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Feb. 20th, 2013

A Seed of a Degree Show Idea...

Wed, 20/2/13

6FP005 - Self Directed 2

Weekly Thoughts & Plans

I started off during the past week simply finishing ongoing pieces of work, such as my current 'cut-out' piece.  Feedback from a previous tutorial suggested i cut this piece further so it it became uneven and disordered.  I wasn't sure about doing this, partly because i felt i was destroying the time consuming hours i had put in carefully cutting out each shape.

Disintergrate (2013)

However having since done so, in taking more canvas away, i feel it's made the piece more complete.  In effect i now feel it has begun to represent what my practice is about, and the new aspects creeping into the work.  Recently the themes and concerns in my work have centered on the traditional elements and viewing of a painting and rearranging these elements.  For instance in a previous piece Crumple (2012), i was asking the question of 'What if the frame were taken away?' - a stretcher being the traditional support for the surface - but instead i had just a painted surface, in which consequently had to be presented on the floor.  I now feel it has developed into asking 'What if the canvas were taken away?', so now the support remains but the canvas has become increasingly fragile.  By taking things away - the ideas of a traditional painting then start to become something else, so i think i am also asking 'At what POINT does it start to become something else? How far can a painting be stretched until it no longer represents a traditional painting?  How far can you push it?' So the work still continues to be about blurring boundaries, inparticular, blurring boundaries between art and craft, painting and sculpture, and this is what previous works such as Blue Bloom were also about.  I also feel these new works have given me the chance to explore elements of PERFECTION and IMPERFECTION, and our psychological attachments to patterns and repetitive processes more freely, so these themes have begun to take more of a centre stage in my work.  Artists that have really inspired me over the past week include Jill Townsley and Ed Pien.

Jill Townsley - Spoons

Jill Townsley is an someone i discovered whilst browsing on the arts site Axis Web, who specialise in representing both emerging and well established artists.  Her work strongly spoke to me in terms of the media she uses, such as everyday materials like plastic spoons and elastic bands (above) but also her concerns in her practice, which centre on intensely repetitive processes of making.  Although the work to me and to many is beautiful and stunning, it has undergone vigorous hours and labour in terms of making, which makes me think of the limitations of the human - as many of these processes become almost robotic.  This reminds me of the work i recently completed involving the use of net curtains.  I was intensely fascinated by the beautiful and intricate forms of the patterns in these curtains (if a little old fashioned!) yet could not even attempt to reproduce them by hand, or even something similar, it just wouldn't work. So to get the effect i wanted on material i gave up and ended up printing the net curtain motifs onto the surface instead. So i really admire this kind of work that tries to mimic the work of a machine.


Ed Pien - Memento

Equally, the work of Canadian artist Ed Pien has been inspiring in terms of cut pieces! His work often involves giant installations of huge paper cutouts.  This work appears to be very much about creating a mood or atmosphere - often recalling storytelling and mythical creatures.  I feel in my recent work also, it's been about creating a mood - in a way it's very much about 'entertaining the viewer'  - in this way i feel beauty and aesthetic are also important, however tacky and 'kitsch' many people think beauty to be.  I feel it plays an important part still in many practices.  I also feel with artists like the above, that it's also becoming very much about craft, and again blurring the boundaries - which is also my aim. 

Outcomes and Feedback for the Week:

I've been thinking about many ideas for the degree show, including making a huge cut out piece, that expands across the floor - which is what i had in mind for a long time.  However, due to the positive feedback of Disintegrate (above), this week i have discussed about making further huge pieces taking up most of the wall.  It has also been suggested to not only 'disintegrate' the canvas, but also the frame.  So in production at the moment is one 7ft x 4ft wooden frame, in which i will begin another 'cut-out' piece on.  It will take a very long time to complete, however i have an idea to make three of these in total if the first piece works. I think the most important aspect about this work is that they will start out as perfectly stretched taut 'paintings' but gradually become disordered, both the canvas and the frame beginning to disappear and fall apart.

Feb. 12th, 2013

Sitting on An Egg...

Tue, Feb 12 2012

6FP005 - Fine Art Self Directed 2, WEEK 3

Current Thoughts and Ideas:

Well, after last week I have really concentrated on the display of my pieces, and really thought about how attaching them fully to a frame really didn't show the delicacy of them. So this week I bought a very slim piece of wood to hang my current 'cut-out' piece on - as i feel it needs to be LOOSER and free flowing.  I have also been making sketches of possible degree show pieces.  However because i have been thinking about frames so much, i've realised my sketches only show the pieces as hanging in a rectangular and quite sombre way; whereas i really want them flowing all over the wall and floor!  I also enjoy their air of disintegration; because they are painted as fading from blue to white it almost looks like they're disappearing.  I had a great piece of feedback from a friend today about how i could concentrate on water more, gathering the pieces so they ripple - like the tide going in and out, ebbing and flowing.  Maybe even using a different material - cotton sheeting again, like i have done previously.  So over this week i plan to make some more experiments testing some cotton sheeting with my cutting method. She reminded me of an exhibition i saw last year at Walsall Art Gallery - a show by artist Jodie Carey, who had a long, net like piece of material, in different colours, suspended from the ceiling and flowing slightly onto the floor.  I remember loving this work.

Jodie Carey - New Art Gallery Walsall, Oct 2012

Tutorial Outcomes:

So from those thoughts early this morning, i then sketched an idea of a more free flowing piece of work.  I have the idea of sewing consecutive 'cut-out' pieces together, culminating in a piece similar to the above, and this idea was met generally with enthusiam.  However, there has been a suggestion to now cut the piece i have hung even more, not making the edges so straight (as it is in a rectangular shape) - perhaps making one side longer than the other.  This idea appeals to me on the one hand, because if i'm looking for a water-like piece of work, the shape of it needs to ebb and wave.  However, i do not feel my present piece on the wall is currently big enough to disintergrate any more! But it is only a SAMPLE - so i will probably try cutting it to see if it appeals.  In the meantime - i'm working on another cut-out piece the same size, which i'm planning to finish this week; aiming start another, to test my theory of sewing pieces together.

