Tutorial – 18/10/19

At today’s tutorial Jonathan and I had the opportunity to discuss where I am at with everything at the moment and in particular in consideration of the fact that I am in the middle of a house/job move to Scotland and the impact that this has had on my practice.

Despite the fact that I have been packing up my house, I was able to reassure Jonathan that I was on track with the research paper and that I intended handing this in on time in the coming week. Jonathan did offer the option of an extension, however I was keen to try and make the current deadline, particularly given that I was at the stage where every time I worked on my research paper, I was beginning to make radical changes and I felt that more time would not necessarily produce better results. Fortunately I have been working on my research paper all summer and this has benefitted me at this late stage when my personal circumstances, in effect the house move is having to take a priority.

I was able to discuss with Jonathan the impact of writing the research paper at the stage and the effect that it will have on my forthcoming practice. In effect, I am more aware of placing my artwork into a theoretical context and reflecting more deeply on both Mona Hatoum and Christian Boltanski has given me food for thought, particularly for using the senses as layers in an artwork.

I am already planning my artwork for the forthcoming months once my move is finally over at the start of November and plan on printing large scale on fabric some of the images that I had produced using Citrasolv with the intention of working with stitch on the images, I also plan to work with silicone and more specifically with resin. My intention is to focus more deeply on the video aspects of my work in preparation for the final show next year.

Jonathan reassured me that these life situations that appear will give us additional depth to our practice and that it would be interesting to see where I take the work next. We agreed it would be good to continue to keep the spiritual aspect to my work a part of what I am doing and I considered the fact that this house move and return to Scotland will bear some impact on my work moving forward.

Edit 4/11/19: Further to the thinking above on where my work might go, it’s now become apparent to me as I spend my first week in Scotland that I no longer feel an affinity with the displaced, given my return to my homeland and I feel a sense of emergence which is very definitely going to impact my work moving forward.

Tutorial – 21/06/19

Today’s discussion began with the video pieces in these two blog posts.

These videos have been created from a preliminary set of footage that was shot in my back garden and my plans are to shoot video with the Wildling on site and also using green screen.

Jonathan observed the progression that I had intended moving throughout the nine videos and we spoke about the potential for further development. Some of the discussion was spent comparing the two video’s (6 and 9) in the second blog post and the potential for continuing with both these lines of enquiry. Video 6 having a more painterly and almost abstract effect where the image is akin to oil being poured onto water and Video 9 being more humanistic.For the time being I will probably continue to expand on both of these as I see future potential in either direction.

We spoke about the potential of layering this type of footage over the painterly effects found in video 6 (see link above) and using a blur layer to soften the lines in this video too.

We also discussed my ideas around the use of a green screen and a green body suit to create a different effect (which I have already priced) and Jonathan spoke about the use of contrast to be able to achieve the same effects, which brought me onto the drone footage that I have shot where there is the contrast that will provide the required effects.

Getting back to the drone footage, again this is just a clip of the first outing of my new drone, we both agreed that there is something special about parts of this footage and in particular when the sun is behind the camera and the shadows can be seen in the images. Also the trees at the location we used provide an additional interesting quality to the footage.

Jonathan did ask me where I see this going as it progresses and I discussed my recent reconnection with spirituality and the fact that although these videos are addressing a particular context, they are beginning to evolve and speak about issues of consciousness and other-worldly beings – I see this progression happening quite naturally almost as if by accident, but actually not. I also spoke about how I have always believed that the art and the spiritual would integrate at some point and that I’m starting to see this happen in my artwork now.  Jonathan also emphasised the importance of holding onto this connection with the spiritual and that this essence provides a deeper level of perception within the artwork.

We  spoke about the qualities of  the resin work in Latex and Resin and the objects being suspended in the resin like they would be suspended in time beneath the reservoir waters. The use of silicone to make the moulds for when I plan to create large multiples of the pieces made so far. I also mentioned my idea for creating a larger resin piece that suspends multiple items rather than individual items.

The quality of light when displaying the resin and the potential to use the resin to create a projection background and the potential to project a single moving image onto the resin or a complex video piece, like the video 6 mentioned above.

As time was running out we briefly spoke about the Citrasolv and the Experimenting with Poloroids work and the potential with both of these to create images that I can then print large scale onto net curtain fabric and then stitch onto.

