but at the moment I am enjoying utilising the found text - which I have emphasised by the use of timing - giving the viewer time to read and take in the text which seems to give extra emphasis and sense of meaning to following images. I am also pleased with the use of sound - the sound of the sea, the ebb and flow, seems to resonate well with the rest of the work.
GeneralPosted by Richard Thu, April 12, 2012 15:11:54
It was interesting and stimulating to listen and re-listen to this documentary about politically aware contemporary musical artists who express their social activism in their work.
A good programme synopsis is available on the BBC website.
I was especially struck by how a number of the contributors, such as "Itch" did not draw any line or distinction between their autism and their work; this seems to resonate with my own personal ethos and praxis.
Art Practice -Work In ProgressPosted by Richard Thu, April 05, 2012 16:28:35
Over the last couple of weeks I have continued to reflect on how to approach my pamphlet. Whilst helping my wife to adapt a liturgy for a seder meal I started to consider whether the pamphlet could be, or could include a litany that would express something of my motivation for the work. It could include an expressions of sorrow for injustice/ exploitation/misguided priorities and relevant Biblical verses concerning good stewardship and concern for social justice; (perhaps as an introduction or postscript) it would also be good to include some data from my research - perhaps some brief summary of items found week by week and the number of images made from documenting the instances of paused TV etc within my own domestic setting.
GeneralPosted by Richard Thu, April 05, 2012 16:16:43
It was good to be able to view this documentary
a couple of times over the last week. I was struck by how collaborative and modest he is. It was also enlightening to discover how he was one of the artists who tried to push beyond the YBA
by not be restricted to traditional forms [such as painting and sculpture] but to make more ephemeral, more collaborative work. It is an interesting paradox that he was inspired by Andy Warhol and his factory as it made him aware of the range of art that was/is possible.
It was also quite liberating to hear JD discuss his broad definition of what constitutes art and his view that he makes simple art about simple ideas that is readily understood - he ascribed this to not having been influenced to be too obtuse as he had not gone to art college. But this also seems to resonate with how Gilbert & George view their work as accessible. I too do not want my work to be too obtuse - rather I intend it to be accessible and understandable to a broad range of viewers.
GeneralPosted by Richard Thu, April 05, 2012 16:03:34
I was encouraged and challenged by the insight of a musical artist, she stated that:
The purpose of an artist is to unearth questions and concerns that require attention.
This strongly resonates with my own ethos and art practice - I want to make work with a purpose, work that will make a difference; to prompt the viewer to ask questions and to give attention to matters that that they would not have otherwise so deeply considered or engage with.
NUA - weekly MA sessionsPosted by Richard Thu, April 05, 2012 15:57:09
The group crit, and subsequent reflection, has helped me to crystallise some of my thinking if not really moving me forward in discerning the practical realisation of the work.
1. The juxtaposition between paused TV images and work deriving from gleaning detritus (from the beach) is a metaphor for how we are pre-occupied by the trivial (e.g. not wanting to miss a second of some trashy tv) whilst at the same time we damage our environment - both natural and human.
2. As I remain concerned with social ethics more broadly, I do not want to specifically locate my work merely with pollution and environmental concerns. Indeed the [images of the] rubbish are being used by me as a metaphor for how we mistreat one another. This seems to also resonate with much of my earlier work, especially Damaged [about people trafficking] and The Royal Estate, Paradise part 2, and Paradise Circus [which dealt with homelessness and personal vulnerability].
Art Practice -Work In ProgressPosted by Richard Wed, March 21, 2012 19:04:22
Today I was surprised by the change in weather on the beach, when I set off and up to 100m or so it was a lovely sunny afternoon, but on the beach it was 3degrees cooler with a heavy sea mist, which I observed as I approached the beach from inland. This is the first time I have observed this phenomena on this beach despite numerous visits dating back over a year, with regular, frequent visits since November to gather detritus. I was further surprised to find that the tide was at the lowest I have yet observed, retreating a further 2 or 3m than I had previously observed. Despite all this the sea was extremely calm, with very little wind, and the strand line was not very obvious. Furthermore, unusually, none of the seaweed that I saw was entwined intwine or thread. This was in stark contrast to my previous visit [Sat 10-03-2012] where I had gathered one of the largest amounts of detritus, including a large entwined bundle that included thick plastic packing twine; where as this time I found probably the least amount of detritus to date.
Of the detritus that I did find today, a large proportion appeared to be local litter rather than jetsam and flotsam, although some of that was also found such as some fragments of glass and fragments of polystyrene packaging which appeared to be on the strand line. Thus for once it was more apparent whether the source was local/ blown in, or swept in by the tide. However this still seemed to resonate with the situation of migrant peoples, perhaps some have settled locally, whereas other may be recent arrivals - this seems to particular resonate with the gypsy communities shown in last night's documentary.
Art Practice -Work In ProgressPosted by Richard Wed, March 21, 2012 18:09:49
The morning was spent receiving a demonstration by CR
of the whole process. This was far more involved than I had anticipated with numerous steps. The whole process together with the porous limestone seemed very organic, with each step something could happen that could effect the final print. The German mine has just restarted production of the stones after a number of decades.
In the afternoon it was good to try the process for myself, grinding the stones was time consuming but therapeutic, so it was a little nerve wracking to commit a drawing to the stone after all the preparatory work. I used the sketch for my screen print as the initial basis for my work [just beach/sea portion] and then included a tear/raindrop reflecting the scene, and a window in the sky [homage to Magritte] showing a view of a rubbish dump. When I used the stay wet ink it left more ink than expected - [as I think I had let the stone tryout too much before applying the ink] but once washed off I was happy with the effect as it seemed to me to resonate with oil pollution seaside oil pollution. I look forward to printing it in due course.