The suggestion of cutting the piece even more has come from the fact that it's been noticed my work has partly become about REGULARITY and ORDER descending into IRREGULARITY and HAPHAZARDNESS.  The REGULAR going into THE ORGANIC.  Why is an organic pattern presented on a regular ordered rectangle for instance? I do agree this is one aspect of my work and was distinctly shown in the piece Blue Bloom, at the end of last year. So i suppose it really is about how to combine the two in my work, or if to combine them at all.

Current Cut-out piece finished.

How could i make it more water like?

*            *              *

Reading & Research: Bitesize Inspiration!

Aside from idea development, making work and feedback, today i actually managed to get round to researching some current artists and actually doing some reading! At the end of 2012, I began reading a book called Neocraft: Modernity & The Crafts.  I started to read it because much of my work, is embracing more craft-like notions and laborious processes.  I have to say, it ticks many of the boxes of what i believe it about making, the maker and the viewer.  It's a book of selected essays, mostly from American critics - but it really does speak to me.  At the moment i'm reading an essay by a writer Bruce Metcalf entitled Replacing the Myth of Modernism - and i came across a passage that was so true it was worth mentioning.  He talks about the differences between Modernism and Craft - how Modernism was about autonomy and had no meaning, it was in the colours, shapes, how it was made etc, and Craft having meaning due its FUNCTION; like daily things, chairs or tables etc, or more importantly a personal, subjective meaning.  He says (from an American point of view, but i think it's everywhere) that there is no authentic meanings for people these days, which is why they look elsewhere, consequently, Craft is becoming more popular. I agree with this:

"Status symbols and TV images fail to satisfy a grwoing number of people.  One manefestation is the explosion in popularity of body piercing and tattoos, which many youth see as an uncontaminated emblem of rejection of the the mainstream, and a voluntary embrace of outsider status...Surely such drastic alterations must be motivated by a genuine hunger; while they might seem extreme, the point is that many psychological needs are not answered either by mass-market design or by fine art." p.23

I think this is so true.  And it's strange why the mass producing markets/global companies continue blindly to produce and show commodities in a conveyer belt-like way. (I'm reminded of X-Factor etc...) I think they must know that their products/logos etc do not satisfy all of us in a psychological sense but if they sell it enough - it will.  So they carry on.

Metcalf goes onto say "It remains for the craftsperson to become a scholar of the niche market, to discover vacuums of meaning (and there are many), to study them carefully, and to make objects that contain - or can take on - appropriate meanings." p.23

I feel this is so true; being a craftsperson myself in my spare time - i've SEEN people react to my crafts differently - and identify with them, so i try to tap into this when i make anything. Reading this has made me realise how many craft aspects are creeping into my Fine Art projects; and i believe what i'm trying to do is combine the two, as i feel many artists such as Polly Apfelbaum attempt to do.   Which is why for me - it's about engaging the senses, and 'entertaining' the viewer with patterns and colour in a way.  Additionally - this writer alludes to the idea that what FINE ART can mean in a gallery, CRAFT equals it in the home or on the body.  I think this is so very true.  However - i also believe EVERYTHING is SUBJECTIVE! And everyone is different - i don't believe there is any way of drawing a line between what means what to anyone.

(Added 15/2/13)

Feb. 5th, 2013

Plodding On...

Tue, 5/2/13

6FP005 Fine Art Self Directed 2

Week 2

Current Thoughts:

Recently I have been thinking about and making quite a few ideas relating to my 'hole pieces' - and over the next week it will be about continuing these 'test pieces' - one of which will hopefully be chosen to take forward for the degree show at the end of May 2013.  I have three main ideas at the moment:

1) Working with regular and irregular patterns:  From reading the writings of E.H Gombrich at the end of 2012 - part of me is strongly interested in why we as humans, are fascinated by patterns.  So by way of exploring this i've started to have a look at the Regular and Irregular.  As well as creating a large 'cut out' piece containing my usual organic, improvised shapes, i've also cut out a simple and repetitive grid on another piece.  I feel i'm more attracted to the Organic but i've been looking at overlapping the organic pattern over the top of the regular and observing the visual effects.

2)  Cut-Outs and colour:  A large part of my practice is concerned with colour, visual, optical effects and engaging the senses, inspired by the artist Polly Apfelbaum.  So i have also been making these 'cut-out' pieces and placing a colour behind them, in particular a graduated colour; i.e cerulean blue then fading to white, so when a white painted 'cut-out' is placed over the top, it appears to disappear towards the end as it matches the colour underneath - optical effects.

3) Also still thinking about the printed floor piece i created before Christmas, entitled Blue Bloom; a piece that spread from the wall all over the floor - i attempted to make it appear it was growing and liquid like.  I would perhaps like to do something similar with these 'cut-out' pieces - maybe a piece fading from one colour to the next, draped over the wall, continuing down and onto the floor.  I am very much enticed by this idea.  Or perhaps some individual block colour 'cut-out' pieces on a huge scale, hanging or draped next to one another.


