Assessment score

Now, it is there, the result, how I did at assessment. I couldn’t quite believe what I saw: an A – 75%.

I am flattered, and outmostly proud of myself. Did life took the right turn for me and rewarded back what I was starting as a small kid before starting to talk? To be creative and to make visual marks. 

My ‘demonstration of creativity’ scored highest with 84%. Above that is the sky.

And I am massively grateful, to those who followed my journey till today who believed in me, who didn`t gave up, and who also suffered for the way I am living and acting – with massive up and downs. Thanks!

My tutor supported me strongly in what I did. And the assessment team gave me feedback that totally resonated with what I felt, not always able to communicate or to speak(write out.

Overall Comments and Feed Forward

An impressive body of work demonstrating a deep commitment and reflective learning. You have presented an engaging, energetic and exhaustive project. Your work is well-organised and thoroughly documented. You evidence excellent personal and analytical reflection throughout and are consistently creative, challenging your own methods and ideas.
The main strength of this project is the commitment to exhaust avenues of enquiry. This has generated a rich body of work with multiple outcomes that presents you with a richness of avenues to take forward.

There is a personal language emerging in the work, evolving into a clear practice.

What to work on next and to improve ?

  • to be clearer and more assertive in getting my ‘voice’ across in writing, being more confident 
  • to work on ‘quality of outcome’: it scored lowest from all four areas, considering that it moves from 20% at level 2 up top 40% at level 3, definitely a focus point. 
  •  editing, cutting down: my audio-video piece (parallel project) and to see how I would install my sculptural pieces in series, in space
  • The assessment team picked up one sentence from my conclusion (critical review): ‘You identified a fascinating idea, in “the gaze as co-author.” Can you explore this further?’ Most certainly, I will.

Meanwhile, I continued my work with my sculptural stretched pieces’ and had an exhibition begin Dec (see references for more information). I cut and edited down my writing by half. evaporated the nonsense and came up with more coherent information. I revisited the stretching and reduced even the inner space of things (see featured image, right) I guess I am on my journey walking step-by-step forward. 

Overall, it was an amazing journey on an amazing course. Perhaps not all would agree with that, but it gave me the start, the energy, and the space to find myself, as an artist. And yes, as assessment stated, I acted and made a lot of works, the cleaning up afterwards took some time….

And I am thrilled that as a Fine Art student we will continue getting closer as a cohort through the start of an annual virtual program led by Caroline Wright along with three tutors (Cheryl H., Dan R. , Helen R. ) Exciting times coming up.

 

This was my last post on this blog. I already moved on to my next course ‘Understanding Visual Culture 2’. Once again, I am a pioneer (as the last two ones) on it. 

to my readers, followers, and supporters:

Please, follow my new blog, if you wish. I would be delighted to hear your comments, ideas, thoughts

at: https://uvc.stefanvisualart.com

 

Please, follow my new learning blog UVC2

Follow Learning Blog UVC2 on WordPress.com


Reference:

 

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Last entry

This is my penultimate entry in my learning diary of this blog. It will be updated begin/mid December after getting my assessment results

My submission for assessment arrived today on time for the deadline to meet at Barnsley. My critical review was received on time by assessment team for plagiarism check. So far, so good. I made it, unbelievable. With rigid deadlines facing me I actually can deliver more than I expected. And it is good – overall I am pleased what I submitted. My tutor did a fab job by supporting me on my fast run to finish. Time to wait and time to move on.

I already enrolled on the last day of July to my second and last level 2 course (just wanted to protect the fees before they went up in this academic year). And I am glad I did do so, other options are still not out there.

My next – or better to say current – course unit is: UVC2 – Understanding Visual Culture (brand new , and I am – once again – the pioneer on that course, the first one). I am looking forward to a fresh and focused new start 

Please, come and join my ongoing journey over there at: https://uvc.stefanvisualart.com

 

 

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A6 – Reflection on Tutorial

Our main focus in the last tutorial for assignment 6 was the review of my discerned assessment portfolio and supporting works. There was not much to change or adjust. During the tutorial I came to the conclusion that I will take out assignment 3 completely as they would not fit that well with the more recent body of works related to transformation, vulnerability, ambiguity, disconnecting, and transparency.

Overall, my tutor acknowledged that

have selected well and decided to omit pieces of work that do not enhance the body of work. Selection is a crucial part of an artists practice whether it is for exhibition, framing or assessment. This is an important skill in objective decision making to master at all levels and will stand you in good stead for future courses.

What made this successful? I  can relate this to my self-reflection on what I want to do in my practice and how I would see my created works through this course from that viewpoint. Truly supportive, was here my latest reflective account, where I stated as title ‘Living through the skin of materiality’ and how medical imaging becomes materiality for transformation in my practice. 

Part of my assignment 5 submission was work done for project 5.1 (cut.up words) that I translated from the visible written text to the invisible speech. I reworked it after our previous tutorial as I felt this would be an important part of my materiality and space negotiations. I omitted the written text completely and the resulting reworked version Disruptive Space using visual material from assignment 5 Be small turned out much more successful as my tutor responded to. I also see this short audio-video work as an extension of my parallel project; stage 4 – it will go into assessment as supporting material for assignment 5, to expand the experience of that work.

Also during the tutorial, I suggested to take the wall frieze Be Large, that was still in my studio space, a leftover from cutting out the individual pieces for assignment 5, and to crop a similar size work that would match the size of my assignment 5 installment for assessment (Fig. 1)

Fig. 1: Stefan513593 - P2SP - Assignment 5 and supporting work : 'Be small' and 'Be Large' (each 60 x 80 cm)

Fig. 1: Stefan513593 – P2SP – Assignment 5 and supporting work : ‘Be small’ and ‘Be Large’ (each 60 x 80 cm) // the visible work and the invisible absence – traces of process – a material process

 

We discussed the other items for submission (see assessment link) and agreed that as supporting work my work for part 3,  a cut-put collage of my paintings of my painted enactment with a painted TV set, narrated through the gesture of my hand would be an important work to show. As this is only a photo documentation, the question is how to present (print out, scale, format etc.) Thanks to peer feedback and big thanks to Kate,, I am planning to make it as a leporello, embracing the tactility of folding and unfolding that appeared another important aspect in my practice (Fig 2)

Fig. 2: Disruptive Narratives' - photo documentation of my gestural investigation of my gestures. A multiplicity of layered realities through painting, photographing, re-painting, printing, collage - a bodily interaction with space and inside the space of the work

Fig. 2: Disruptive Narratives’ – photo documentation of my gestural investigation of my gestures. A multiplicity of layered realities through painting, photographing, re-painting, printing, collage – a bodily interaction with space and inside the space of the work // still to be made into something to touch at assessment 

 

My tutor highlighted once more the value of my sketchbooks, a way of interaction and experimentation that I loved doing since my very first drawing 1 course with OCA. 

You sketchbooks will be an important aspect of your submission so make sure you include several that show the development of your project ideas and your experiments with materials.

Parallel Project

Besides my submission we discussed briefly my parallel project with my tutor’s comment that it was well documented especially considering that mostly it was a collaborative work. I am curious to read what the assessment team will think about it. Otherwise, we discussed the content of it already, not to forget that my tutor was bodily present at Toynbee Studios, London – she just came for my project made with together with my collaborator Vicki.  In am still stunned by this.

Critical Review:

I reworked and edited-down ruthless based on out discussion during A5 tutorial. I felt all this makes sense, less informative and my tutor found it also a significant improvement compared to the revised draft before. 

Conclusion at the end.

Overall, it seems I am right track. It is time and space now to prepare and ship my assessment submission. Still a lot to do and not really much time left.  Nevertheless, I am quite pleased with myself that I actually made this happen to submit for November assessment. In the last weeks I was really not that convinced about meeting that important deadline. 22 months did pass, 22 months of working on and out exciting things. An intense course, but for me so rewarding. I should not forget that since the beginning, I actually had my first exhibition, followed by three more. I founded together with Emma, Jane and Peter the new OCA regional group Europe, that started out all in Switzerland. I took over the responsibility to relaunch the student-led magzine edge-zine through phases of finding peers willing and able to work together, and finally to get the first re-launch out into online publication (see edge-zine.com)

And last not least, I embraced the opportunity of the open call from the OCA program leaders Carla Rees and Caroline Wright to embark on an exciting NEw Music Collective / Fine Arts collaborative project and found in Vicki Downey an excellent sparring partner and we made this happen with a big life event at Toynbee Studios. London – what turned out the become my parallel project or this course, to be submitted for assessment.

And besides all if that I moved across borders and countries. established in a new business, built my dedicated studio space.  Time and space to meet the finish. Hopefully, begin December it will not turn me down (the assessment results)

Next steps:

  • Prepare submission, prepare the works, get it out to Barsnley
  • Relax – Breathe – Calm down

The full formative feedback with amended notes from my tutor is available at: PDF 

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A6 – Critical Review – Final Draft

Stefan513593 -P2SP -CR - - draft - digital composite of sketches and drawing after Chadwick ('Self-Portrait', 1991)

After feedback on my revised draft, I pulled up the key items that I need to consider in my final draft

  • less dense and less informative
  • more reflective and critical engagement
  • more emphasis on materiality, process, and visual aesthetics
  • to relate strongly to my practice and interest of materiality transformation and vulnerability of the body.
  • make it really an enquiry into my ideas
  • relate to my approach towards the contextual notes for A5

 

Here the link to : PDF

05 Stefan513593_P2SP_CR-final draft

 

(Total  word count: 2528 // without direct quotes, footnotes, references: 2065)

 


Remark on tools

For my research, brainstorming, outlining, and writing my drafts I used the following tools – all with which I can work on my laptop and my tablet in sync, an important aspect for me when travelling:

  • Inspiration:  for brainstorming, on the go, visual mapping, connecting and outlining
  • Scrivener: for writing and compiling essays, providing structure, 
  • Endnote: reference database, with pdf and annotations and research notes accumulated, now also an archive of my studies

I do find them very supportive and helpful (although inspiration is the least stable one, not on a Mac, Windows is better). It gives me structure, quick access to information, and space to connect and to relate to. It might be not everyone’s cup of tea, but I am very positive to have found a robust and sustainable working approach. And all three are malleable enough that I can adjust if needed to my way of working.

 

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A6 – Self-Evaluation

How am I doing against the assessment criteria? 

 

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills

Looking at my proposed assessment portfolio, it looks more convincing with regards to material choice. However, mostly earlier made work selected, do show some weaknesses related to edges and color. I decided to keep them as such as it is important to me to show the moment of creation, not changes or improvements made afterwards. My works do express a material sensibility and an intimate response to the unique features of chosen materials. Nevertheless, not all choices are equally successful or convincing, especially works made from earlier parts.

Quality of Outcome:

The more recent works are showing in a less illustrative and more engaging way the key aspects of transformation, materiality, dislocation. Here, I am more conscious about edges and balance between transparency and opaqueness. My main intention to respond to medical imaging, especially through my collaborative parallel project, moved towards to end more to an embodied aesthetic of materiality and skin. My revised draft of the critical reviewed showed too much, and to focus on simpler key aspects is equally relevant to my practical work. This can be seen in the development of earlier made works for this course.

Demonstration of Creativity:

I am very experimental and love to move laterally and to cross boundaries. My approach could be seen often more as inter-media art, e.g combination and juxtapositions of paintings, video, layering, sound, music, and/or speech. But my flow of intuitively making and creative outbursts needs some structure and focus. My collaboration on my parallel project was supportive as Vicky shared a structure and framework from her music background. My analytical skills as reflected in my revised critical review are quite good. What is missing at times is the capability or the next reflective step to reduce and focus.

Context: 

I do approach my practice through a wide-open contextualization. I am also crossing boundaries of disciplines to pull from various perspectives. I am quite aware that this rather theoretical depth can be in my way in creating more resolved and visually engaging pieces. However, especially through my contextual notes for each assignment I demonstrated that I can be quite selective and focused, especially to allow more in-depth interrogations with art practitioners. Important aspect in my practice is to make connections, not only to the outer world and a wider cultural context, but also to my own works. My reflective account for this assignment reflects these connecting threads.

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A6 – Reflective Account

 

Living through the skin of materiality

 

How medical imaging becomes materiality for transformation in my practice

 

Developing assignment 6 meant to look back at the body of work created during this course. To step back to see and discern whether there is a red thread, a theme, a common interest, showing through. Working intensively on a project could make one blind for relations and links.

Eventually, commonalities became clearer what I wrote in my artist statement, my contextual notes for assignment 5, and last not least what got revised in my final draft of the critical review:

 

Transformation – vulnerability
    disconnected – disruptive

 Interdependent – ambiguous

 

Mapping this out in my sketchbook and trying to group or discern my diverse works, made it also easier to see some work not fitting well, some more from part 2 and part 3. Part 4 and Part 5 seemed to have followed a certain ‘logic of media’, a material approach and an embodied expression through art making. And I was quite surprised how much of my main interest already came through in part 1, though not that well-articulated, not yet expressed in a focused way.

Chaplin (Chaplin, 2005:8) mentioned in her essay how ‘perception and artistic expression are .. bodily affairs’ and, by quoting Langer, that the tactility of hands is the basis for aesthetic expression[1]. In that sense, I can see now my ‘obsessive’ interaction and exploration of my touching hand in context of a bodily aesthetic expression, e.g. in my performative enactment video work Paint-Catch-Move (video, 2:34min, at: https://vimeo.com/306674208) . And perhaps as a ‘symbolic articulation’ of my way of not-knowing and seeking to understand.

My contextual notes for assignment 5 already mapped out how I want to continue in my practice. In relation to above aspects, it is mostly a continuation of the material interaction as a way of knowing and understanding. The features and the connotations of chosen materials and colors might have a wider cultural meaning, nevertheless, I want the works to speak or themselves, visually and opening up possible questions what it is that we might interpret a work in a certain way.

Furthermore, it is important for me to look at the in-between, between the visible and the invisible, the physical and the virtual, the outside and the inside. I am not satisfied with outer surfaces, I want to see not only behind or beyond, but also in-between. The surface has two sides, but it also has depth. It is that depth that I want to continue to explore through crossing boundaries and by embracing the moment of creation in itself.

Last not least, this assignment showed through my parallel project as collaboration, my critical review as enquiry and understanding what I am doing, and my discernment of my visual works, that it also about the expanded field of experience. For me painting is above all a spatial exploration, whether this results in digital audio-video works, in sculptural pieces, or more conventional flat physical works – my bodily experience of the space is what I want to share with the audience.

To have come to such an insight and focus is not what I expected at the beginning of this course. It was intense, many works were an attempt to interact, e.g. Object-Box’ shown at OCA showcase in London or trying to convey my bodily experience with the audience, e.g. the mentioned video Paint-Catch-Move. Today, I do see those as sketches on my way forward in exploring a more aesthetic and less didactic approach through materialized work.

On the other side, there is the sense of disruption and audience response. My parallel project was screened physically at Toynbee studios allowing the audience to immerse themselves in a visual soundscape. Viewing it online, as the assessment team would do as well, challenged notions of holding space, keeping attention, and allowing disruption to work effectively. Some felt it was too disruptive and too disconnected. How much disconnection and disruption is successful in art?

Looking forward, there are two media I didn’t explore deeply: sound and light. Not only due to time constraints, but also due to technology hurdles.  I am hooked by sound conveying the invisible through non-linear perspectives. Sound is spatial and can create depth. My approach so far, was to combined visual and auditive spaces (e.g. the parallel project, ‘Cut-up words’). I feel this needs to get into a physical space, a gallery space. That means, I have to get to that point and space. Light is another tricky media. We see picture only due to light, but light is also performative as my lightbox installations trying to explore. Still a struggle to resolve, a quest to consolidate my body of work

 

(word count: 788) 

 

[1] I am very happy that my tutor provided me recently with this article that is spot on with my concerns.

 

 


Reference

 

 

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A6 – Independent Pre-assessment Review

From start to …

Time to look back, back on my works produced, time to fine all of them, displaced in various locations (do I sense my subject matter coming through as my way of living?). Also about my failures, the ‘real’ one, my struggles, but also my highlights. Last not least, all about my own practice and my development.

Areas of concern

  • Transformation: Materiality as touchable matter to interact and to respond to
  • Crossing Boundaries: physical, digital, painting-sculptural, performing-performed
  • Embodiment: From video-documenting my performance painting through interacting with the video-camera as audience and blurring perception of what is digitally produced and what is physically painted (both got photographic distributed online) towards video as space for motion and narratives layered as visible visual and invisible sound.
  • Interaction: failing through the ‘Object-Box’ as interactive art-game requiring overcoming hurdles and invitation to engage (kids are more direct here) towards having the audience inside the experience (expanded visual-auditive space)
  • Disruption: my interest in disrupting nearly everything, materials, meaning, borders, edges, narratives

Main questions:

  • Disruption: How much disruption and unsettling sensations are still successful? How much can I ‘throw’ at the audience? See parallel project? Moving images are possibly biased through cinematic connotation and displaced narratives?
  • Consolidation: How to develop all these further and to consolidate into my practice and a to create a more coherent body of work? I feel that I have to reduce my key aspects even further.
  • Context: How do I position myself in context of medical imaging as media culture? What do I offer? Or is this just a point of departure into something different?
  • Digital: How to incorporate digital images, especially composites from paintings with digital layers, into my body of work?
mapping my practice - mapping my context

mapping my practice – mapping my context

Are there ways in which you could develop these further?

My best works and my strengths:

i would say that those of my works made during this course are most successful when they were exploring layering and materiality expression, and when they were able to convey a sense of vulnerability and fragmentation. Through crossing boundaries as a response to media culture at large, those works would embrace ambiguity and unsettling disruption.

How I want to develop it further

I feel more convinced that my practice is about disruption and dislocation exploring vulnerability through a material transformation 

My reworked assignments / parallel project:

  • Assignment 1: kept, although edge could be bolder or with addition of discruptive layers, e.g. line
  • Assignment 2: not considered in portfolio, not coherent with my practice 
  • Assignment 3: kept, but with addition of lightbox (to be discussed) 
  • Assignment 4: reworked because of canvas stretcher and lost material
  • Assignment 5: kept as quite successful
  • Parallel Project: merged as subsection with idea from part 5, stage 3 only conceptual, stage 5 WIP

My assessment portfolio (draft)

Parallel Project

'Mindful Resonance Interaction (MRI)', 2019 - audio-video (09:46 min)

‘Mindful Resonance Interaction (MRI)’, 2019 – audio-video (09:46 min)

A1

  1. What is Left Behind, 2018 (acrylic, pigment, charcoal, 50 x 70 cm) 
  2. The Puzzle of Gesture (collage, 50 x 70 cm) 
'What is Left Behind', 2018 (acrylic, pigment, charcoal, 50 x 70 cm) and The 'Puzzle of Gesture'., 2018 (collage, 50 x 70 cm)

‘What is Left Behind’, 2018 (acrylic, pigment, charcoal, 50 x 70 cm) and The ‘Puzzle of Gesture’., 2018 (collage, 50 x 70 cm)

 

A2: 
=> unsure, to be discussed with my tutor / perhaps to skip as too many already

 

A3:
=> unsure, to be discussed with my tutor / perhaps to skip as too many already

  • No. 1 Breaking Through , 2019
  • No. 6 ‘Human‘, 2019
    => Idea: to have both installed on an lightweight thin A3 lightbox (LED, usb connector) to be pushed on with the thumb of the viewer 
No. 1 'Breaking Through' , 2019 and No. 6 'Human', 2019 (each ambient and lightbox light)

No. 1 ‘Breaking Through’ , 2019 and No. 6 ‘Human’, 2019 (each ambient and lightbox light) // installed on lightbox

A4:

'Caught in the Net', 2019 and 'Gaze at Me no2', 2019 (reworked)

‘Caught in the Net’, 2019 and ‘Gaze at Me no2’, 2019 (reworked)

 

'The Caught Gaze', 2019 (reworked) and 'Vulnerable Skin Sculpture', 2019

‘The Caught Gaze’, 2019 (reworked) and ‘Vulnerable Skin Sculpture’, 2019

A5:

 'Be small - Stretch your Stretch', 2019 - selection

‘Be small – Stretch your Stretch’, 2019 – selection

'Suspended Skin no2', 2019 and 'Suspended Skin no14', 2019

‘Suspended Skin no2’, 2019 and ‘Suspended Skin no14’, 2019

 

Supporting and preparatory works:

see also preparatory visual material for parallel project at: https://ocasp.stefanvisualart.com/?page_id=7923

especially

'Gesture Dissociation', 2019 (collage, and video)

‘Gesture Dissociation’, 2019 (collage, and video)

A1:

'Folding-Unfolding', 2019 (video)

‘Folding-Unfolding’, 2019 (video)

A2:
=> unsure, to be discussed with my tutor

'Fabric Wall Box #1', 2018

‘Fabric Wall Box #1’, 2018

A3: 

'Disruptive narrative', 2019

‘Disruptive narrative’, 2019

A4:
=> unsure, to be discussed with my tutor

'Card size expansion', 2019 (collage 4x6")

‘Card size expansion’, 2019 (collage 4×6″)

A5:

'Be Large -Leftover', 2019 (collage) and 'Disruptive Space - Words cut_up', 2019 (video)

‘Be Large -Leftover’, 2019 (collage) and ‘Disruptive Space – Words cut_up’, 2019 (video)

 

My Sketchbooks

Coursework:

Parallel Project:

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A5 – Reflection on Tutorial

This course is now coming to an end, and I am quite satisfied with the way of working with my tutor through tutorials, from which I take the notes she is amending afterwards. I am very pleased to hear that my small intimate series of Be Small was considered as one of my strongest works so far (Fig. 1)

An intriguing, well resolved assignment – particularly the final 22 small pieces and their layering and ambiguity. Process and materiality continues to be explored with commitment and enthusiasm. 

