Having reached the end of the coursework it’s now time to reflect on this Part and the course as a whole.
Conscious of loose ends (20-Mar-2016), having remained experimental and exploratory, this moment feels anti-climactic. I can’t point at something as the culmination of a year’s work.
What is my final piece?
I started with the idea of a collection of vessels, and there was a deliberate choice (10/1/2016) to take on the challenges of bringing more varied works together in an effective way. I have returned to that choice, questioned it, tested it, many times during the work. I anticipate that exploring the implications around this will be an ongoing strand of investigation and interest.
Reviewing work in previous parts of the course generated a huge number of ideas for potential development. My goals became more focused – using materials already identified, combine ideas from multiple parts of the course, a collection where the whole is more than the sum of the parts, to edit fiercely (18-Jan-2016). I wanted to make the spaces between just as important as the individual pieces.
I found the volume of ideas identified in the review stage almost overwhelming, a feeling that has resurfaced during this Reflection. There are so many leads unexplored, I can feel myself resisting the sweep of the course, the need to tidy up and move on. I want to move In.
Sketchbook work: The sketchbook has been a central element of my work during this Part. I’ve been much more consistent in adding to it and using it to record, to plan, to think. I’ve met my goal set at the beginning of the Part (10-Jan-2016) to step up effort in this area.8-Feb-2016 were realised in sample p5-10 (blogged 14-Feb-2016) and based on earlier research of work by other OCA students. My sample is a woven rather than coiled basket, but materials and the use of heat distortion were as first envisaged.
I need to keep extending the range of media I use in sketching – for example I tend to avoid wet media due to extra time and mess involved. Building signatures of a book as I went will help in binding for submission but reinforces the use of the default white cartridge paper.
Research: In tutor feedback to the previous assignment Rebecca recommended I really pick apart my research material. My research on Gillian Lowndes (26-Feb-2016 and numerous appearances in sketchbook and blog) was pivotal in the approach to the final presentation stage. Her use of space, volume and dynamic line is thrilling. In her work it looks effortless, inevitable, but my inexperience and struggles were very apparent.
I haven’t been able to show the work done to date on Eva Hesse, objects and 20th century art history. Reading progresses on multiple texts – Eva Hesse: 1965; Part Object Part Sculpture; Eva Hesse: One More than One; On abstract art. From a coursework and assessing point of view that’s a problem – there’s been influence on my thinking and making, but I’m not at a stage to make a coherent summary and provide evidence of that. Tant pis. That workstream is ongoing, and the personal value remains.
As well as going more deeply in some areas I’ve continued to look and read widely, but a certain flavour is becoming apparent. Gillian Lowndes, Claire Falkenstein (11-Mar-2016), Eva Hesse, June Schwarcz – strong women, quirky sculptural work.
Taking risks:Sample p5-4, inspired by research on June Schwartz, seemed risky, “out there” and unpromising at one point (28-Jan-2016). When recording the sample my attitude to it was ambivalent (31-Jan-2016). Having worked with it extensively later in the assignment I’m amazed now to read my earlier comments – I find it dynamic and exciting, very useful to create movement and links in compositions, and the materials and methods used seem a totally reasonable development of previous work. My appetite and perception of risk seem to have changed entirely. Sample p5-7 (14-Feb-2016) is an example of risk layered on risk. It began as sample p3-50, rope encased in plaster. It was “developed” into p3-53 (1-Oct-2015), using repeated throws onto a cement floor. In the current Part the remains were further developed using layers of dribbled resin to create a bowl form (14-Feb-2016). It could be termed a failure, partly due to technical issues – grainy resin, large sections of plastic mold remain embedded, structurally unsound… but an interesting and different version of the basic vessel shape, full of voids and protrusions. It was later taken still further, “sketched” using the 3D plastic pen (6-Mar-2016).
My post presenting p5-7, 14-Feb-2016, provides a representative mix of risks, successes and failures. There are leaps of development from earlier samples, pushing the properties of my chosen materials.
