Research – Casting with Resin

Reading up on what to consider when using resin.

  • Releasing agent required where mould has potential to stick to resin.
  • Sample using Latex mould, however silicone rubber moulds will be stronger for repeat moulding.
  • Matt silicone moulds will give a matt finish – gloss silicone moulds a glossy finish
  • Casting moulds are better quality and more durable than baking moulds.
  • Read the instructions to know for sure what quantity of resin to mix to what quantity of hardener and how long it takes to cure
  • Be super accurate with measuring
  • Mix thoroughly – looking for a uniform colour
  • Choose the right resin
  • Get good at the basics first

Epoxy resin is:

  • best for beginners as it is the easiest to work with.
  • Has the longest shelf life
  • Most forgiving environmentally
  • Longest pot time
  • Sometimes cures with a yellow tine – check before you buy – the more colour free the more expensive.
  • Available as a doming resin which is thicker with extra surface tension, however more difficult to remove bubbles from.
  • Considered a soft resin meaning the casting can be dented.
  • Not suitable for polishing with a polishing wheel – it will not withstand the heat.

Clear Casting/ polyester/polyurethane resin

  • Generally cheaper than epoxy resin
  • Cures very hard with the hardness and clearness of glass
  • Can be polished with a buffing wheel and compound
  • Does not require recoating or a gloss spray to be shiny
  • General moisture insensitive – not affected by humidity.
  • Requires lots of ventilation.
  • Short pot time – generally 8 minutes – less than epoxy resin
  • Careful calculation of resin to hardener required (so many drops per 100ml)
    • Thin layers require more hardener to generate more heat to cure
    • For multiple layers, each layer adds to the heat effect meaning each layer requires less hardener than the one before.
  • Be aware of the end result at the beginning – measure the right amount of resin and hardener for your actual requirements.
  • Shelf Life is no more than six months which epoxy will last much longer.
  • Exposed Surface remains sticky after the resin has cured. This can be sanded off or sealed with resin sealer.
  • Likely to break if dropped.

Bibliography

Resinobsession.com. (2019). [online] Available at: https://www.resinobsession.com/resin-frequently-asked-questions/what-kind-of-resin-should-i-use/ [Accessed 3 Apr. 2019].

Resinobsession.com. (2019). [online] Available at: https://www.resinobsession.com/resin-resin-resin/mistakes-beginners-make-resin/ [Accessed 20 Apr. 2019].

 

Research – Lucas Samaras

My interest in Lucas Samaras is because of his Photo Transformations created by manipulating the wet dye on the poloroid photographic film. While the poloroid images are drying the surface is scratched, rubbed and scraped to disturb the image and create dramatic changes in the image presented.

A lot of his images are close up photographs of his own face, hands – yet others are elaborately presented theatrical scenes. Although these works are from the 1970’s they remain fresh and current with society of the present day’s compulsion towards selfie taking.

Bibliography

Schultz, C. (2018). LUCAS SAMARAS: Photo-Transformations. [online] The Brooklyn Rail. Available at: https://brooklynrail.org/2018/07/artseen/LUCAS-SAMARAS-Photo-Transformations [Accessed 2 Apr. 2019].

The Met Museum (n.d.). Photo-Transformation, Lucas Samaras. [online] Metmuseum.org. Available at: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/265049 [Accessed 2 Apr. 2019].

Latex Observations

I spent some time re-discovering the use of latex as an artist medium. Below are some observations. 

  • Latex Paint can be thickened.
  • You cant apply latex over someone’s skin.
  • Contaminants interfere with the latex when curing, though as an artist this is probably of benefit.
  • Brush Latex on in thin layers – Ensure there are no air bubbles
  • Each layer takes approximately 30 minutes to dry
  • Four or Five Layers minimum, up to 10 for larger items.
  • Poured latex will take up to 24 hours to dry.
  • Use loosely woven fabric for reinforcement.
  • Don’t reinforce areas that need to stretch
  • If latex cures overnight subsequent layers may not bond properly
  • Cured latex is more resilient to the elements
  • Use anti-fungal powder to avoid mould.
  • If using a mold, a support stand (sand) may be required to keep the shape.
  • Plaster is the best casting medium but other casting mediums can be used.
  • A hardener or thickener can be used with latex.