 

I was concerned how the starting point for this series Be Large, would be received by my tutor, as iconoclastic work?  She made a very interesting comment that didn’t crossed my mind during the making, although I kept – more subconsciously than discerned – the ‘left-over’ (Fig. 2 )

Fig. 1: 'Be Small - Stretch Your Stretch' - a selection

Fig. 1: A5 -‘Be Large ‘ – leaving behind // photographed on lightbox – would white backing be sufficient or even more convincing? Howe do I want to present it? for assessment? in a gallery space?

 

Fig. 2: 'Be Large ' - leaving behind

Fig. 2: A5 – ‘Be Large ‘ – leaving behind – detail from entire wall frieze // the markings left, of cutting, traces of absence – an index of interaction – forgotten but documented 

 

I could relate my tutor’s comments on the gown to my previous work with the mylar-made patient gown. My rather intuitively made gown, a result from failure to get acrylic paint off Hostaphan foil, is possibly more of a comment and closing a loop back. There is certain playfulness involved and alongside a densely covered front making the gown rather opaque, disclosed. My tutor suggested to allow more ‘space and economy of mark and materiality’ informing the results. At times, it seems I overly enthusiastic and putting too much into one work (see critical review below)

My main interest is more in the two sides, the inside and the outside, the transparency versus the concealing. Thus, to develop it further, I would rather make it more disruptive, revealing more from the inside To make it more ‘haunting’ as my tutor suggested. This gown piece relates also to Tabitha Moses’s embroidered patient gown in the wake of her IVF treatment. Is painting more of a decoration and embellishment of fabric? For me not, the fabric and the painting need to be interwoven. one holding the other, both conveying more a disruptive sense of vulnerability. Overall, 

In the preparation of my assignment, I continued working on those painterly, material sculptures, created through pulling and stretching materials as paint (Fig. 3) . An exploration of visual but also embodied space, as the ones I submitted with this assignment were built on metal hangers as a second element to ‘stretch’- the hanger and the skin (acrylic, latex, or fabric) seeking a balance. It felt quite good to hear how my tutor could relate to these as convincing works in itself. There is certainly space to improve color choice (Fig. 3 right). But there is also the intriguing aspect how shape sand curves are interacting with the viewer and negotiating space. I found the chance of having an online tutorial quite important in order to be able to show pieces that were submitted online only. My tutor responded to no3 (Fig. 3 left) with a strong sense of fragility. It was made from jersey fabric, it is quite stable and robust (much better than latex that may collapse any time). I do find this interesting and important aspect, not necessarily of deceiving, but about not taken assumptions for granted.

 

Fig. 3: A5 - 'Suspended Skin' - hanger sculptures

Fig. 3: A5 – ‘Suspended Skin’ – hanger sculptures // left: No 3, middle: no. 14, right: no. 2

 

During the tutorial we discussed what is at the bottom of my practice and work. It appears clearer now to me how it continued to be a thread throughout this course. Although, some works might be rather of a tangent, e.g. the Object-box as a playful interactive art-game, getting more attention from children than adults.

Coursework

There was not much other practical work during this part (quite some writing had to be done) and the cut-up audio -video piece ‘Cut up my thinking‘ was received two-fold: the speech-scape as such through the distorted cut-up words were intriguing and hold enough space and attention. Whereas, the visuals, especially the moving written text and my hand were not convincing. To apply rather abstract painterly patterns in the background to allow the eye to follow while the brain is trying to catch auditive sense and meaning from the spoken disconnected words. The broken words and sense of dislocation, both key aspect in my practice, came across as effective and unsettling. ‘Unsettling’ appears also a key element in my work, as my parallel project showed. Overall, it is about disruption linear narratives, flat picture planes, and obvious meaning through juxtaposition and layering. 

Sketchbooks

My tutor made the comment that my sketchbooks are getting my ideas through a more intuitive response at times better across. I guess this has to do more with putting one idea alone onto one page, turn to the next, and put my second idea down etc. The space around my markings in the sketchbook seemed also less daunting, perhaps the edges of the book (A4 or mostly A3 sketchbooks) provide already enough structure and frame not to bother too much about.

Critical Review

As this came across through my artist statement, it became clearer to me after our tutorial that also the critical review is more about reflection on practice and less informative. My draft was conceived as too dense, clever, but too much, and too less about my own reflections. A clear message that I can relate to quite well. Time for my final draft to submit. It could be better to write more about my ideas as an enquiry. She also highlighted that my contextual notes, though brief, are very relevant to my subject matter and I could lean more on this approach.

In context of embodiment and aesthetics, my tutor suggested some rephrasing and provided a supportive article about Art and Embodiment

 

Learnings:

  • Allow more space and economy in my mark making and materiality approach to inform the results, less is more
  • Be less illustrative and obvious and embrace more ambiguity through opening more space
  • My enquiry of ideas should lead my writing, and my practice overall.
  • I am satisfied to have found finally a common platform through key elements that I can put in place: in my artist statement (done), in my critical review (to be made clearer) and in my visual works (some are there, some need adjustments, some are out – the latter is also quite a relief not to bother about any longer)

 


The full formative feedback with amended notes from my tutor is available at: PDF 

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A5 – Self-Evaluation

How am I doing against the criteria?

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills

I continued exploring my favorite actions of stretching and pulling on other materials. Considering the ephemeral nature of latex from my previous I was looking into stretchable fabrics and other products, e.g. Parafilm M®, leukotape® bandage, Tyuvek®, that has some connection with the clinic and medical practices. I was not able to explore fabrics in depth, e.g. the stretchable Jersey or the translucent cheese cloth, to the extent I would have love to (time constraints). As in my previous assignments I explored different streams before deciding which one would be the final outcome as my submission work. Perhaps, some other would have more potential, a question I would still struggle with and my tutor’s comments here would be very much appreciated. I was more careful and conscious to take edges, color, transparency, and opaqueness into account. I feel the compositional aspects are more informed with this assignment than earlier ones.

Quality of Outcome

The assignment went through multiple stages, each one informing the other, with time in between to reflect before making next interactions. Working on parallel streams and especially working in series allowed me to discern pieces that are more successful than others. Although, the applied color palette for painting was rather on the muted side with layered black lines and texts, I am positively surprised and happy that backlight (light-box) as a performative aspect can brighten it up and give a different appeal to the small scale works. I am aware of the ‘iconoclastic’ approach from large scale painting into cutting it up into multiple pieces. This was a conscious decision informed by my other works (parallel project, critical review). It might be good to get some other feedback on this approach.

I was concerned about quality of my assignment that it could stand transportation, is durable and could be viewed in gallery spaces.

Demonstration of Creativity

During this course I became more aware about certain topics that might be part of what I want to do: transformation of materiality, crossing boundaries of materials and meaning, embracing other media and the performative aspect of light, fragmentation and vulnerability (this is the most autobiographic aspect of my work), and a sense of dislocation.

I feel that since my previous assignment I am more focused on those key aspects informing my work without necessarily being constrained by my thoughts. The making and physical touch of material alongside the performance of the material during the transformation process is informing my visual responses and my final works. At times, I am not sure whether the final outcome supports my intention, but I do embrace chance and the turns my making is adding to the work.

Context

My work is strongly informed by my parallel project and my critical review. Especially moving away from the MRI as visual image to a more sensible approach to skin and materiality helped me to overcome conventional narratives and to let the material as such speak to the viewer. I am very much influenced by a few artist, their body of work I am following now since some time (see various blog posts) and their approaches to materiality inspired me: Helen Chadwick, Jaqueline Humphries, Mona Hatoum, and Richard Tuttle. Also, I am reflecting also on my earlier works for this course (and even make connections to my previous course unit with OCA.

 


Questions to my tutor:

  • Potential of my ‘hanger’ sculptures
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A5 – Contextual Notes

My last assignment 4 on materiality and skin and my critical review on medical imaging and ambiguity were the two most crucial sources that informed my assignment work. How medical imaging and skin are related. The transparent body, the disembodied medical gaze, visual images derived from transformed and machine code. The body as vulnerable object of the gaze being fragmented, distorted and displaced.

During the making, I felt reminded how earlier works done during this course had – subconsciously – informed my practice:

 

I found metal hangers as a good choice to work with. Hangers are used for clothes. Metal hangers are thin enough to provide enough support for stretching but also being not too dominant. I felt inspired to use them by Richard Tuttle‘s work in series Wire Pieces, 1972, although he explored a different subject through it (line, shadow, drawn line – questioning objectivity and subjectivity (Horn ed al, 2015:54-55) – see blog post.

I felt inspired by some of the layered works of Christian Bonnefoi. His works do show a semi-transparent appearance of layered shapes. The work are contained in a frame, something I wanted to overcome by using transparent Rhenalon plate as support, to play with the edges of the plate, the Parafilm material and the paint on it. This triple transparent-opaque dimension allowed me to be not to contained with the rectangle. However, my ‘sculptural skin’ series enabled me to cross even that boundary.

Another informing work that I looked at during writing my critical review, was the notion of Vesalius’s ‘Muscle Man’ studying anatomy (earlier medical gaze) and the skin as fashion accessoire that could be put on a hanger like a coat (see Juan Valverde de Amusco ‘Vivae Imagines’, 1566). The skin as dislocated and displaced material reminded me when I worked on paint materials as such, free from a canvas stretcher. The use of the metal hangers was flexible and thin enough to be even considered more of a material to draw with in space than a rigid frame.

The idea of fabric reminded me on the one hand of Tabita Moses‘s embroidered patient gown (2014) as her visual response to her IVF treatment. On the other and it reminded me of Sam Gilliam’s painted fabric and gown of coats as seen during my visit in Basel.Exhibition: Sam Gilliam ‘The Music of Color’, Basel. This shaping of the canvas and my earlier exploration of the patient gown made from mylar as the ‘object that stands for the body’ resulted eventually in appropriating a real patient gown (thanks to Alan Fletcher for shipping it over to my place from UK) with the transferred paint skin. 

Moreover, there are other artist that inspired with their approaches and body of works: 

  • Jaqueline Humphries and her embedded ‘visual text’ into her abstract paintings
  • Mona Hatoum and the sensibility of the body and its distortion that influenced my work on a back-burner. 
  • Helen Chadwick, especially her approach to interactive and interdependent aspect of embodiment, inside and outside alongside a drive for aesthetics in the resulting works. I explored these works deeply  in my critical review.

 


Reference:

  • Campoli Presti Gallery (2019) Christian Bonnefoi, At: https://www.campolipresti.com/artists/christian-bonnefoi/bio (Accessed 03 Aug 2019).
  • Horn, R., Tuttle, R. J., Butler, C. H., Kläs, E., Tuerlinckx, J., Voigt, J., Gross, J. R., Chaffee, C., Roberts, V., Sullivan, L. L., Yale University, P. and DeCordova Sculpture Park and, M. (2015) Drawing redefined. Lincoln; New Haven; London: DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum ; distributed by Yale University Press.
  • Moses, T. (2014) Tabitha Moses, At: http://www.tabithamoses.co.uk/page10.htm (Accessed 28 Oct 2018).
  • SFOMA – San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (s.D.) It’s alive! Richard Tuttle creates a wire piece at SFMOMA,[At: https://www.sfmoma.org/watch/its-alive-richard-tuttle-creates-a-wire-piece-at-sfmoma/(Accessed on 20 Aug 2019).
  • Schaffeld, S.J. (2018) ‘Exhibition: Sam Gillam ‘The Music of Color’, Basel’ [blog post] At: https://ocasp.stefanvisualart.com/?p=2175 (Accessed 27 Aug 2019).
  • Tuttle, R., Petersens, M. and Borchardt-Hume, A. (2014) Richard Tuttle – I don’t know : The Weave of Textile Language. London: Whitechapel, Tate.
  • The University of Cambridge (1566) ‘Juan Valverde de Amusco (ca. 1525–ca. 1588), ‘Vivae imagines partium corporis humani aereis formis expressae. Book 2, plate 1’, in Juan Valverde de Amusco (ca. 1525–ca. 1588), V. i. p. c. h. a. f. e. B., plate 1, ed., Antwerp: Christopher Plantin, print.
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A5 – Beyond the Skin – A material Approach

  • A5 – Beyond the Skin – A material Approach
  • A5 – Beyond the Skin – A material Approach
  • A5 – Beyond the Skin – A material Approach
  • A5 – Beyond the Skin – A material Approach

Skin – Sculptures – Disciplined Material – Stretching

Latex was my material of choice in assignment 4. I was fascinated by the response of material -acting and reacting on my actions, at times quite strong forces: pulling, stretching and folding. Actions upon material matter, to feel, to see and to experience what happened and what failed to happen.

Could I apply my latex skin approach with other materials? And how to choose the right ones? Are there right ones at all? Nevertheless, I felt connected with my parallel project, medical imaging, and materials that could trigger some connotations either with clinics, medical, or the medical gaze. All what one could experience as materials that get in contact with one own skin, e.g. as textiles are clothes, clothes acting as a second skin. Bandage, e,g. leukotype, is touching the skin closely, others as Tyvek in the form of protective disposable gowns are less close to the skin.

Considering my rather bold use of canvas stretcher for assignment 4 and my tutor’s comment of using more subtle ‘frames’, I found metal hangers as a good choice to work with. Hangers are used for clothes. Metal hangers are thin enough to provide enough support for stretching but also being not too dominant. I felt inspired to use them by Richard Tuttle’s work in series Wire Pieces, 1972, although he explored a different subject through it (line, shadow, drawn line – questioning objectivity and subjectivity (Horn ed al, 2015:54-55). In this context, I also felt inspired by some of the layered works of Christian Bonnefoi, although his conventional rectangular frame felt too contained to me.

Multiplicity – Stretching and Pulling as Attitude

How to approach this? 

Informed by my previous assignment 4, seeking for alternative materials for latex without rejecting stretching and pulling as important ‘verbal’ actions, and smaller scale works in series:

  1. Exploring the sculptural aspects of skin through fabric materials
  2. Exploring paint as peeling-skin with Hostaphan foil
  3. Exploring the intimacy of stretching as word and through words 

 

Visual Text: Suspended Skin 

I was considering my tutor’s remarks on last assignment re too dominant frame (and too conventional) and was informed for my next decision on material use by:

  • Richard Tuttle’s ‘wire’ work (see blog post
  • the notion of Vesalius’s ‘Muscle Man’ studying anatomy (earlier medical gaze) and the skin as fashion accessoire that could be put on a hanger like a coat (see Juan Valverde de Amusco ‘Vivae Imagines’, 1566)

 

Fig. 1: sculptural skin - the hanger

Fig. 1: sculptural skin – the hanger

 

I got hold of those metal hangers and felt this would be fab framing and interactive material to stretch and pull my paint-fabric-skins (Fig. 2 – 13 – click on one image to open in lightbox view):

interaction – interdependency – holding together

 
=> A series of rather experimental use of various fabrics alongside acrylic paint, some with latex, wire. The challenge was the process of making: to manipulate the metal hanger and to find a balance between fixing the fabric to it, to stretch and pull the fabric, and to find a final sculpture that is stable and ‘stretched’ enough.

A different approach comparing with my latex stretching works from previous part with a focus more on the thick latex paint and finding the point before it fragmented. This time, it was more an interaction between frame and skin. both equally relevant, the one was not stable without the other, an interdependency. 

Considering these skin sculptures and some reclaimed peeled paint from my second approach (see below) I made a series of more interaction between paint skin, hanger and fabric (Fig. 14-16 –  click on one image to open in lightbox view)

=> I was intrigued by the combination of paint skin and fabric (cheese-cloth) and how to arrange them in order that both work together, kind of Moebius-strip (see Fig. 9) in another sense: folded and twisted, both sides visible, though partly concealing and revealing. I chose cheese cloth for its rather transparency (the best I could find around me). I was surprised how much I could stretch the acrylic paint and how the hanger did work to support both.

 


Intermezzo: Skin and paint

My second approach was to work with acrylic paint on Hostaphan with the intention to obtain latex-like skin textures that I could stretch and frame (using above hanger or something else)

transparency – you impact my gestures

 

Fig. 17: A5 - prep the paint - transparency

Fig. 17: A5 – prep the paint – transparency with some notions of Baroque sensibility // acrylic paint on Hostaphan® suspended in front of studio wall; left: digitally composite of two stages of painting (a blur on purpose)

 

=> I think it all went well, I enjoyed applying gestural strokes across the highly transparent foil. Interestingly, the highly visible but not touchable wall impacted my painting. The foil was not rigidly fixed and was vibrating under my strokes. It felt as if I was painting on water

I was very positive that all would turn out for the good. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen that way. Apparently, I applied the paint far to thin (what is thick enough?) and I couldn’t peel the paint of (quite different from a plastic sheet where I could peel of acrylic paint easily). I was wondering whether to stretch with the entire foil? But this wasn’t likely to work either (and would have been a step away from my skin-approach)

 

paint thicker – or you will stay here !

 

I tried another simpler gesture and applied thick paint in it to see how it would work better. Fig. 14-16 (above) with the hanger was done with this yellow strip.

Fig. 18: A5 - prep the paint - paint thicker - thick enough?

Fig. 18: A5 – prep the paint – paint thicker – thick enough?

 

I overpainted with thicker paint, not sure whether this is a way I wanted to continue. I got reminded about my acrylic transfer process that I use at time since my painting 1 studies. I wanted to transfer the paint to fabric, and using the fabric instead of latex or the pure paint to stretch. It worked and it resulted in a new idea (Fig 15) – a patient gown appropriation, reminding me of the embroidered patient gown of Tabitha Moses (2014)

Fig. 19: A5- paint skin on fabric - an embellished patient gown

Fig. 19: A5- paint skin on fabric – an embellished patient gown // paint transferred from Hostaphan onto fabric – fabric as gown – as patient gown (right; installed behind)

 

=> It went a complete different path than I expected. I wanted to leave it as there as such. Not sure how successful it really is. However, there is a certain aesthetic and I felt it closes a loop to my starting point with a patient gown made from mylar in part three – see Project 3.3 – Ex. 3.2: Before and After / Pulling a Narrative. It also reminded me of some other artist’s work informed by textile works, e.g Sam Gilliam. The shape as such reminds me of an insect body bringing up associations to Franz Kafka’s novella ‘Die Verwandlung’ (Metamorphosis)

Eventually, I decided to move on with my third approach: intimacy of small scale. Knowing also this will take time and space to develop.

 


Verbal Text: Stretching my words

I haven’t used words or text in my first two approaches. I was wondering whether my action of doing ‘to stretch – to pull – to hold’ would count as text? What is making the difference anyway? Most of visual perception is going to be interpreted already subconsciously through learned linguistic signs.

 

Words – Where have you been?

 

Fig. 20: A5 - prep the paint - paint - no words?

Fig. 20: A5 – prep the paint – paint – no words? // a digital composite of multiple layers – to cut, to stretch, to pull, to see – the invisible 

 

This approach is informed by my commissioned work for my local art community (see my blog post) and by my curiosity to explore the materiality of  Parafilm M® as an exciting outcome from my sketchbook experiments on various materials.

