Hope Gangloff’s work has greatly influenced my approach to colouration and composition when producing ‘Lazy Sunday’ the gangly elongated limbs, the blueish/green tinges, the vibrancy. I was really drawn to her modern and honest painting style, her images are really raw and real and I think that really spoke to what I was trying to create in my approach to the male figure. I wanted to get across a sense of calm, peace and distance, I wanted to show contemporary living and a contemporary man. Gangloff’s imagery really captures that.
“Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible.” – Klee (1920)
Producing my Sersory Still Life I looked a lot at the thinking and theories behind the work of Paul Klee and his philosophy that art goes beyond reproducing what we see. Employing drawing and painting as a philosophical practice and making clear the process and environment in which the art object was made. His work really inspired the concept behind my final field outcome. Coupled with my research and reading in the New Materialisms Constellation class which has also fed into and informed my ideas around these pieces.
“Vision and hearing are now the privileged sociable senses, whereas the other three are considered as archaic sensory remnants with a merely private function, and they are usually suppressed by the code of culture. Only sensations such as the olfactory enjoyment of a meal, fragrance of flowers and responses to temperature are allowed to draw collective awareness in our ocularcentric and obsessively hygienic code of culture” – Pallasmaa, 2005, p. 16
I wanted to create something that pushed me out of prioritising and romanticising sight and vision and that called upon a more holistic approach in its creation.
The repurposing and reimagining of objects into alternative three dimensional forms present in the work of Tony Cragg seemed really relevant to the processes we explored in our Silhouetted Still Lives lab. Craig’s work with found objects really inspired my group and influenced us to use our found objects to create the shadow of a different but a recognisable form. Looking at his work really got us thinking about things like placement, composition and form. He came to mind after seeing his work ‘Stack’ in the Tate Modern earlier in the year where out of a multitude of refuse looking found objects he created a perfect minimalist cube, it was a really curious juxtaposition of the messy ugliness of discarded objects and the sort of clean cut perfection of minimalism.
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.
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.
While researching pinhole photography I came across a really interesting venture by Micheal Farrel and Chris Haynes, a ‘Straw Camera’. Made out of 32,000 drinking straws the camera varied from a pinhole in the sense it provided a multipoint perspective of the subject. I found the imagery really imaginative and the whole concept incredibly creative and it really tested my perception of how photography could be used in a fine art context.
The Straw Cameras gave us a “net” to catch light with, and a novel view of the world to play with. The portraits depict the sitters at a resolution that is almost on a par with early television pictures. Whilst not being the minimal level of rendering, like the famous block portrait of Abraham Lincoln (the “Lincoln illusion” rst reported by LD Harmon in 1973) (2), they sit on a borderline of recognition and it helps to know the subject. In a world beset by selfies with their immediate gratification, and HD television in all its glory feeding our visual appetite, a Straw Camera image of an individual, with its engineering projection and disappearance of the subject into the near fog of visual capture, gives the viewer a glimpse of just how transitory perception is. – Chris Haynes : Light Captured Moments
I found this lab to be really conceptually informative. It really challenged my approach to thinking about our ‘light’ brief in a more experimental way more in line with my personal practice. ‘Illuminating’ something through revelation or making something clear resonated with me more conceptually than looking at light as a thing. Through two installations and one film we created a triptych in groups, rotating our projects so each smaller group made a different component of each triptych which I felt was a really engaging approach to working collaboratively.
First we had to create a short 30 second film around the idea of light my group focused on shadows and silhouettes creating a film activating a series of objects to create moving shadows and projections.
When we rotated we were given a film that had also used shadows to portray a dancing scene, we then had to focus on reimagining this in an instillation.
We used light string and bent metal to construct fluid lines to evoke a sense of movement and dance using light to project the silhouette against the wall to capture through shadow a static abstract scene of dance. We experimented with colour and shape and capturing movement in line. We negotiated well together and came up with some really nice thoughts and problem solved together with the challenge of a short time frame and limited resources.
For the third piece were were rotated to respond to a film and installation focused on direction. The initial film showed a car driving over a painted arrow and then cut to a leave blowing away, the installation responding to that involved the audience in a arrow led journey around the university to an end point where a large window looked onto a leaf sellotaped to the ground unable to blow away. We spent some time really thinking about this conceptually about how each piece demonstrated an interesting look at direction, freedom and control. When planning our installation I found having a designer maker student in the group pretty helpful, when I and the other fine art student in the group were getting carried away conceptually having someone perhaps more practically minded in terms of physically realising a solid outcome was quite useful. For our final installation we suspended a giant arrow made out of leaves above an open bag of leaves we really wanted to emphasise the paradox between the clean cut control of the leaves forming the arrow and the escaping to freedom of the leaves spilling messily out of the bag. Our choice to leave the arrow situated in the studio it was created rather than moving it into a more clean exhibition space was also deliberate we were interested in the installation being seen amongst mess and creative clutter ; having to navigate obstacles and left objects to observe it.