The most influential research was of Gillian Lowndes (26-Feb-2016). A way to get deeper into the research, to pick it apart as recommended by my tutor, was given in a workshop with Ruth Hadlow (25-Feb-2016). The insights gained provided a means of moving beyond the balanced centre-of-the-page compositions I had been stuck on – as noted by tutor Rebecca Fairley.
The transition from Lowndes’s work on the left above to mine on the right looks strongly derivative, but there was actually quite a journey in selecting my background and props, and this was one of many arrangements.
The journey actually started by questioning once again my choice of variety in objects (6-Mar-2016). It then moved on to a very static, centralised arranagement. However some combinations of greater interest were achieved, and reflection in the sketchbook helped me move further. Experimentation included black and white photographs and different viewing angles(12-Mar-2016). Works seen in different exhibitions reminded me of the wrapping exercises earlier in the course, and led to another photo variation (18-Mar-2016).
I have printed a number of the photographs on A3 glossy paper for submission to assessors. They look much better in that medium than in blog-sized versions. Recent sketchbook work (not yet posted) has identified the appeal of photographs printed onto watercolour paper and I hope to produce some prints taking advantage of that texture before finalising my submission.
Experiments with video provided another means of experimentation with presentation. Early attempts were focused on recording individual samples – 2-Feb-2016 and 19-Feb-2016. A more ambitious video presented a number of samples arranged in space, 15-Mar-2016. I see significant improvements from each video to the next, the final presentation involving multiple splices of shorter segments of video and a separately recorded narration. There remains a lot of room for improvement, partly related to equipment, software and skills, but also a lighter more fun-filled style may have provided better results.
With that overview I now consider the assessment criteria.
Demonstration of technical and visual skills
My compositional skills were put to the test in presenting a varied group of objects. Based on research my focus was on asymmetry, on creating a dynamic almost precarious sense. I believe the resulting work shows ongoing development of skill.
Quality of outcome
The use of video has been a valuable addition to my presentation of work. Especially given my interest in more sculptural work, video allows me to give a more complete presentation of the substance of pieces. I hope the narrations also give a better sense of my engagement with the work and the qualities I perceive in the pieces.
This blog remains the main means of presenting my work, and on a personal basis I refer back to it frequently. I post quite often, finding that recording and reflection an important part of my process. In this Part every page of the sketchbook has been shown and commented upon. Initially I wondered if this would be unprofitable double-work, but I have found it a beneficial addition. My hope is that this also improves communication of my ideas and development.
Demonstration of creativity
I have never seen anything quite like my quirky vessels, and I believe they demonstrate an inventive and playful approach to creativity. This course has encouraged experimentation, exploration, risk-taking, and I am personally convinced that I have flourished in this environment.
Rather than looking at particular samples, I believe my growing personal voice is evidenced in my discussion of Loose Ends (20-Mar-2016). There are strands of enquiry, a path of development, I want to pursue.
While incomplete (see Reading below), I believe my research in this Part has been more focused, deeper and more relevant to the work I have been doing. There have been many small influences, an idea here and there (pinterest board at pinterest.com/fibresofbeing/vessels/), and a few major sources that I am sure will continue to inspire me. I feel that my internal artistic life / approach / understanding is becoming richer.
A number of times during this course, particularly when reflecting, I have felt vulnerable, in some way tempting fate by being too pleased with myself. I obviously still feel the need to acknowledge this. But I also have a growing confidence in my self, my work, my path. More on this when I reflect on the course as a whole.
Fer, B. (1997) On abstract art New Haven and London: Yale University Press
Gaßner S., Kölle B., Roettig P. (Eds) (2013) Eva Hesse: One More than One Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz Verlag
Molesworth, H. (Ed.) (2005) Part Object Part Sculpture Colombus: Wexner Center for the Arts, The Ohio State University
Rosen, B. (Ed.) (2013) Eva Hesse 1965 New Haven and London: Yale University Press
T1-MMT-P5-s7 Reflection – Part 5
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 5: A final piece
Stage 7: Reflection – Part 5