Experimentation: unbalanced – 3

At the beginning of the year (3-Jan-2019) I introduced an experimentation brief to get beyond words on unbalance (etc!), to research and actually do something:

* explore what “unbalance” (etc) can look like
* illustrate off-balance most days and document for 30 days.

That post showed results for days 1 to 9.
14-Jan-2019 had days up to 16.

Research on other artists’ works were seen:
Additional images are pinned at https://www.pinterest.com.au/fibresofbeing/unbalance/

I won’t get to the intended 30 days, but have a few scattered days as yet unrecorded.

Day 17
In the Anatomy for Life Drawing class (16-Feb-2019), David Briggs introduced a few useful phone apps.

Essential Skeleton and Essential Anatomy seem to be aimed at students of general anatomy. They let you explore a highly-detailed anatomical model, panning around, zooming in, highlighting specific areas… The anatomy version allows you to show layers of different systems – arteries, nerves, muscles etc.

Skelly is a posable art model. You can bend and twist the model, select the lighting source, with a choice of skeleton or robo (simplified forms) views. A first attempt at posing:

Skelly output

and using some distortion filters in gimp to add more movement:

Day 18
More Skelly.

Day 19
The last couple of months have been difficult – on so many different fronts that it seemed no aspect of life wasn’t difficult. Does that make it a great time or a dreadful time to be thinking about un-balance?

A thought of juggling all those stessors… then add a unicycle… while drowning… and the sharks moving in. Somewhere in that bellringing appeared, holding a bell at the point of balance. I captured it all in small and quick sketches.

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How does juggling on a unicycle actually look?

Then add in the water, and uncaught balls bouncing away.

Augmented photo

I wanted to get the essence of those forms, and traced again and again.

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A few other oddments:
Dr Christopher Allen giving a lecture on Greek figure sculpture at AGNSW – balance / equilibrium absolutely central in all sculpture. I think this was in the context of the purely practical – a sculpture can’t (shouldn’t?) fall over.

Destination Sydney: Re-imagined at Mosman Art Gallery (and other venues)

Senegal Friend (1974)
Michael Johnson

Look at that orange muscling the yellow.

The gallery put on an event Reflections on my Father: Anna Johnson & Andrew Klippel in conversation with Annette Larkin. Lots of interest and to think about, with a couple of points possibly relevant here.
Being an artist: Take a position. Investigate that.
Matthew Johnson’s work: A tension between geometric rigidity and gestural freedom.

Hélène Cixous: reading some of her work in preparation for the Creative Research program. Phrases stick. “immobilized in the trembling equilibrium of a deadlock.” “Don’t move, you might fall.” “… a material upheaval when every structure is for a moment thrown off balance and an ephemeral wildness sweeps order away…” “She doesn’t ‘speak’, she throws her trembling body forward, she lets go of herself, she flies…” “… infinitely dynamized by an incessant process of exchange from one subject to another.” I seem to be cherry picking and quoting out of context (all the above from The Laugh of the Medusa”). But it feels relevant.

Gillian Lowndes

Gillian Lowndes
Cup on Base
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

The balance investigation really began three years ago in an earlier workshop with Ruth Hadlow (26-Feb-2016). I’ve been revisiting some of Gillian Lowndes work on-line and in a monograph by Amanda Fielding. An image from that is below.

Collage with cup (1986)
Gillian Lowndes

I tried a very quick collage in my workbook, but felt constrained by the space I’d given myself and the scale of the papers I chose (An aside: based on their texture and colour – some natural dyeing done with Claire 4-Apr-2015 and watercolour experiments from a class with Brenda Tye at AGNSW, unblogged but I think 2014. I love the way resonance and a sense of connection and familiarity builds up with materials.)

So what’s next
I may have made a few traps for myself.

The intention is to be clear about the start point and see where it takes me, but my start point is getting more and more muddled.

I want to work intuitively, not overthink, perhaps learn to trust myself, but based on the collage above among other things, it could be better to take just a moment to collect myself – try to improve, not just blindly repeat.

* is it the teetering moment, the collapse, the boundary between? Create a pile each day, (try to) push it over. Record. Then think about it.
* Try to notice the feeling in myself or something in the environment that fits in the scope of the exploration (say a crane swinging above workers; or mine memory). Notice, record, reflect.
* I’ve experimented with a couple of writing exercises, trying to teeter and collapse.

I’m going to use this in my initial project proposal, and assume that Ruth’s input (and that of the group) will entirely change it 🙂

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