T1-MMT-P5-s6 Tentative first steps

My last post ended “I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next” (28-Feb-2016). True, but not complete. I’ve been writing and thinking about this Stage so much now it comes to doing I’m a bit daunted. Still, the structure remains – research, sample, record, sort. I don’t have a predetermined result, I’m working in a terrain of uncertainty. I’ve got what I said I wanted.

There’s a lot of cross-connecting going on between research, sketchbook, general thinking, and initial sample-making. This post is going to outline progress to date, with some detail included in later posts. It’s a jumble – welcome to transparency and the inside of my head.

Research has started with Eva Hesse. That’s ongoing. The critical thing at the moment is seen in the sketchbook.

p5-sketchpage 061 20160227

p5-sketchpage 061 20160227

Hesse made serial art, deliberately using a form repetitively with some kind of progression or permutation. Above is my sketch and a photo of Hesse’s sketch for Repetition Nineteen. There are nineteen vessels, similar but not identical, which could be arranged on the floor. Brigitte Kölle writes “Paradoxically, it is precisely this principle of ‘similar-yet-different’ that intensifies the impression of the repetitive. And it is the repetitive character that emphasizes the small variations and alternations that much more clearly” (Kölle et al, pp 31-35). It brings a sense of temporal duration, and can cause unease in being regular yet not. Reading Kölle took me on to George Kubler and a “history of things”, “reunit[ing] ideas and objects under the rubric of visual forms” (as compared to ugly ‘material culture’) (Kubler, p. 9). I wonder about the “usefulness” of my sample vessels, in what I understand of Kubler’s sense that all made objects must be useful in order to be made. Plus there’s the attraction of the power and the theoretical underpinning of repetition. Have I chosen a less satisfying path?

Sample p5-11 series

Sample p5-11 series

I used gimp to create copies and small variations of sample p5-11, to simulate a possible series. I can imagine that path as enjoyable and with attractive results. But I don’t see it as very risky.

A recent thread on the OCA student forum led me to a TED talk by Luke Syson (Link).

The “useless” vessel that Syson discusses has nothing in common with my explorations, until he makes a link with the fantasy of London’s skyline. An element of fantasy and imagination – I’d like to think that my pieces exhibit some of that. Variety rather than repetition can make its own impact.

Following up an earlier idea, and wanting to explore and celebrate some of my fantasy shapes, I used the 3D pen to “sketch” sample p5-7.

p5-sketch with 3D pen in progress - sample p5-5

p5-sketch with 3D pen in progress – sample p5-5

As in previous use of this pen, it really had me focusing in on the shape of the sample.
p5-sketch with 3D pen - sample p5-5

p5-sketch with 3D pen – sample p5-5

The end result is a series of interesting shapes, which may be useful in later compositions.

Sample p5-10 detail

Sample p5-10 detail

Sample p5-10 (14-Feb-2016) surprised me with distortions in the plastic horsehair when heated. I decided to try the 3D pen as the source of heat, and ended with some little fantasy flowers.

p5-sketch with 3D pen - fantasy flowers, with p5-11

p5-sketch with 3D pen – fantasy flowers, with p5-11

These make me smile. Using one of my vessels as a normal vessel – a vase! Outlandish.

p5-sketchpage 062 20160228

p5-sketchpage 062 20160228

Sketchbook work included some ideas for composition (rather literal and drab), plus a potential knot of corrugated plaster and/or resin which I think would be really interesting but not on topic for the current stage.

Finally I decided to simply start experimenting – find an interesting spot, put together some groupings, record. No pressure at this point, just seeing what happens. There’s a lot of photos here – in fact this could be my series of small variations. I’m going to number and show each variant attempted, with some later sketching thinking about potential further steps.

This set was taken on the concrete floor of the garage, with natural light from the doorway. There’s some distracting background in the beginning. After a while I found some rusty metal shelves to provide a background.

Sample p5-14

Sample p5-14

Although a couple of samples are balanced at an angle the overall effect is very static. The eye simply moves in a circles around the central part of the image.

Sample p5-15

Sample p5-15

Possibly taking the photo from a lower vantage point would help. No positives here.

Cropping adds impact beyond simply getting rid of a distracting background. There’s a bit more movement.