A large scale constructed wall painting, a frieze, composed of bands of Parafilm M (4″ width) covering an area of approx. 280 x 60 cm. My gestures applied combining, making sense out of it. A performative painting, over time informed by interactions and connectedness, a network (like neural network of the brain?).

Color / shapes / lines / words

The evolution of a making (Fig. 21-30) – click on  a single image to open in lightbox view. 

It took a few week, each stage hanging and waiting for next inspiration, until it was ‘complete’ with words written onto it. What reminded me of wall graffiti and my recent exhibition visit in London Writing on the Wall At that time I was reflecting on  how Twombly applied scribbling and inscription as a performative act, deconstructing written language in its gestural aspects. Perhaps, this became quite close to my approach here.  My visual mark-making through gestures and words – to be deconstructed into smaller works..

The resulting large wall frieze (Fig. 31) – constructed to be deconstructed:

Fig. 31: A5 - prep wall frieze - constructed to cut-up

Fig. 31: A5 – prep wall frieze – constructed to cut-up

 

With this large fragile frieze (the single Parafilm stripes not really attached to each other, at some points the paint was making connections though) handing for a quite some time in my time

Also in my reflective post, I was asking myself “Are public walls the skin of a society?” and “Are human skins becoming a public wall? ” WIth this in mind I continued with cutting and stretching, deconstructing, and turning vulnerability into effect.

Be small – your own STRETCH 

 

Stretching and pulling from the inside out,

Small is beautiful

 

=> I felt intrigued – as for my assignment 4 work – to explore the features of the material in itself, not to use more tools to put in a  place where the material doesn’t want to be. Making smaller works, cardsize 6×4″, helps to keep the support rigid. Trying to do the same on A4 scale didn’t work. The support collapsed as the wire mesh I tried earlier one. In this case, small is beautiful, being big is not the way to go.

The wall frieze had to* undergo the process of my gaze, incisions. A process of cutting-up , stretching and pulling, cardsize paintings embracing intimacy and to be pulled into.

(* This certainly reminded me of my painting for Painting 1, a large scale painting cut up into grid segments, followed by my tutor’s questions of relationship to the Modernist grid and iconoclastic approaches – see my blog post for PoP1 and my reflection )

Video 1 (1:10 min)

 

=> I decided to go for rigid rhenalon sheets, as they are sturdy in small sizes holding the force of stretching, it is a transparent material that could work with backlight (informed by earlier works in assignment two (the Two Side Box), and my tutor comment on assignment 4 that one could see more intimate elements with backlight). Trying to work larger scale wasn’t that effective. Though I used A5 and A6 both to discern later.

This process of cutting-up and transforming into new pieces of work with a loose connection to the larger work appeared to be a process of diverse aspects:

  • Scale: I decided to use A5 and A6 sizes, mainly to explore words as such (larger better) but still keeping an intimate approach to it (the viewer can hold it in the hands)
  • An intimate interaction: cutting manually, peeling off the backing, stretching and pulling each piece onto rhenalon card. Each stretching and pulling different, a sensible touch, fragile material, vulnerable to strong forces, various application front and backside – multiplicity of ways to do
  • Stretching words: – distorted already through cutting- became even more distorted through pulling and turning into abstract patterns.
  • Color: I used first quite muted but later bolder color, reminiscence to muted color of human skin. I wasn’t sure how the color of paint would behave over time on parafilm. The black lines and words would make a more dominant contrast to it. With backlight – especially with lightbox and ambienbt light – the color turned stronger 
  • Transparency: I was impressed by how much backlight was transforming to work and the colors. Under normal toplight conditions muted colors, with backlight (lightbox) brighter. I also tried to hold it against a window at daylight (see end section of video 1) but due to the strong contrast the photograph doesn’t work that good. The eye and brain can better adjust to this contrast. However, it still worked best on  lightbox. Something for me to see how to present for assessment (though I have some ideas to check out)

 

What is left behind and what appeared in another place.

Fig. 32: 'Be Small- Your own stretch' - wall frieze left behind

Fig. 32: ‘Be Small- Your own stretch’ – wall frieze left behind // cut-up into A6 and A5 pieces – more to make or just to stay?

 

Fig. 33: 'Be Small- Your own stretch' - stack of fragments on the floor -

Fig. 33: ‘Be Small- Your own stretch’ – stack of fragments on the floor // all A6 and A5 plates together – interacting as attitude

 

I explored ambient studio light (A6 card size – with wider border on photographic image – Fig 34 – 37; click on one image to open in lightbox view): 

… and lightbox, embracing the performative aspect of backlight (A6 card size – with wider border on photographic image  – Fig 38 – 41;  click on one image to open in lightbox view):

=> I started with making A6 card size plates and moved on in making A5 plates. One cut piece (approx 6 x 4″) from the wall went onto one A6 plate, and two pieces from the wall onto one A5 plate. The latter allowing me to combine two parafilm pieces in a more versatile manner: both on one side, one on the front and one on the back, oberlapping around the edges etc. It all was a quite intimate approach in finding the right force to stretch and pull (otherwise fragments are torn), to play with edges and transparency, and to explore words, now rather letters, around the various plates. 

Total collection made: 13 A6 and 32 A5. I will see what to select for submission. Perhaps 22 of the larger A5 in reference to the 22 months that I am now on this course unit and finally found the end? 

I will submit the lightbox version (as it is digital submission) and have to see how this could work at assessment (perhaps to ship my flat LED lightbox with the work)


Enough Gaze (20x30cm; latex, tyuvek, rhenalon, acrylic paint)

 

Fig. 42: 'Enough Gaze' - at the end of my course P2SP

Fig. 42: ‘Enough Gaze’ – at the end of my course P2SP // at the end of my course

 


Reflection:

  • Verbal interaction can inform the practical exploration: to stretch – to pull – to hold
  • Materiality is interactive and interdependent
  • Intimacy of touch and scale – a multiplicity of interactions 
  • Exploring self sufficient stretching: I wanted to avoid a canvas stretcher or other additional items that hold the stretch. Self-sufficient in respect to the material in itself holding and maintaining the stretching force. Parafilm M and rhenalon plates are keeping together even without use of adhesive. The final works are rigid, solid, stable without the risk of further fragmentation during transportation. Comparing to some of my works for assignment 4 with latex – with some even collapsed during one week.
  • Overall, it was quite a turn in my making. I could make out some connection to my work from all previous parts (fragmentation, repetition, transparency, skin, words) and found that the materiality aspect in itself is quite rewarding. And it is an open subject matter to be explored further. 
  • As future steps, I want to explore various fabrics more. The one used for the ‘patient gown’ is jersey stretch fabric. The stretchability appeared as an important element in my work.
  • The series that I will submit for assignment 5 (be small – your own STRETCH) might be explored with other colors, or perhaps with more text on it. Also the durability of Parafilm, as plastic material, is not know to me. 

 


Reference:

  • Campoli Presti Gallery (2019) Christian Bonnefoi, At: https://www.campolipresti.com/artists/christian-bonnefoi/bio (Accessed 03 Aug 2019).
  • Horn, R., Tuttle, R. J., Butler, C. H., Kläs, E., Tuerlinckx, J., Voigt, J., Gross, J. R., Chaffee, C., Roberts, V., Sullivan, L. L., Yale University, P. and DeCordova Sculpture Park and, M. (2015) Drawing redefined. Lincoln; New Haven; London: DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum ; distributed by Yale University Press.
  • Moses, T. (2014) Tabitha Moses, At: http://www.tabithamoses.co.uk/page10.htm (Accessed 28 Oct 2018).
  • SFOMA – San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (s.D.) It’s alive! Richard Tuttle creates a wire piece at SFMOMA,[At: https://www.sfmoma.org/watch/its-alive-richard-tuttle-creates-a-wire-piece-at-sfmoma/(Accessed on 20 Aug 2019).
  • Tuttle, R., Petersens, M. and Borchardt-Hume, A. (2014) Richard Tuttle – I don’t know : The Weave of Textile Language. London: Whitechapel, Tate.
  • The University of Cambridge (1566) ‘Juan Valverde de Amusco (ca. 1525–ca. 1588), Vivae imagines partium corporis humani aereis formis expressae. Book 2, plate 1’, in Juan Valverde de Amusco (ca. 1525–ca. 1588), V. i. p. c. h. a. f. e. B., plate 1, ed., Antwerp: Christopher Plantin, print.

 

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Critical Review – Revised Draft for review

amended:  for the sake of avoidance / self-plagiarism: 

I do thank all who gave me their feedback and comments on my revised draft. The final draft is the current one

I am considering here the discussion on self-plagiarism at OCA discuss forum and input from OCA librarian Helen at: https://discuss.oca-student.com/t/should-i-publish-my-essays-on-my-blog/10737?) and the mitigating the minor risk that someone could reference this revised draft – what would apparently put me intro trouble, as I did not reference my revised draft in my final draft. Let the readers of this amended post reflect for themselves on what may be good online academic standard….

Please see my final draft at: 

A6 – Critical Review – Final Draft

Total  word count of revised draft: 3282; without direct quotes, footnotes, references: 2487

 

 


Image:

  • Schaffeld, S.J (2019 Reflecting in layers – Sketches and drawing after Chadwick (‘Self-Portrait’, 1991)  [Digital composite] 
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Medical imagery – an ethical question?

On Ethics

Medical-ethical issues are media-ethical concerns – (van Dijck, 2005:14)

Alongside writing my critical review and working on my parallel project informed by my own MRI scan in 2018 and the obtained medical imagery footage. I was concerned about ethical questions and the purpose us those medical images. Images of media culture and evidence as trophy? Would I not put myself into those habits of collecting images as iconic sign?

How do and for what purpose do I want to use medical imagery? It raises ethical and morale questions, questions of ethical permissibility and educational value as explored by van Dijck (van Dijck, 2005). Aesthetically appealing images do attract the public and e overrule a ‘pure’ medical meaning and concerns

What about using my own imagery from the MRI scans? And to make them public through ‘works of art’? Would this change of how it is perceived versus using imagery from others? Foucault asks questions of morale considering a dislocation and removal of the direct gaze.

Instrumental mediation outside the body authorises a withdrawal that measures the morale distance involved the prohibition of physical contact makes it possible to fix the virtual image of what is occult well below the visible area…What one cannot see is shown in the distance from what one must not see – (Foucault, 1994:164)

The moral question relates to the dominant sign of the visible leading to difficult choices and dilemmas. ‘Seeing is intervening’ – as Ian Hacking explained the biased dynamic of how it impacts our conceptualisation and representation of the body (van Dijck, 2005:7-8). Examples as Bodyworlds (Institut für Plastination e.K, 2019) or the Visual Human Project® (National Library of Medicine, 2019) challenge us to reconsider status and nature of the body, and challenging epistemological categories guiding us in making ethical distinctions (van Dijck, 2005:62).

The way of seeing is not restricted to medical imagery, it extends all imagery in media culture where what is seen and what is perceived is subject to the viewer’s interpretation. Attached informative texts may play a guiding role, nevertheless, the dominant role of the visual has its own dynamic:

The significant role of images and imagination in the construction of corporeality is one of the prime motivations for cultural critics to analyze and theorise medical imaging. – (van Dijck, 2005:12-13)

The human body would turn away from being an object of surveillance under the medical gaze towards a posthuman cultural ‘fashion accessories’, not any longer ‘of being’ but rather ‘of having’, as Katherine Hayles describes the shift in perception (Hayles, 1999:5). The image by Juan Valverde de Amusco, 1566 does remind us of that as a pre-modern reflection on anatomy practice as this time (The University of Cambridge, 1566).

In summary, I tend to use my own MRI footages with care. My practice is a visual reflection on what the imagery are doing with me and how I response to that visual ‘evidence’. The process of remembering my experience inside the machine as well as my reflection in the aftermath are opening up new explorations of materiality and transformation.

 


Image:

  • featured image: Schaffeld, SJ (2019) digital composite of painting and screenshot of spectrum from music created by Vicki Downey

Reference:

  • Foucault, M. (1994) The Birth of the Clinic : An Archaeology of Medical Perception, Routledge classics, Reprinted ed. New York: VIntage Books, A division of Random House, Inc.
  • Hayles, N. K. (1999) How we became posthuman : Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics. Chicago; London: The University of Chicago Pres.
  • Institut für Plastination e.K (2019) Bodyworlds – Körperwelten,  At: https://bodyworlds.com/  (Accessed  10 Jul 2019). Heidelberg:
  • National Library of Medicine (2019) The Visible Human Project®,  At: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/research/visible/visible_human.html  (Accessed  02 May 2019).
  • The University of Cambridge (1566) ‘Juan Valverde de Amusco (ca. 1525–ca. 1588), Vivae imagines partium corporis humani aereis formis expressae. Book 2, plate 1’, in Juan Valverde de Amusco (ca. 1525–ca. 1588), V. i. p. c. h. a. f. e. B., plate 1, ed., Antwerp: Christopher Plantin, print.
  • van Dijck, J. (2005) Transparent Body : A Cultural Analysis of Medical Imaging. Seattle, WA; London: University of Washington Press.
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A5 – Pre-Reflective thoughts

Text as subject and vehicle

Titles: for me a reflection of the making, or my emotional or cognitive response in the aftermath. I am never intrigued by either naming it what one can see (visual language is equal to verbal language), nor to name them ‘untitled (what goes into brackets?)’ what some are doing (see my reflection on ‘locating titles‘)

Examples from the different parts of this course:

Part 1:  Assignment 1 Submission  with A1 – One Attempt of Failure and A1 – Another attempt of Failure  => in reference to my performative interaction with materials, relating my body to context, the performative process as failure –  ‘Folding as process, Folding as thinking, Unfolding as knowledge’ and

  • The Puzzle of Gesture  // What is Left Behind // Memories //  Washboard (Laundry) 
  • Dog Shit Performance (audio-video of installation)

=> Titles as reflection on what is happening and what is left

 

Part 2A2 – The Object Box and A2 – The Spatial Box  => in reference to my interaction with objects, objects relating to fetishes.

  • Object Box – Paint4OCA  (a box to open and to interact with, with accompanied inventory list=
  • Fabric Wall Box  // Action Wall Box // Preservation Box // The Two-Side Box

=> Titles as reflection on what is visible there.

 

Part 3: A3 – Submission  => in reference to my embodied interaction with screen-based imagery, based on enactment, the ‘hand’ as sign for touch. Exploring the blurring boundaries between the physical and the digital, both material matters and ‘The Expanded Dissociative Gesture’

  • Breaking Through // Reaching // Getting Involved // Touching a Wall // Discovery // Human

=> Titles as reflection how it could relate to a wider context

 

Part 4: A4 – Submission   => in reference to the wider scope of my parallel project (medical imaging as embodied encounter) related to the transformative, vulnerable and transparent matter of skin. My material encounter and physical interaction with alternative materials.  of ‘Vibrant Matter of Skin‘ and ‘Painting Through the Skin

  • Gaze at Me //  Stretch my Skin //  Caught in the Net

=> Titles as reflection on how it felt and how materiality can respond to it. The work as a visual the title as verbal reflection on it.

Part 5: => expanding on part 4, reference to the wider scope of my parallel project (medical imaging as embodied encounter) text and words as reflection and instruction and actions to do

  • pulling // stretching // layering

=> Titles as reflection on how it felt and how materiality can respond to it. The work as a visual the title as verbal reflection on it.

 

Overall, an interesting development through titles ! From a more surface and visual oriented through an object oriented to move into more contextual and reflective titles. 

 


Impact on practice: to talk and to write about it

Two pieces of work tremendously supported me in my practice (parallel project as well as further explorations on skin): artist statement and critical review. Both took quite some time, going through various phases and draft versions. Writing was more to reflect – and to reflect was practice – and practice was to reflect to allow to write upon. My practice, my statements, and my review are entangled. One would not be there without the other

Last not least, to maintain a learning blog and to write my notes after the tutorials with my tutor. To take ownership about what and how I am doing.

Space: To be in my studio space, to travel around, to work in the train or the plane or on the boat.

Time: the flow and continuation of ideas, sketches, thoughts, layers of work.


Titles: making and understanding in relationship

As mentioned above, and especially since part 4, I do see my practice more in context. To verbalise what something could be means also to enable a next step in exploring materiality. Overall, for me it became a visual and verbal interaction. Entangled and layered as some of my works blur boundaries and transform materials, crossing borders between the physical and the digital, between the visible and the invisible. It appears now, that most of all, it is the notion of an expanded space where titles, words, including spoken ones through speech, do inform my layered practice.

In relationship to the viewer, I can see it as more open, inviting to engage, raising question, less didactic or illustrative. My earlier struggle (part 3) on narratives as ‘telling a story’ disappeared and replaced by a more verbalised and visualised response.

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Critical Review – statement

Author personal statement

As an emerging artist and a professional art therapist and counsellor, I am concerned about how identity and the self-image is mediated through a media culture informed by medical instruments and informing a disciplining medical gaze that makes the human body and psychical states appear a disembodied and displaced state of the visible.

With reference to phenomenology and embodiment I do consider the space of experience residing beyond a dichotomy of the body and a mind. My viewpoints are founded on my own experience of being exposed, vulnerable, and stretched and pulled by a medical surgical gaze. I consider my surrounding perceptual space as a kinesfield, as it was named by Gretchen Schiller with bodies connected through the invisible.

My critical review informed my parallel project. At the same time, my practical work in the aftermath of my MRI experience informed my writing of aspects of material vulnerability and temporal experience. As important as it was for Helen Chadwick, the aesthetics of perception of my work could be seen with Merleau-Ponty as a relationship of ‘being-to-the world’.

This essay is built on the following supporting facts:

  1. My own MRI brain scan experience April 2018 at Inselspital, Bern, Switzerland
  2. Research on MRI and use in arts
  3. Research on medical imaging as cultural media and the body as transparent mediated object ‘under the skin’
  4. Research of philosophical exploration of the medical gaze, clinic, patient
  5. Research of Helen Chadwick’s body of work, especially her latest and un-finished series mid 1990s
  6. Collaborative work with music student Vicki Downey to explore different responses to sound
  7. My practice as research in the body and the plasticity of the skin, expressed through the malleable matter of painting and its materials

 

 

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Making in series – a calendar approach

I was asked by my local art community to participate for next year’s calendar, for each month one artist would provide an original piece of work. I choose the month august.  The idea would be to make 91 calendars.

Pondering what I could do, whether to make one piece a day, or one painting and copies of it added with some twists etc. 

I structured my approach in three phases what really helped me to stay on track and meet the deadline:

  1. ideation: experimenting with three ideas (linocut, building on past work, considering my coursework)
  2. making: making the paintings
  3. shipping: cutting, signing, photographing, making labels, stick them on the backside, put sticky dots on the backside to enable putting it on a calendar page, handing over to local art community 

From the three ideas, I eventually decided to comment and explore on my own work I did some time ago for  ‘Geologic Sensibility’ – see at: https://www.stefanschaffeld.com/, a painting made from shellac solution, acrylic paint, ink, and pigments. Also I decided for a structuralist approach to make 

Painting large scale , three series – cutting up in individual pieces / 14 columns and three rows

 
cutting up into single => 126 pieces of summer landscapes ( 14 columns x 3 rows x 3 series of painting)

Calendar : August 2020 

Geological Sensibility

25 x 10 cm (ink, shellac, acrylic on paper)
from Series 2 of a series of 3X3X14
#instaartactive #art2020august

 

©2019, StefanJSchaffeld – Visual Artist. All Rights Reserved / Urheberrechtlich geschützt. 
E-Mail:
Web:           https://www.stefanschaffeld.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/stefan.schaffeld.artist //
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/stefanschaffeldart/

 

Learnings:

  • After I found the way forward, it was an intense time consuming activity. 
  • I structured my approach in three phases what really helped me to stay on track and meet the deadline (all was done within 4 days)
  • I was impressed how focused I worked, it seemed when I really do artworks from my bottom of the heart it just moves
  • I found the cutting up of larger paintings into single pieces not only time effective, but it also places the pieces into a network. The new owners would be part of a larger work, not separated. An idea of ‘social’ interaction I really like.
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Project 5.4: Writing out of the Parallel Project

Artist Statement

I am concerned about how medical technology inform our self-perception, shaping disembodied and displaced visual images. My practice and own experience in healthcare informs my exploration of painting as a physical and psychological encounter of space through a material expression. My approach is inter-medial, looking beyond conventional forms and perception of painting.