I have also been thinking about the common threads in my work in which i would like to keep and continue exploring.  One of these aspects is that it always has to reflect PAINTING, from the origins of my work.  I feel the work i do currently are still paintings in many ways; but i've bcome interested in how far one can 'stretch' painting, twisting the traditional elements of them (i.e frame, canvas, surface) so it no longer represents a 'normal' painting.  This touches on what i was exploring last year which my structure, where the painting was on the inside ceiling of the structure, and the viewer had to step in to view it.  It also touches on my interest in hybrid work, work lying somewhere between painting and sculpture.  As mentioned before, my work is also about colour and engaging senses, but it's also about Craft and repetitive, endurance based repetitive processes.  For instance the repetitive cutting out of hundreds of shapes from the canvas.  I am inspired by artists that use these ideas too - for instance artist Jill Townsley, who makes beautiful structures out of day to day objects like plastic spoons and rubber bands, using repectitive processes.  It's amazing work, and i feel very related to craft.  I feel this repetitivity present in my work also reflects the net curtains i have recently been using; they were repetitively made but using machines - am i attempting to recreate aspects of the machine made - by hand?

Outcomes of Tutorial:

Ideas for upcoming work and current work were generall met with approval, however the main concern was FRAMING; i had made a small canvas that was painted all over then a cut-out laid over the top, both pieces were stretched around the frame.  However a large. faded blue cut-out i am currently working on was met with more approval, as it was just draped over a frame.  Ideas suggested included just tentatively attatching these pieces to ONE SIDE of the frame only, and also THINNER FRAMES - or even a pole or single piece of wood, so the pieces could even become flag-like.  The suggestion was to work on this display aspect over the next week.  It was also suggested to explore the aspect of shadows created by these cut-out shapes against the wall - perhaps to RAISE a piece of work of the frame slightly so the shadows cast can be seen.

An Experimental Afternoon in the Studio: Working Photos:

Experimental Canvas in colour with 'Cut-Out' piece over the top:


Experimental Large 'Cut-Out' pattern piece with a regular grid pattern underneath - not sure if this works, but i do enjoy it! :


Close Up:


Fun With The Grid....

Just some ideas! Not sure if they will go any further..............

 Grid - Cut out of painted canvas


BIT FURTHER.................!!! I enjoy the aesthetic appeal of this!

AND OFF!! Looks dilapidated and without energy, yet has a bit of character i think.

GRID - When framed - together with cut-out pieces

Channelling Carl Andre - a lining up of the pieces to the holes.  A suggestion of a friend of mine.  I really like this idea - a kind of mirror reflection.

Gridded canvas flat on floor - how it plays with your eyes - anyone see the dots?

Crumpled on floor - more reflective of my previous work - also a strange mixture of a regular, rigid formation being crumpled in a haphazard way.

*             *              *

Just out of interest, i plan to look a little more at artists like Andre and Sol Le Witt, as i do enjoy some of their work, in terms of regular patterns, i've even thought of perhaps wrapping an one of the organic 'cut-out' pieces around a wooden cube structure....it could still be considered a frame....!

Jan. 29th, 2013

The Inevitable Rollercoaster Begins Toward The Degree Show....

Tue, 29/1/13

6FP004 Fine Art Self Directed - Semester 2
Week 1

Current Thoughts & Ideas

I have really enjoyed the work i've been creating most recently, namely the net curtain prints completed before Christmas, that were all handsewn together to form one huge print.  This was displayed partly on a canvas, but mostly running over the boundaries of the frame and spreading over the studio floor.  This was really important because I strived to show my interest in HYBRID WORK, work that lay somewhere between painting and sculpture and my interest really was whether such work could exist and be catergorised as such.  This has always been inspired by the work of American artist Polly Apfelbaum and her blotted felt floor pieces.  Should artwork even be catergorised? i was asking myself.  However towards the end of the semester I believed this piece Blue Bloom to be an embodiement of such work, as it was painterly yet sculptural - so I feel it achieved what I wanted it to.

Blue Bloom, 2012, Acrylic prints on cotton sheeting

In many ways I would wish to carry these ideas forward in the coming weeks; many people thought this piece worked really well indeed. Additionally I feel it would've looked even better if it was HUGE, taking over a space and spreading itself around corners as though growing - even in different colours also.  However, there was one small important aspect about this piece in which I'm not happy with - this is that it was printed and not drawn or painted by hand. It was as hand made as possible however, I simply felt the motifs were more effective printed - I tried many things but they just didn't look as good.  But i'm inclined not to use printing again this term. 

However many things I feel are still important to explore; for instance more about this idea of the HYBRID - works spreading beyond the frame - inparticular the idea of stretching the bounderies of painting or questionning them, rearranging the traditional elements of a painting to see if it could still be called a painting.  I touched upon this in my practice last year.   I am also continually interested in creating something that looks like it's growing, almost liquid-like, as Blue Bloom does.  I love the idea of ripples or pools of colour.  Repetitive, relentless patterns are also still a strong interest. 

New Ideas:

Before the end of the year I was still thinking about net curtains and how their motifs, although machine made, interested me deeply - particularly that they were machine made and the differences between machine made and the hand made.  Using the idea of a net, I painted a piece of canvas and began to CUT my motif out - so in effect I was creating my own net.

Own motif cut out of canvas

Over the break i've continued working with this idea; stretching and painting a piece of canvas approx 4m x 2m - I began to cut out my motifs.  I've also graduated the colour, from white to blue - to experiment with visual effects; this is also what my work is about; ENGAGING THE SENSES. I am also working on a number of smaller pieces.  I mentioned these ideas during a tutorial in December and it was also suggested I experiment with both REGULAR and ORGANIC PATTERN; organic and improvised being my preferred method.  However, on a seporate piece of canvas I have also painted a white regular grid, which I intend to cut the squares out and then place the organic cut out pattern over the top - and see what optical effects there are.  I have many other ideas i hope to carry out with these 'cut out' pieces, some involving huge pieces of canvas each in a different colour; however i've also thought about perhaps placing them around a regular form like a cube shaped frame.  Another interesting idea would be to repeat the idea of Blue Bloom and make a huge piece of canvas, blending from one colour to the next with meticulously cut holes and attach it to a frame like a painting and let the rest sprawl out over the floor.  Suggested artists that have used this method of cutting out of canvas include for instance Lucio Fontana, who famously made slits in canvases or hundred of holes.