Research – Evocative Objects

I have been reading the book, Evocative Objects by Sherry Turkle and am fascinated by the meaning we place on objects around us, making the seemingly ordinary and insignificant possess greater significance in our lives. Certain objects can bring a sense of reminiscence for us, evoking memories and recollections from our past. The meaning that we place on specific objects can change as time passes and our memories fade. This book is a collective of stories where people are providing a narrative relating to familiar every day objects that they have pinned this sense of remembrance onto.

Using theory Turkle explores the role that everyday objects play in our inner lives and how this affinity and associations we possess for our own evocative objects brings the outer world into our inner world connecting objects to and preserving our relationships with our memories, bringing thoughts and feelings and melding our ideas and passions together.

There are six theoretical themes in this collection; Objects of Design and Play, Discipline and Desire, History and Exchange, Transition and Passage, Mourning and Memory and Meditation and New Vision. Bringing together a collection of personal stories about objects with strong connections to daily life that are then further reflected on and related to theoretical texts.

Jewellery invoking emotions and feelings about the immigration status of a mother and daughter. A student who identifies through the car she is driving who finally changes her Ford Falcon to a Station Wagon when she becomes a mother. A child with a bunny that can read her mind. A rock reminding a widow of the presence of her deceased husband. A sense of oneness between a gentleman and his glucometer akin to the oneness we feel for our modern technology. A grandfathers life-long association with his SX-70 Polaroid camera and photo transformation leaving his family with a representation of familiar people and places on his passing. A collection of salvaged photographs recovered after a fire.

Most objects have this value to people because of the circumstances in their lives around the time that the object was part of their lives. Yet some seem to have a more natural, uncanny resonance with memory, recognizable, yet unfamiliar, creating an ambiguity with what is known and not known about our inner self and the outer world.

The Knot Lady, as she was formerly known observed a student who was subconsciously using knots in her Knot Laboratory to process her feelings and emotions experienced during a difficult time in her home life, the divorce of her parents. Feeling torn between her mum and dad, she expressed these feelings of being pulled in two different directions through her knot making and also began to overcome some of these emotions at the same time. An expression of her own inner reflection on the outer world and circumstances around her. This particular story is paried with a reference to the Paris archives La Fondation Le Corbusier, the experience of visiting the archives in person to reflect on the archived drawings and their materiality and their subsequent digitisation. Observing the archives online lead to a greater sense of anonymity and a lack of connection with the physicality of the archive. The physical essence of the painstakingly hand-drawn drawings covered with directly fingerprints and smudges on the really thin paper was lost when viewed digitally.

An MIT student describing her laptop as irreplaceable may not seem an out of place ideal in today’s society. Yet her associations with her laptop may not be what would first come to mind. Her early romantic relationships were intrinsically associated with her laptop, in particular being the medium for the initial connection with her first love. So much so that any interaction with her laptop would remind her of this person supporting the idea that we can imbue an object with emotional value, bringing reminders of a person or situation whenever we associate with that object. In this particular case, the student already passionate about computers with early romantic associations is naturally reminded of love when she interacts with her computer. A reference is also made to another student with “romantic” ideals who spends all his time at his computer, but not to avoid the outside world, seeing the computer as a pathway to a web of social interactions and relationships and potentially a way to fall in love again.

The associations we subconsciously create with objects can subtly alter over time as circumstances, emotions, feelings, thoughts and opinions change and develop. We use these associations with the familiar to connect our inner being with the outer world. We can forget how these objects came to be so important or natural in our lives, yet these natural objects have historical significance to us as our lives progress.

In my current artwork I am creating associations and connections with seemingly inanimate objects to reflect on memory; collective, personal, historical, social, known, unknown, fading, changing and assumed in an attempt to express the relationship between the experience of the inner self and the outer world.

Bibliography

Turkle, S. (2011). Evocative objects. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Research – Shona Illingworth

This post forms part of my initial research for my project proposal.

Lesions in the Landscape is a video installation with an immersive sound piece. I became inspired by this piece through my own struggles with memory after a period of illness.

Claire, struggling with amnesia and memory loss through encephalitis causing a lesion in her brain resulting in the inability to remember the past, make new long term memories and remember faces.

“The past existing as a space you can’t enter or feel; the future a space you can’t imagine.”(Claire, 2013) http://digicult.it/news/lesions-in-the-landscape-an-interview-with-shona-illingworth/

Illingworth collaborated with Claire over a long period of time and melded the struggles that Claire was facing with the historical struggles of the community on the island of St Kilda, now a derelict and forgotten land with only formally recorded recollection of memories written in books about the island.