My investigation and transformation of material matter reveals aspects of vulnerability and fragmentation through stretching and pulling. I consider my works as spatial arrangements of layered materials. They cross boundaries between the physical and the digital and embrace expanded visual and auditive spaces. Through my physical interaction with materials I explore performative and transcendent aspects of materials and my body.

My practice is informed by the transgressive and embodied works of Helen Chadwick. It explores spaces between the inside and the outside, with skin as a metaphor for transformation. I rely on my direct sensual experience through my body as a medium. Created works are my visual response to that experience.

 


A list informed by my background search and continuous reflection on the core of my practice (a continuity, never finished)

  • Ideas: mental, medical imaging, MRI, experience, self, seeing and touching, sound, rhythm, life, transparent, exposure, vulnerability, fragmentation, dissociation, transcendent, surface, space, interface; paint, light, sound, moving images = crossing boundaries / embodiment
  • What is holding together: transformation through crossing boundaries, becoming vulnerable and transparent even with an opaqueness, touching fragmented matter
  • Decision for most meaningful outcome: to go with the flow of material properties
  • Media: inter-media as painting, material properties as interaction, constructed spaces of color
  • Process: painting, performative painting, a physical material and bodily process, collaborative
  • Intention: seeking new perspectives in painting through arranging and exploring materiality beyond conventional forms and creating varieties of experiential spaces.
  • Theme: exploring the world as an embodied encounter. The parallel project being informed by experiencing the intrusive gaze through medical imaging techniques

 


Development of my statement

Draft 1

Experiencing life as a patient ‘out of norm’ can be daunting, experiencing art can be daunting as well. Feeling vulnerable, exposed to a medical gaze through high-tech instruments, e.g. MRI scans, and falling into a space of uncertainty, leaves one alone to make sense of what is appearing and happening. My art embraces the vulnerability of my Self through material properties. It is an experience crossing boundaries of seeing and feeling. I am searching for possibilities through painting, light, sound, and moving images. There is the touch of painting as material and the rhythm of sound that places one in a different space of experience. How to create spaces that do not belong to the picture I can see? It makes me aware of how fragmented and transparent things might become and to feel the paint, to touch the surface, is making me more real. I need the directness of sensual experience. My work is exploring this by touching various media. My body is one medium to turn images into a picture.

(172 words)

 

 

Reflection on draft 1:

  • How important is the patient aspect?
  • How important is the medical gaze as an external factor compared with my subjective encounter with materiality and matter?
  • How does surface relate to skin?

Draft 2

I am painting through my exploration of interfaces and boundaries related to the human body as a vulnerable encounter in the world. I am searching for new perspectives of how material and space can be experienced.  By using the metaphor of the skin as a protective but also vulnerable semi-permeable material, my work explores the properties of materials. Works consist of surface and spatial structures, flat or multidimensional, questioning the difference between inside and outside.

I do consider painting as the relationship of color in space, embracing properties of light and sound to create new experiences of space and form. My practice is founded on a transgressive and transformative inter-media approach, crossing boundaries and expanding conventional forms and perception of painting. I am exploring constructed layers of perception and meaning by drawing attention to the unique properties of materials that can be stretched and folded.

My practice is personal – building on experiences of vulnerability and fragmentation. Distorted, ambiguous and fragmented parts are becoming part of a painterly experience. By transforming materials, materiality conveys its vulnerable and fragile properties. A directness of sensual experience places my body as an important medium in my practice.

(193 words)

 

 

Reflection on draft 2:

  • How is the aspect of vitality involved, baroque intensity?
  • How is the bodily, the gestural involved?
  • Is art not always personal?
  • Is medical imaging completely out?
  • Where are the other senses, eg. sound?

Draft 3

I am painting – exploring color and spaces, physical present and psychological absent spaces. My practice is founded on an inter-media approach towards materiality beyond conventional forms and perception of painting. Through constructed layers of material and meaning, spaces created do cross boundaries between the physical and the digital, between perception and meaning, between seeing, touching and hearing. My works do draw attention to the unique properties of materials, being manually or metaphorically stretched, pulled and folded.

My project relates to the psychological dimension of human life informed by my practice as art therapist and my own MRI brain scan. Exposed to external gazes, especially the medical gaze, perception of space and body shifts. Elements of vulnerability and fragmentation can be experienced as an intrusion beyond the skin – and beyond the visible. I am searching for new perspectives in how those distorted, ambiguous and fragmented spaces can be bodily experienced.

By transforming materials, materiality conveys its vulnerable and fragile properties. A directness of sensual experience places my body as an important medium in my practice – and the audience into a space of different material reality.

(184 words)

 

 

Reflection on draft 3:

  • How convincing and clear are the main connecting elements of transformation, materiality and crossing boundaries?

 


Draft 4 and final 

I am concerned about how medical technology inform our self-perception, shaping disembodied and displaced visual images. My practice and own experience in healthcare informs my exploration of painting as a physical and psychological encounter of space through a material expression. My approach is inter-medial, looking beyond conventional forms and perception of painting.

My investigation and transformation of material matter reveals aspects of vulnerability and fragmentation through stretching and pulling. I consider my works as spatial arrangements of layered materials. They cross boundaries between the physical and the digital and embrace expanded visual and auditive spaces. Through my physical interaction with materials I explore performative and transcendent aspects of materials and my body.

My practice is informed by the transgressive and embodied works of Helen Chadwick. It explores spaces between the inside and the outside, with skin as a metaphor for transformation. I rely on my direct sensual experience through my body as a medium. Created works are my visual response to that experience.

 (163 words)

 


The Elevator Pitch

unfinished – one of many

audio (0:39 min)

=> a possible development of the ‘elevator-pitch’ animated painting with voice-over statement)


Background:
Learnings from resources:

  • from Artquest:
    – To say what I see.
    – To link purpose, media, idea and process.
  • from Gilda Williams:
    – To attract interest (use of small details) and to assist in my thinking
    – Which decision produced the most meaningful outcome?
  • from both:
    – What is connecting/holding all bits together?

Reflection

  • It took some time to write my artist statement. I enjoyed having time between each draft, not only to reflect on the core of my practice but also to add or refine words and a flow in thinking.
  • It supported me in thinking clearer
  • To think about ‘wjhat is holding it together’ while looking at soma pieces helped me to reflect on what I did and what would be possible next steps. In that sense, I do see writing my statement rather as a study and research in itself. It helped me to stay more focused. 
  • I find it really helpful to phrase some kind of statement even at the beginning of a project to support the making of work. During this part, I used the reflective accounts for each assignment in a similar sense. For assignment five I am going to write it before.

 

 


Images:

  • all images are my own work, photographic reproduction of my painting, and/or digital composites of layers crossing inter-media classifications

Reference:

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Project 5.3: Locating Titles

The title of a work might act as a portal. Going to a museum or gallery, visitors tend to look at the name tag (often accompanied with listening to the audio guide at their ears). What always irritates me, first a surprise, then annoying, is how artists name works ‘untitled’ just to add another title in brackets:

 

‘Untitled (this is my title)’, 2019

 

What does this tell me? According to Danto (2006) , the title differentiates art from ‘mere things’. Mere things as a chair is just an object, a chair. Naming it like ‘Chair’, 2019 can place it into the realm of art. Naming a work is an artist’s gesture, reminding me of baptism, an un-named work not existing?

To name it ‘Untitled‘ can make the difference. Finally, I can write something on the name tag on the wall. It is one of my own experiences with recent local exhibitions, to provide a title and a price tag. As if these two are acknowledging as the final proof that it is really a piece of art.

The feature image above, a sketch I made during UVC1,  has no title (!?- is this already a title ??). The title is the work, or it is within the work, a statement, an intention?  If I consider giving a title to name it, perhaps it is just that- empty blackness filled with text.

It resonates how On Kawara (1932 – 2014) integrated the title as work. His painting series Today, 1966 – a repetitive series of painting the words of the day of making the painting for nearly five decades.  What normally would appear on the back of a painting, year or date of making, became the work as such. On Kawara applied a rigid working sequence in making these paintings. Interestingly, he also made for each painting, varying in size, a cardboard box, often lined with newspaper clippings. He considered the context of making by being informed by the country he stayed at that time. Overall, a massive archive created, a calendar materialised through painting. I could imagine that these minimalistic paintings turned into icons, as backdrop as decoration. The temporality of a day imprinted for ever in a painting.

It reminds me, although completely different and not made over that period of time, of Bruce Naumann soundscape installation Days, 2009. Multiple loudspeakers installed as a corridor, the viewer passes through, and can listen to the overlapping speeches from each loudspeaker, with someone saying the one day of the week. Those works are archives, lists, announcement of time in space. The title – the work – speech. I am intrigued by considering language not as written but as spoken words. 

 

An Oak Tree – Michael Craig-Martin, 1973

What is the title and what is the work? It is a three part piece of work: the title, the photographic image of ‘assorted objects’ and the text in the form of an interview. 

A sculpture, an installation?  With a longer text joining it, perhaps the text is the work and the sculpture is an illustration of the text? One tends to see text always as name text, guiding information as in leaflets written by a curator. The title is the gesture of the artist (always?). Artist writing tend to be either essays or something else. Joining visual and text. Since DADA a habit, expressed through self-made publication, quite similar to what we are doing as a group of students with edge-zine.

Can text be art? Writers, authors do it all the time. Are visual artist’s less prone to consider text as art? 

Craig-Martin made this work 1973, at the height of conceptual art. It resonates with conceptions of ‘Art as Idea’ as explored by Joseph Kosuth who quoted Donald Judd’s expression “if someone calls it art, it’s art” (2003). The idea is the gesture that turns anything into a piece of art. 

How serious does one takes it? In context of conceptual art Oak Tree might be just an institutional critique against commodification of art. Does art need to be easily understandable? This work might also reflect a viewpoint that one can’t argue with artist’s intentions. It is not science, it is not objective. One large portion of art is to ask questions (my view), what Oak Tree certainly does. 

To write the text in the form of an interview (Q and A) – apparently both sides written by the artist (!) – could mean to engage more and to be less obvious, didactic. 

Overall, what can one argue with? It reminds my of schizophrenia, a parallel reality that is true from a subjective point of view. 


Image:

  • featured image. Schaffeld, S.J. (2017) collage of screenshot found online

Reference:

  • Craig-Martin, M. (2019) ‘Michael Craig-Martin’ At: www.michaelcraigmartin.co.uk/work-index#/early-work/ (Accessed  29 July 2019).Danto, A. C. (2006) ‘Works of Art and More Real Things’, in: The Transfiguration of the Commonplace: A Philosophy of Art, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press,,pp. 1 – 32.
  • Guggenheim (2019) ‘Paintings: Today Series/Date Paintings’ At: https://www.guggenheim.org/arts-curriculum/topic/paintings-today-seriesdate-paintings  (Accessed  25 July 2019). 
  • Kosuth, J. (2003) ‘Art After Philosophy (1969)’, in: Harrison, C. and Wood, P. (eds.) Art in Theory, 1900-1990: An Anthology of Changing Ideas, Malden, MA; Oxford, UK; Victoria, AUS: Blackwell Publishing,pp. 852-861. VIIA – 11.
  • Manchester , E. (2002) Michael Craig-Martin – An Oak Tree, 1973, At: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/craig-martin-an-oak-tree-l02262 , London: Tate.(Accessed  25 July 2019). 
  • MoMA (2019) ‘Bruce Nauman: Days – MoMAJune 2–August 23, 2010’ At: https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/1057 (Accessed  25 July 2019).
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P5.2 – Parallel Project Ex5.2: Reflective exercise (Part b)

After my previous reflection with more focus on my collaboration with music student Vicki Downey, here my wider reflection on this works sits in my practice and the course ‘Studio Practice’ as such.

 

Feedbacks received:

in key words

Stefan513593 - P2SP - Parallel Project - Reflection - key words

Fig. 1: Parallel Project – Reflection – key words

 

Some voices
(permission to quote was received) – link to PDF 

 


I very much appreciated the feedback on our work shared later by Caroline Wright, lead of the New Music Collective-Fine Arts collaborative project (together with Carla Rees):

I’m pleased the NMC/FA project was worthwhile. Collaboration can be challenging but it is very often incredibly revealing – to those involved to discover one’s own sense of self and way of working, and to better understand the content and communication in (and of) the work. Your collaborative work was, for me personally, an interesting example of how music/sound and visual material can create atmosphere, and how changes of tone and manner of communication can be enhanced or changed by experiencing work through different senses. Within collaboration, there are fascinating aspects around boundaries, of the work, of the ideas and of the two modes of realization, where do they extend to, overlap or synthesise. And where do the boundaries exist from the audience point of view. Sound can bleed beyond visuals and can be seen as a tool for segueing visual material, but it can also be so much more on top of this. I hope you continue to explore working in this way.
– Caroline Wright, MA, PGCert HE Art & Design, SFHEA, Program Leader, Fine Art, post- and undergraduate, The Open College of the Arts

=> It very much enhances aspects of boundaries and transformation, of expansion of experience beyond the pure visual, aspects that I found became more and more important in my work since the beginning of this course related


Positive moments of our work:

  • The combination of visuals and music came across as powerful and uplifting the work to another level
  • The at times disruptive sequences were perceived as an integral part of the work
  • A change in atmosphere, from comfortable and curious, through disturbing and unsettling, to a relaxing and peaceful finish, was appreciated. Though, not for all it was working properly (especially those viewing it on smaller screens at home)
  • The incorporation of paintings and process paintings was considered as powerful and successful
  • A sense of failing and unresolved boundaries was recognized, for me a great feedback as such.

Reflecting on my tutor’s response to the third part as having some sense of ‘melancholy’ I can relate this back to one of my beginning of the work, the baroque and sense of temporal intensity, or as Michael Ann Holly described the ever changing and metamorphosis:

it [Baroque] dazzles and distorts in failing to represent the unrepresentable, baroque vision sublimely expresses the melancholy so characteristic of the period. – (Holly, 1996:92)

Questions to myself

How relevant are the discernible sections in the work?
=> Vicki and I found the sections as important to give structure, perhaps a reflection how structure was integral and supporting our distant collaboration work. Would a collaboration with both on site looking different? I am wondering whether independent sequences, installed on different screens in a gallery space, as body of work alongside possibly non moving images, could be more powerful? Each sequence in itself possible to be stretched more? A question of narrative in a work and a narrative in an exhibition space. I felt reminded of the exhibitions works of Jutta Koether (Four Seasons  and the Seven Sacraments – paintings) and Bill Viola (Intimate Works, slow motion videos). Possibly, slower transitions with more coherence between section, e.g. as seen in Will Kendrick’s  work That Hall Is Woven With Serpents Spines, 2018. From the peer feedback received, those who viewed the work through the provided vimeo link on flatscreen devices, it appeared that the three sequences were too much distinctive and possibly missing a motif or visual connection

How important are some visuals, e.g. face-in-sand for the work, as they are at times perceived conveying an obvious message related to cultural connotations?
=> I had another version as a process painting that I could replace the face-in-sand sequence with (Schaffeld, 2019b). However, I do wonder whether those cultural gestures do need to be considered purely as cliché – or whether in context of a work that one would consider ‘art’ could exactly challenge underlying assumptions? How didactic or obvious should or should not a work be? As Caroline Wright asks in her feedback, ‘where do the boundaries exist from the audience point of view?’

How relevant or didactic is the use of a title? Mindful Resonance Interaction (MRI) was mostly placing the work as a response to MRI scan experience.
=> I could completely eliminate any reference to MRI, possibly to use a complete different text? Although, some didn’t bother at all with the title. Wearing a patient gown in the middle section seemed also be obvious, although wearing a black dress could put this section even more into other areas, e.g. computer games, tron-type. Apparently, single bits in the work came across as ‘obvious’, but would the entire narrative be as obvious? I got the sense that the viewers who picked on single obvious bits, didn’t consider the entire work as obvious – perhaps this made it so discruptive, unsettling, unclear of what it could be?

How relevant is the final part?
=> Idea was to get the audience back into the room, into the present after the quite unsettling middle section. Although, disruptive elements continued to play a role, the overall feedback related more to feel relieve, relaxed and with a sense of peace. In that sense, the final part was successful.

How does my work sit in relationship to painting?
=> Some parts of the work are video recordings of my live performance (with painted face) and of painting as process. Some other parts, eg. face-in-the-sand could be considered as drawing? Leaving a human trace in nature, though ephemeral in its existence? I do consider painting as an interrogation of color and space. Trying to expand this notion, I went to digital and sound spaces that could bring the audience into a physical embodied encounter with the work (with reference to Vincent Morisset)

How did my personal project evolve, which decisions did I take to move forward?
=> Since part one I was intrigued by crossing boundaries and expanding conventional notions of what painting could be. I very much like the process approach alongside a blurriness between materials, including blurring boundaries between digital and physical matter. I embraced more and more the materiality in itself and how actions as pulling and stretching do impact performance, understanding and visual expression. Starting out rather literally with pulling and stretching, the parallel project lifted those aspects up to a metaphorical level: stretching connotations and understanding of sections that made up for a disruptive narrative. Further, I do embrace ambiguity as a key elements, leaving space for the audience to response with their own experience and stories, there is not one way right or wrong. Also there is no misunderstanding as one could often hear from conceptual artists  that the audience could mis-interpret the work (question of intelligence and decoding competence?).

What did inform my work as it stands today, and where there comprises to be taken due to the collaborative aspect?
=> Mostly, I was inspired by works of Bruce Nauman and Hito Steyerl, artists of different generations embracing their contemporary technologies and imaging techniques to explore space, understanding of material, and experiencing ambiguity. Further, the entire area of medical imaging technique is certainly informing my work and the way I do see the key elements as written down in the featured image above. I find those sensibilities of media technology as one can experienced either through medical imaging or through popular media culture do inform the vulnerability and forces I apply on materiality. 
To make my parallel project as a collaborative project might be a risk that I take (what is mine and what is not mine). But I do believe that one always makes work in collaboration, even if it is ‘merely’ informed by peer or tutor feedback. My collaboration forced me to work more structured and to response what is there (in this case the music pieces created by Vicki). Music is abstract, and it informs abstract ideas – being transformed by my hands with material matters turning into visual imagery.

What are my key learnings throughout the development of my personal project?
=> I found the collaboration a stunning experience. We worked for four months on it, quite effectively (considering that I started this course more than one and half year ago), and in resonance. It felt as if our collaboration was another metaphor for MRI process.

How would I want to develop my work further? Deeper or different directions?
= Overall, I do think that the work is too loaded with a complex narrative. Three to four distinctive parts bundled into one audio-work. Considering gallery spaces, I would rather split the apart, make it into three to four screenings, possibly in three joined rooms to allow and add the movement of the audience to be part of the work and its experience. I am very much intrigued by the layering of sensual channels, visual and auditory at least. Other senses, as touch (through walking through) and smell or taste could be explored additionally. However, I am with Merleau-Ponty who stated that all senses are linked to each other in the phenomenological encounter with the and in the world.

Key subject

 

– Transformation – Crossing Boundaries –

 – Disrupting narrative – 

– Vulnerability  Fragmentation – Material Reality –

 

I find as if I am coming not more and more to a core of what I want. Part of it seems to me quite autobiographic, although not spoken out explicitly, only through visual imagers and spaces that exceed the sense of sight alone. It seems to resonate what I partly described in my short ‘journey’ for #OCAstories . Big part of what I want to do relates to the psychological dimension of human life as I do experience intersubjectively with my clients/patients in art therapy.

Overall, I can now discern a few aspects that are important for my work as an emerging artist:

  • transformation of material,
  • crossing boundaries of single perspectives and material reality,
  • disrupting narratives through juxtaposition and contrast,
  • showing vulnerability and fragmentation 

 

Actions to develop the work

  • First, to make a distinctive and slower version (either with cut-up voice-scape, see example) or with the organ part alone
  • Second, more visually coherent, yet disruptive transitions.
  • Third, a plan for presenting the work for assessment incl ideas of room spaces.