Current Working Ideas:

Cut out pieces of canvas, they have become web like.

Notice the shadows created on the white background - would make for a good painting!

Could even lay the cut out remnants against a coloured background - visual effects, river like, trailing along the floor.

*    *     *

Dec. 4th, 2012

My Head Has Blown A Fuse, Part 2...

Tue, 4/12/12

6FP004 Self Directed

Current Thoughts:

It is now week 11 and the presentation for this module is on Monday the 17th December in two weeks time.  This week i am planning to simply continue with my blue printed piece, and hopefully get it finished by the end of the week or next Monday for assessment.  However, i have also been working on further ideas, creating samples that i am to hopefully progress from the use of nets and prints. 

This has been through simply painting canvas in my usual blue shades and literally cutting out my own motif; creating my own 'net curtain' in a way.  A few weeks ago it was suggested i try and paint my own motifs over the motifs of the nets.  I tried this and to me, it just wasn't working.  In the same way hand painted motifs haven't worked on the sheeting, but the prints have worked instead.  So through being unable to produce my own motif over the netting, rather than paint it, i decided to cut it out of the canvas and place it over the top of the net, sewing it in place.

I have many ideas for these 'cut out' pieces.  For instance, doing HUGE seporate  pieces of canvas in different colours, or one huge piece on its own, with these motifs cut out of them; the canvas becomes at once very fragile when there is not much of it left! When most of it has been cut away.  Or i have even thought of printing the net motifs as usual, but onto canvas and then cutting THIS motif out, and seeing the results.

Current 'cut out' pieces

Many people actually preferred the 'cutouts' on their own, without the backing of a net curtain.

I'm also thinking about more abstract forms with these cutouts, perhaps partly cut and partly left?

Tutorial Outcomes:

The idea of these new 'cut out' pieces was met with enthusiasm and it was suggested i research the artist Lucio Fontana, whose work was simply about cutting through canvas, so the 'painting' is more of an object, and it BECOMES WHAT IT IS ABOUT; the action and how it has been made is simply there; it's not a representation of something or a depiction.  I have also recently been reading about why we are psychologically attracted to pattern and repetitive pattern, and as part fo my research i have been reading the writings of E.H Gombrich, in particular a book entitled "The Sense of Order: A Study in the Psychology of Decorative Art".  It is a very old and probably dated book now, but he mentions his theories about the decorative, but more importantly that we are attracted to repetitively due to our minds' need for regularity and order; he mentions a pavement and the regularity of the paving slabs to illustrate this. (p.) But also how easily our minds can get bored of regularity, and that 'crazy paving' is more of a challenge for our minds.*

It was therefore suggested that i could perhaps experiment with ideas of regularity and irregularity by doing a piece that combines both.  It was suggested i aquire a standard wooden painting stretcher and make a 'regular' grid on it, then over the top, place one of my new 'cut pieces' - which are organic repetitive patterns where no two shapes are ever the same - and observe the effects.  Equally then make a large 'cut piece' on its own, and perhaps place them side by side.  Ideas for colours of these pieces could be either spectrum or even gradiented colour.  I particular enjoy the idea of gradiented colour as it will give the effect the pattern is fading, perhaps into something else.  I plan to try these ideas out, but i do not plan to move into the area of regularity and Minimalism - although Minimalism certainly interests me.  I consider my work to be more organic and abstract.

*P.8 Introduction: Order & Purpose in Nature

Ideas For Assessment Statement:

As i feel i am almost definitely working within repetition and ideas of perfection and imperfection, it was mentioned that complete perfection is simply a utopian idea.  I really agree with this; it was observed that my current printed patterns were an attempt to create some kind of perfection but in the end they overlap and inevitably smudge into one another and are imperfect and messy.  While this is true that when i first started printing on the sheets i think i wanted and imagined the prints to be very clear cut - i feel the need for perfection lay rather in the surface i wanted to create -  an all over pattern that consumed something, relentless in its energy, growing and spewing out of something,insistant, but at the same time very clean.  I feel i've achieved this in a way with the printed sheets, however it needs to be much much bigger if i plan to get this message across in the future.

In terms of my own further thoughts about this - i feel not only repetition, but ideas of LABOUR and ENDURANCE almost certainly come into my work also; working through printed sheet after printed sheet has certainly demonstrated a test in oneself and the idea of repetitive labour and also craft.  It made me think of third world countries and also reminded me of the artist Ai Weiwei and his sunflower seed exhibition in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern a few years ago - millions and millions of tiny porcelain sunflower seeds all made and painted by hand by a group the artist employed in China, as a reflection of sweatshop labour.

Found here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/gallery/2010/oct/11/aiwewei-sunflower-seeds-tate-modern#/?picture=367524318&index=2

The idea of endurance also made me think of how your work changes when you have been doing the same thing for so long - again this utopian idea of perfection is never achieved due to all the flaws that happen when your mind and hands are constantly repeating the same process.  Consequently, each sheet i have printed is different.

In addition the subject of failures came up in the group discussion, and how failures are not really failures but aspects that simply didn't work, and so you've just had to do something else.  I can think of many aspects in my current body of work where this has happened.  Consequently failures can lead to successes.

One final important aspect that was covered about the assessment statement is the idea of 'So What?'.  What makes our work worth bothering about and looking at?  This is important in terms of what your practice is about - this must be made clear - but also what are you doing IN RELATION TO A PARTICULAR AREA OF ART? WHY IS YOUR WORK IMPORTANT THEREFORE?