Parallels are drawn between Claire’s abrupt loss of memory with the abrupt evacuation of St Kilda in 1930 and subsequently the loss of it’s cultural heritage as the island became uninhabited. She weaves her own experiences with that of the island and the community using metaphor as her tool for her visual communication.

In this piece of work Illingworth is keen to show St Kilda in it’s current place in history as a MOD Weapons Testing range with a large radar installation and even the act of genetically mapping a species of sheep.

Although appearing outwardly uninhabited, having a life that continues, albeit without the historical community that was forcibly moved from there in the 1930’s. Very relevant still in today’s climate of migration.

Questioning how we are remembered when we are gone and what version of our history exists beyond our own existence. Claire’s experience of personal memory relies on and is influenced by the perceptions of the people around her.

Her Amnesia Museum is portrayed as an archive of forgetting, using photographs and other documentation to map amnesia as it develops in the present and can be imagined in the future.

“You can’t imagine the future if you don’t have memory…And if you don’t have a diversity of memory, then in some senses you inhibit the capacity to imagine the future” (Shona Illingworth, 2015). http://digicult.it/news/lesions-in-the-landscape-an-interview-with-shona-illingworth/

An analogy for the neurological experience of amnesia, the ‘island with inaccessible cultural memory’, embodies the phenomenon of lost connection and without memory it is not possible to imagine the future. http://shonaillingworth.net/lesions-in-the-landscape

Memory is so intrinsic to our identity – both on a personal level, as is the case with Claire, just as it is with a community of island dwellers from St Kilda. If there is no-one there to remember them, how does the island exist in the public consciousness, and in what way is their history told? Which version of them lives on and how is the future of the island constructed? http://digicult.it/news/lesions-in-the-landscape-an-interview-with-shona-illingworth/

Bibliography

CGP London (2016). CGP London | The gallery by the pool | Lesions in the Landscape. [online] CGP London. Available at: https://cgplondon.org/lesions-in-the-landscape/ [Accessed 25 Oct. 2018].

Film London (2016). Shona Illingworth, Lesions in the Landscape, 2016, excerpt. [online] Vimeo. Available at: https://vimeo.com/167723877 [Accessed 25 Oct. 2018].

Hawkins, K. (n.d.). Lesions in the Landscape by Shona Illingworth. A report from FACT Liverpool. [online] Digicult | Digital Art, Design and Culture. Available at: http://digicult.it/news/lesions-in-the-landscape-an-interview-with-shona-illingworth/ [Accessed 25 Oct. 2018].

Illingworth, S. (n.d.). Lesions in the Landscape – Shona Illingworth. [online] Shonaillingworth.net. Available at: http://shonaillingworth.net/lesions-in-the-landscape [Accessed 25 Oct. 2018].

Illingworth, S. (n.d.). The Amnesia Museum. [online] FACT. Available at: https://www.fact.co.uk/artwork/the-amnesia-museum [Accessed 25 Oct. 2018].

Research – Rachel Whiteread

This post forms part of my initial research for my project proposal.

Rachel Whiteread came to my attention mainly for the piece House (1993) where she had cast the interior of a house in concrete prior to it being demolished. This spoke very much of memory and history of the many people who had lived and visited the house when it was alive. It appears to me very much like a sarcophagus a tomb filled with memories and lifetimes that will only be remembered through this installation.

The piece Ghost (1990) where Whiteread sculpted the inside of a bedsit in London was the precursor to this work and in essence a smaller scale first attempt at the process.

Exposing the perpetual space around us, her work speaks of the disregarded small expanses of our daily lives that invoke memory and recollection inside the buildings and architecture.

What I was inspired by in this work is the concept of casting the space, not so much exterior but the interior and the previously inhabited space. The concept that there are signs of human life all around us and conspicuous in the spaces that we inhabit and while we may look no further than the objects that inhabit the space, the space itself has its own story to tell.

Bibliography

Artangel.org.uk (n.d.). House. [online] Artangel.org.uk. Available at: https://www.artangel.org.uk/project/house/ [Accessed 25 Oct. 2018].

Chadason, K. (2012). Negataive Space with Rachel Whiteread. [online] Trendland Online Magazine Curating the Web since 2006. Available at: https://trendland.com/negative-space-with-rachel-whiteread/ [Accessed 25 Oct. 2018].

Cohen, A. (2018). When Rachel Whiteread Turned an Entire House into a Concrete Sculpture. [online] Artsy. Available at: https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-rachel-whitereads-house-unlivable-controversial-unforgettable [Accessed 25 Oct. 2018].