I photographed the work that I had done on the stone:
Research VisitPosted by Richard Wed, March 21, 2012 15:17:45
It was good to spend some time perusing this exhibition of artist's books. I enjoyed the overall sense of peace as I viewed the works; it was the most uplifting show that I have seen in that space. I also enjoyed the gentle honour in many of the works.
One series of works, concerning the the inside of envelopes was particularly engaging. It was good how some had also been included as a wall installation alongside the artist book in the display cabinet. As I was still reflecting on this I found myself using the unfolded inside of a used envelope to make some rough notes on. This caused me to reflect further and to begin to explore how I could use such a strategy, or format for making a pamphlet about my current work; each of the four flaps could have different text on requiring the viewer to rotate the pamphlet [or to read at an angle, or upside down], the centre could be a pie chart giving a summary of the breakdown of found items, the envelope could be presented closed, perhaps with some simple ironic text such as DO NOT OPEN.
GeneralPosted by Richard Wed, March 21, 2012 14:43:59
Earlier this week I viewed couple of TV documentaries that I have found quite disturbing.
First, Empire: Making a Fortune [BBC 1 Mon 9pm 19-03-2012], which included an examination of the slave trade, I encountered testimony of the exploitation and mistreatment of slave that was most disturbing. For instance the inhumane punishments included being stripped, coved in molasses and tied down for 24 hours so the victim was covered in flies by day and mosquitoes by night; another included being whipped and dedicated on! In addition one slave owner commuted over 3000 rapes on women slaves and the custom was to allow his guests to do likewise. This shocking behaviour and attitude was justified by them by rationalising that the slave were not really people, they were merely the owners property and the felt they could do with however they wished. On the back of slave labour though many plantation owners became extremely wealthy, some were from relatively humble backgrounds such as an English farmer but were now part of the new rich. The fact that there are now more people than ever, including at the height of the transatlantic slave trade, who are victims of slavery and people trafficking is disgusting. This has increased my desire to use my art as a prophetic voice - to speak out again social injustice and exploitation. It has reminded me of the resonance between the detritus from human activity found on the beach [jetsam, flotsam and litter, often it is unclear which one it is and it's source of origin unknown] and the arrival of migrants, refugees and victims of trafficking at the nearby ports.
Secondly, Big Fat Gypsy Weddings [C4 Tue 9pm 20-03-2012] which not only followed a couple of weddings but also a baptism and first communion, as well as contrasting the community of an Irish Gypsy town with Dale farm. I was pleasantly surprised by the programmes treatment, I had expected more sensationalism and a less sympathetic approach. The effect on the young children from the eviction was clear, as was the dignity with which the families walked of the site when eviction was inevitable. The sense of community, including settled and traveling gypsy families was remarkable, as was there sense of heritage. The contrast between the non gypsy neighbours was also striking, some were extremely hostile and racist: "They don't belong, they're not from round here, they're Irish." Yet in another town the neighbours had a high regard for the gypsy family and all turned out to watch the family set off in all their finery for the wedding. This was an interesting glimpse into the gypsy life, a migrant people with a strong heritage and close knit community. It feels as though this may also inform my current work as I keep being reminded of resonances between my current practice and migrant peoples etc.
NUA - weekly MA sessionsPosted by Richard Wed, March 21, 2012 11:21:51
The intro by P.F-D
set out how the use of materials is itself a key art practice.
The first speaker, Neil Powell, set out the origins Absence and Presence in Japanese sculpture with particular defence to mono ha [ = school of things, it was a relatively brief movement (1966-1972) ]. It was interesting to learn of the ontological concerns of mono ha, e.g. something and nothing (1968) which was real life, real time manifestation of absence and presence - escaping from illusion & narrative. The concept that "thing are not just physical" was also thought provoking. The fact that mono ha reconnected with idealism and spirituality seems to resonate with something of my own practice; but that mono ha did this without attachment of language does not - as I am exploring the use of including text as embedded elements in some of my works - in addition to any further textual statement such as a pamphlet or artist statement.
The second speaker, artist Mark Harris, presented an engaging overview of his recent work of the last 6 years. This was with particular defence to Material, Incident and Transformation. It was interesting to learn of his use of found objects [books, books covers, images] and how he has increasingly fragmented these as elements and materials in his own work. For instance he is now using the book covers as panels to make larger collages. This has has helped to inform my ongoing reflections on my own work and how I should best utilise the found obits from the beach and the found images from paused TV etc, together with images I have made, photographs of the beach and printmaking. I was also attracted by how MH has used making prints to do something different with the image - how it seems to somehow close the circle - e.g. - an original unique painting is made into multiple copies in that it is included in a book, but that book is now rare, almost unique - found by MH in a charity shop who then makes it unique again by using it, making a unique collage/painting which is then scanned and multiple lamb prints made. This encouraged me to continue in my exploration of using my prints label or document each of the various collections of detritus from human activity of the same 200m stretch of beach. It has also prompted me to reflect that I might be able to use some images of significant historical paintings that I recently found in a charity shop. In the later seminar I was rather surprised at how relaxed MH was about how his work is received and viewed; he deliberately leaves title open to provide space for a range of interpretations - thus not giving any prominence of his own intent. This I have mixed feelings about, I enjoy being able to discover and find meaning in a work for my self; but if the work is addressing a particular concern or issue and is an expression of the artist's position then it seems a pity to give deliberately ambiguous title/information that obscures the effective communication of that position.
The final speaker was artist Sarah Mackillop, who uses and represents found objects. She employs only limited transformation - not irrevocably altering the found objects so that they retain their own integrity in themselves, and indeed some return to their "normal use". Thus her practice challenges the standard definition of materials as being a substance from which something can be made. The objects can change physically by being exhibited - e.g. fading from the effect of light. SM's minimal transformation of her found objects has further encouraged me as I consider how to us the objects, or the actual bags of objects I have gathered from my repeated visits to the same 200m stretch of beach.
