Me & You

My second material project focused on Portraiture and self Portraiture in time-based media developing skills in both film and photography. During the first part of the project I worked in collaboration with a partner to create a photographic portrait of them; I was partnered with Libbie and we spent some time looking at the work of Anna Mendiata and a variety of artists featured in The Artist’s Body book that played with performance and presence/absence. These themes went on to inform the work we eventually produced. On an experimental photoshoot we collected images of each other looking through objects, we captured reflections and impressions of each other; images that indirectly featured the subject or somehow obscured it.

We we separated to refine our final images for presentation I came up with three photographic outcomes. The one featured at the top of this post was the first; I used photoshop on my iPad Pro to frame the image in a circle to emphasise the sense of looking through the metal tube we found and subtly seeing a segment of Libbie’s face at the end, I wanted to play with space and perspective but after that I still felt the image was incomplete. When thinking about the fact this project was time-based I remembered some of the time based drawings we did during our induction week, I had one where I had to draw a skeleton blindfolded under the specific instruction of a partner. I had the idea to overlay the marks from that drawing with the image I’d edited, I felt the two components had a nice parallel in terms of being both about the distortion of the human form and made in collaboration with another. The two other experimental images are below.

The second I over-layed some light refractions I’d photographed on a wall a few weeks prior onto a photo of Libbie’s reflection in a bucket of water mixed with black ink and the third is a black and whit edit of a photo where I captured the impression of Libbie’s finger print on a window in the studio before it disappeared a second later.

The second part of the project was self-Portraiture for this I thought back to the first session of this project where we were asked to quickly draw somewhere where we felt most relaxed with ourselves, I chose the bath in my flat. I began thinking about why I’d selected that and concluded it was a place where I was completely alone and at ease with my body. In order to capture that in film I set up a camera and filmed myself taking a bath capturing the way the water moved over my body. I then uploaded the film to premier pro and edited the colours to create a blue/green blur of colour and light.

 

I accompanied my film with a conceptual piece. I began thinking of the way a self-portrait is a way of offering the self up for consumption, after reading Marsha Meskimmon whose analysis of Joan Semmel’s ‘Me Without Mirrors’ informed the angle and perspective I shot the film from, presenting a first person perspective down the body as an alternative to the patriarchal standard of the lounging female nude in art. After creating a film which aimed to present the female body in a way that hindered it being seen as an object for consumption I decided to accompany it with a conceptual piece that humourously re-offered my body for consumption on my own terms. For this after taking a bath I filled an ordinary water bottle with my bath water which will contain skin cells and pieces of my DNA, and while I did t actually intend for it to be drank putting it in a water bottle served as a sort of conceptual invitation to ‘consume’ a part of me.

Shaped Painting

My first material practice project involved creating a painting on a small shaped board using priming and under-painting techniques for a professional finish. My final piece was cut using a bandsaw in the shape of the female reproductive organs and painted with tigers and a single blue female form following the basic layout of the uterus and ovaries. Under-painting allowed me to add depth and structure, give defined edges and a more rounded feel, I used layers in order to round the bodies of the animals and figure.

img_0058

 

My initial design was more complex but focused on encompassing a sense of ferocity and female power and struggle.  I wanted to create something with a fantastical, symbolic narrative. I was inspired in part by the work of Mequitta Ahuja which I saw not too long ago for the first time in the Champagne Life exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery.

img_0061

Pictured above, her painting ‘Stick Stack’ shows strong powerful mythic women in fantastic settings built up in layers and layers of print and paint. Her works are part self-portraiture and part mythological, the ferocity and strength of them is really striking. I was oddly drawn to her choice of the colour blue in representing the female figure. In my work I felt the same blue perfectly resonated in the deep red of the uterus in which my figure was place. Red, I feel is symbolic when depicting femininity, the colour of menstruation it’s been used excessively in art tied to womanhood and female identity so definitely had a place in this experimental work.

img_0057

 

My final piece put into practice a variety of new skills that gave my painting a more professional and polished feel and I was fairly proud of the result, I certainly feel these new techniques are something to practice and refine further and there’s definitely space to build on these initial concepts when thinking about working towards my Inside/Outside brief.