Sharpe, E. (2018). Rachel Whiteread’s breakthrough work Ghost gets complex conservation treatment. [online] Theartnewspaper.com. Available at: https://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/rachel-whiteread-s-ghost-given-new-lease-of-life-by-cross-discipline-team [Accessed 25 Nov. 2018].

Tate (n.d.). Rachel Whiteread: EMBANKMENT: About | Tate. [online] Tate. Available at: https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibitionseries/unilever-series/unilever-series-rachel-whiteread-embankment-0 [Accessed 25 Oct. 2018].

Tate (n.d.). Five Things to Know: Rachel Whiteread – List | Tate. [online] Tate. Available at: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/rachel-whiteread-2319/five-things-know-rachel-whiteread [Accessed 25 Oct. 2018].

Ward-Aldam, D. (2013). Ghost House: 20 years since Rachel Whiteread’s ‘House’ | Apollo Magazine. [online] Apollo Magazine. Available at: https://www.apollo-magazine.com/house/ [Accessed 25 Oct. 2018].

 

London Fine Art Trip

I decided to make the most of the opportunity for a visit to London and stay for two days. After researching current exhibitions, I wanted to visit the Space Shifters exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, the Tate Modern and join the group from college at the Victoria Miro to see the Yayoi Kusama exhibition. These two days became a moment in time where I was able to see artwork that alters the perception – definitely a mind altering two days.

Hayward Gallery

My first stop was the Space Shifters exhibition at Hayward Gallery. Warned as I entered, that the exhibition is design to make you feel disorientated, the Space Shifters exhibits certainly met that objective. An awe-inspiring collection of work from 20 international artists with eye-catching sculptures and installations throughout.

Alicja Kwade’s piece WeltenLinie (2017) is a steel structure that uses double-sided mirrors and cleverly situated objects. I found myself tentatively navigating the structure, not always sure that I was looking through the object or at a mirror. The structure seemed to become almost a landscape in its own right with my perception of the space being somewhat greater than my perception of the objects.

img_1589A turntable originally used by the American military and repurposed into the Untitled Parabolic Lens by Fred Eversley. The process used by Eversley to create these parabolic sculptures intrigued me. Using a potter’s wheel to create moulds partially filled with liquid polyester that forms a symmetical curve once cool and hardened. Being able to look through this piece as well as at this piece gave the potential for different perspectives that would be continually changing depending on the light and the people around the piece. I really did feel this was a glass piece when I first saw it – reminded me very much of a prism that I had as a child.

The main reason I wanted to attend the Space Shifters was to see Narcissus Garden by Yayoi Kusama. A collection of stainless steel orbs as an installation. First displayed in the Venice Biennale in 1966 as a large-scale intervention, with the plastic mirrored spheres sold for two dollars a piece. A surreal landscape of glistening reflective orbs I found myself drawn into the reflective nature of the piece, attempting to identify markers in the room within the reflective surfaces.

Fascinated by architectural structures and gallery spaces, I always enjoy visiting the Hayward for the purely enjoying the space that this gallery embodies. The Square Tube Series by Charlott Posenenske blended effortlessly with the architecture of the building, so much so that it would have been easy to overlook the piece as part of the building. Prefabricated galvanised steel units that at first impression seem to have always been there, as part of the fabric of the building – yet on closer inspection they follow routes that lead to dead ends – open into nothingness and simply do not make sense – subverting the space that they inhabit.

Having seen the piece 20:50 (1987) by Richard Wilson when it was previously exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery, I was not even sure I would queue to see this piece. However, in the end, I did queue and it was very worth it. The two viewings gave me completely different experiences. At the Saatchi Gallery, I had viewed this piece from a balcony above that gave me the essence of the reflection in the engine oil, but little else.

At the Hayward, however I unwittingly walked along the inclining narrow passageway into the centre of the room I immediately experienced a sense of vertigo. This was strange for me, as it is not something that usually bothers me. I really had to struggle in my mind to remind myself that I was standing on the floor and not on the edge of a parapet far above the reflections of the ceiling around me, even if that is how it felt.

The Sky Mirror, Blue (2016) by Anish Kapoor dominates the outside sculpture terrace. I had plenty of time to watch this piece as I queued for 20:50. This concave mirror turns the space around it upside down and appears almost like a portal into a different dimension as we can look through the piece at the reflected skyline above.

Tate Gallery

In particular, I wanted to re-visit the Artist Room for Joseph Beuys, however found a few interesting things to see whilst I was there.