It was also interesting to view the first 15min segment of a documentary Joseph Beuys - Transformers. His work is concerned with forms and substances rather than symbols. This I found quite challenging as my work is concerned with substances and symbols - the found objects are both. But I liked his definition of thinking as being concerned with forms and ideas - this resonates with my practice where I think through making work [and, actually, by writing my journal].
GeneralPosted by Richard Wed, March 14, 2012 18:46:10
Today it was interesting to discover that the stretch of beach I am repeatedly returning to is within a couple of miles of the SSSI designated area at Landguard point
. For me this further underlined the potential impact of the detritus from human activity on the natural world and habitats. It has thus provided me with additional motivation for this ongoing work.
GeneralPosted by Richard Tue, March 13, 2012 18:53:09
Over the weekend it was interesting to see a programme about all the plastic flotsam and jetsam in the pacific ocean and how the polymers are being broken down to form a "plastic soup". It was distressing to see the extent and how impractical it is to readily clean up what is already there and yet this is still being added to. It was awful to see the strand line of plastics on the pacific island - especially to learn that it would be washed out to sea again at the next high tide.
However, this did underline for me the importance of my current work, not only personally but also as a way of making a difference, both practically and as a prophetic voice - speaking out!
Research VisitPosted by Richard Tue, March 13, 2012 18:44:10
Last Wednesday [2012-03-07] it was interesting to see the display about Constable and his work. I was especially intrigued by the contrast between what Constable 's intent was and how his work in now generally perceived; his work seems now to be generally viewed as [idyllic] rural landscapes, but what he was really showing rural working life!
It was also good to view the Barry Woodcock's wood etching/engraving prints of landscape and nature; I was impressed by the level of detail ached in a wood engraving and felt attracted to the process, especially using hard wood rather than copper as an etching medium - it seem to resonate well with his subject matter [it also seems to resonate with my own current practice]. I am thus minded to further explore the possibility of experimenting with wood etching/engraving print making myself.
Art Practice -Work In ProgressPosted by Richard Mon, March 12, 2012 21:10:40
It was good to spend the morning reviewing, labelling and photogrgarphing the bags of detritus from human activity since the completion of RiPu
i.e. bags of finds from the following visits to the same 200m stretch of Felixstowe Beach:
I intend to photograph the content of each bag at a later date in the same box that was used in order to photograph the the contents of each bag that I had gathered from 11 November 2011 to 8 January 2012 - this might be done as part of my preparation for the forthcoming interim group crit [2012-03-22].
In the afternoon I again returned to Felixstowe Beach. The tide was the lowest that I have so far encountered in my work gathering detritus from Felixstowe Beach. Two items stood out from the finds on this occasion:
1. On the beach within a meter of the sea I found a substantial coil of fishing thread with a clip on one end and a hook on the other.
2. In the other 100m segment near the groyne, on the strand line there was a large bundle of jetsam and flotsam tangled together with natural vegetation.
In addition it was interesting to observe on the adjacent area of the beach, just outside my designated 200m stretch, there was a pile of hand painted rocks with a handwritten note in a childish hand that stated 5p for large ones and 2p for small ones. Strangely, this seemed to resonate with my work; in that it combines the natural with human intervention.
NUA - weekly MA sessionsPosted by Richard Mon, March 12, 2012 20:02:41
It was encouraging to receive some positive feed on my learning agreement, but I am a little puzzled that it was described as a "good draft" - I thought this was it not a draft and I will have to clarify when and if it needs to be resubmitted. I was pleased to be provided with CR
's annotations & comments on my learning agreement.
Their was a good discussion about my ongoing practice which was also encouraging - good to continue to collect images and objects and not to force them into premature particular outcome[s].
I was pleased that CR again mentioned River Ocean Research and it was good to be again encouraged to try and make contact as this may provide opportunities for collaboration or to exhibit my work.
It was also good to discuss my printmaking and ways to further develop the work - could build on the "warm" handwritten notice and bleak photograph by using photographs or photocopies of the found objects rather than drawn representation[s] thereof [contrasting handwriting with mechanical processes]. I was encouraged that my paper choice of newsprint was so well received and that it was understood that it did not make it an obviously valuable art object in itself [this is good as it tends to avoid fetishising it]. The use/presentation of the prints was also discussed and I realised that I could use the prints to label the bags/piles of detritus for each of the weekly collections.
CR suggested that it would be good to contact PF-D to try and sort out an exhibition space where I could try out ideas of how to exhibit my work - could be in bags; - even if just for a day and could photographically document it.
I was also reminded that I need think about how and what to present for the interim group crit in a couple of weeks [2012-03-22]; but I was reassured that it was fine that it is still very much a work in progress and that I do not have to feel under pressure to force false premature conclusion for the realisation of the work.
Art Practice -Work In ProgressPosted by Richard Sat, March 10, 2012 10:56:14
It was good to review my prints from last week to consider colour, and positioning of the various elements. I was attracted by the effect of the misprinted right hand edge of the photograph where I had not applied sufficient pressure - but with the bottle over printed it seemed to add depth to the bottle and make it stand out more.
I was encouraged that I was able to print more consistently and that I was able to at least partially recreate the previous misprint. On subsequent further review the photograph is somewhat darker than I would really like so next time I will try adding more medium to create a lighter tonality.
Following my tutorial where I discussed the print I made last week [as at that time I had just printed the photograph and the bottle elements] I decided not to print the text [PowerGreed] on the bottle as this dilutes the contrast between the bleakness of the photograph and the warmth of the handwritten sign.
