Richard Brooks - Reflective Journal

Richard Brooks - Reflective Journal

About the Artist RWB Journal

My work is informed by my personal faith, sense of vulnerability, bereavement, and, my personal experience.

My practice centres on addressing social justice issues of the human condition. I avoid making work of any individual person; so that neither, is the individual stigmatised, nor is the work unduly personalised.

Since January 2012 I have used this blog as part of my reflective journal.
Included in this journal is some of my documentation of my research; the underlined text provides links to web pages etc that have formed part of my research.
The Research Visits category includes some responses to gallery visits.

NUCA 2012-02-02

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.

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