Tuesday, 23 November 2010

 Experimental work, changing context of work by altering its environment...

Monday, 22 November 2010

More artist references...


'The precursors of the modern museum. Wunderkammer comes from the German for 'Cabinet of Curiosities'. Over the years people would find odd, strange & fantastic items & assemble these inside usually a glass fronted wooden cabinet. '

Amy Leonard creates these assemblages inside large glass apothecary jars and domes, which appear to harbour stories and little worlds of kitch.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Yet another box....

I wanted to try to construct a box from some different materials. I have been using simple cardboard boxes which I've layered with newspaper in a papier mache style, but this time I had a go at nailing some wood together to create this rough organic box shape. I tried to incorporate some natural materials and objects within this box so it had some sort of theme, but also hints of nostalgia via old photographs etc. I think I'm starting to develop abit of understanding of composition...well I'd like to think I am. I know for my assesment I should have an idea of how my work would be dispalayed in a gallery environment. Cornell diplays his art against a plain background, on a wall, generally at eye level, which I think is probably my best option. I have however been considering buying some old fashioned wallpaper to line the walls with, but it'd have to be pretty simple and not overly distracting. I have already started looking around for something suitable, but have found nothing of relevance yet. I also have an old fashioned table cloth that I will arrange my boxes and possibly just display my boxes on a table of some sort...not entirely sure yet.

(Cornells style of presentation)

I've also been trying to create a narrative to accompany my boxes. I've been writing notes for many of the objects in my boxes, explaining where they came from, what they mean to me, and why I have kept hold of them. After making these notes I came to the conclusion that there is something interesting about letting the viewer make connections between the objects in the boxes themselves. As if giving them the tools and characters to create their own stories, or to simply piece together a memory.

Friday, 19 November 2010

I have discoverd a junk shop in Liverpool, which sells bits and bobs that are perfect for my box asemlages. The objects I bought had an air of nostalagia, and I felt as though I was buying other peoples memories. I bought a series of slides, radomly picking them from a box relying on luck to provide me with interesting photos.
I decided to incorporate them with my personal photos of my grandma which you can see here <-.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

...I continued experimenting making boxes.

I wanted to make something that would induce curiosity, and encourage the viewer to peer inside. This box simply has a round window cut into it. I further disguised what was in the box by using wool which I threaded across the space inside the box.

On a side note, I am becoming increasingly aware that I should be writing more about the Biennial. Alot of the stuff I've seen is completely irrelevant to my work, but interesting none the less. A piece that I'm pretty sure I'll always remember is a piece by Sachiko Abe at A Foundation, entitled 'Cut Papers'. This piece does exactly what it says on the tin. The artist sits high above in a white dress, in an expansive room snipping at paper which cascades down to the floor. A tall cone of paper towers down in the centre of the room, and is the result of some seven years of paper cutting. The scissors she uses are slightly amplified but the space is otherwise silent so people instinctively fall quiet.

Whilst I was in this space, a large group of school children entered and caused quite alot of noise. Sachiko put one finger to her lips, and stopped cutting paper until a quietness fell once more. I felt small, and inferior to this woman whom I had never met, nor knew anything about. Maybe it was due to her being physically so high above us spectators, or the fact she seemed so composed and sure of herself and her actions that I felt perhaps just me being there, I was polluting this pure crisp environment

Also in this space is a small room with a series of intricate drawings which I can't begin to imagine the work that has gone into creating them. These drawings, and the action of cutting paper are supposedly a form of therapy for the artist, to keep her mind occupied and distract her from reality. I can understand how creating such work would induce a meditative state, and although this work could be seen as self indulgent, the results are aesthetically beautiful. There is also a ‘white room’ in which strands of paper hang from above. This room has a magical quality in its simplicity.

Text from the A Foundation website…

'In Cut Papers Abe invites the audience to experience an intimate space in which the constant snipping of scissor blades is the only measure of time passing. At A Foundation Liverpool Abe will perform for the duration of the Biennial but be warned Abe says. “My work is neither beautiful nor meditational.” Rather it is an aesthetic paradox that locates the artist at the center of a field of reciprocal subjectivity, she is an object of the gaze that returns the subject to themselves by activating a feedback loop. Cut Papers is a series of works that create a surplus of meaning within an apparently simple aesthetic economy. It is this scenic space of perception and production that is the focus of the work.'

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Things Organized Neatly . I stumbled upon this blog which I felt related to the kind of stuff I've been looking at recently.


I also came across a chinese contemporary artist, Hong Hao and his work entitled 'My Things'. He collects all the ephemera and trinkets from his life and documents them via photography.This voyeuristic work makes you question, if you were to disappear today what would be the material left in your wake...

I had a go at using my stuff, arranged on a blank background, and then edited the photos to increase contrast etc.
I'm not particularly happy with these photos, they dont really say alot, or have any particular impact. Maybe if id used hundreds of objects on a larger scale, it might have looked more impressive but, you live and learn...

Monday, 15 November 2010

We sat together the mountain and I, till only the mountain remained...