For instance, the fact that i feel my work contributes to the area of HYBRID WORK - work that sits somewhere between painting and sculpture.

Dec. 3rd, 2012

Keeping On Carrying On...

Mon 3/12/12

6FP004 Fine Art Self Directed

Thoughts For The Week:

Last week i presented my current printed piece i'm making.  It will be approximately 8 large pieces of cotton bed sheeting sewn together to form a painterly whole; it will hopefully be spread out mainly on the studio floor in the presentation week on December 17th.  However, i have decided that one piece will remain on the frame, partly stretched, the other pieces attached to the end.  Overall it aims to be a piece of work that is overflowing a frame and seeping out onto the floor, where it becomes something else.  In a way, a painting becoming more sculptural.  I will hopefully show it this way to firstly demonstrate a kind of metamorphosis - but it will also metaphorically symbolise my journey throughout the past few semesters in moving away from a physical frame.  Additionally the pieces will demonstrate, by still being attached to the stretcher, how it was made.  I feel i'm displaying it this way because i've recently been concerned about how my work will be interpreted, and i would like the viewer to see that it has all come from painting.  Through the inspiration of artists like Polly Apfelbaum and her describing of her own work as "hybrid" and lying somewhere between painting and sculpture, i have recently realised this has simultaneously excited and bothered me for the past year.  And whilst writing my end of year statement about the development of my work, i've come to the conclusion that removing a painting from it's stretcher and placing it on the floor opens up possibly limitless ideas.  The freedom and mobility this can create is both mind blowing but also concerning; in creating 'hybrid' work, your work can be read and interpreted in so many different ways, as i found out at the critique session at Wolverhampton Art Gallery a few weeks back.  In the using of new materials and different hand processes this semester - i feel my work has moved in to this 'hybrid' category.  I've quite enjoyed it - because i love ambiguity and also work that reaches out to many audiences, not just painters, which is why i love Apfelbaum's work so much. 

However, it's also concerning because i've also felt i've struggled to come to terms with labelling myself this way and trying to 'fit' into this category. 

I realise it will attract multiple audiences but negatively the work surely presents many contradictions.  I’ve found myself wanting decorative but not literal, wanting to make ART with elements of craft, using the HOUSEHOLD items, but presenting rich surfaces on them.  Wanting to make PAINTINGS but not put them on the wall, Wanting something that is 3D but not quite sculpture.  Because I have received the impression that hybrids are in their own genre.  I believe I have attempted to work within this ‘genre’ and be inkeeping with it, but I’ve found my own work becoming very contradictive.   Can one stay within this genre and stay still? Or does one have to adhere to one area or the other, it will perhaps be that I do.   Or maybe not label myself at all!! Just make work. For the future this is what I have to address.

Tutorial Outcomes:

My ideas for the final display for this module were generally met with approval, and it was generally understood that the viewer is very important to my work; it's about capturing the viewer and engaging the senses, partly through colour.  So i was advised to test out some different colours with the prints; spectrum colours and i quite agree.  It's just finding a away of doing this - especially with printing - that isn't tacky or gimicky.  The vividness is what it is about.  I was also questionned about why i wanted to go big scale - i'm always thinking about doing very large pieces; the piece currently at Wolverhampton Art Gallery certainly set some kind of benchmark for me and i want to do something equally as interesting.  I was advised not to go big scale just for the sake of it! However it would simply be because i'm currently thinking of ways to forward my practice and take the 'unframed-ness' further by expanding on ideas of the UNBOUND or the OVERFLOWING or UNCONTAINED.  If i created anything else that was big scale - it would simply be to show the ideas of something SPREADING or FLOWING in this way - which is also what my current piece is about.  Recently i have also realised three more things that my work has touched upon; a fascination with repetitive forms and patterns, the perfect and the imperfect, and how i'm constantly struggling which what i prefer and also blurring the lines between art and craft.  This is because i feel i've employed several craft-type processes this semester, and i also wonder how this will be seen.  I plan to research these aspects in more depth over the coming week - ideally to find more of an ANCHOR for where my current ideas have come from.

Nov. 23rd, 2012

There Is No Such Thing As A Finished Piece?

Fri, Nov 23 2012

6FP004 Fine Art Self Directed

Current Thoughts For The Week

This week i've been continuing making large blue printed pieces on cotton sheet material, only using a very small piece of net curtain.  It has resulted in a consistant blooming pattern all over the sheet.  I've done it in an improvised way; not all over the cotton, there is some white space.  Origionally i was advised to do my own motifs over the top of this - however i agree with people when they've said leave it as a print and less is more.  I have preferred the hand painted and still do overall, however if it is a print then it is - you have to go where the ideas take you.  Overall i feel it is STILL handmade - there is still a big element of time and repetitive labour in it which is what my work is a lot about.  I've currently just finished my third piece; i plan to do as many as i can - hopefully at least four or five - i will then sew them together and display it as a floor piece.  I would like it to be quite large and parachute like.  I've found i'm quite intrigued by the strange shapes of parachutes and hot air balloons - i've been researching them this week, so this may be something to incorporate into my work.  However, there are two problems that concern me about this work; one is that this motif actually looks extremely effective FLAT! And left on the stretcher - so it may not work as well as a floor piece.  Someone said to me yesturday that the viewers eyes 'just follow it' so would this still work if it's crumpled on the floor? As this is my intention - CAPTURING THE VIEWER - so is this piece going to be as effective as i would like?  It is perhaps an idea to keep one left on a stretcher.  I have even thought about leaving on on a stretcher and having the rest of the pieces also attached - so it looks like it is OVERFLOWING the frame - so thsi would then bring the frame into question once more.  This is an idea to keep in mind.  The shade of blue i'm using also has been commented on - ultramarine acrylic.  It was described by someone the other day as a 'delphinium blue' - and also reminding my friend of the decorative patterned objects we saw in Amsterdam, earlier this year.  This then reminded me of the Willow Pattern! So perhaps much of this has been inspired by that trip!
Current Progress of cotton sheet prints

Delphinium 'Bluebird'  - what a beautiful flower.