 


Image:

  • Featured image: digital composite of painting and writing out key elements relevant to my practice

Supporting Material

Reference

  • Downey, V. (2019) Reflection on multi-disciplinary project. [pdf] At: https://drive.google.com/open?id=12OIyVZD5H2ov-MfU3aXpJCfmrBJbRzMW 
  • Furnace, F. (2017) Newsome, Rashaad – Shade Compositions (2007),  [online], At: https://vimeo.com/219147231  (Accessed on 12 June 2018).
  • Holly, M. A. (1996) Past Looking: Historical Imagination and the Rhetoric of the Image. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
  • The Open College of the Arts / Rees, C. & Wright, C. (2009) <about the collaboration> At: (link to come)

 

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Art practitioners // bodies, vulnerability, materiality // transformation

Suggestions on art practitioners that could inform my working practice

Alexis Harding (b. 1973) – at: https://profdocfineartuel.weebly.com/-alexis-harding.html
=> Harding is an abstract painter, exploring paint materiality and physical properties by combining oil paint and alkyd resin. He explores the incompatibility between both, resulting in some dynamic compositions. His method consists of:  ‘pouring gloss paint through a perforated trough across a wet oil surface, to create a grid, which is then left to dry. The paint over a period of months is pushed, pulled, squeezed and peeled away, to reveal dramatic scarred and puckered surfaces that when hung on the wall continue to change, and take on their own form, as they slip from the support.’ 

Kiki Smith (b.  1954)  – at: http://www.artnet.com/artists/kiki-smith/  and https://www.moma.org/artists/5486 and https://raffaellacortese.com/artists/kiki-smith/artworks.html and https://www.dmagazine.com/arts-entertainment/2017/10/in-mortal-artist-kiki-smith-makes-confusion-plain/ and  http://www.barbaragross.de/exhibitions/?show=Past&year=2018&eid=76
=> Smith uses materials in transformative ways relating to the body,. Her work explores the condition of being human, notions of vulnerability, often related to female sensibilities. Her subject matters are  mortality, abjection, and sexuality through figurative art. The abject as the hidden aspects from life. Mostly paper based works, but also sculptures and textile works, she connects her work strongly with a spiritual dimension. She also known or her printmaking works, as process going through multiple versions of proofs, reminding me of how Rembrandt approached printmaking. Overall, I am clear how her work could inform my practice at all. But as often, some connections might come up much later

Heidi Bucher (1926 – 1993), a Swiss artist interested in body relationship to space, works with latex and foam – hanging installations – at https://heidibucher.com/  a
=> ‘Bodyshells’ at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVsk75w3V6Q (large foam based human scale ‘costumes’ reminding me of Dubuffet’s ‘CouCou Bazar’ and a notion of post-human exploration – immediately thrilled when seeing her intriguing set of work, not heard of her before, more to look at. She used often textile, foam, latex, mother-of-pearl pigments  for her costume works, used by her in performance as well. The materials do have some connotation with preciousness, beauty and vulnerability, e.g. Dragonfly Costume, 1976

Christine Borland  (b. 1965), a Scottish and YBA – at: https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/about-us/our-staff/b/christine-borland/ and https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/christine-borland-2702 and https://www.nationalgalleries.org/art-and-artists/artists/christine-borland  
=> Part of her works remind me of Helen Chadwick, especially ‘Answering Anatomy‘ , life and death masks. Her body of work seems quite practice and research oriented, exploring visually history of hospitals and nursing, e.g. ‘The Power of Twelve – Mount Stuart’, 2018 – looking at the war times in Flanders with a bombed hospital. She made also a controlled explosion of a teapot related to that hospital , reminding me of Cornelia Parker’s  ‘Blown Shed’.. Borland relates aspects from the past with a contemporary sensibility when e.g. she refers to the hospital’s conservatory and the nurturing aspect and combining it with found botanist images (fruiting body of a seed from splachnum moss) to make a large sculpture from pink fabric suspended from the ceiling in that same place of the conservatory.
She works together with medical staff and explores the space between medical objects, body parts as teaching material and the story behind it, the story of the person’s body it derived from, e.g. Twin, hand-made, child-birth demonstration model, 1997. Her interest relates also to family trees, and how decease relate to that. A quite different, collaborative work with Brody Condon is Daughters of Decayed Tradesmen, 2013. A work built on oral history related back to the 18th century. Using punched cards, similar to the ones used for Jacquard loom, inscribed with the encoded oral histories. The cards were suspended from a renovated ceiling of the burnt out Watchtower of the New Calton Burial Ground. An intriguing aspect in appropriation process techniques in a revisited narrative to trigger memories and new narratives.
Overall, I find her practice as artist fascinating, reflecting more the way an attitude of an artist approaching cultural subject matters. A key aspect that comes across in her work is the relevance of making-connections.

Sophia Starling  (b. ) – continuous painting => an artist I looked at since part 2, perhaps time to revisit it from another perspective at: http://www.sophiastarling.co.uk/ – found her recent work Lap Mutant (Graphite, Green), 2019 exciting. Starling works quite intensively with basic geometric shapes in juxtaposition with fabrics. Kind of exploring the dialogue between both. Especially this dialogue and contrasting aspect intrigues me.

Louise Brierley (GL Brierley) at: http://www.glbrierley.com/ 
=> manipulation of paint/references to distorted bodies. Some of her works remind me kind of mix between Hieronynmous Bosch and Giuseppe Arcimboldo in some of her works.  I am not suren whether this can inform my own work, doesn’t resonate so much.

Richard Tuttle (b. 1941) – at: https://www.pacegallery.com/artists/474/richard-tuttle
=> Fabric hangings/wire sculptures. I always found his material interrogations and sculptural installations of paintings intriguing. really a bodily encounter of work. I need more to time to look into his body of fabric, textile work. Found about his exhibition and book ‘I don’t know : The Weave of Textile Language’  from 2014 at Whitechapel and Tate. A tree-part exhibition: collected textiles from the world, body of work, and a large scale textile commission at the Turbine Hall (Tuttle ed al, 2014). Intriguing as apparently, not-knowing it before, some of his works strongly resonate with some of my own works, e.g. The Place in the Window #2, 2013, very close with my small scale work (Fig. 1 & 2):

Fig. 1: SJSchaffeld - P2SP - A4 - latex-sculpture

Fig. 1: SJSchaffeld – P2SP – A4 – latex-sculpture // resonating with Richard Tuttle The Place in the Window #2, 2013 (Tuttle ed al, 2014:149-51)

 

Fig. 2: SJSchaffeld - P2SP - A4 - latex-sculpture

Fig. 2: SJSchaffeld – P2SP – A4 – latex-sculpture (not a good photo) // resonating with Richard Tuttle The Place in the Window #2, 2013 (Tuttle ed al, 2014:149-51) 

 
 

Considering my tutor’s comment on my use of obvious canvas stretcher and being too dominant, I found it interesting to find Tuttle’s work How it Goes Around the Corner, 1996, a series of eight small scale works (around A4+) the title apparently emphasing  the over-dominant space of the stretcher, much wider than the inside picture space taken up by piece of cloth. This resonates with my own work in preparation of assignment 4: 

Fig. 3: SJSchaffeld - P4P2 - preparation A4 - latex stretch

Fig. 3: SJSchaffeld – P4P2 – preparation A4 – latex stretch // resonating with Richard Tuttle How it Goes Around the Corner, 1996 (Tuttle ed al, 2014:105-7)

 

 

Conclusion:

  • I find Christine Borland’s art practice interesting as she approaches history and memories through a practice-led research approach, combining various elements and aspects into a visual appealing work. Most of her works are site-specific and location history is informing the final work.
  • Heidi Bucher’s fabric hanging works kept my attention. Not sure, if it is because she is Swiss, or because it relates to sense of place and architecture. Being suspended, gives a sense of fragility and lightness, quite ephemeral. Overall, I do find the site aspect in work fascinating, but have no idea how this could inform my work at the end of this course. Definitely, beyond that as part of my practice.
  • Sophia Starling’s work is worth to revisit. At the beginning of this course it informed my folding of paper towards larger scale fabric work. Now, it seems that the spatial arrangements might actually inform my ‘latex skin’ works in a different way (and I need to consider latex alternatives as well). However, I find her shapes be too distinctive, to clean, missing crossing boundaries. And playing with a contrasting dialogue between materials, shapes, and color.
  • Kiki Smith is an artist I have the most issues with, as I can not sense how her work might inform my work (too symbolic in its figuration?). This might come at a later stage, but for now, I leave it as it is and move on.
  • I do feel some complicity with some works of Richard Tuttle, especially his small scale works with wire and cotton pulp and his explorations of shape and fabric in a freed space 

 


Reference:

  • Tuttle, R., Petersens, M. and Borchardt-Hume, A. (2014) Richard Tuttle – I don’t know : The Weave of Textile Language. London: Whitechapel, Tate.
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A4 – Reflection on Tutorial

I enjoyed the online time spend with my tutor to talk through some aspects on materiality and body during the tutorial on my assignment 4 submission. As before, I wrote down the notes and my tutor amended. This way, I do feel more ownership of the development of my art practice.

Overall, I do feel more of a coherent sense coming through the work I am doing, and appreciated the comments from tutor: 

Your work continues to be investigative and engaging with an increased interest in the possibilities of materiality and process – pushing the boundaries of painting to include disruption/decomposition and impermanence as part of this enquiry. – Clare Wilson

.. and with regards to my blog:

Continues to be thorough/analytical and investigative with many exhibitions and study events as an active and engaging member of the student community. – Clare Wilson

 

Knowing myself for how wide my interest and curiosity can lead me into lateral areas, I tried to look at a few aspects alone  that started to came across my work since part 1 and more realised in part 4:

 

 – Fragmentation – Disruption – Boundaries –

– Vulnerability – Fragility –

– Transformation – 

 

The last word added by my tutor in our tutorial, resonating very well with how I do approach materials, not only through painting (latex) but also through drawing (with a large scale mud drawing aka painting as my very first parallel project for drawing 1)

As in previous tutorials,  a combination of project and assignment work (incl preparatory pieces) came across as more successful works that possibly do show a material narrative in itself.

A gallery view (slider, click on one image to open in lightbox view, Fig.1-6 – scale does not represent real dimensions):

 

Comments on these works:

  • Fig. 1 Stretch my Skin: a convincing transformation of materiality, crossing boundaries, and 
  • Fig. 2 Caught in the Net: more convincing as Fig.1, as it builds upon contrast, fragility, and tension. The stretcher less dominant in the other A4 work (Gaze at Me) and as in Fig. 4
  • Fig. 3 (Small Sculpture – prep work A4): intriguing contrast of color and opaque/transparent, organic touch; my tutor suggested that a series of smaller works exploring intimacy and overlapping forms could be a good work for assessment. The smaller scale allowing it to hold rather than to look alone. For me questioning scale: bodily movement through in a room, wall hanging to look at, hand size to hold and touch?
  • Fig. 4 (Latex stretch – prep work A4): too dominant stretcher, but interesting rendering of color and details when viewed with backlight. My tutor found the diagonal board line as interesting compositional element.,
  • Fig. 5 (Project 4 work): intriguing, less contained than the larger one I submitted from same project, with overlapping edges. 
  • Fig. 6 (Project 5 work): another intriguing work playing with contrast and bold colors. The latex net (lost as I used it in my assignment work, Fig. 2) works partly as a veil, concealing and revealing.
  • My piece from project 1, was considered as partly successful, as the glossy surface felt incoherent, and my use of rigid plastic bands could be possibly better replaced with a more informed transformation of fabric and interwoven threads. Key aspect here: the integration of materials including a backing support (what I used rather for transportation reasons only, as intended to be a suspended sculptural piece).

 

Aspects to keep in mind:

  • Color: latex might seem to dull colors, the original works became duller than seen on my blog or digitally (photo edit might have done some effect here as well)
  • Stretcher: Especially in the smaller works (eg. assignment work Gaze at Men but also Fig. 4) the used stretcher became to dominant and the ‘stretcher’ in itself is already loaded with art related connotations and critic. For me, the stretcher was kind of temporarily, I got rid of the bull clamps, but did work further to get rid of the stretcher as well. My earlier ideas were to install larger scale works in a room (nails, existing fix point e.g. hand rails). My tutor suggested possibly got use thinner objects, e.g. a picture frame. A question of composition and relationship. 
  • Found objects: I used e.g. paper chips or a found wine rack as stretcher. However, found objects do have some inherit and cultural connotations and through that some strong ‘personality’. Better not to learn too much or at all on them, better to work and transform ‘purer’ materials, e.g. fabric.

I choose latex as material, knowing well that it is an ephemeral material (not linger than one year due to chemical decay). Even, I couldn’t send in some works for its fragility to transportation (Fig. 2) or it vulnerability to tension (Fig. 1). The backing of smaller works, e.g. Fig. 3, didn’t hold well during transportation and unpacking. Overall, it left me to question how to proceed and whether alternative materials could be used. Good to have my tutor coming up with some suggestions:

  • Hostaphan (or Melinex): a flexible thin plastic sheeting on rolls to use as support for heavier, gestural marks with acrylic paint (combined with gel mediums)
  • Calico or more open weave scrim as fabric to be transformed, and with better duration 

Another material came to my mind afterwards, though ‘found object’ as well: gauze bandage that has a medical connotation. Previously,  used bandage as plaster bandage, but stopped working with them due to the specific performance of plaster (fragile, rigid)

Good to know: impasto gel matt dries white, impasto gel glossy dries transparent. The use of matt gave me some frustration during project 5 (see also Fig. 6) Turing me back to use acrylic adhesive for my transparent disks. At the end, it is like scrim, open woven fabric, but in strands. To try, if successful to move towards larger fabric or to use for small scale works (like bandage is an act done with the hands, to touch)

Parallel Project

We discussed my parallel project, and as my tutor was present at my prime screening at Toynbees Studios, London in 20th July 2019 (I am sop happy that she came), it was good to review together what worked well and what less.

Key aspects:

  • Experience of site: physical presence as different experience versus viewing on computer screen
  • Disruption of narrative through visual in combination with sound (music)
  • Connection: how to connect sequences and still keeping elements of disruption?
  • Sub-sequences as part of body of work, especially. considering gallery space settings
  • Importance to present the development of my project at assessment 

In my more comprehensive reflection on my parallel project I will look deeper into the remarks and my actions to do:

 

Critical Review:

Wirth regards to my critical review that is currently going through final draft phase, my tutor made the valid point, to stay focused and to relate clearly to my parallel project. I will submit for comment as part of assignment 5.

 

Conclusion:

  • Smaller works, perhaps in series, could overcome transport and fragility issues, and being presented during assessment convincingly (see Fig. 3). This could show an aspect of intimacy through the act of holding the work, rather than looking at it alone.
  • Alternatives to latex but still enabling material transformation and body (skin) connotation might be Hostaphan as support for a gestural acrylic paint or calico or scrim (open weave)
  • Found materials and might be less successful to use in my approach to material transformation and body due to their strong ‘personalities’ 
  • Transformation and integration with intention. Use of materials and ground in a coherent manner.
  • Painting or sculpture – an ongoing investigation for me,
  • My aim is still to submit for Nov assessment. My plan to submit assignment 5 is last week August. I will finally decide on assessment at that time (considering time for rework and preparation of portfolio)

Suggestions on art practitioners that could inform my working practice

see my separate blog post at: https://ocasp.stefanvisualart.com/?p=7084


The full formative feedback with amended notes from my tutor is available at: PDF 

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Project 5.1 – Ex5.1: Cut-up technique

Wondering what text of words to use? I wanted to take text with some relevance to my personal project, considering ‘cut-up’ technique as an analogue to my recent assignment 4 paintings related to skin: fragmentation, vulnerable, distorted, disruptive, unsettling

Text input:

Reflecting on practices of text related to MRI, one example is Nicoleta Colopelnic (2013) where she described her back MRI scan through poetry and gave the medical imagery an aesthetic appeal, I decided to build my words from various sources that seem meaningful to me and my parallel project (Fig. 1):

  1. a medical text on psychological effects of MRI scan (Westbrook and Talbot, 2019:350)
    => the rather technical tone related to a patient’s ‘non-compliance’ with the machine process reminds me of how strongly the body became disciplined through the medical instruments it themselves. The fear and different responses by the patients as a flaw to correct.
  2. a text on visual aesthetic perception and the brain (Cela-Conde ed al., 2004:6321)
    => how neo-Descartian the medical world became by trying to map not only the mind but also the sense for aesthetics 
  3. key words from peer feedback (see reflective blog post) on my inter-media collaborative work Mindful Resonance Interaction (MRI) 
    => kind of verbal stimuli, different, falling onto me, what to make out of it?
  4. words from Vicki and me in resonance to MRI as subject matter, that until now didn’t go into the performed work from July 20th, 2019
    => how we came up with some freely associated words related to an MRI experience, un-discplined, un-mapped, chaotic. Those words are most closely to MRI poetry and I might use them explicitly for my further work.
  5. technical words from DICOM data of one MRI scan (screenshot from Horos)
Fig. 1: words from parallel project and feedback

Fig. 1: words from parallel project and feedback // check out the QR code to soundcloud file with spoken words

 

Techniques to cut-up and shuffle

I was trying to make non-sense out the the tons of words (how to reduce those? or is the amount of overload part of the work and the experience of it?). Considering the MRI machine and the machine coding process to deliver visual imagery to the human beings in-front of the operator screen, I felt inspired to use an automatic coding approach as well to shuffle and cut-up my various text inputs. Looking for online tools (line shuffle tools from Advameg. Inc.and Random Tools) and use of LingoJam (2019) tools for creation of type fonts, a visual encounter with the invisible text resulted in a nearly illegible sequence of words that I composed as a string of large letter pages, in total 93 pages !   that became my base material for following explorations

link to : PDF 

Video 1: more linear unsettling the entirely // Words cutup – sequence no 1(video, 1:33 min)

 

and as layered and double moving text-image (with the animated painting done earlier on for my parallel project, and a raw sequence that didn’t go into the final performative collaborative piece –  see my blog post at: Spin-off Idea: Gesture as Narrative)

Video 2: recent aesthetic distance// Words cutup – sequence no 2 (video, 2:31min)

Not knowing what to do with the massive amount of text not giving me any further insight in how to proceed further, I eventually printed and manually cut them in smaller pieces and to see whether my more visually and touching approach of collaging them together in a sketchbook could show a way forward.

Playing around with to structure :

  • to make connections – cut up my thinking (Fig. 2)
  • to make sense (Fig 3) 
  • to response through feeling and touching – ? (Fig. 4)

Slider view (Fig 2 – 4, click on one image to open in lightbox view):

Fig. 2: text and words - no1

Image 1 of 3

text and words - Making Connections - cut up my thinking

Intermediate results

Informed my previous playful selection of narrowing down the words (Fig. 2-4) I was curious to see how to use them in a collage way. I am more intrigued by the materiality and performative aspects of the resulting non-sense cut-ups, less about the process of making (Fig. 5)

Fig. 5: text and words - sketchbook // informed by language from my parallel project

Fig. 5: text and words – sketchbook // informed by language from my parallel project // left: latex and Tyvek plus words, center: non-sense cut up words behind the window, right: stretching words with parafilm

 

=> I was intrigued by the use of parafilm (or better PARAFILM® M) from some previous trials after reflecting on assignment 4 and alternatives to latex. Parafilm, material used in medical or chemical labs to close beakers and other containers, is translucent materials that can be painted on with acrylic paint. Due to its plasticity it is easily stretchable, an action that I wanted to continue exploring after assignment 4 in relationship to skin and medical matters. My exploration of Tyvek® (Fig.5, left) – a paper like material that can be cut open to expose the inner core and being used for protective and disposable clothing, e.g. in clinics,  is informed in a similar search for latex alternatives and materials with connotations with medical stuff. 

Exploring incision, stretching and other material matters. Slider view (Fig. 6 & 7), click on one image to open in lightbox view:

Fig. 5: collage 1

Image 1 of 2

exploring verbal and visual materiality // abduction - part - dominion - insane - gaze - rhythm - loneliness - mind - touching - sound - alien

=> I found the relationship between materiality and action an interesting aspect. stretching and transparency as two key elements involved in my work since part one.

stretching

as

action

onto

materiality

words

are

material 

torn

apart

 

Making collages, partly as an instruction partly as a declaration (slide show Fig. 7 – Fig 14;  click at the bottom right tiny arrow top open images in lightbox view):

=> this brought me back to some of my initial bar-codes, slicing experiments (see post). More an illustration, crossing boundaries with drawing and eventually creating ideas for painting. The series done in my A3 sketchbook, might be quite sketchy and illustrative, but I find the line between legible and illegible, between comprehsensible and non-comprehensible fascinating. It is a border that in case of QR codes can be easily crossed, with a rather digital result: yes / no – legible / illegible. This liminal space of making sense and getting insane sounds relevant.