I am now considering making a series of prints to act as labels or signage or motifs for each discreet collection of detritus from human activity gathered from the beach. This could be the same print and hand painted date, or it could be the same sign and beach but with different elements from that occasion overprinted - or a photograph of the collections of all the gathered element overprinted - perhaps as a bright monotone printed element.
Art Practice -Work In ProgressPosted by Richard Tue, March 06, 2012 18:16:27
I have been struggling somewhat for the last few weeks; especially the last couple of weeks. I have had significantly less motivation and have been feeling more anxious. I have still been thinking about how to develop my work - video or print or 3d. I have continued to document instances of paused TV/DVD etc in my own domestic setting - although this has been largely on BBC iplayer etc since 20-2-12. I am still trying to discern the best way to work the various element together, of found objects, documenting the found objects and the act of gathering, the images of the coast and the documenting of paused tv; my screen printing are an attempt to combine some of these elements.
I has also been good to watch the culture show special about David Hockney's Bigger than life exhibition covering the whole of the Royal Academy; I found it especially interesting to learn something of how he had made the large multi panel paintings and videos. It was also enlightening to hear his intent behind the making of these landscape works - that it makes the viewer contemplate scenes that would not usually be especially noteworthy.
Art Practice -Work In ProgressPosted by Richard Tue, March 06, 2012 18:13:43
I was surprised at how much lower the tide was today than during my brief visit just an hour later yesterday afternoon. The sea was rougher than previous couple of visits, but I found fewer items on the beach this afternoon, despite there being more of the beach not underwater today.
Art Practice -Work In ProgressPosted by Richard Tue, March 06, 2012 18:12:52
It was good to spend a day working on my screen-prints, but it was somewhat frustrating to still be getting used to the technical issues and I was unable to make a print that I was completely satisfied with - so I am hoping to spend some more time working on further prints next Thursday. I am also intending reviewing all the print I have made so far to review the composition, eg where to position the bottle and the size of gap between the coastal image and the text notice, and the choice of colours so that I can try to discern the best way forward for my next printing session. It was good to have the resonance of using newsprint to make a number of prints observed by one of my peers on the course.
It was also good to view the exhibition venue for the Bishop's prize at Norwich Cathedral and to learn that there will be a show reel for the selected video works. It was also good to see the display cabinets and I could visualise that this could be an options for displaying some of the found objects.
Art Practice -Work In ProgressPosted by Richard Tue, March 06, 2012 18:11:51
This afternoon the tide was again very high, but the area was extreemly busy with dog walkers, families and shoppers, but no people fishing. Sepite it being calmer I found more items than in many of the recebt weeks. It thus sturck me that it is hard to predict the quantity or type of items found just from the tide and state of the sea - it is far more complex than that - again this seems to me to have resonances with the complexities of the migration and trafficking of people and the movement of refugees. As I gathered I was also reminded of a recent conversation with some of my peers about my work - and their rersponse that my separate bags of items for each occaision was creating a sort of diary.
NUA - weekly MA sessionsPosted by Richard Tue, March 06, 2012 18:10:00
Over the last couple of weeks developing ideas for screen printing and yesterday again tweaked the design - changing from a can - based on a beer can found in the last few weeks to a drinks bottle - prompted by the text I had arrived at - PowerGreed - a subversion of poweraid but based on the two factors that seem most responsible for suffering and exploitation; also I decided that the bottle motif was more clearly identifiable and also had resonances with messages in bottles.
I enjoyed my initial attempt at printing and was somewhat surprised at quite how time consuming it is and so was a little disappointed that I had not been able to make greater progress this afternoon.
It was also good to be introduced to the potential of mono-printing and how this can be combined with exposed screens and/or cut outs.
Guest artist talk - Thomas Kilper - it was fascibating to see and hear of his work and the processes. It was encouraging to find that he was still utilising his political activism background in art - but to promt the viewer to ask difficult questions and to extend their horizons rather than as a call to action. It was interesting to hear that he regarded the cut floor rather than the print thereof as the primary work - to me this seems a little paradoxical - why would the primary work be a mirror image - if it were my work it would be the secondary image that would be the mirror image and the primary image would be as observed by the eye.
Art Practice -Work In ProgressPosted by Richard Tue, March 06, 2012 18:08:53
Strangely a lot calmer but a lot more rubbish on the beach this afternoon.
NUA - weekly MA sessionsPosted by Richard Tue, March 06, 2012 18:07:39
Interesting session with artist, James Iveson, at Outpost - especially his sentiment that wanted his work to be something not merely of something; which reminded me of A Building is not a Building by Ola Kolehmainen. Also good discussion about curating the work and how best to display it; I was pleased to be able to share some of my thoughts from a couple of weeks earlier when first saw the show.
Today's second sessions was a presentation and discussion about the role of writing alongside other art practice and how writings often accompany exhibitions and help or hinder how they are received by the reader/viewer and how the artists words can unduly limit the reading of their work.
It was good to get my learning agreement completed this week, I have now uploaded a pdf copy of this for future reference:
It was also good to see a number of pieces of my Damaged work published in Magnet this month to accompany an article on people trafficking and also at the same time to have a piece from the same body of work on the wall at NUCA, having been accepted in the positions group show, I have included a couple of installation shots below:
Art Practice -Work In ProgressPosted by Richard Wed, February 15, 2012 20:36:01
Today I was struck by how rough the sea was and at how I had learnt to recognise the sound of the sea, whilst approaching the [out of sight] beach I remarked that it seamed to be high tide - this was merely from the sound of the sea, and so it transpired.
I also realise, having made weekly visits for four months now, that I am finding it easier to find items of human detritus, such as fragments of polystyrene, clear plastic, half buried thread entwined in seaweed etc. I seem to have learnt to recognise such items more readily and to be able to better distinguish them from stone/ shell/ seaweed etc.