I also feel another thing i have been trying to recreate in these pieces was the effect of my origional net curtain imprints; the pieces of cotton underneath my origional painted pieces of net from a few weeks ago.  I loved how the acrylic WEIGHED DOWN the light cotton fabric and gave it a stiffness.  But also how the spreading of paint on them was uneven; there was a mottled blotchiness and lumpiness of the paint - a great texture created.

In addition i am also currently working on other ideas; for instance - i've been stretching pieces of canvas and painting them blue, then actually CUTTING OUT my motif from the canvas, leaving a type of net in itself.  I've recently tried sewing this 'net' onto a piece of net curtain! So it then became a semi transparent piece of work; one can see the net curtain in the holes in the canvas.

Week 9 Lecture & Seminar Notes: ASSESSMENT

This week we also discussed as a group the assessment in about 3/4 weeks time.  For this Self Directed we simply have to display work and nothing else.  It was explained we have to display the piece(s) as professionally as possible; the work to its best advantage. 
  • LOOK AT THE DECISIONS WE'RE MAKING about display/methods, i.e THE SELECTION OF THE PIECE - why on the floor/wall? 
  • It is advisable therefore to TEST DIFFERENT DISPLAYS beforehand to see what works.  Can you SELECT THE STRONGEST PIECE OF WORK?
  • It can be TWO CONNECTED WORKS THAT LINK or ONE PIECE for instance.
  • Can you define where you are at this point in Semester 1? And the decisions made? Do you understand why you've made them?
  • What has informed this work?

In addition there is a written statement we have to provide to go with this displayed work.  There are some general questions we are advised to answer.

1. What is your general field of practice and current concerns?

What is your area of concern broadly? Define your work, the general field of practice.  Then go into more specific concerns.

2. How have you attempted to articulate or responded to these concerns through your current practice?

How you've 'made' your work 'fit' into these concerns, addressed this area.  Or have to added to an area? (Have i added to the area of having a practice within painting and sculpture for instance?)  Or are you sitting within an area? How you have introduced  new ideas day to day, decisions, why that particular medium.  (i.e why did i stick to using paint?). Any new media or technique that has completely shifted the way your work? (i.e - how printing has shifted my work?)

3. Project forward: You have the opportunity to develop and present this work for a public audience this summer, what do you think you need to address and resolve in order to do so effectively?

E.g the problems you know about in your work.  For me this is perhaps - defining what my work is about and resolving conflicting interests! Also bigger scale work, 3D issues?

What now needs to happen to the work for the degree show? It needs to be shown that YOU KNOW the problems you still have.  What works? What doesn't?

How do you WANT THE WORK TO BE SEEN? This will reflect upon the decisions of display. Are you SAYING ONE THING BUT DOING ANOTHER?


Overall you also need to pinpoint KEY ELEMENTS of research in the statement.  DEFINING MOMENTS and decisions made.  What did you read/see? How important the different artists' work was to your development. Exhibitions? Sources? (i.e for me: Amsterdam?)

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'Life After Art School'

This was quite an insightful seminar held on Tuesday morning, if not a bit Bleak though!

An important point made clear first of all was that BA Degrees to not hold the status they used to - an MA is now worth what a degree used to be.  And if anyone would like to do an MA - it is much more effective these days to do one abroad, as UK financial help is harder to get hold of, as well as Arts Council Funding being gradually shut down.   The ideal thing to do also is to work in the centre of something, i.e Amsterdam (Reichs Academy) , Berlin, London, Paris, Portugal.  Also the Netherlands and North America are generally cheaper, but you need to be somewhere where you are able to make strong networking, as this is essential in art and showing your work etc. It is a good idea to RESEARCH SCHOLARSHIPS/FELLOWSHIPS ETC, which are dependant on the country.  There are generally few options today if you want to be an artist. But also making an income from your work is exceptionally difficult and fiercely competitive.  For instance colleges in London i.e Goldsmiths - are machine like in that their students feel they must get signed up to a gallery on the opening night of their degree show.  When starting out it's important to keep low overheads, because for many years you won't make much money.




You need a system to be able to regularly produce, and it has to be full time.  Also, today, everything is connected (hence networks) 95% of artists at major galleries are already represented by a gallery.  You have to know people.

Pricing and Prices:

If a gallery is willing to buy your work, they will always offer 10% or 20% off your price.  You should agree to this because it will then validate the work for instance if MOMA offer to buy it.  If your do sell always keep a copy of the work, a record. And when selling PRESENT IT WELL and professionally to whoever is buying. In addition if you are doing a show at a gallery, solo or otherwise, a general exhibition can cost in the region on £60,000 - they're taking a risk on you and they'll make a loss if there are no sales!  However NEVER approach a commercial gallery.

When You Leave University:

You need to start building an exhibition profile, selling work so you're proven,  it's PURELY about making work and SHOWING IT. You MUST CONTINUE MAKING!


Keep it simple, don't be seen to be too desperate, and do not use business cards.  Postcards however are ok.  (for instance the artist Polly Apfelbaum's website here is brilliantly simple, i think: http://www.pollyapfelbaum.com/index.html )

Nov. 17th, 2012

A Lot To Think About....

