Experimentation: unbalanced

1-Jan-2019 included a dot point about ongoing research on the pivot / balance point / precipice / knife edge / danger / unbalance idea. 4-Aug-2018 has more words – Precipice, counter balance, leverage, impetus, precarious, shimmer, shiver, glide, hesitate, teeter, catch (of breath), instant of focus, moment of coherence and balance, the space between – spark, pivot point, point of balance (mobiles!), tipping point. 22-Jul-2018: Play with balance. Go for risk, the precipice. I prefer my humour whimsical or quirky. Push beyond the first idea. Surprise yourself. 14-Apr-2018: my brief for Confluence – Capture that moment of coherence and balance when everything comes together just before it all flows apart. Back on 26-Feb-2016 my research on Gillian Lowndes identified an attraction to Unbalanced; balancing act; teetering; precarious – and included a small brief. That led on to my whole approach to the final assignment in the OCA Mixed Media for Textiles.

The new brief is pretty simple, with a major goal to get beyond words and research and actually do something:
* explore what “unbalance” (etc) can look like
* illustrate off-balance most days and document for 30 days.

Day 1
A photo from a search on unbalanced provided the basis for this pencil sketch.

Struggling for balance on a post

Day 2
Trying out placement of “blocks” in watercolour. How much is enough to give the impression of disaster about to strike? That final block at the top appears almost stable/static.

Angles and gaps

Day 3
A search on images of gymnasts provided forms that are more balance-in-motion. The gymnast couldn’t have held that position, but the sequences were generally controlled. Of more interest but not used here were videos analysing movements of gymnasts fighting for balance on a balance beam. An initial flailing of limbs was quickly turned into a more flowing sequence of movements, recapturing balance.
This silhouette was made in gimp, based on a photo.

Gymnast

Reading and general workbook activity has been continuing throughout. One of the joys of the summer break is having some more time. Hope the momentum continues.

With all my fiddling on components over the past few months, I never got far in actually making something. This current project was intended to get me unstuck, and initial signs are positive. I’m actually interested in trying this out.

Day 4
Having got the new shelving pretty much level and balanced, tried playing with marker and watercolour looking for minimal expression of unbalance. Doesn’t look too promising.

Revisiting past work

Unpacking some old OCA work to start filling the shelves, it was interesting to see how many played with asymmetry and pushing the notion of balance. I love the defiant lines (“plastic horsehair”) escaping up and out.

Materials from that time continue to be important, especially the resin. Heat-distressing techniques too. Building and destroying.

Day 5

Sketch of Femme Volage

Notes on Louise Bourgeoise

Reading about Louise Bourgeoise’s series of Personages in Part Object Part Sculpture was interesting. Helen Molesworth writes of the human scale of the work, and then this: “Each work displays the same tenuous sense of balance as they grow increasingly slender towards the bottom, and seem precariously placed on flat metal bases…”

I’m not convinced that either of my attempts look particularly unstable.

Day 6
A photo of a mountain climber was the basis for the day’s watercolour.

Overhang


Workbook day 6

Ideas progressed on actually making, incorporating some of the materials and techniques from the OCA samples.

I’ve also been thinking about my motivation for wanting to base lines on the human body. Looking around at past work, the body appears again and again. I don’t have a compelling message or wider purpose in my art. On the other hand, the body fascinates. People are so unfathomable, and no matter how closely I look it gets me no further in understanding. I don’t think I can read an individual’s life in their face or body, but I keep trying.

Day 7
Another attempt to use reduced lines to show unbalance. Not convinced.

Unconvincing

Day 8

Robert Klippel
Small polychromed tin sculptures

On a visit to the Mosman Art Gallery for its part of Destination Sydney: Re-imagined, I was entranced by Robert Klippel’s small sculptures. I’m sure I’ve seen them in the past, but this time round the impact was much greater.

Strangely enough, in all this world of intricate and quirky forms, pretty much all looked balanced. The was a sense of sturdy whole-ness. It had me questioning my obsession – but not enough to change course. Instead when I got home I tried once more to find simple lines that illustrate unbalance.

The next step was to try to create something like it in wire. There were modifications as I tried to minimise the “foot” of the object.

First steps into three dimensions

Day 9
This variation attempts to play with visual weight. The base includes a fishing sinker – heavy for its size. The end “flag” is very thin metal – not much more than foil. The structural use of blue-tac isn’t exactly elegant, but at the moment quick improvisation seems key.

Ideas of visual weight

Postscript: while searching back in the blog for “balance” I found 29-Aug-2018, titled “Walking in circles” and excited about Part Object Part Sculpture and Alberto Burri. Fast forward to 1-Jan-2019 in which I wrote about circling, Part Object Part Sculpture and Alberto Burri. Blimey! It’s lucky I’m ambivalent about the whole concept of “progress”.

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