Sensory Still Life

For our Light brief I’d been thinking a lot about sight and the senses particularly in relation to my own vision and the importance of seeing in relation to art. The role of my sight in art is often something I think about, visual impairment and poor eyesight are common in my family and my eyesight personally gets considerably worse every year and while at present I’m lucky enough to have clear vision with the help of strong glasses, this probably won’t always be the case. I’ve been learning a lot about challenging the occularcentricity of art and the world as a whole. The Illuminate lab really opened my mind to tackling the light brief in this way, the film Nightfall by Bas Jan Ader really resonated in me in the sense the performance encompassed so much of the sensory/physical experience and the human relationship with matter and force, it extended my thinking beyond the visual and into the capabilities of the body. Working with clay in Silhouetted Still Lives also informed my outcome in pushing my understanding of still life and ways of working and reconfiguring objects into images and back again. For my final outcome I’ve realised a series of drawings; taking an arrangement of objects then drawing each one blindfolded focusing on documenting the feeling, sound and smell of each object.

Rather than tackling light in relation to the visual experience of light and colour my work went in the direction of ‘illuminating’ and revealing objects through the physical experience. Each drawing is as unique as the object I felt while making it with traces and clues of the shape, smell and sound present in each one. I wanted to get away from the personal prejudice I have held and a lot of people hold that a drawing is only a good drawing if it accurately relates a visual likeness to the subject. Drawing in this way is accurate in other ways and records in the lines a different but still a relevant experience of an object. This experimental series of drawings are a world away in appearance from the figurative work I had been making up until the field module.

It’s pushed me to think more openly about how to represent the figure in my drawing and painting and how approaching something from a more holistic perspective could enrich my practice considerably.

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After examining and drawing each object individually I used photoshop to arrange them into one final composition to create a Sensory “Still Life”. Of course the movement and expressive activity in the lines that hold in them traces of texture, sound, smell and experience make the composition far from “still” through this I hoped to express objects as active with a wealth of information and experiences to express through interaction.

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