Sat, 17/11/12

6FP004 Fine Art Self Directed

Current Thoughts for The Week & Tutorial Outcomes

For the past few weeks i have been working on repetitively painting pieces of net curtain and experimenting with the outcomes on the studio floor; aiming for the nets and imprints to eventually become large painterly objects on the floor  - in a effort to experiment with other materials.  I really enjoy the SURFACE of the nets and their motifs, and especially the imprints of them; i placed some cotton sheeting material underneath whilst painting the nets.  Overall, within the past few weeks i've been considering many different ideas.  For instance, LIGHTS underneath.  This week i placed a bulb underneath my mass of blue netting.  I really enjoyed the effect - but i feel for much more impressive display the piece itself needs to be much larger; there needs to be MORE material/netting.  Then lights can be then grouped underneath at random points.  The painted nets themselves need to take up an INSTALLATION SPACE in my opinion, only then will the full effect of this delicate material be seen. I strongly feel they need to be in much bigger pieces also, which is why i've started to sew the pieces together. 

Blue Painted net material with lights - really enjoy the folds and depth of this, and its PURE COLOUR. The light causes a curiosity perhaps for the viewer.

Net imprints, messy but pleasing to the eye i feel; curiosity again is created by the multiple all over patterns.

Overall, this is a very experimentive time for me at the moment and i'd like to think this piece is a prototype of something larger to come; i don't feel i've pushed it enough.  I've even thought of having some kind of structure underneath, as i love the idea of something more obviously 3D - i'm still thinking about the structure i did last term.  I have much to think about regarding the net material, including having to purchase some more. 

However, for the time being it was sugggested i turn my attention more towards the net motifs that i enjoy so much and the imprints i've been creating.  I feel strongly that my work this term has also been about finding a new motif, an all over consuming pattern that spreads and grows, like it's alive, creeping over the studio floor.  I think this is what i've been searching for.  In searching for this motif i feel this is partly why i was attracted to the net curtains.  Over the past few days therefore in thinking about the imprints i created from the curtains, i've taken a very small piece of netting with a leaf design on and stencilled it all over a canvas as an experiment.  The effect of this was striking and i really enjoyed the result.  So therefore i am currently making more experiments testing this motif.  I recently stretched a larger canvas and then attached a piece of the cotton sheeting over the top, inkeeping with my imprints.  I then held this small piece of netting, dabbing over it with paint, completing a printed design all over the sheeting.  I plan to now remove it from it's stretcher and create more, each time removing the cotton from it's stretcher.  Then i am thinking of sewing all pieces together so i have an overall much larger, imposing piece of work for the viewer; the size and display is very important to me. 

Repetitive 'blooming' pattern created with a small piece of netting.  Possibly one of my favourite pieces so far.  It looks so effective on a stretcher, YET i've been getting away from stretchers recently!

Still carefully arranged by hand; i really enjoy this pattern, a piece taken from an origional design to create a whole new design.

However, i do have problems with this in terms of it being a print; i do not want it to become gimicky or kitsch; i wish it to remain an abstract painting and i feel on the studio floor will achieve this.  Also the fact that it is printed once again does not sit well with me - i like everything hand painted and labour intense.  It was suggested in the tutorial that perhaps i could print and then go over the top with my own motif, hand painted.  However, in completing some further small experiments during the week i found a motif over the top of another is too much.  Feedback from others have suggested less is more, so i have simply left the design as a print for the moment.  However - it is still labour intensive in that it is only a very small piece of netting, so the repetitive act of moving the piece and stencilling it carefully over the surface in a controlled but intuitive way - could still be considered a craft. I have worked in this piece while the stretcher has been on a horizontal flat surface - i feel working on it whilst not upright has intensified the design and how i placed it.  I feel there is also other issues in that it also looks extremely effective left on a stretcher! The viewer can see the whole snaking pattern - and i feel your eyes follow it more.  So it may be that i do more of these, but leave them stretched or place the design on the studio walls in some way
for instance. 

Nov. 11th, 2012

Shooting Stars...


Sun, 11/11/12
Time: 7pm

6FP004 Fine Art Self Directed

Thoughts For the Week & Tutorial Outcomes

I'm currently continuing working with painting the net curtains, they're still mainly dark blue in colour although i've been varying a few now in different shades of blue.  I've stuck with blue as, to me - it appears more striking and stand-out.  This is what i want for the viewer.  The idea of lights underneath the nets is still really appealing; i've been experimenting with a string of fairy lights just to begin with - and i've recently been thinking about experimenting with general light bulbs.  It's important the work merely 'glows' - nothing more, and not tacky in any way.  The work is also in need of being much bigger and there are several questions here i feel i need to think about.

  • How could i go about making bigger work?  Could i sew the pieces together? This appeals strongly.
  • How could i go about making the nets more STRUCTURAL, in order to contain e.g lights? Could i reinforce the material in some way?
  • Could i infact make some kind of structure for them? I would be thinking about using something very thin and un-obtrusive i.e very thin wood or metal rod.  There is also a danger of forming well known shapes; the work will start to move into a different area, Minimalism for instance, if cubes are made.  Do i want to develop the work in this way? 


I generally really enjoy the surface and aesthetic of the nets - the see through aspect of the material - there is so much potential for it.  Also the sheeting i used underneath the nets whilst painting them have produced some beautiful imprints, i love how clearly they've come out.  I really would like to do more with these.  Could i do anything with the patterns on the nets themselves? Make them more my OWN? It was even suggested i paint my own motif over the top of the nets themselves, but i don't feel it really worked on the samples i've tried.  What other method could i use to get my own motifs onto this lace-like material?  In addition, i feel the SOLID colour i've been using so far to paint the nets works really well - how far could i take this? It's very much about the sensory experience of my work to the viewer.  Could i use another kind of paint all over - e.g metallic?  Could i create some kind of additional texture on the material with paint?  Could i even CUT out my own pattern on another fabric and apply it to the net? (applique)

Some of these ideas i will be testing over the coming week - especially in terms of making the surface more my own.