So if such items are a sort of metaphor for migrant peoples, why are we and the authorities not better at recognising those truly in need, those who are genuinely in need of asylum and those who have been trafficked and are thus really victims rather than criminals? It brings back to mind the moving theatrical work that I viewed as part of the launch of Ipswich Town of Sanctuary back in the autumn - where the narrative was all the more disturbing for knowing that it was using the actual words of those who had sought asylum etc.
Research VisitPosted by Richard Wed, February 15, 2012 20:23:29
This was an interesting afternoon, the first half listening to four speakers and their approaches to campaigning and taking positive action for social change. I was particularly inspired by the excellent keynote address by Carrie Bishop; in brief - make change happen, not just complain. I was also struck by the attractive concept of the militant optimist.
The second half I found a little disappointing as it focussed, I felt, too much on addressing artists rights and valuing the [potential] input of artists. I would have preferred if this had instead focussed on how as artists we can make a difference - how we can make art, or use or art, or our creativity, to make a difference; either by campaigning or raising awareness or taking positive action or whatever.
NUA - weekly MA sessionsPosted by Richard Wed, February 15, 2012 12:47:08
I have been further reflecting on possible questions for the artist tomorrow; I think the question I most want to ask is:
Why did he change his previously successful strategy of installing the "Bathers" together [as can be seen in an installation photograph on his website] to one of separating them and placing one in the middle of a different series that has a very different aesthetic?
Research VisitPosted by Richard Wed, February 15, 2012 12:42:34
This was an enlightening visit, discovering such as rich resource as the Fitzwilliam Museum; I was particularly impressed by the range of permanent displays and the reference library and I expect to return on many future occasions.
During the visit though I concentrated on the three temporary shows:
1. Grey Matters: Graphite - the video installation, Burst by James Eden & Olly Rocks, of graphite filled gallons being burst and the resulting patterns being made was almost mesmerising - it was a shame that there was such a definite break between each instance where the whole screen went black. I would also have liked to see some of the actual paper pieces displayed as part of the show. I also wondered what proportion was being shown in the video - how many other instances were there [if any] that were deemed not to work, that did not make engaging patterns of graphite on the paper.
2. Prints - The prints which have been engraved after the paintings of M.
Chardin... have become fashionable prints, which... have dealt a
blow to serious prints... The public enjoys seeing the events which
occur daily in their own homes, and do not hesitate to give
those preference over more sophisticated subjects. [Quoted in Roland Michel Chardin, 1996 p.238., as used in Fitzwilliam online resource accessed 2012-02-15 (http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/dept/pdp/onlinepublications/other/chardin_handlist.pdf) The range of print makers and interpretations of the work of a single artist [painter] was well worth contemplating. It supports the augment that each viewer in a sense makes their own picture from the work that is shown.
3. African Head rests - Ttiumph, protection and dreams: The East African headrest in context [although East African was somewhat stretched to allow the inclusion of Egyptian example]. It was intriguing to study these artefacts - some over 4000 years old some far more recent, and in many cases the antiquity of the items was quite deceptive - some over 4000years seemed more intricate and ornate than those that were a few hundred years younger - which seemed counter intuitive.
Research VisitPosted by Richard Sat, February 11, 2012 11:37:06
It was good to be able to go on a guided tour of this fine art litho studio with a wide range of other people from NUCA [tutor, emeritus, and undergraduates]. It was exciting to discover the collaborations between the audio and a wide range of artists, including Henry Moore and Graham Sutherland and it was a thrill to see the original plates from some of those artists together with some of the prints.
It was interesting to learn about the three litho processes and the differences between them - how stone and zinc differ from photo/aluminium - the latter being offset - the former being direct contact [so the plates, like etching, have to be a mirror image of the desired print].
It was exciting to be given the opportunity to do a small stone litho project at NUCA and I am really looking forward to this and I am already beginning to reflect on potential ideas for my first litho print project.
NUA - weekly MA sessionsPosted by Richard Sat, February 11, 2012 11:28:15
I had been looking forward to the printing workshop - indeed the anticipation had helped to keep me motivated at times when my sprits were down during the last unit.
I enjoyed the screen printing session and subsequent research on VLE about screen printing and I am eagerly anticipating the next session were I can make my own screen print.
But it is a shame that I can not also do the 3D workshop at the sometime as I would also like to expire and experiment with casting - especially utilising some of my found objects from Felixstowe beach. I feel that it is good that I am expiring other media for making work, as well as photography and video; I think that even if I end up reverting to these it will mean that it will strengthen my conceptual use of them. I will be using photography/video because it is the most appropriate for me to use for that particular work - not merely because that is the media I feel most confident in using.
I am still reflecting on my choice of subject for my first printing project - it could be an existing work such as a photograph - perhaps with the addition of text - e.g. one of my mono "Damaged Portrait's", or "Paradise Part II" [but I may have to scan in or photograph the silver gelatine print]; or perhaps I could use my personal manifesto as the template for the print; or perhaps I could try not using photography at all and rely on drawing and cut outs etc.
The guest speaker talk and subsequent seminar by Fiona MacDonald, curator from Standpoint, and artist [sculpture & painting] raised some interesting issues. Standpoint's model of artist led space is very different to that of Outpost. It seems a little strange that they do not really promote their own artists; I would have expected more of a dual approach where the gallery presents not only the vision of the curator coupled with a representation of contemporary art practice, but also space of opportunity for Standpoint artists.
Standpoint's use of education and community engagement that focuses on emerging and mid-career artists is also a very different model to that adopted by many galleries which concentrate on engaging with school and youth groups - although some such as Firstsite, Colchester seem to be using both approaches in parallel - both encouraging school visits etc but also providing events and specifically for practising artists.