Leggate Theatre Artist

Andy Houlden- 'Three Short Walks in Time'

This piece really stood out for me as it was unlike anything I have experienced before. It is set in a small theatre environment, in which the audience are seated in a horse-shoe formation, looking down towards the artist and an accompanying orchestra. The music that this small orchestra played was soothing, and quite beautiful, and was, to begin with, accompanied by a series of photographs.

Next the artist did a performance piece which involved a toy which marbles would be dropped into repetitively, which created a clunking sound. I got the impression that the artist wanted the marbles to drop in time with the music, but I didn't think it was quite to the beat. This really frustrated me and I found myself willing the marbles to drop on time, focusing on the rhythm intently, becoming increasing agitated. After watching this performance, I discussed my frustration with my friends, who didn't seem to have noticed that it wasn't quite in time. Maybe I was being overly picky but this slight clash of rhythm made the beautiful music irritating...

This same thing happened whilst the artist repeated the statement 'we sat together, the mountain and I, till only the mountain remained'. I focused on the artist concentrating on the conductor, waiting for his queue, on occasion he would miss the queue, and I felt uncomfortable watching him try to find the rhythm again. The statement itself was really quite profound. During the rendition, when not consumed by keeping a rhythm in my head, I could imagine a snowy mountain, with a man sitting huddled at the top, waiting to die. The phrase 'till only the mountain remained' suggests that the mountain will last eternally, but mortality will take hold of all of us human beings and links to themes of existentialism and time.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Joseph Cornell, the reason I didn't completely give up on art. After a disappointing assessment I began to question whether I really understood fine art. I'd spent so long faffing about trying numerous things that never quite worked until I had a go at making my own Joseph Cornell style piece. I used objects and images that I'd collected throughout my life and created assemblages within boxes. Some of the pieces I made contained objects which related to each other, or told some form of story, and others were simply a collection of intriguing things. I thought there was something interesting about leaving the viewer to work out the connections between the items in the boxes and creating their own narrative. I found the process of displaying my personal belongings in these boxes quite nostalgic and satisfying, as if keeping hold of this crap (for lack of a better word) finally paid off. The following photos are Cornells pieces, and below them you can see my attempts....

<--A few photos of my stuff, its a lot more cluttered than Cornells work. I was advised to try and break out from the constraints of the box, and perhaps see the box as a window or a frame. This was easier said than done. I did however find some little photo slide things (not sure what they're called) which allowed light to shine through which worked pretty well.

This box had an anti-romance theme to it. It stemmed from my hatred of 'love- hearts' sweets. I just find them revolting on many levels. The taste, the sickly sweet messages, the texture...I'm not bitter or anything. The up-turned Eiffel tower, clocks, keys, chains etc all relate to this theme of love and romance on some level.

Coffin shaped gift boxes- does changing the shape of a box change its connotations? I think its safe to say is does.

I made this series of boxes in a period of desperation. I felt the need to make something physical in the hope that it would spark something interesting. Aesthetically I quite liked how when I placed them in a pile against the window in my studio space, how the light shone through and revealed layers of imagery. Especially on this old lady's face : ).

Experimental work with thread...I was simply trying to occupy space within boxes though various medium. I played around with light and shadow, and was pretty pleased with the photos I ended up with. I looked at an artist who draws with thread, Tabitha Kyoko Moses, which was really interesting. Her delicate thread drawings were simple yet beautiful like spiders webs.

I also looked at.. Lee Mingwei, The Mending Project, situated at the old Rapid hardware building.
In the Mending Project, Taiwanese artist Lee Mingwei invites audiences to bring articles of clothing that require mending. However, unlike a tailor whose goal is to hide the tear and restore the article to its original state, Mingwei’s gesture celebrates the rip by leaving a visible mark of brightly colored thread, chosen by the participant.
The core of the project is the conversation between the participant and the mender as he/she repairs the garment. The gallery installation consists of a custom-designed wooden table, 2 chairs (one for the mender and one for the audience member) and a wall dotted with cones of embroidery thread, each attached to the items of clothing it has been used to mend, which are then folded on the desk

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

More experiments with mirrored boxes...

I wanted to try to continue using natural objects in my work so I incorporated them in with my mirrored box idea. The mirrored card I was using was pretty hazy, so the reflections were generally just vague outlines, capturing just colour, which quite interesting.

OK, I'm not gonna lie, this project started out pretty badly. My ideas were all over the place and I had no direction whatsoever. I'd faffed about for a good while over the summer, looking at microcosms (ridiculously hard place to start) and experimented , trying to create images of bacteria using precious objects (jewelery/chains/beads) and  editing the resulting photographs, which is what the purple coloured photo here illustrates. I was inspired to do this by the artist Luke Jerram who made glass sculptures of viruses like HIV. Anyway I eventually moved on to the idea of manipulating nature. It led me to look back at a project I had previously done, where I had created 'boxes of sky'. There is a link there, a pretty poor one, but it's there, as I was taking something natural, (the sky) and manipulating it through containing it. I liked the idea of being able to hold the sky in my hand and also how tactile the piece was. Anyway my tutor encouraged me to continue looking at boxes and further develop this idea, which is what I went on to do...