Overall Jonathan asked me how I felt about how things were going so far and I spoke about the fact that I had spent a lot of time making so far and that this has provided me with the space and material to focus on the video work. We spoke about the way I am using traditional making methods then transforming that material into digital and the two-way connection between the two and the importance that maintaining that connection with the traditional has for me. I do have a lot of material that I can use to further this now and several ideas that can be progressed towards the final show next year.

Overall extremely happy with the tutorial discussion and it has been a great opportunity to reflect more fully on the work that I have produced since January.

Tutorial – 18/01/19

I found my tutorial with Jonathan today to be very constructive. To date I have begun several threads of experimentation which were up for discussion.

In the first instance we discussed the experimentation I had recently completed using latex. See Roof Slates and Latex.

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My intention is to upscale this experiment to create a much larger piece and the intention of bringing stitch back into my artwork. Reflecting on my previous piece using stitch in Evacuee I do not simply want to recreate the process and apply it to this body of work, I want to develop the thinking further. For the evacuee project, I used leather thread to stitch burnt photographs and acetate together to create an assemblage. My reasoning behind using latex – that I can use stitch to bring all the slates together into one larger piece and I can begin to introduce digital elements into the work with a focus on distorting the images. Distortion of memories, facts, truth, history but also physical distortion of the digital image.

We briefly discussed the distortion of imagery through photo transfer and Jonathan told me about Citrasolv a degreaser that can be used to transfer laser print. We also had a brief discussion about acquiring copyright free archival photographs though Library and Newspaper archives.

Having printed digitally onto thick canvas fabric, I have recently order some samples on much light fabrics, these samples I then intend to use to experiment on how the latex works with digital imagery on paper and digital imagery on fabric. Why lighter-weight fabric? This project in particular continues to bring me back to the time of my childhood – the reservoirs flooded around the time of my birth. Memories of home keep flooding back to me as I think of the homes that were demolished to make way for these reservoirs. When I think of my mum’s house and my nana’s house and what objects/fabrics signify them as different to home now and this would have to be net curtains. The days we’ve spent hanging the freshly washed net curtains on the line still linger in my mind – an act that is rarely seen nowadays. So I had two samples printed, one on Organza fabric and one on Net fabric with the potential to further distort and fade the imagery.

Although it had been my original intention to print onto net curtain fabric, I discovered recently that indeed this process had also been used by Christian Boltanski in La Traversée de la Vie and the 1994 piece Moved (Menschlich). This leads me onto a question that Jonathan asked me during the tutorial – Why Boltanski?

This is a question that I found difficult to answer – indeed I have found other artist that also reference that historical post war era – Joseph Beuys, Anselm Kiefer. In previous work I too have referenced war and the effects on humanity. But I ask myself, is it really just this – why the effects of war in particular – or is it more than that – is the loss of our history or memories what is paramount. I know that for me in particular – I always have in the back of my mind that this could have been me – but for a change in circumstance. I  feel that events for all of us change and distort in our memories over time and creating art about these events is an act of remembrance and in a sense an acknowledgement of the people and the experience they went through.

Boltanski uses archival photographs, something which I am keen to explore further and the sense of anonymity from some of his works I find particularly evocative – no – we don’t know who all these people are – yet they are individual just the same as each and every one of us. Perhaps this is the inspiration I see in his work. On Artsy.net he reflects on the fact that although everyone is unique, we also disappear so quickly and the conflict we all have towards those that have passed over, hating death – yet loving and appreciating the deceased.

In the work Forgotten Children, I found anonymous photographs of children affected by the Syrian war and produced a series of Photo Etchings in an attempt to acknowledge and remember their struggle – recognising that these children are all unique and individuals just like every other person in the world.

We then discussed what had had the biggest impact on me from my recent Site Visits to Haweswater, Thrusscross & Derwent and Tryweryn. This would have to be the tree stumps that I discovered on the shores of both Thruscross and Tryweryn. The result of deforestation to make way for the reservoir, to me these tree stumps act as a metaphor for the memory of the history and events of the locations.

img_3174Having been cut down they show the memory of their demise, being soaked and dark brown and peaty showing the memory of being submerged underwater, their roots exposed reminding us that at one time they were living trees. Memories of Life, yet memories of the effects of man on the area. When I first saw them I felt as if they were crawling up the embankment and as if they were indeed alive. For something so static and so dead they still felt alive and full of movement.

As soon as I saw them I had this idea for creating a larger scale model which I could then get someone to wear and perform in at our next visit to the locations.

We had briefly discussed the fact that I felt my video work with the shirts What Lies Beneath was not stimulating and that I felt it needed some movement/performative element to add more interest/stimulation to the piece.