For me Firstsite's dual approach to education seems to be a good model for best practice.
It was also interesting to find that, despite being employed 3 day a week as curator, Fiona MacDonald regards her self as an artist and reports that she thinks as an artist. The curatorial role being seen merely in a similar light as a 0.5 teaching post. Thus her curatorial work is, I assume, a means of helping to fund her art practise, but will also presumably both help to inform her work and to find new opportunities to show her work.
GeneralPosted by Richard Tue, February 07, 2012 13:30:31
Reflecting further on the lecture by Steve Baker and the work of Steve McQueen I am somewhat surprised by the McQueen quotes that Steve Baker used:
Art as Object
Art Can't change anything
Steve McQueen's Queen and Country seems to be far more than merely the object of the pro type stamps; and his campaign to try and make them into real stamps seems to suggest that art can change things - it can help people remember/realise the cost of war through commemorating the sacrifice of many ordinary service personnel.
GeneralPosted by Richard Mon, February 06, 2012 16:09:44
Today it has been challenging to view the final programme in the Channel 4 series The Genius of British Art
- The Art of War
- presented by Jon Snow.
I was especially interested in three of the artists:
Stanley Spencer - his allegory of remembrance following WW1 and his later WW2 work about the northern shipyards; he was a pacifist and his work was informed by his Christian faith. As he made art with a purpose, informed by his faith, he represents a mode of practice that both resonates with me personally and which I would like to emulate.
Jeremy Deller - especially in the light of last weeks session and the Gillick text, it was interesting to see his It is what it is (2008) [a destroyed car from the Iraq war] and how J.D. used this as a platform for discussion for those effected by war; such engagement taking place both inside and outside the traditional gallery space. Seeking not to glorify war, but to bring the reality of war home to America. I was though somewhat ambivalent as to his attitude that he enjoyed the fact that it could be interpreted as anti war by the left and pro war by the right; this seemed to me to be confusing and to potentially dilute the central theme of bringing the horror of war home, irrespective of political views towards the war.
Steve McQueen - I was deeply moved by the images of his Queen and Country installation and rather saddened by the lack of support into making the stamps into real postage stamps that would be widely disseminated and would be a powerful tribute to all the normal service personnel who lost their lives during the Afghan war. This seemed to me to be a really iconic work that sought to bring the art to the widest possible audience in an extremely personal way. I find myself inspired and a siring to do likewise with my own work. I found it especially poignant to then find he had worked in collaboration with the braved families and that it was the bereaved families who had chosen the images for the "stamps". It seems such a shame that the stamps have still not been fully realised as a Royal Mail issue.
NUA - weekly MA sessionsPosted by Richard Sun, February 05, 2012 17:45:20
It was a difficult choice whether to opt for print - screen & etching; or 3D for the workshop inductions. The print seems to be a natural progression from the previous unit where I explored the work of a number of printmakers, ranging from Hogarth and Goya to Kennard and MacPhee. However, I was also attracted by 3D, especially exploring the possibility of making casts from a selection of the items that I am continuing to gather from Felixstowe beach. It is a little frustrating that I am not able to do both this term; but it is encouraging that to be again reassured that there will be the opportunity to undertake further inductions over the summer, during the undergraduate break.
It was also good to be reminded that the emphasis of the current unit, Platforms for Dialogue, is to further develop my own practice.
I would have preferred a longer discussion on the Gillick text, Maybe it would be better if we worked in groups of three? [Hermes Lecture, 2008], as I had spent a couple of hours studying the text and still felt that I had not fully unpacked it. It was helpful to receive some pointers though in respect of the nature of the contemporary artist and the diversity of practice; to briefly consider texts surrounding the work vs the work itself [which was brought into sharper focus during the subsequent visit to Outlook]; and to be reassured that this does not necessarily lead to a dematerialising of my art practise.
The visit to the James Iveson Positions show at Outpost heeled to further inform my reflections on the use of text, especially in relation to Gillick's text. The text seemed to be almost too powerful in relation to the work. The initial impression of the show was positive, how well the works fitted and transformed the space; however on closer inspection I was somewhat disappointed, non of the individual works seemed particularly engage me. I am aware that this may have been more due to my personal state of mind - still absorbing, processing, be moved by, all the works I had seen in London a few days earlier.
On further reflection and research I would have preferred a more coherent show - on J.V.'s website there is an installation shot of four bathers pictures on the same wall that I personally found more engaging than 2 of them being located on opposite corners at Outpost. Perhaps I also allowed myself to be too directed by the text, in hindsight I should have been slower to go to the text and first given more opportunity to engage personally with the work. I would have preferred a more uniform or gradation of colour and tone around the room. Perhaps with the oranges and yellows of the orange and lemon together with the ski mitten and Amy as Model arranged to give more of a gradual tonal progression [as in the bathers installation on his website]. The element of surprise would still have been their as the ski mitten and Amy as Model pictures were discovered interrupting the flow of orange and lemon pictures. I enjoyed how the general positioning of the pictures in relation to the space and one another - especially the use of corners and how on this enabled a picture to be opposed by a space rather than another picture on the opposing wall. I would have liked to see more pictures in the style of the ski mitten and Amy as Model paintings, and these could have been used to replace pictures using more of a blue/black pallet. [Some of] These replaced pictures could have then been rested on the unused fourth wall. Thus as one entered the space one would have been struck by the uniform pallet in front and to left and right, but then been unexpectedly surpassed by the blues on the fourth wall. This, to me personally, would have had the potential to transform the space even further, and would have been a more emotional encounter; resonating with the spiritual elemental responses to Rothko's sublime Seagram murals.