The end of the Twentieth Century (1983–5) by Joseph Beuys an installation of basalt rocks roughly measuring between one and two and half metres in length with a cone shaped hole drilled into one end. The holes smoothed and voered in felt before the previously removed polished basalt placed back into each of the holes. Prior to Beuys death in 1986, the work had not be installed.

This work suggests a relationship between the natural ancient world and the new world that we live in today. His ecological concerns during this final stage of his life may have been of influence in this piece.

img_1949I happened upon The Clock (2010) installation by Christian Marclay quite by accident. Prior to viewing the piece I had no real understanding other than it was a film called The Clock. I soon realised that this montage of film was running in local time and I then realised that the film was a 24-hour piece. The film covers many thousands of film clips collected from decades of cinematic history. I became quite intrigued. Not only by the fact that the film serves as an accurate way to measure time, but by the painstaking research that must have taken place prior to the film being produced. I sat for 45 minutes watching this film and could have quite easily sat for many hours – quite an achievement for someone who gets bored easily.

The Between Object and Architecture

The Between Object and Architecture exhibit at the Tate modern shows a collection of sculptural pieces in a way that is more engaging for the viewer. Given my interest in architecture, the geometric shapes and configurations were interesting for me to see.

The artists in this exhibition used materials found in the everyday buildings around us; some materials used were from construction and others from building sites and the street. The aim was to provide a more direct encounter with the sculptural objects for the viewer.

The Passing Winter (2005) by Yayoi Kusama was the piece that I wanted to see prior to visiting the Between Object and Architecture exhibit. I was intrigued to know how the process of making for this piece.

A glass cube placed on top of an x-shaped pedestal, which is lined on the inside and outside with mirrors. Each side has three circles cut into the glass revealing an infinite world of circles in the middle of the cube. The circles seem to float with the surface altering depending on the position of viewing and the light in the room.

I really enjoyed being able to interact with the Pavilion Suspended in a Room I (2005) by Chrisina Iglesias. You are encouraged to navigate through the latticed panels providing a sense of being enclosed and detached from the rest of the room. Initially the panels appear to be matting suspended from the ceiling, yet on closer inspection words begin to appear in the panels. These words are taking from the science fiction novel

Rendezvous with Rama (1973) by Arthur C Clarke. This piece relates to a series by the artist known as Celosia (Spanish for jealousy or slated shutter/blind).

Drawn to the piece, Stack (1975) by Tony Cragg, and fascinated by the every-day materials used to create a solid cube by packing them together, wood, magazines and building materials making the cube personify the layering found in geological structures.

A suggestion towards our relationship with the natural world and the impact of man on nature, using the man made to represent something you would see in the natural world.

Victoria Miro Gallery

I was very fortunate to visit “The Moving Moment when I went to the universe” exhibition by Yayoi Kusama at the Victoria Miro gallery. A collection of works from the My Eternal Soul series, a series of bronze sculptures (pumpkins and flowers) and the large mirrored infinity room.

On arrival we were ushered three at a time into the “Infinity mirrored room – my heart is dancing into the universe, 2018” to spend 60 seconds in the otherworldly installation. The inifinity room with mirrored walls filled with paper lanterns with changing coloured lighting inside. Not enough time to fully appreciate this room and feel the effects that it might have on you, however even just that short space of time was enough to make you feel you had stepped into another realm.

The Bronze Pumpkins exhibited reference the cultivation of seeds by her family and her fascination with the natural world. A plant that appears repeatedly throughout her work, appearing in prints, sculptures, installations, paintings and environmental pieces.

In the garden were the painted bronze Flowers that speak all about my heart given to the sky (2018).

img_2238Upstairs in the gallery were paintings from My Eternal Soul series. These large-scale canvases now form part of a collection of hundreds of works. They are surreal and colourful with a strong representation of repeating patterns reminding me almost of ancient populations and shamanic symbology with geological structures and patterns.

Having not painted for some time, these paintings have inspired me to pick up a paintbrush again and continue to paint from my imagination, akin to the paintings of my earlier years.

Parasol Unit

I was especially interested in the exhibition by Heidi Bucher combining some of her latex works created during the last two decades of her life including films that document her whilst working with the latex pieces. Known for her casting of room interiors, objects, clothing and the body using latex skinnings. The skinnings create a lasting physical impression of something that held a memory for her. What I found interesting was the process of lining the objects with a gauze or mesh before adding the liquid latex and removing when almost dry. The addition of the gauze creates a stronger final material for display.