Sample p5-17

Sample p5-17

p5-17 variation

p5-17 variation

Although the tiles create differences in height it is not apparent. A change of viewing angle would help. More chunky layers are called for.

Sample p5-18

Sample p5-18

p5-sketch p5-18 variation

p5-sketch p5-18 variation

Again angle and thickness of layers would improve the result. More exaggeration in tilting of samples should be attempted.

Sample p5-19

Sample p5-19

Static, however I like the slight reflection of red/orange that can be seen in the glossy black of the lower sample.

Sample p5-20

Sample p5-20

There are some interesting lines in the horsehair plastic in this photo, but the overall arrangement is bland and the background distracting – although I like the orange of the wheelbarrow. Perhaps that could turn into a prop in some way.

Sample p5-21

Sample p5-21

p5-sketch p5-21 variation

p5-sketch p5-21 variation

How far can I push the tilt of the different samples? This is the first photo with the rusty shelving background. I like the texture.

Sample p5-22

Sample p5-22

The addition of an isolated element works quite well, making my eye move back and forward, breaking up that tight circle. There’s some interesting negative space beginning to develop.

Sample p5-23

Sample p5-23

Back in a tight circle. I need to avoid this.

Sample p5-24

Sample p5-24

p5-sketch p5-24 variation

p5-sketch p5-24 variation

Ditto.

Sample p5-25

Sample p5-25

Not the feeling I’m looking for, but I like this photograph. There’s some good depth and a swirl beginning to happen.

Sample p5-26

Sample p5-26

p5-sketch p5-26 variation

p5-sketch p5-26 variation

The resin sample in the middle provides stability – which I definitely don’t want. The sample on the left really seems to be sliding away, which is the precarious movement / moment that I’m looking for. I have some plaster shards that could be added to enhance a sense of danger. Cropped out of the sketch is the idea of breaking one of the samples. That will have to wait for later in the process, given it removes as well as adds options.

Sample p5-27

Sample p5-27

Changing the resin sample and its placement is an improvement, but it’s not exciting.

Sample p5-28

Sample p5-28

p5-sketch p5-28 variation

p5-sketch p5-28 variation

The sample on the left hangs well over the edge of the tile, but it can’t be seen. As already noted, I need to work on the layering material and the viewing point of photographs. I probably also need to be braver about placement of samples, or else introduce some discrete safety measures.

Sample p5-29

Sample p5-29

The resin sample doesn’t have huge impact, but I like the see-saw effect that is suggested. The roughly vertical lines of the shelving in the background accentuates tilt – I should take more advantage of that.

I think this is worth developing.

Sample p5-30

Sample p5-30

p5-sketch p5-30 variation

p5-sketch p5-30 variation

Better lighting to emphasize voids would be good. The background shelving curves down on the right and I think that reduces the effect of tilt in the sample.

Perhaps I can add something that appears to have poured out of a tilted/fallen sample.

Sample p5-31

Sample p5-31

A close-cropped version doesn’t really help. All of these photos were taken with me sitting on the garage floor along with the samples – clearly an issue.

Sample p5-32

Sample p5-32

I like the stretch of the sample on the left. Perhaps with lighting or angle I could make more of that.

Sample p5-33

Sample p5-33

p5-sketch p5-33 variation

p5-sketch p5-33 variation

Exaggeration of slide and angles is called for. There must be ways I can use plastic horsehair or something else to create additional movement and interest.

Sample p5-34

Sample p5-34

Not what I want, but I like this grouping of samples.

A couple of general observations:
The rusty shelves provide a good background – I want to work with these more.

Sample p5-12 - two views

Sample p5-12 – two views

The tall p5-12, although not considered a strong piece on its own, proved very useful in group combinations. I didn’t have my full set of objects with me, so will need to make sure I have all options available at the next shoot.

Angle of viewing is important.

I need an alternative to the tiles to create different heights and angles.

Reference
Kölle B., Roettig P., Gaßner S. (Eds) (2013) Eva Hesse: One More than One Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz Verlag
Kubler, K. (1962) The Shape of Time: Remarks on the History of Things Yale University Press

T1-MMT-P5-s6 Tentative first steps
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 5: A final piece
Stage 6: Prototype/maquette-making
Tentative first steps

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Fabulous figure sculpting workshop with Kassandra Bossell!

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