I would thus wish to ask James Iveson -
1. Were any of the pictures especially painted for this show?
2. Why the pictures were hung in this order - especially ending with 3 blue images - it almost seems from the text that either these should have been on the fourth wall, or that they should have been more interspersed among the other pictures?
3. Why, when a previous installation apparently worked so well, were the Bathers split up rather than shown together; they could have been shown on the, unused, fourth wall?
4. What does he, feel about the use of text within the gallery setting?
In Steve Baker's lecture, concerning the use, rather than representation, of animals in art, the discussion concerning Catherine Bell's vocalised intentions that S.B. did not find as compelling or as interesting as the work itself seemed to compliment the earlier consideration of text and work. I am also reminded of viewing the Chapman Family Collection a few years ago at the Tate and wishing that the text had not been at the entrance to the installation; if it had been in the middle or at the end it would have allowed the viewer to discover the irony of the piece for themselves.
This puts me in something of a personal quandary as to how to best utilise text with my own work; work that addresses social ethical issues. Work that I hope will help the view to ask questions, to broaden their horizons, to see things differently. For example in an earlier body of work I made picture of multi story car parks and entitled the series Paradise Part II; thus I used the title to alert the viewer, then in my artist statement I briefly explained that the work concerned the issue of homelessness and that such car parks are often preferred places of shelter and refuge for those sleeping rough. It was, and is important to me that such an understanding is communicated, but I do realise that this can be problematic. However, at this stage I can not discern the best way to navigate through these concerns.
Perhaps one way forward is to, like Ola Kolehmainen, to only make the text/ additional information available on request from Gallery invigilators should a particularly interested viewer ask about a specific image.
Work In ProgressPosted by Richard Sun, February 05, 2012 16:09:49
I returned to the same 200m stretch of Felixstowe beach yesterday [4 Feb] to continue gathering detritus from human activity. I was surpassed that there were not more people around, and that there were no people line fishing [especially as the weather forecast for the next day was far worse, and indeed when I returned earlier today despite there being snow on the beach there were several people line fishing].
Once again there were several reman at of thread/twine/rope as well as an old toy, litter, and a possible stone age tool.
I was again reminded of the variety of objects, the potential range of their (unknown) points of origin, and the difference in time that has elapsed since the items were lost or discarded.
It was good to be able to collect so much twine etc as this is a real hazard to wildlife and can entrap a fleeing bird in its nest; I was thus reminded of part of my original motivation following a powerful film on Autumn Watch, that documented the freeing of entrapped fledgling birds.
This, not for the first time, seemed to resonate with something of the situation that displaced or trafficked or migrant peoples may find themselves in. Entrapped by promises of a better of safer life but ending up in fear of the lives or fear for their loved ones; or simply trapped by circumstances and unable to return to their family. This in turn reminded me of a recent BBC documentary that explored the predicament of migrant workers sleeping rough in Peterborough.
This time, perhaps because of the freezing temperatures and that my partner was photographically documenting something of my gleaning, I was more aware of the performative dimension to my work. Having perused photographs from several visits, this sense of performance seems to be underlined by the fact that I have normally been wearing the same coat and have usually used an orange bag in which to collect my finds.
I contemplated publicising this so that people could watch the performance; but on further consideration I concluded that this could potentially distort the work - if it was widely known when and where I would be collecting the detritus from human activity their would be a risk that some would deliberately leave items to be "found" - this could not only distort the art work but could be seen as irresponsibly encouraging people to litter the beach; whereas I hope that a positive byproduct of the work might be to encourage people to at least carefully gather all their own rubbish and to properly dispose of it, if not to gather at least one additional item so that all work together to not only maintain, but to improve that local habitat.
Research VisitPosted by Richard Sun, February 05, 2012 15:22:47
As I have continued to reflect on last weeks visit and researched some of the artists whose work I viewed I have been aware of a range of thoughts and conclusions.
1. The Work of Lamia Joreige, Objects of War [Level 3: "Poetry and Dream" (Room 7)] - here I was intrigued and attracted by the installation, far more than the actual work. I enjoyed the four monitors with headphones and the associated display cabinets containing objects - it has prompted me to consider this as a possible starting point for my own installation for the MA degree show next year.
2. Braco Dimitrijevic's Resurrection of Alchemists [Level 5: "States of Flux" (Room 5)] - I enjoyed B.D.'s use of humour/iorony/satire as one was torn between watching the speaker and the ever increasing number of news tracker like feeds that were forcing him into an ever smaller space on the screen. Initially I found my self almost automatically drawn to the text and then I made a conscious effort to focus on the speaker but continued to find my self still drawn to the text and having to make an effort to refocus on the speaker. I really enjoyed this sense of the art work playing with my viewing experience.
3. Guy Tillim and Günther Förg Architecture and Power [Level 5: "States of Flux" (Room 10)] - G.F.'s photographs of buildings built for Children's Holiday Camp were incredibly moving and depressing, they seemed to evoke something of the cold war, of conflict, of oppression; especially when coupled with G.T.'s images of apartment buildings and a hotel, in Beira, Mozambique.
GeneralPosted by Richard Wed, February 01, 2012 18:57:11
To day it has been good to watch 4 videos from Channel 4's The Genius of British Art
I re-watched Hogarth and was again struck by the integrity of his social or moral subject.
The Landscape and Flesh programs challenged my preconceptions and made me realise that there is much more depth to landscape imagery than I had really acknowledged.
While the Modern Art program included a number of good interviews, including: Tracy Emin; Gilbert & George; Damien Hirst; John Lydon [Sex Pistols]; and Grayson Perry. All of which have given food for thought - they were all seeking to speak out on concerns that really mattered to them personally.