=> the no.5 work is obviously as contained and unsuccessful as it was my work with paper chips for part 4. I kept it here for the sake of completion and as an idea. To develop it further I would reject the backing support paper and make it more sculptural, unframing and expanding the edges into the space of the viewer

 

code

-non-

sense

gazing

me

crossing

border

insane

 


 

Words as speech

I wanted to move away from visual, words to see, towards auditory, words to hear. Considering words as speech, intrigued by my experience of my collaborative project and of one project performed by a Anna, her husband and Naomi at Toynbee Studios, and informed by William S Burroughs practice and some artists examples from the Radio broadcast (Hollings, 2015)

the words from VIcki and me – spoken by me – unfiltered and raw (just with noise reduction and normalization filter, (audio, 0:57 min)) 
 

 

a) First attempt in taking my spoken words, apple various effect filters with Adobe Audition and re-mix as multi-track file. Creating a speech-scape, to be layered with visuals (audio, 0:29 min)

=> to soundscape partly distorted, interruptive, but good as a first speech-sketch

b) Second attempt my spoken words as a) re-shuffled, cut-up with Adobe Audition (audio, 1:08 min):


 

=> more flat as single track and no filters applied. However, the cut-up as a mix of chance and conscious decisions, percussive, repetitive towards the end. Wondering how this could be developed further. Speech felt now more as a plastic material to be transformed and modulated.

With this audio-soundscape sketched I am wondering how the words can be merged with visuals, feeling intrigued by Kentridge’s short moving images Breathe, Dissolve, Return (2008)  What would be the difference in experience versus my collaborative music work? Another approach to ‘feeling complicit’ with the materials. All about creating in-between spaces

c) Third attempt mixing various words (incl Vicki’s) spoken by me, cut-up, merged and re-shuffled with Adobe Audition (audio, x:xx min):

<  planned idea but skipped in order to move directly to the next step  >

d) Fourth attempt audio from my cut-up speech (second attempt) with ‘merged’ with the handwritten words amended and a painting on parafilm as process – multilayered in Adobe Premiere. Finally, I got to move away from iMovie and enjoyed the versatility and flexibility of Premiere, especially for layering (what became a nightmare in iMovie). 

Video 3: Cut up My Thinking // Words cutup – sequence no 4 (video-audio, 2:30 min)

 

=> After various attempts in recording the massive amount of text from video 1 in a linear way of reading (making a very long strip of small scale prints of the 93 pages) with either moving myself with the camera in front of the text frieze of – more successful – moving the text strip with a fixed camera. I was not that satisfied and convinced by the typed and printed text, thus I revisited my work in my sketchbook (see Fig. 2-4) and choose those ‘keywords’ to write them out on a similar small long strip of paper: text, written by my hand, more personal – another index of my being (writing and hand and pull). The moving strip itself reminded me of analog magnetic tape recording and cutting, quite as Burroughs mentioned it. It reminded me also of Jennifer West and her material usage of film tapes to paint on and to project them. In my case, an audio version of that. The layering process of physical and digital materials (experimented earlier on – see ‘my digital body in space’ from Project 3.2 – Ex. 3.1: Body as canvas and multilayered moving images ‘Performance unframed #2‘ from Project 3.4 – Ex. 3.3: The mirror as a stage .

Some aspect that I can find coming across in some of my works since part one are :

pulling

stretching

layering

 


Reflection

  • Using materials does matter: I found it intriguing to find some relationship between written or typed words on paper, on other materials, and the process of reading (in this case from left to right as by my own learned cultural convention). The performative video works with connotation to tape (magnetic tape recording of speech) as moving images.
  • I enjoyed the speech approach and using soundcloud – for its plasticity and to make it more malleable compared to written text. I do embrace more and more different senses to have a more immersed experience of a work. Definitely, something to look deeper into.
  • My last video 3 work and its preparation made me aware of how my body posture and gesture plays a role in the making and reception of the work. Moving with a video cam means to record my movement as well (I don’t have such fancy film maker motion reduction devices) while moving a strip with a fixed cam makes the strip movement (smaller gesture with the hand) a bodily experience with its traces left on the video. I intentionally kept those ‘non-professional’ motion traces, not only as index but also as awareness of the body in the work.
  • Informed by my collaborative work with music student Vicki I was intrigued by soundscape and now of speech-scapes an additional dimension to visual spaces. It brings me to multiple layer approaches that could be performed either live or as recording in a room. The works above are single perspective works, i.e what the viewer sees and what the viewer hears is coming from the same direction, mostly a computer or mobile flatscreen. In a physical gallery setting this could be disconnected and displaced, the speech, the sound coming from different directions, placing the viewer inside the work and not as an observing person alone. I like the idea of complementing visual that one looks at in one or the other direction and other senses exposed to different directions.
  • I find malleable materials with a plasticity quite relevant for my work and relating to my parallel project. Did my last assignment 4 looked at latex as a stretchable and fragmented skin pattern, I can see now that even words might be as malleable as such materials. I found in Parafilm M® a similar material that I could use for that. Stretchable fabrics, with incisions, might be another approach to look at.
  • Further development: 
    – I liked the developed idea of considering words as a plastic material, literally explored through stretching parafilm with words painted on it. Certainly more to discover with other materials, e.g. to cut out words from fabric or latex and to stretch them in similar way as I did with latex for assignment 4.
    – Words as speech acts brings me to the performative aspect of language. Speech as such is performative, compared to a more ‘still’ expression of non-verbal paintings.
    – Overall, I do believe that to work with the plasticity of words in context of my subject matter (medical imaging, skin, embodiment) would be the way forward.

 


Reference:

 

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Project 5.1: Working with text

Words, text, literature do have a long history as time-based, linear narrative against visual arts as spatial art, the latter considered as unable to convey a narrative.  This dilemma was explored by Lessing in his book ‘Laocoon’, 1766; or  ‘on the Limits of Painting and Poetry’), an old time fight between both art forms. Time to mix and merge.

Cut-up as technique

Consciousness is a cut-up; Life is a cut up – William S Burroughs (Kahler, 2014:12)

Ken Hollings described how cut-up has been applied (Hollings, 2015) as a DADA technique since the 1920s with Tristin Tzara (Ragged Lion Press, 2016):  cut out words from a text and randomly re-arranged into a new poem.  The same technique can be applied with all king of media, e.g. sounds and video. Quite hip-hop and fragmented. Disruption and disturbance as a key aspect of the work.  Hollings explains that this initial experimental technique became a main stream part of popular culture and daily lives.

Text – Words – Speech – Sound – Motion – Chance

Home tape recorder became a trendy device with William S. Burroughs (William S. Burroughs – Topic, 2017), as an opposition against ‘bourgeois literature’: to record, to playback and stop randomly, and add a new sequence – resulting in a new juxtaposition, a start for a new writing. Burroughs also questioned how random is randomly. Nowadays, this technique is widely applied by DJs,  called scratching or scrubbing of a turntable (DJ decks work that way even with digital files). In music, sampling relates to this, allocating pitches to various sampled sounds, that can be played with a keyboard normally.

Bottomline, mix, cut and re-assemble any ‘raw material’ in order to layer, to disrupt orders, to break narratives, and to seek new ways of experiencing similar things a-fresh. The human brain is wired to make meaning out of chaos, a question of survival. This doesn’t mean that those re-assembled things can make one dizzy and uncomfortable.

Example of this dizziness or even  non-sense of stretching the words in its plasticity can be seen/read in Kurt Schwitters’ poem as (Morley, 2003:60)

lanke tr gl
pe pe pe pe pe
ooka ooka ooka ooka
lanke tr gl
pii pii pii pii ..

Words become visual, and logically cut-up as technique for collage was used by Cubist artists, e.g Pablo Picasso or Georges Braque. Fragmented text giving the impression of scale with a flattening effect.

Cut.up, collage, tape recorders and today online tools are democratic devices for everyone, like the idea of zines, simple, low-end, creative.  David Bowie mentioned that he used a computer program doing the cut-up work for him, and taken the results to work from there (BBC News, 2016). One example of online randomizer: https://onlinerandomtools.com/shuffle-words

To use other materials, words, text could be considered the same way as using other’s images; collage, pastiche. appropriation; raising questions of copyright and ownership that nowadays became a blurred idea of difference. 

The above quote from Burroughs can be related to today’s social media life, with a short attention span, swallowing huge amount of information (written, mostly visual, as who can read texts if not visually?). Today, cut-up techniques are called twitter etc.

Chop the painting

Cut-up as chopping and dicing brings me to the idea of chopping, dicing my own discarded paintings. The physical action of cutting, also reminds me of cutting through the skin. Scalpel as the scissor, paper as skin, pictures as words. Why to use words as pictures are similarly signs with deferred meaning?

The film director Gus Van Sant, described by Kahler as ‘a gay director of films’, is a creator of ‘surreal or dream imagery’ with a ‘painter’s aesthetic’(Kahler, 2014:1) and he appropriated Burroughs cut-up method for his films. Another reference for him was Eisenstein’s montage method, to juxtapose two unrelated scenes to create new meaning. Van Sant’s multiple cut-ups from other narrative do ‘move the linear narrative forward’. One of his visual cues are ‘time-lapse and shape shifting clouds as metaphors for change and the fleeting nature of life’ (ibid:6). An interesting a for me new Western film technique, informed by the Western normalised way of reading – left to right,  is described by Kahler at the example of van Sant’s film ‘Promised Land’ (2012) where entering a screen from the left symbolises the good, the protagonist side, and entering the screen from the right symbolises the villain, a visual narrative of showing conflict. Van Sant applies this in controversy order, creating a twist in narrative. In the work ‘One Step Big Shot’, Van Sant applied cut-up technique to create new images from snippets of portrait photographs to create ‘new beings .. from elements of others’ (ibid:12)

Text and Visuals

I want to name our pains, I want to keep our names, … Words and images drink the same wine. There is no purity to protect. – Marlene Dumas (Morley, 2003:9)

Morley (2003) described in his book four kind of interactions between text and visuals:

  1. trans-media, e.g., surveys and art critics
  2. multi-media with coexist closely in same space, e.g shop signs, comic books, Fra Angelico ‘Annunciation’,1432-3 or Marlene Dumas ‘Sold against one’s will’, 1990-91
  3. mixed-media with less ‘intrinsic coherence’, e.g. Raymond Pettibon ‘no title (just what was), 2001
  4. inter-media as a hybrid form of visual-text, writing as visual language, e.g signature of Albrecht Duerer, the Book of Kells

Especially, the fourth kind resonates with text that one cannot read when not learned the language, e.g. Cyrillic or Arabic script. The portraits photographs of Shirin Neshat an example, text written over the printed photograph, a poem, a secret language with quite decorative appeal for those not able to read. A rhythm and aesthetic of visual text in itself. I learned to speak and write Ukrainian and Russian language while I stayed for roughly three years in Ukraine, the west and the East, Ukrainian to speak in the West, Russian to speak in the East. Language as mean for communication, to touch the people living there, to be present.

Vincent van Gogh did appropriate foreign text as visual compositional device, e.g. The Bridge in the Rain (after Hiroshige), 1887, informed by Japanese wood cuts.  Drawing and painting of letters or signs a question of coherence (ibid:26-27).


Art Practitioners

Sarah Impey (Impey, 2019), a textile artist, makes quilts, that could be considered somehow between mixed-media and inter-media.  In some of her works, words are following a visual order, e.g. Iris Recognition. In other works, the words are dominantly laid over a backdrop, more independent and separate from it, e.g. Meeting Point. The work Interconnections, seem to take the linear syntax of text into the spatial realm of images, phrases as interconnection of words turning into chain-links interconnected visually.

There are wide and varied examples of artworks that use text, each has a particular intention behind it in terms of what the artist wants to communicate to, or elicit, in the viewer.

Annie Vought cuts away the negative space from enlarged handwriting text from found or written letters on paper, making the words a fragile experience. She said about her work ‘intricately dissecting the negative spaces with an Exact-o knife. The handwriting and the lines support the structure of the cut paper, keeping it very strong, despite its apparent fragility. The sculptural quality of the letter allows the viewer to examine the care it took to render each piece in relationship to what is actually being said…. I believe that I am just beginning to understand paper as a medium – its strength and fragility.’ (ArtistADay). Her cut-paper work series ‘Ideas are Objects’, informed by the book Metaphors we live by from Lakoff and Johnson, sounds like a critic against Kosuth’s ‘art as idea’ statement. Metaphors as communication of invisible images of the world.

At an earlier exhibition visit to Martha Roesler and Hito SteyerlWar Games’ , the first room was filled with suspended from the ceiling transparent banners with text imprinted from Hannah Arendt. The viewer is invited to walk through a text. However, I feel that this technique already became a trope, suspended text or words in the middle of a room (one just has to image search it). In a more recent exhibition at Serpentine Gallery, Hito Steyerl filled the rooms with vibrating and pulsing light, images and text in various outer turning the entire place into 4D book. And through a phone app, she applied AR layer of images and text onto a an external reality.

Joseph Kosuth His work Titled (Art as Idea as Idea (Idea)), 1967 can be seen similarly as Weiner’s work in context of conceptual art and as the visual counterpart to his writing ‘Art after Philosophy (1969)  (Kosuth, 2003). An upscaled white on black copy from a dictionary, term ‘idea’.  Another example for such conceptual use of ‘art as idea’ is the work Secret Painting (Ghost), 1968 that forces the viewer to look at a content that is not there. The artist’s words as proclamation and statement that can’t be rejected (Morley, 2003:146)

Lawrence Weiner: ‘Every artist’s work has a title. Titles are my work’ (Morley, 2003:143). His work Earth to Earth Ashes to Ashes Dust to Dust, 1970 embodies exactly this: the title is the work, written in capital letters on a gallery wall. That’s it. The title in itself is the idea to contemplate on. Interesting to read Weiner’s notion that his work exists even without the inscription on the wall, as if the title is the artist’s immaterial gesture.

This reminds me how more and more exhibitions are nowadays juxtaposed with writing on the wall, either artist quotes, titles, reference – anything goes. 

Jenny Holzer used text as statement, as utterances, as expression of feelings on urban bill boards. Neon light texts with the aesthetic of advertisement to make people stop and ponder about deeper meaning. Words as more punchy that images, a disruption of imagery. Her short phrases built on semiotics and syntax, the linguistic structure of expression. At times the phrases seem content-wise paradox, e.g. IF THE PROCESS STARTS I WILL KILL THIS BABY A GOOD WAY.. Her works reminds me of the neon work Tracey Emin installed last year at St Pankreas train station in London: ‘I WANT MY TIME WITH YOU’ , a more personal and intimate expression relevant to the site of traveling and train station, arriving and welcoming, sharing between two people what matters.

Fiona Banner: I was fascinated to read about her work ‘Full Stops’, enlarged full stop letters from various type fonts that also gave each one its title. Virginia Button (1998) described this work of the full stop as representing ‘an ending but also signifies a beginning, an in between or a gap. Like the polystyrene, which is used as a packing material or ‘space-filler’, the full stop is transient. The names of the fonts are displayed on accompanying packing boxes, providing a possible titling system for the sculptures. The boxes also reinforce the idea that the full stops are transportable and multilingual.’ Building on the notion of a letter as metaphor. It is the syntax, less the semantics of text that can give another meaning. 

Jaqueline Humphries: Perhaps not the artist who applied written words in her paintings, but she appropriates emoijs, kind of contemporary verbal-visual language. For those, where social media is part of our life, and how to text without emoijs? She uses laser-cut stencils to rub the paint through those opening, leaving the emojis traces onto the surface. She also transformed ASCII codes of her earlier paintings, printed onto a support to laser-cut and do the same thing. Own or cultural memories embedded into new work , creating new meaning  kind of digital cut-up meeting painting (Schaffeld, 2019).

Christian Bonnefoi (2019) explored through cut-up collage as a dispositif, the disruption of temporal and at times paradoxical ideas. He uses mylar as in-between layer to partly conceal underlying text and images. Signs from the background became compositional elements of above layers. I find the layered approach and interplay of opaque and transparent intriguing, e.g Babel I, De la sphère 90°, 1978 or Babel 24 R, 2016-2017 or Janapa I, 1978 (Campoli Presti, 2018). The rather abstract cut-up shapes are placed in order to create a new work.

During my visit at the Drawing Room, London ‘From the Inside Out.’  I found other examples of how text, words, letter could be embedded into the fabric of a work.  The title reminded me of Elisabeth Grosz association of the Moebius strip with the self and the body. Athena Papadopoulos. In her work Even Deader than Dead Grapevine she embedded words, letter interwoven with materials traditionally connotated with ‘female’ activities.

William Kentridge, knowns for his animated drawings, installed as large scale performances through screening alongside installed sculptures, used words in various ways. I find the exhibition books NO IT IS ! (Kentridge 2016) an good examples of a book design and layout with merged texts, words, and images, as a fluid interrogation of his work. I felt intrigued by his work series Breathe, Dissolve, Return (2008) for its fluidity of visual and text and the aspect of time, fragmentation, and dissolving boundaries. All three are short films of around 4-5 minutes, initially intended to be projected on the fire curtain in the opera house in Venice; at the time when the orchestra is tuning the instruments and the audience is coming in. All three works are about disintegration, of material structures. Dissolve is visual only, Return includes the title as visual word, and Breathe consists of collaged texts with the title written on a piece of paper stuck to the background wall and a dominant ‘da capo’ placed as words at the bottom of the work. 

William Kentridge - NO IT IS ! (2016) Dissolve -Return - Breathe

William Kentridge – NO IT IS ! (2016) Dissolve -Return – Breathe // process as work

 


Conclusion

  • Words: statements, feeling, visual matter, physical matter, in-between spaces, paradox juxtapositions, appropriating other medium specific appearance: as sculpture, as advertisement, as fabric, as collage, as wall writing etc.
  • I was surprised that I applied apparently many of cut-up technique ideas already in my parallel project, Through my collaboration with music student Vicki, I not only applied a mixed cut-up of sound and images. But also the sequence, often disruptive, with apparent no connection to each other, could be considered as cut-up. 
  • During my collaboration, i was already intrigued by speech, something I learned now can be done as cut-up as well (Hollings, 2015). Who says that words need to be visual? I like to push conventional ideas (since Gutenberg ed al) that words are speech, quite resonating with ‘in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God’ (John 1:1) No surprise that Morley referred to this back to a time when the spoken word was conceived with the ‘highest status'(Morley, 2003:14).
  • I would like to explore more the in-between space of text, words, speech and visuals. The work ‘full stop’ of Fiona Banner might be one direction of space and absence.
  • Words can disrupt in a more punchy visual imagery, especially when overwhelming like in urban centers as Jenny Holzer’s works show. Another image would have had less impact.
  • Overall, I am less impressed to use words as text as statements, I am more intrigued by appropriating text-words-conventions, e.g. deferred meaning, paradox, spaces in-between. And I do wonder whether words and text in that sense can not be expanded to notations, to music scores. Reading as way to create work and meaning, like a score as iconic imprint of music created in a different space.
  • I felt inspired by Kentridge’s process based animated images with one words dissolving and merging with the overall composition.

 

 


Reference:

 

 

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Critical Review – Outlining argumentation

Outline of my argumentation, based on my earlier brainstorming and draft outline around the subject of medical imaging / MRI and art. Especially, considering more the work for my parallel project and assignment 4 works around materiality of paint as malleable and vibrant as skin through which the gaze is intruding onto us.

link to: PDF

11 Stefan513593_CR_P2SP_outline2

 


Reference:

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//Visual // Thinking //

Stefan513593 - making connections - sketchbook 1

Stefan513593 - making connections - sketchbook 2

 

// Making – Connections // 

=> a visual encounter and  drawing line to connect, my previous work (see microscopic color circles at: Project 4.5: Colour) and ideas of sculptural paintings

  • How scale matters (estimated 1:300 – my paint circles versus large scale street installation)
  • How found objects, ‘canvas’ like, could be considered as urban installations. The bin or the pillar as context ‘stretching’ and containing meaning and perception.
  • How the embodied experience of site and objects are informing space perception, scaffolding as kinesfield experience (as the expanded field around the human body in interaction with objects is described by Gretchen Schiller)
  • How fake is faked through imagery

 

 


Reference:

  • Schiller, G. (2008) ‘From the Kinesphere to the Kinesfield: Three Choreographic Interactive Artworks’, in: Leonardo. [online]. 41(5),  pp. 431-437,  At: https://doi.org/10.1162/leon.2008.41.5.431  (Accessed on 10 Dec 2017).
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Writing on the Wall – a review

‘Writing on the Wall’, an exhibition at at Waddington Custot, London

Before going to the exhibition, I was wondering what to expect: graffiti, scribbling at the wall, ancient signs. Considering contemporary art and my coursework for part 5 on words, I had mixed feelings about it: would it inform my work? Would be distant me?