I feel that the tree stumps provide the perfect opportunity to gain this performative element.

Jonathan commented on the shape and colour of the tree stumps against the lightness of the shirts and the ground and that he felt this could be a way forwards with a movement based idea. He also suggested that I might introduce dance as a physical movement – something that could visually connect with the ground and the shirts. Possibly using slowness in movement with the movement of the shirts in the wind.

Another idea we discussed was also the use of a drone (which will be much to my hubby’s delight) and to be honest it was clear in the first site visits that drone footage would have been a really useful tool. Drone footage will provide a new perspective on the view of the sights an be able to gain a Just above the surface view point of the sites on my next visit.

Jonathan observed that a lot of what I am doing with this project is creating Metaphors for Memory – so many metaphors to create and lots of ideas to be working on. Feeling positive for the way forward.

Tutorial – 02/11/18

Today’s Tutorial with Jonathan has been really useful as to date I have been going through quite a lot of confusion with regards to my way forward and my Project Proposal.

I began by explaining to Jonathan the point where I’m at now. Prior to starting the MA I had been intent on my project being based upon Women in Work and I originally wrote a proposal for this as a theme. However in one of the recent group chats Jonathan had asked me if I always worked to a theme and this raised for me the fact that I wasn’t entirely comfortable with the Women in Work theme I was planning.

I decided to take time to reflect on my work over the last two years in particular and review my motivations for creating the work that I had to date. See UAL First Year Symposium for an overview of my work to date.

In short I had been focussing on the Social Political elements of particular historical incidents that had occurred locally that I felt I was not yet finished with and that I had only just scratched the surface of. My final piece of my degree, about Tryweryn had been the most potent for me personally and had affected me on a very deep level. Through my reflection I began to realise that the subconscious connecting theme throughout my work was about memory both cultural and personal, historical yet up to date and that in my photographs I had been attempting to show unearthed memories in the landscape. I created the following mind map to try and make sense of my much confused thinking.

We then discussed my perception that I have yet to develop my own particular artistic style and whether in fact this is important at all. From our discussion about this it became apparent that perhaps the important thing is the motivation/trigger that stimulates the artistic process. For some this might be using specific materials that the art then flows from the act of using those materials.

For me, I feel an empathic connection to a situation or event that I need to make art about. I then research the subject and decide on what materials would be appropriate for each project.

Perhaps I was looking for some clarity in my work that I had not yet seen. After my discussion with Jonathan I can now see that there is a clarity in my process and that is enough, that a particular artistic style is not always necessary and has been a distraction to me. I already know I’m a maker and that I see the digital realm as an extension of any work that I make and now I’m more aware that I do have a clear process – even if I couldn’t see it until now.

Whilst we were talking about motivation, it also became apparent that to be able to visit a location or site that relates to the work I am making is very important to me – being able to sense the physicality of the landscape and the emotion and feeling of the events that have gone before.

Moving on to the subject of memory we discussed my proposed artists that I am considering for contextual reference; Christian Boltanski, Rachel Whiteread in particular, and also Anselm Kiefer, Mona Hatoum, Joseph Beuys and Louise Bourgeois. We also discussed triggers of memory such as smell, location and sounds that often pull back memories that had been long forgotton. Jonathan mentioned the piece Keicheyuhea (2017) by the artist Aslan Gaisumov on display at St Georges Hall for the Liverpool Biennale 2018 and her rememberance of a life gone by brought about by the sight of her homeland.

We then spoke about my intention to bring my more successful elements of my practice forward to help me with my project enquiry. These would be introducting stitch and photography, akin to the piece I produced for the Elfennau Exhibition – Galeri Caernarfon from my previous degree.

I also mentioned the use of sound that I am going to experiment with having been expoosed to Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) sound recordings at the Liverpool Biennale 2018. ASMR recording is used for the hidden sounds of everyday life that often go unnoticed, for example whispering and the flicking of a piece of paper.

I feel using these sounds with the site specific experimentation that I intend to do will potentially provide me with a method to invoke feeling or emotion, not just through the visual communication but through an auditory method also. I definitely am keen on the idea of producing multi sensory work and my experimentation will include elements of this too.

Along with ASMR sound recording Jonathan mentioned Binaural sound recording and Directional sound recording and I plan to research these further so that I can experiment with them.

Very happy with today’s tutorial – positive and excited and now ready to begin experiementing.