It is important too for me to try to maintain such integrity in my work and practice. It still somewhat troubles me that my works that seem to be the most sellable are those that tackle the issue of people trafficking; this seems rather contradictory and incongruous.
Research VisitPosted by Richard Tue, January 31, 2012 21:21:27
This was a fantastic but somewhat overwhelming evening - especially following the productive day - so much so that I am still trying to process it all.
The Highlights included:
Tacita Dean - Film
Poetry & Dream - work by surrealists and others who valued the power of dreams and the unconscious. - It was good to see a pile of Ai Weiwei's sunflower seeds at close quarters.
States of Flux - a fascination with change, modernity, everyday life. - especially room 10 Architecture & Power.
Photography: New Documentary Forms - I especially enjoyed the work by Mitch Epstein and Guy Tillim.
Research VisitPosted by Richard Tue, January 31, 2012 20:05:11
This was a moving exhibition, it showed that gin remained a problem a century after Hogarth.
The video based on the text of his night walks and using current video footage from 2011 was particularly evocative - clearly demonstrating that the problem of social injustice remains with us 200 years after his birth.
I also found the final information panel - about Dickens's Legacy to be very apposite, viz:
... Dickens tracks a changing society in an industrial age. Many aspects of his work are profoundly unsettling, especially his insistent descriptions of the terrible living conditions of the poor whose sufferings were largely ignored.
Dickens's ultimate aim was to reform and improve society. He attacked financial fraud, Government incompetence, 'red tape' [a term that he invented] and inadequate education. Sadly, inequalities and poverty still exist in London, still blighting lives. ...
I hope that I can make similarly unsettling and challenging work as I seek to address issues of social injustice at the start of the twenty-first century.
Work In ProgressPosted by Richard Tue, January 31, 2012 19:52:55
As I have been further reflecting on both streams of my experimental work I wonder whether a better soundtrack - if one is needed - for the slide show would be the sound of the sea recorded at the location that I keep returning to, to gather detritus from human activity.
I am also contemplating using some images of those items &/or the location &/or the act/performance of gleaning in a future rendition of the work.
Research VisitPosted by Richard Mon, January 30, 2012 15:08:20
This visit had a number of strands or facets.
History of the Foundling Hospital
Art works Donated in 18th and 19th Centuries
There is the aspect of social history - it is the first foundling hospital and first public art gallery. It was disturbing to learn that on occasion desperate mothers would pay to have their child taken from many miles away to London and the foundling hospital, but that unscrupulous traffickers sometimes just left the child on the road en route to die.
The collection of art, mainly 18th century and some 19th century. Highlights included several works by Hogarth - etchings - Gin Lane; Four Time of Day - Noon; Vice and Virtue - plate 6; and paintings e.g. The March to Finchley, 1750; and Captain Thomas Coram, 1740 [hospital founder - interestingly he was unusually painted with his own hair, as he really was, rather than, as was the custom, wearing a wig.
The uplifting drawings of Quentin Blake as made for a diverse range of hospitals in UK and France. I especially enjoyed the images of the father meeting his newborn baby for the first time that QB made for the fathers waiting area at Angers maternity hospital.
Video Quentin Blake: hospital like 'alien planet'
The ambience of the visit was enhanced by a small chamber group practicing Handel in the upper gallery; it was good to view the works, old and new, as the strains of Handel's music seeped through the building. It was also good to briefly visit the Handel archive and to listen to some further works in specially made lounge chairs [perhaps an idea that I could adapt in some future installation].
Research VisitPosted by Richard Mon, January 30, 2012 10:56:08
I had a fantastic day on Saturday, be able to conduct 3 different visits:
The Foundling Hospital in the morning;
Dickens and London, at The Museum of London, in the afternoon; and
Tate Modern in the evening.
It still feels as if three days were crammed into one and so I am currently still processing and unpacking it all. To assist in my ongoing reflections I am going to reflect on each of the individual visits in subsequent posts.
It was good that it was possible to allow some time and space between each visit so that I could be assimilate them and so that it did not all merge together. I found Dickens and London to be surpassingly crowded, given that it was timed admission by tickets costing over £5; but I really enjoyed the atmosphere of Tate Modern in the evening, which was well supported but not over crowded. It gave me somewhat of a thrill to spend a Saturday evening at Tate Modern, that remained open till 10pm.
GeneralPosted by Richard Sat, January 28, 2012 06:49:54
It was a relief to have passed and to receive such positive feedback for my first MA [Research into Practice] unit on Thursday [2012-01-26].
[NB I have published the video Art Experiment 1 (that was submitted for RiPu) on youtube]
It has been frustrating to not yet be able to find the ocean and ecology research body with related low tide study that Carl referred to - I will need to follow this up with him when I next see him.
Yesterday [2012-01-27] afternoon I returned to the same stretch of Felixstowe beach to again gather detritus from human activity; again my partner accompanied me and documented some of the gathering photographically. As I gathered I reflected further on the feedback - about the gathering being performance - I contemplated whether this could be perhaps made more obvious by my choice of inapt clothing - such as a smart suit or my Ice Hockey Kit! This was partly prompted by the research I had done in the morning into the work of Doug Fishbone - and how in his recent film, Elmina, he as a western white man represents a black African farmer whilst the rest of the cast are all African and the incongruity is ignored.
My previous weekly session was last Sunday [2012-01-22]; on both of these 2 recent occasions it has been interesting to find more thread/twine etc entwined in seaweed on what appears to be the high tide strand line, yet the sea has been much calmer than in December - but there has been a more definite strand line and an increase in that detritus that is intertwined with the seaweed - not less as might have been intuitively expected.
Today I am looking forward to spending the day in London where I hope to visit the Tate Modern, the Dickens exhibition at the Museum of London and perhaps either the Foundling Hospital or the Whitechapel Gallery.