The website and the joining text is comprehensive and complete. Nearly all works (from Brassaï, Vlassis Caniaris, Jean Dubuffet, Manolo Millares, Antoni Tàpies and Cy Twombly) are visible on the galleries site, what I found not only helpful for me and for sharing, but also a good practice that makes it obsolete to take photographs on site, what I find sometime rather distracting. Additionally, the exhibition book is online accessible through issuu

The joining text had a quote of Henri Lefebvre The Urban Revolution, 1970:

The urban space of the street is a place for talk … A place where speech becomes writing. A place where speech can become “savage” and, by escaping rules and institutions, inscribe itself on walls. – Henri Lefebvre

I was thinking of those marks left by humans on walls, but also on other public spaces and objects, becoming personalised, inscribed as collective memory.

To inscribe

This word is more than writing text on a support, using tools or hand and fingers, using ink, paint, or just inscription. Inscription is incision, reminding me of human skin and people inscribing not their flesh, tattoo, bruises, scars carving, pinging, cutting. From making a mark as a picture to making a mark to get relieve or to feel oneself. Self-harming or harming or just part of identity?

Wall

Walls are protective layers, with the reading of Flusser, are not only a facade against the outside but also an enabler for meaning of the inside, a metaphor for a double dilemma (Flusser, 1993:27-32): to protect and to encapsulate, to look out and to look inside of oneself. The wall as a surface, a skin for projections and illusions.

Are public walls the skin of a society? -> To raise attention to? To leave marks?

Are human skins becoming a public wall? -> we expose ourselves more and more today, selfies, selfies in our inside rooms, surveillance, we make ourselves vulberable, we turn into public property.

I do feel a strong resonance between walls and skin, especially in context of my parallel project, medical imaging. My assignment 4 work was more about the skin as a material with plasticity and resistance. I don’t know whether it would make sense to expand to walls, perhaps the wall as a backdrop? Too flat. Skin closing a hole in a wall? too literal. Paint as skin as wall – vulnerable. It brings back to me my work done as personal project for PoP1: the decay of residential building, the breaking apart of bricks leaving a hole that allows to gaze inside. Another metaphor for medical imaging.

Considering my coursework, speech inscribed as text, could not also speech be uttered without text? Painting is visual speech, words added to it would possibly add another ‘speech’ to it, or just enforces a speech? Often the way it is done in propaganda, ads, or other affirmative visual statements.

What could be more subtle for doing it? And by subtle? Are bold messages less arty than ambiguous ones? It seems as if the wall to write onto, to inscribe into is a balancing surface between arty, propaganda and protest.

The works in the exhibition are either informed by found wall visual (e.g Brassaï, Dubuffet) or they are appropriating the mediums and materiality of the wall (e.g Tàpies, Twombly or Caniaris). Somehow, I feel uncomfortable of some works and perhaps attitudes, to appropriate works outside the art space made by people with in quite different conditions, to consider those as a new ‘raw’ and direct expression just to be applied and transformed into an art work as art-object. I always feel this sense when reading about ‘art brut’ and outsider art. At times, I am wondering whether those works are documentary or effect. Twombly considered scribbling and inscription as a performative act by deconstruction written language in its gestural aspects. Perhaps, this is closer to how I would like to approach the act of visually mark-making and text.

—-

Comment on gallery space: I felt the space, the rooms joined together, calming and relaxing. As mostly in galleries, the space is not crowded, me mostly the only visitor, at times one or two others. Passing by, not impacting space perception much. The entrance wall was covered with the work Duat (1994) of Antoni Tàpies, a large frieze size 250x600cm.


Image

  • featured image: collage from screenshot (Waddington Custot)  and photograph taken on site

Reference:

  • Flusser, V. (1993) Dinge und Undinge – Phänomenologische Skizzen, Munich: Carl Hanser Verlag
  • Waddington Custot (2019) Writing on he Wall – Exhibition (17 May – 08 Aug 2019), At: https://www.waddingtoncustot.com/exhibitions/133/ (Accessed 21 July 2019) :
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Fine Art – practice, research or what?

What is Art? What is Fine Art? What is Fine Art education?

This question is certainly a question with will no final answer. And to embrace this uncertainty is fine to me. At the London study day in May, Emma Drye asked us to reflect on the question what research means to us and  what we want from an art degree. 

At that time, I thought of ‘art as research’ as a search in iteration, a quest, getting background and context, opening up to new and/or different viewpoints, extending my own viewing field, discerning my position in a critical manner. And making art as enabler for communication, of ideas and explorations by opening and raising questions.

Perhaps, as a coincidence I read in the current issue of Turps Banana, a splendid painting journal issued twice a year, an article about that topic. Simon Bill argued against a position made by André Hunt, an educated painter and now professor of Fine Art and Curating in Manchester School of Art (Schwabsky, 2018). Hunt referred to a statement of Teresa Gleadowe, teacher for curating at RCA. She told Hunt that for her all ‘art is research’, resonating well with the topic of above mentioned study day, a common art college understanding? Hunt declared it this a ‘valid point’, considering the context of the UK system of REF, the Research Excellence Framework, that challenges higher education system in proficiency in research – and as art is mostly learned in academics is part of it.

Bill argues strongly against this position in a rather polemic manner that this would be a mere result of ‘conservative education policy and market oriented educational reform’ (Bill, 2019:32) that it is ‘enthusiastically implemented by (mainly) left wing staff’ (p. 30). He quotes  another Professor, Fiona Candlin of Birkbeck, that art colleges ‘rather than challenging the status quo it now upholds it’ (ibid:35).

I reminds me of the endless debate, even in public and my own local art community, of seeing art as fine art as academic art merely as a science-derivative occupation, versus a ‘pure’ art, an art based on merits.  Bill argued that fine art teachers are claiming themselves as artists without being ‘art practitioners’ . And he listed items, merits, that according to him would define somehow who ‘makes a living as an artist’ (ibid:32-33)

  1. Had an exhibition at a commercial gallery.
  2. Associated with that, they will have been represented by a gallery or galleries.
  3. They will have had an exhibition at a publicly funded gallery or museum.
  4. Sold their work.
  5. Had their work sold at auction.
  6. Had their work featured in an art magazine.
  7. Had their work shown abroad, in both commercial venues and museums.
  8. Had their work featured in art fairs like FRIEZE and Basel.
  9. They are also quite likely, as their career progresses, to have been involved in curating.
  10. They are quite likely to have dealt first-hand with collectors, and with socalled ‘art advisors.
  11. There will be catalogues, and even monographs about them.

 

These are certainly aspects of being an exhibiting artist in a cultural expected way of being. Making art as object, to present, to be represented, to sell commodities, and to make a career and a living from the revenues. I find the argumentation made by Bill refreshing as it challenges notions of what it is about. However, the binary opposites established by him, seems to be rather enforcing an established Modernist notion of the artist being a sales provider and maker of cultural collectibles. 

Is this my to-do list ? I am not planning to become an art teacher,  it even to spend future time at academics,  but to be an art practitioner, applying art as attitudes across areas of interest, and to continue to be curious of things that evolve, develop, materialize, and appear. To exhibit and to sell artworks is not only exciting but also a necessity when one wants to make a living from it.

Nevertheless, I continue to believe in art as attitude, art practices being more than selling and being represented by big-shots galleries. It is also an approach of awareness and finding new perspectives. I do relate this especially in my field of art therapy. Art practice as process, as an constant interrogation and exploration of material, images, responses, and an awareness of one own’s actions. In that sense, Fine Art is for me much more than  one of two sides stated by Bell. And the ‘art brut’ would still be seen as outsider art in Bell’s argumentation.

It is perhaps not a coincidence that on the discuss forum Heather Lloyd Payne asked students  to tell their stories #OCAstories, and this is what I posted :

“As a kid, I couldn’t speak until I went to primary school, though I could communicate with my parents and older sisters quite well, non-verbally. Painting and playing where my main means for expression and communication. At primary school I was recognized and invited to attend art school. My parents couldn’t afford the fees and life went on with painting and art displaced on a backburner. However, my first prizes won as a kid were for paintings. And I bought a guitar with the prize money at the age of twelve. After spending ‘successful’ but not quite satisfactory decades of life as an expat in corporations, life pulled a break – for me to revisit meaning in my life. I wanted to connect with what really mattered to me, but  living a ‘flying dutchman’ life it didn’t allow me to follow art education at a brick&mortar collage. With OCA I was able to re-connect to my passion and happily I embarked with high motivation on my journey as an emerging artist.” – SJSchaffeld

Perhaps, this is more to the bottom of why I am doing what I am doing with and in art.


Amendment

With some further cross-reading I found an interesting article by Karthrin Busch (2007) who wrote about the various aspects of art and research. From research and science as subject matter in art to a rather different conception based on M. Foucault’s ideas that art is a different form of knowledge and its role is to disturb ‘established knowledge structures, so as to reveal their innate power structures and restriction’ (p.41).  To compare way of knowing inherited by power structures and conventional scientific approaches will not enable access to the diversity of knowledge in itself.

By quoting Derrida, Bush highlights that ‘art is committed to represent the ephemeral forces and manifestations that emerge spontaneously and involuntarily’ against a rather ‘performative, institutionalized knowledge’ that ‘belongs to “the order of possibilities that can be mastered”‘ (pp.43-44).

In that sense, art could be considered as a force of doubting and embracing the ‘unexpected’, or as we discussed in the London Study Day, to embrace wonder in each encounter a-new.  Compared to science as problem-solving activity, art is a trouble-shooter, and the work in itself could be seen as research, not the final result as in science.


Image:

  • SJSchaffeld, painting from part3

Reference:

  • Bill, S. (2019) ‘Fine Art Education and ’Research Culture’’, In: Turps Banana, (21) pp. 28 – 35.
  • Busch, K. (2007) ‘Artistic Research and the Poetics of Knowledge’, in: AS Mediatijdschrift. [online]. (179),  pp. 36 – 45,  At: https://www.academia.edu/8568175/Artistic_Research_and_the_Poetics_of_Knowledge  (Accessed on 30 July 2019).
  • Schwabsky, B. and Hunt, A. (2018) ‘Critics speak: Barry Schwabsky interviews Andrew Hunt’, In: Turps Banana, (20) >pp. 18 – 25.
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mono-ha // encounter // ephemeral and transient

While being in London, searching for galleries open on Monday, and eventually went to Cardi Gallery, London for a mono-ha exhibition: ‘Tribute to MONO-HA’ (13 March – 26th July 2019).

I had some idea about mono-ha, in the Western World often related to ‘the School of Things’. 

Another view on this Japanese art post-war art movement is described by Toothpicker

‘their aim was not to ‘create’ but ‘rearrange’ ‘things’, drawing attention to the interdependent relationships between these ‘things’ and the space surrounding them.’ – Toothpicker

 

I was intrigued by a wall text by Nobuo Sekine 

‘What we are doing is finding ways to have encounters today’ – Nobuo Sekine

An encounter of space between   

things – matter – mind

 

Fig 1: mono-ha and Nobuo Sekine - encounter

Fig 1: mono-ha and Nobuo Sekine – encounter

 

I was really fascinated by a rather simple approach, an approach to an essence of encounters. Not in a Platonist way of essence of an idea as transcendent truth, more as an essence of what matters. 

I was relfecting after my visit for quite some time about these words and along some words from Lee Ufan who stated that their works were made for a show and to be destroyed afterwards. Firstly, I was thinking that they actually physically destroyed the material as such, but it was more about the destruction of the installments, or the work, e.g Lee Ufan’s Relatum III (a place within a certain situation), 1970 (Toothpicker). A work of ropes tied around a pillar and wooden blocks to hold them in place. Each new installation they responded to the respective site to

re-arrange

things a-new, a-fresh

An encounter in-between, on site, in a physical space and place. Perhaps, I was impressed as my visit followed our performance and viewing event two days before. I could experience a difference between materiality in space and screen based art. A truly embodied encounter.

And I felt some resonance with my recent assignment works, latex-paint-skin, stretching as encounter of forces

Fig. 2: SJSchaffeld, assignment 4 work , detail

Fig. 2: SJSchaffeld, assignment 4 work , detail

 

 


Images:

  • Featured image: Screenshot from https://cardigallery.com/exhibitions/ and https://cardigallery.com/exhibitions/ 
  • Fig. 1: Collages form photographs taken in the exhibition 
  • Fig. 2: SJSchaffeld – assignment 4 work

Reference:

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Underground Poetry #artontheunderground

tube2flight - #artontheunderground - underground poetry

tube2flight – #artontheunderground – underground poetry

a combined version (This is Oxterly, audio-video, 2:59 min) at: https://vimeo.com/350718770

 

Title of the work:

Underground poetry, take a pen, move on the paper from left to right back and force while moving, at station make circles till moving again, change the pen, each second station rotate the paper continue till your final destination

Words embedded: names of the underground stations (some time after Green Park till Heathrow Terminal, the Piccadilly line)

This work was inspired by my visit to Oscar Murillo at David Zwirner, London, and his ‘Poetics of Flight’ drawing made during his multiple flights. It is not a copying, as Murillo applied quite some different approaches and his embedded words do have a different connotations.

 

Learning

I found it absolutely fascinating how through travel motion, marks can be made in a constrained space through double physical movement: the underground (a linear trajectory) and my hand (small moves rotating the page)

I could envision this as a topology, or as mapping of time spent. A repetition in multiple underground rides, on bus? on train? 


thinking about communication

if this is site-specific work, would it not be good to share if site-specific? I.e. to share with London underground? Quick searching revealed that they actually have a social media presence for ‘Art on the Underground’

possible links to social media:

possible handles:

  • #ArtontheUnderground@aotulondon@transportforlondon
  • #stefanschaffeld@stefanschaffeldart#undergroundpoetry

 

 

An amended version that I submitted for edge-zine no.8 ‘Time’:

 

 

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Oscar Murillo ‘Manifestation’ at David Zwirner, London

Oscar Murillo (b. 1983) is shortlisted for this year Turner prize. He went through an amazing painting career with global single shows at major places and fairs. 

His large paintings were on show titled ‘Manifestation’ at David Zwirner Gallery, London (June 8—July 26, 2019).

Entering the gallery was a fab experience, as most works are made this year, the oil paint is still fresh:

His large scale painting contrasted with my visit to Frank Bowling at Tate Britain the day before. As Bowling’s work seemed to some extent more contrived, Murillo’s painting seemed to convey a more pulsing atmosphere. The colors are brighter, the texture of the surface more embedded in the picture plane, felt more coherent. But perhaps this was just my in the moment experience. But it definitely inspired me just to paint along.

One aspect that apparently went through most of his paintings, were a split compositional frame, at times left and right side, at times different sections. Similar to Bowling, Murillo used collaged figurative elements, embedded in the picture plane. Another aspect I find interesting, was stitching. Also seen in some of Bowling’s works, Murillo stitched some canvas pieces together (see Fig). I am wondering whether ‘stitching’ canvas is a trendy thing to do… In reminiscence to textile and fabrics was also the way of ‘curtain-hanging’  of another painting.

 ‘A lot of this mark-making is a release of anxiety and physical energy.’ – Oscar Murillo (interview with Peter Aspden, 2019)

Many of his paintings are an expression of physical energy released in the process of making. A notion that I feel resonates with my latest assignment work on latex-paint-skin, though the physical forces are certainly different depending on scale.

collage of photographs taken at exhibition - Oscar Murillo

collage of photographs taken at exhibition – Oscar Murillo

 

One part was keeping my attention, a projection on one gallery wall showing moving images in close up view of colored marks on paper. 

This piece is one of several works done in a similar way of his recent series Poetics of Flight. All of them are around around 57 x 40 cm. They are made during one of his flight travels, a visualisation of in-flight movement For these paper works, the gallery created a specific, time limited website (accessible through July 28th)

“Constant transnational movement has become an integral facet of my practice. Flight becomes not just a means of travel but a sacred ‘other’ space, the aeroplane seat itself becoming a unique ‘studio’ at a remove, a non-place which is both physically confined and freed from being in any real geographical location.” – Oscar Murillo, in conversation with the gallery

“The drawings made on board planes, in hotels, and in any space of transition have a similar function: they feed a sickness, a relentless laboring.” – Oscar Murillo (David Zwirner Gallery (2019b)

It really resonated with my own travelling and inspired me to work immediately afterwards on a piece Underground Poetry  on my way back from central London to Heathrow airport on the tube (considering my constraints 

 


Reference:

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Frank Bowling at Tate Britain

collage of photographs taken at exhibition -Frank Bowling

Frank Bowling (b. 1934 in Guayana) is an abstract painter still working today from his London studio at the age of 85. My tutor suggested to visit the currently major retrospective of his 60 years of work at Tate Britain (31 May – 26 Aug 2019)

At the beginning , I was not sure whether I would appreciate the work of this artist, perhaps too much of the same painting approaches from the 1960s / 1970s?  Anyhow, I entered the exhibition with open mind and eyes and was curious what I would encounter. Clearly, it was major retrospective, and the chronological order of the rooms seemed for me the right flow through a painterly movement since Modernism to Materiality, from Formalism to Serendipity. 

Whereas his earlier works of the 1960s seems to be made in a similar ‘style’ as his fellow students R.B.Kitaj and even Francis Bacon (e.g. Mirror, 1966) and/or take references from other artists, they are the starting point of Bowling’s interest in geometric abstraction and formalism. He was actually a good friend of Clement Greenberg (interesting to read one of the letters on display at Tate, Fig.1 ) 

 

collage of photographs taken at exhibition -Frank Bowling

Fig. 1: collage of photographs taken at Tate (https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/frank-bowling); left: letter from Clement Greenberg to Frank Bowling, 1971, Bowling’s studio spaces in London with his assistant Spencer A. Richards (right)

 

A few examples that stirred my flow and inspiration (Fig 2):

  • Vitacress, 1981: mark left by paint bucket on the canvas laying on the floor turning into visual language that Bowling incorporated also in later paintings
  • Benjamin Mess, 2013:  The layering of canvas pieces, different sizes, cut with a sewing scissor (patterned edges) 
  • Wintergreens, 1986: building up texture by using acrylic foam and thick acrylic gel, both materials he reduced in use in his later paintings. I didn’t find the embedded acrylic foam pieces that successful and convincing. They reminded me rather of my own experiment in part 2 of this course (e.g. Preservation box #1 and #2A2 – The Spatial Box)
  • Sam’Sentinal, 1999: he reflected on his mother’s activities and her job as dress and hat maker and intense use of sewing informed his ‘stitched’ canvas work. These layered and stitched smaller scale works are combined, from various paintings in progress works in parallel, as parts from one went into the other. It is like re-assembling different puzzles into new puzzles.  The painting is therefore the results of a process, of painting a canvas, and of placing it across. Reminded me of Sean Scully’s work Human 3, 2018 where he cut out a square from the center from one work and placed into an even cut out space in another work. 
  • Girls in the City, 1991: A combined work made from seven separate canvas, reflecting on the way ‘people structure themselves, in the way we are, we live in building and express life in opposition to minimalism, enclosure, and death’ (wall-note, quote from Frank Bowling)
  • From V2-RS1, 2005: Bowling started to make white paintings, and this one has embedded acupuncture needles (artist was treating his back-pain with acupuncture). These white paintings alongside its materiality made me think of how his works could inspire and inform my work. As I am still in a hotel in London, I wanted to make something, and milk and yoghurt came to my mind. The first liquid, the latter semi-solid, a transformation through a natural process of fermentation (and van Gogh used milk to fix his early charcoal/pencil drawings)

 

Fig. 2: collage of photographs from exhibition - Frank Bowling

Fig. 2: collage of photographs from exhibition – Frank Bowling; top left clockwise:  Vitacress, 1981- Benjamin Mess, 2013 – detail of Wintergreens, 1986 – Sam’Sentinal, 1999  – Girls in the City, 1991 – From V2-RS1, 2005.