Nov. 4th, 2012

Trying To Get on Track....

Sun, Nov 4, 2012

6FP004 - Fine Art Self Directed

Current Thoughts & Ideas

I'm still currently working on the painted net curtains. Previously i have been painting them many different colours and i really enjoyed the effect - because to me and perhaps to many others, it's really hard to tell what they are, someone also noted that the yellow i'd used inbetween colours looked like rings of gold. However last week i was also advised to perhaps experiment using just one whole colour; because i really enjoyed the ultramarine dark blue i was using, i have completed some pieces of netting in just that colour.

Previous Coloured Nets - colours and folds have an appeal; engaging senses

However, it's important to note that i am not happy with working with a material that has MANUFACTURED/MACHINE MADE patterns, and i have made this very clear in my tutorials. It doesn't sit well with me not to handmake something. I feel i have been simply using the nets for inspiration for both PATTERN IDEAS but also experimentation with different materials to make my '3D paintings'. But it's also important to note that i do enjoy them; being partially see though the material has a strong aesthetic appeal in its folds. Additionally, whilst i've been painting them, due to running out of canvas i placed some everyday bed sheet material underneath. Then when i peeled back the netting it left a beautiful, yet messy imprint on the net on the sheet. I found the more paint i used on the net, the clearer the imprint would be. Again, there is an aspect of chance and imperfection in this, i quite enjoy it.

Blue Painted Nets

Aesthetic appeal of net imprints

Tutorial Outcomes:

There is some generally positive feedback about what i am doing, the only negative for me at the moment is the pieces are on such a small scale; i really want to do something BIG, that's starting to take over a corner of the studio or something. Ideas that have been suggested to me this week have been:

  • Place the netting back onto a FRAME, the netting on the front, and the imprint on the back. Observe the effect.
  • Try the netting in a different colour to the IMPRINT, try BOTH in studio space and on a FRAME.
  • Incorporate LIGHT within the netting; it's important that the piece remains in light itself though - don't put it in the dark, don't incorporate elements of 'kitsch'.
  • Draw OWN PATTERNS ON FOUND PATTERNS. i.e the patterns on previous piece 'Crumple'

I really like these ideas, because i'm not really sure where i'm going with the nets, but i can imagine doing something 3D and large in the future, with intricate materials, intricate patterns and time consuming work. In addition, i really like the idea of something WITHIN the nets themselves, embedded; the very nature of the material lends itself to hide things and make the audience curious. Also METALLIC PAINT again has been suggested.

I also actually really enjoy the patterns on the imprints off the nets, and would like to have a go at painting some myself at some point. So my plans really are to now get more net curtains and sheets!

Additionally, i have also been experimenting with lights - just rough ideas in my coloured nets:


Something growing, creeping up the wall...

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Mini Reviews: Yorkshire Sculpture Park & Leeds Art Gallery 1/11/12

On Thursday there was a visit to Yorkshire Sculpture Park and then onto Leeds Art Gallery.  I decided to go primarily for some inspiration for new 3D work.  I had never been before.  As soon as we arrived at the sculpture park i loved it; the views were spectacular.


If i'm honest, the views and surrounding, especially the huge canopy-like willow trees, were the source of the most inspiration for me; we didn't really get to see that much of the work there due to the soggy wet conditions.  However we did get to see the Joan Miro Exhibition; three rooms full of his work.  I really quite enjoyed his paintings, the sometimes scratchy surfaces of them and the colours.  I am not overly keen on his bulbous sculptures however i do enjoy elements of them; particularly the supports and holes within them, cavity like.

La Metamorphose - Joan Miro - the use of DARK& LIGHT - the boldness/vividness of the work.

However, one particular aspect of the Miro show inspired me greatly.  It was a quote from himself in another room dedicated to more biographical elements of his life:

"Things follow their natural course.  They grow, they ripen.  You have to craft.  You have to water, as you do for lettuce.  Things ripen in my mind.  In addition i always work on a great many things at once.  And even in different areas; painting, etching, lithography, sculpture, ceramics." (1959)

I find this inspiration because what he says here parallels my own practice in a big way.  I always have several ideas on the go, for instance.  I have been criticised for this in the past, but i find it useful because firstly, you have to find out what works, materials, colours, motif - whether 3D or flat or stretched etc.  Secondly, you never know when or where something will "grow" as Miro puts it.  It could be in ANYTHING; something accidental, the way a piece of canvas is folded for instance could be the leverage you need for that new body of work.

Leeds Art Gallery

One of the most inspirational aspects i found at Leeds was the Drawing Sculpture Exhibition.  Much of the work was very much to do with LINE and structure; a lot of delicate work was on display.  It's really made me think about the kind of 3D work i would like to proceed with.  For instance there were some beautiful rolled up pieces of paper, leaning against the wall by artist Anna Burnbal.  These actually looked like carbon paper and had the same inky appearence and crinkly, tissue paper like texture. There was also another in silver ink which i also find inspiring in terms of light playing off surfaces.  Another piece of work that got me excited was a few pieces by artist Knut Henrik Henriksen that involved long rolls of wood chip wallpaper covered in charcoal.  In terms of 3D this is such a simple yet aesthetically pleasing idea to me.  Finally another piece that stood out was a few pieces by artist Sara Barker.  These pieces involved very thin strips of multicoloured aluminium, bent into spindly structures and partly attached to the wall.  What i enjoyed about this was that they're not conventional shapes; they seem very intuitional and carefully made and yet were very precaurious as though about to collapse.  There was a beauty about this work for me, and i loved the contradictory aspect. 

Sara Barker Intercourse (2011)


Conversions (2011)

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