Last week (25-Sep-2016) I showed the mono-printed papers, produced with inspiration and kangaroo grass from barrangal dyara (skin and bones). Musing on the bus to work I played with a collage idea based first on circles (the circular garden) which developed into gathering around a fire pit or bonfire.
While working on the collage later I was aware of the difference this preparation made to the experience, to what I was thinking and doing. There were still choices and decisions, but also a sense of certainty and purpose.The result is … alright.
My design ended with lots of discrete elements, which looked like little islands. I drew back in it with a fine tip felt pen in a crazy paving way, which helped linking things up. Although there’s a lot of visual texture the final result is very flat. Flat matte paper glued flat onto flat matte paper. I intended a brightness in value emanating from the “fire” and darkening outwards which didn’t work. Some additional shading might help. I’ve also thought about using a candle to burn through some places and smoke smudge others, but would need to do some clearing up to cover the risk assessment on that.
I think the next move is actual texture and shadows.
Research on Elwyn (Jack) Lynn is ongoing, but given my comment above about texture I want to show two works in the current Art of Parts exhibition at AGNSW (link). Sorry about the poor photos – lots of reflection problems.
There’s no deep relief, no cast shadows, but an array of quiet textures. It seems abstract, but then you look at the title and start finding clues – the postcard fragment shows a wooden wharf, water, sailing boats. The wax flows down like water. Is that high black stripe a bridge, the speckled paper a sandy beach? So much seems to be made with a few, simple means.Another collage – brown wrapping paper, envelope, handmade paper, German travel ticket and poster fragements, wax bottle top seal, fibres, acrylic paint, wax on paper. Again the title is a clue, and again there’s a collaged picture of the subject. This time the texture is deeper, especially what looks like the ends of thick cord, almost rope. That high horizon seems to have a ship sailing out of frame. It seems to be about travel, about parcels and letters sent home, distance and ties.
The materials used are commonplace and evocative. They have a past, a story. Shapes are simple. The works aren’t lively, but they aren’t static. They feel restrained – simplicity that is deceptive, that makes you work at piecing it together. They aren’t just an interesting arrangement of a selection of materials.
Subjects and courses
The above topics feed into this, but first some brief background – investigation of study options continues. The OCA textiles pathway doesn’t seem to fit me – in fact I feel suffocated just thinking about it. The OCA Sculpture 1 course however – that looks exciting and difficult and terrifying and … back to exciting. One thing I like is that it is unapologetically about three-dimensional art and developing your independence. It doesn’t ask you to design a teapot or a birdhouse. It doesn’t give you a list of themes to choose from. Project 1 (available in the course sample at http://www.oca.ac.uk/courses/sculpture-courses/sculpture-1-starting-out-in-3d/) starts out “Find a subject that you’d like to use for this project. Bring together a composition, group, collection of objects/forms that interests you …” It assumes that you have enough nous to be interested in something, to have a subject you’d like to explore.
Obvious next question – whether or not I go on to do the course, do I have a subject of interest ready to hand? I’ve got my plan of work (15-Sep-2016), full of techniques and approaches – but a subject?? Some more on-the-bus musing, and yes, I think I do.
Expressing a sense of place (and time). Catching a moment.
I felt it last week at barrangal dyara (skin and bones) – an exhibition that could only ever be at that place. When I “wrapped space”, documenting the shadows falling at a particular place and time of year (31-Jul-2015) At the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge – surrounded, enveloped in Sydney. On the Maid of the Mist below Niagara Falls.
Can I get and express that feeling, not on a grand scale but in a meaningful everyday way? My early collage research included nouveau réalisme, using torn posters that were in a particular place for a brief period, that showed the rub and grime of being a part of life (22-Sep-2016). Something along those lines. Could be quite abstract and the source not apparent to anyone else.
I’d actually reached that stage of thinking before looking carefully at Lynn’s work, so it was like a gong sounding in my head when I saw that.
So a new experiment / process.
I seem to come up with lots of schemes, some of which settle in (like the weekly roundup), some of which soon silently vanish. Time will tell.
There was also some joomchi to create a single lacey layer, which although successful didn’t photograph well and wasn’t used in the final object.
It stands 10 or 11 cm high. Some (most?) of the mis-shaping is deliberate. There is an intentional gradation in colour value up the object, managed by which side of the printed paper was showing as I made the cord. The open area at the top was meant to be lined with the lacey single layer felted paper, but it didn’t fit with the sturdy liveliness of the much heavier cord.
Say take p3-47 (26-Sep-2015), drill some holes through it, and weave up from it. Could that add to or transform it somehow? More thinking required.
Tom Bass Annual Studio Exhibition
This exhibition by students at the Tom Bass studio included works from the intro class on. Some of the works that caught my eye:
No detailed analysis, but it’s interesting to note that apart from one work (which is by a friend), all of them are reminiscent of the human body, without being too precise.