 

His long time assistant Spence A. Richards stated once (from wall-note) about Bowling that

“[Bowling] would use whatever I did, even if it was a mistake, as a starting point for a painting.” – Spencer A Richards (Tate, 2019)

 

Conclusion:

I left impressed by the continuity and vitality of the experimental approaches in Bowling’s work. Considering that he worked constantly for 60 years with an open-mind, an attitude for wonder, and searching new approaches by embracing constraints or mistakes (as his assistant stated) as opportunities and including those partly in his painting as visual language, e.g the marks left by a paint bucket on the canvas laying on the floor in Vitacress, 1981. More impressive that he does this at his age of 85 with a decreasing mobility  pushing him to work mostly seated.

I do wonder whether all very large scale works do have to be that large. However, I like the way he considered his studio space and found creative ways of overcoming constraints (see Fig. 1).

Bowling started with formal and geometric explorations and this continued to be question throughout his later works. He explored deeply the materiality and physicality of his material. I was not so much impressed of his earlier experiments with adding all kind of material, especially acrylic foam, leaving a touch of failure of my own experiments with pouring paint over all sort of packaging material. His heavy use of acrylic gel had for me quite an ‘artificial’ aka deprived touch. It was fab to see how through his Thames paintings and making reference to the light in his home country Guyana turned the works into more articulated and refined works. I do relate strongly with Bowling’s attraction to the liquidity and fluidity of paint through spraying and letting it go/flow.

His stencil and screen printing techniques reminded me partly of Jacqueline Humphries. 

I take away from my visit that experimenting with materials is fine, but it need to put more attention onto aspects like surface structure and compositional elements in relationship to color to make the work pulsing and successful.

Overall, Bowling’s work do convey a contemporary abstract sense. Although, I am not sure whether this way of working alone would satisfy me for longer. I also left with a sense of ‘nostalgic modernism’ and missed some moments of excitement


Reference:

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Collaboration as Parallel Project // P5.2 – Ex5.2: Reflective exercise (Part a)

collaborative project music fine art MRI

This was going a bit different than just a straight forward parallel project. The outcome was realised and performed aka screened in a private viewing event at Toynbee Studios, London E1 6AB on 20th July 2019 with the support of OCA (Caroline Wright and Carla Rees). The work consisted of an approx 10 min visual-music performative video created together with music student Vicki Downey.

Mindful-Resonance Interaction (video-audio, 09:45 min): 

as installed and screened at Toynbee Studios on 20th July 2019. A collaboration with music student Vicki Downey ()

Remark: in order to have the best experience of the work, it is recommended to listen to with good headphones with a frequency range down to <=20 Hz or with a good audio system that can convey very low pitches

 

 


Now, with the outcome accomplished, time to reflect on the work done and a reflection after the event including feedback from the audience and learnings from what I experienced from the other five projects presented.

About our collaboration

(see also Vicki’s reflection – under Reference)

When the call for a New Music-Fine Arts collaborative project was announced, I was thrilled. I pondered for quite some time about how to bring sound and painting together, having only experimented for myself with some animated images and recorded painting processes. I knew that I often take too much on my shoulders and at times all over the place. Therefore, I hoped that I could integrate the collaborative bit into my coursework, even hoping it could be part of my parallel project related to medical imaging and MRI and being presented for assessment (still to come) – and I got the go from my tutor under the condition it would be well documented. I was even more thrilled to hear in my first virtual meeting with music student Vicky Downey that she felt intrigued by the topic of MRI and was open minded to have our collaboration on this theme, somehow ‘directed’ by my parallel project. Since the start I felt an amazing resonance and trust between us.

Big challenge for me was how to create and get visuals, animated images or ‘still’ paintings into a piece of work that work together and are ‘synced’ with Vicki’s music. We discussed this and it occurred to me that non-perfect sync might be even a good idea. I never worked on any video or animated piece longer than 1 or 2 minutes, and mostly as recordings, but without the addition of extra-soundscapes. I was afraid that I have to spend a massive amount of time on learning film editing and post-production software, and that the results would look clumpy, rough and amateurish.  Or that awful transitions would damage the experience of our work. I put this concern away and was pleased that our discussion went along more or sensation and experience of visual and soundscapes.

I really enjoyed our collaboration that followed a mutual sequence, starting with talking through my initial idea and own experience of brain MRI, Vicki’s experience and ideas relating to MRI, and pulling together rough ideas on how MRI works, how it could be translated musically and visually, and some references to other artists.

In this flowing phase, I found it tremendously helpful to have Vicki as a remote partner, giving structure through her music pieces, that I could take up and inform my visuals. We refined and build a flow together later. I do thank Vicki for being in that sense more structured as me, as I tend to be rather experimental, at times chaotic and always embracing uncertainty. Also, I very much appreciated how Vicki took up points from our discussion through a few virtual meetings and more email exchanges (that I put all together in a separate doc) and played out and experimented freely. Fortunately, this didn’t put her off. 

I made a very rough first draft visual sequence midway that found good resonance with Vicki, and just before our big day made variations and eventually the night before the final cut. I was embracing uncertainty and considered certain de-synced transitions as a key element of the outcome and the experience. It was like a dialogue in three, between visuals, music and perception by the audience of both together. This also led to the fact that I could share a second version of a full visual sequence (a narrative?) with Vicki only the day before the event. However, I made some variations of sub-sequences that we reviewed remotely by texting together. A big thank to her for this late checking in and trust and openness.

Each of us created more ‚raw material’ that didn’t go into our final cut. We have more material that we could (and will) see how it could be used. This includes MRI footage in the work, voice and words, humming sound by string or by audience, and last not least how a live performance with people (us or other) could look like.

Overall, I very much appreciated the opportunity from OCA to work collaboratively with music, especially that it was Vicki who became my partner in ‚MRI-crime‘ (our work title ‘Mindful Resonance Interaction (MRI)’, that I made up in a moment of deep inspiration, is also a reflection on our collaboration based on openness and trust). I also found the inspirational and pragmatic Carla and Caroline very supportive and appreciated that both also made some work together. As a Fine Art student at level HE5, I feel inspired to explore further relationships between visual spaces and sound spaces, both key to our human understanding and knowledge of the world around us. This collaboration opened up new perspectives for me, and I can now even imaging in include voice/words into the work.

 

Reflection after the performance event 20th July 2019

We started the day in a wonderful venue at Toynbee Studios, six projects in pairs, three before and three after lunch. I was so thrilled hearing that my tutor will come, and for time reasons made us to schedule our bit as the last one of day.

Stefan513593 - NMU/FA Collaboration OCA - 20July2019

The day started with the fantastic impromptu Kym and Jason, who performed painting and music ad hoc, involving us as the audience by asking to roll a dice that would inform their performance. It was a good start with a lot of fun. I very much liked the vitality and spontaneity of the performance. Something, I could do envision for street art performance or any other public spaces as well. Will keep this in mind as it resonates with my art therapy practice as well. 

A slide show accompanied by live piano music followed by word and voices followed by Anne and Naomi (who was virtual present), with Anne’s husband joining in. I very much enjoyed her piece ‘hands’, written poem, sung along by Anne and her husband, we as audience were invited to sing along as well. I found it intriguing to include words and voice in a piece, something Vicki and I considered but not realized. Re audience voice, it appeared also in the piece performed later by Anna and Deborah, as well as by Emma and SarahJane.

The next project by Anna and Deborah was informed by Anna’s graduate show work on ‘one year in prison’ informed by letters of one prisoner. It sounded familiar to me, as my work with Vicki was also informed by my ideas of parallel project, though nothing was realized till that moment. Nevertheless, there work got a spin by the input of Deborah. The audience was once again invited to participate by creating a human wall (reference to the prison wall) and holding lace flags. Anna informed us that this bit was informed by her exchange with textile students. Their piece was an animated still photograph sequence with voice over by Anna and Deborah sitting on both side of the human wall. I took away the experience of space created in the room, through a layering of background screening, audience as object rather sculptural installation and the words and voices that pulled me as an ‘observer’ into a liminal space.

After lunch, the room became dark, as the three following projects were built around the screening experience accompanied by music and sound. It was interesting for me how the day was split into two parts (intentionally?). Caroline’s and Carla’s work was according to their information a rather short notice built together performative work. Carla was playing on her flute and creating a huge variety of sounds and Caroline played a gong, both playing in the back, between the screen and the audience seated. I was impressed by the experience of time and duration. At the beginning the transitions of stills were very slow, meditative, and the perception of space through layering was stunning. What started abstract moved on with zooming out perspectives and with more clarity on location and video sequences were included. The soundscapes created and experienced were intriguing. Compared to screen-based sequences only, as me and Vicki worked along on our piece, a double space created, the room of the performance was part of the work. A tension between what I see and what I hear, going through my body, being fully immersed. Time was standing still, and I did appreciate how long a piece can be (it was roughly 15 min long) with slow motion or even still.  Definitely, something for me to keep in mind.

The project just before our part, was done by Emma and SarahJane, a fast moving sequence build around original footage from an older Venus travel film related to the myth of the Sirens, accompanied by Emma’s music as a soundtrack, or a soundscape synced with the visuals. SarahJane had incredible technical knowledge how to apply filters to make visual effects. Most stunning was their rather improvised audience involvement through a voice choir accompanying the last sequence of an underwater siren sequence. Another fab example, how well the audience can be involved actively, and how improvisation actually works by just doing, being in the space, and feeling resonance among the people and the visuals or music.

The last bit was our work ‘Mindful Resonance Interaction (MRI)’. I was quite nervous, checked with Vicki who was virtual present, sound systems, being concerned about the transmissions of very low pitches. We didn’t foresee any audience involvement or live performing things; it all was about the visual-music experience conveyed through projection and sound. We discussed before the duration of the black screen in the middle of the work just the night before. But having experienced the other works before I was not concerned at all. It is amazing how much space (visually and musically) can be hold when being in that space physically. An experience lacking completely when viewing online, screen based only. For me the big take away: one’s own body has to be in that space. How could embodiment be better explained? We received good feedback related to the photo-painting sequence and the narrative created, at times an disruptive, unstable sequence that worked well with the experience.

Overall, a fantastic day, full of creative energy. We all worked together very well. It was very worth for me to flying over. As one key aspect in my work is embodiment, best experience for me was the necessity of being in the space itself. Kind of summarizing what my parallel project was and is all about. The experience of MRI was a point of departure, it concluded in an experience of visual-sound-music-embodied space experience. I left the venue and the day encouraged and highly motivated and was following up with Vicki to share what I felt and experienced, and feedback received offline. This is another aspect of collaboration: sharing and involving.

 

About the development of the work ‘Mindful Resonance Interaction’

First, we agreed to start wide open, bringing each of us visual and musical sketches into the table aka into the cloud (a shared drive). This was quite a helpful approach, to have a place to share without talking directly to each other (Vicki is based in UK, I am based in Germany) and to get input of what the other had in mind. We discussed themes as body-mind binary opposites, sense of disembodiment inside the MRI machine, the hand outside the machine with the thumb on the emergency button, physical parameters e.g. proton spinning, Lamour frequency, precession, slicing, machine sounds, notation etc.  One reference I added to our discussion was Rasheed Newsome’s Shade Compositions (Furnace, 2017), a combination of stage performance, screening, and sound and voice – it was good to hear that this resonated with Vicki. I do believe that this idea of combining wall screening and stage performance followed through our collaboration. We diverted from this, perhaps more unconsciously mutual agreed on in resonance, it became clear that Vicki couldn’t attend in person. Therefore, we put the stage performance bit aside, and to make it digital only. Somehow, I didn’t feel it would make sense to perform on site/stage alone. 

I did pull from ideas created during my course, kind of spin off ideas informed my ideas about my parallel project. I maintained a dedicated sketchbook for my project, at the beginning it was rather focused around my brain MRI experience, other artist’s work informed by MRI, and my coursework ideas. It developed into a more focused exploration around our collaboration.

A next main phase started midway, when we agreed to structure our work around three parts: an emerging (informed by my reference of arriving in the clinic and before going inside the machine) , an inside the machine (with its percussive, pulsing sound and slicing effect relating to the visual imagery resulting from the process), and a final part that I referred to as Baroque, informed by MRA images of my brain vessels, we called it  ‘Brain Baroque’.

Concerning the Baroque: this is informed by my reading of Deleuze ‘Fold’ (brain as folded matter) and inspired by Helen Chadwick’s work ‘Oval Court’ and her interest in the Baroque, Rococco. I found it helpful to have midway Carla Rees supporting Vicki in finding her way into this theme that she took up and came back with stunning piece of music. 

Concerning uncertainty, I tend to push thinking about final piece away and still being very positive about the process and an outcome. I have to acknowledge that only quite late in the project phase I got some clarity on how things might evolve from my side. 

My first draft (Downey, Schaffeld, 2019b) based on the three part music provided by Vicki established for me a frame around emerging (my portrait with zooming into my eyes) , using original MRI footage and some of my sketchbook ideas to improvise on the idea of slicing alongside the organ sound from Vicki, using original MRA footage of my brain vessels (animated) for the ‘brain baroque’ music, and last taking my same portrait to fade away into blackness as end. 

I was not satisfied with couple of items, e.g., do I want to use original footage? Do I want to illustrate ‘slicing’ through animated movement of still images? how could we make a meaningful finish? I wanted to build in process work, i.e. painting process, and to replace photographs with paintings, all still to be created.

I found it was very helpful that we obtained a combined full piece of work, even in a very raw and sketchy way. It supported us to reflect in structure, on timing, on visual-music resonance. Without that overall impression, I doubt that we would have been able to establish the outcome we presented (see Schaffeld, 2019b).

Few main changes we made: to break the first part down into two sections (a slower and a more dynamic phase) and to break the third part also in two sections (allowing a smoother finish). Vicki came up with the idea of breathing, I related it to departing from the machine into nature. This really got my ideas flowing, to distant myself from rather illustrative visuals, and to relate more to the body. Some further reading done for my critical essay gave me ideas in faces, defacing, and touch and the body. The result was me drawing a sand with the water washing it away. This is what I do relate to the seacoast, for our work I had to improvise and to set up the ‘beach’ on our porch with sand and letting water from our rainwater container run over it to flush it away. All these connotations with drawing a face in sand and the sea informed the last section of our work.

I decided to start the  ‘Brain Baroque’ piece with the original animated footage (was too fascinating for us since the beginning), but merged it with a process painting of watercolor running down (in final piece it is ‘running’ up as I rotated it informed by the uplifting sound and uplifting evolvement of Baroque forms).

To replace my photographed portrait with a painting was the easier bit, and I think that the fact of Vicki being not physical present informed my decision to ask her for a portrait photo and to paint her as well. During the making next steps followed on each other and our two photographs turned into two portrait paintings that turned into one layered combined portrait followed by the first idea of zooming into the eye and into the brain. 

The last, the middle section was perhaps the hardest bit, as I not only questioned the use of original footage for that (too personal? too illustrative? ethics?) as well as the visuals as being just an illustration of the music or of my idea of ‘slicing’. A turning point for me was when I started to depart from being inside the MRI machine and focusing more on my embodiment, my reaction to sound when I was inside. Is music not creating a soundscape that we tend to take in us, triggering images, and last not least make us to move, to feel? What if I would perform not to the original footage but to Vicki’s music? A surrogate perhaps, but more real in the presence, informed by same phenomena of human embodiment. I think after making several performance during daylight and at night with UV light, fluorescent paint on my face, and a check pattern projected onto my body and the background wall (the  pattern was one of those moments of serendipity found during making of other works for my course, informing this project) I did know the music by heart.

 


Supporting Material

Reference

 

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A4- Self-Evaluation

How am I doing against the criteria?

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills

During this assignment I was more concerned to move away from mere experimental testing of materials and to explore more certain features of one material, through combinations and through action onto the material. But also to see the performative aspect of the material as such. I became more aware of visual languages, of relationship between shapes, lines, edges, and surrounding space. At the end, I worked with an ephemeral material and even with vulnerable conditions of tension. I eventually became aware, that those aspects (ephemeral, vulnerable) could be explored through materiality and not through representational or figurative pictures. What I actually found rather intriguing having moved me away from the ‘hand’ in my previous assignment. 

However, at times I worked quite intuitively. Not sure that I made the best color choices, or best compositional expressions.  I took the risk to stop at some time and to reflect on possible further developments, making this assignment more of a journey than a presentation of finished work.

Quality of Outcome

I am not sure whether this assignment has the quality at all required. As mentioned before, it is ‘unfinished work’, though some works might actually be convincing as such (e.g. the last one with combined net and paint skin, or some smaller ones). Although, to communicate an idea through the work might be challenging. Intentionally, I tried to keep it more open. letting the material speak for itself. However, it might work that the tension and the various shapes and textures might actually convey an idea, but this would be rather the one created by the viewer.

Demonstration of Creativity

I was quite open to look at materiality as such, and curious to look beyond obvious combinations. Although, I was at the beginning quite unsure to use latex at all, I became more ‘complicit’ with that material, especially looking at from a stretching and vulnerability point of view. At the end, and digesting the results for a few days , I became more creative in thinking even beyond my rather small scale works and to embrace those at larger scale, focusing on a few aspects only (e.g. stretching) what even might be an idea of live performance.

Context

I looked at few artists, but decided not to look much deeper into them as I wanted a more fresh approach in my encounter with the materials chosen: latex. Although, I could have embraced more cultural connotations of how latex and stretching is applied to in various fields, I was aware of such connotations. However, I decided to work only with the material and the responses coming out of the performance of making (though the performance is not recorded as process, but more as intermediate ‘still’ works). Through my reading for my parallel project and especially for my critical review, I looked at skin as a term, and this informed my curiosity what could be done with skin. If I would have looked more into skin, I could work more with materials closer to skin as material, e.g. leather. But I decided to stay with latex, kind of surrogate. And certainly as vulnerable as human skin. Overall, I got some further ideas that is going to inform my parellel project. Especially, I like the experience made that my work is going to inform my critical review – and not vice versa.

 


Questions to my tutor:

  • Suggestions (presentation, assessment) for work that are under tension, vulnerable towards movement and especially heavy handling.
  • Discussion on multiple media (e.g. plus sound): I could embrace this to work in a gallery setting as the sound coming from the backside of the ‘still’ painting. How to get this virtually across?
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A4 – Contextual Notes

Vibrant Matter of Skin

 

Vibrant Matter -Touching my Skin – Stretching my limits.’

 

Latex: a material full of cultural connotations, derived a rubber from the rubber tree, used as latex-skin in erotica, as medium for latex paint, as material for medical gloves (what mostly are replaced now by nitrile gloves due to latex allergy). A material, only thinking of it at a later stage, I had explored on a molecular level during my master thesis in chemistry (my first academic degree ages ago).  

This part of the course was asking question around canvas and stretcher, mostly I did look at it from a surface versus body conception. All paintings at perceived through their surface and all sculpture through their physical body, was this the way I would differentiate both disciplines? I started to think of paint as body, and of object like the stretcher as pictorial objects. Paint with multiplied sides, as a skin with double faces, and paint as a material that can be modeled with. I found in latex a material that has some similarities with acrylic paint. I could apply it with brushes, I could pour it, I could use various colors. It also has similarities with e.g. plaster in the form of plaster bandage used for sculptures, to build form with it, to cast.

I eventually closed in the idea of skin, and was informed by the books of Lisa Cartwright (Cartwright, 1995) and Jose van Dijk (van Dijck, 2005) as well as Bernadette Wegenstein (Wegenstein and Hansen, 2006). However, I didn’t looked at it from a conceptual viewpoint rather as a possibility of reading material. I found skin as good metaphor for how I perceived the material of latex, body and surface. Paint only as surface is what I would relate to the spray painted works of Katharina Grosse (Art21, 2015). Paint as body is what I see in the work of Lynda Benglis (Tate Shots, 2012). I was curious to see how one material could move along those two poles: surface and body. Some other artists, I loosely do refer to are Angela de la Cruz, for her use of paint as folding materials (though still with a supporting canvas) especially in relationship with the stretcher (Wetterling Gallery, 2016), Simon Callery, for his drappery like suspended canvas sculptures (Fold Gallery, s.D.), Dana Molzan, for some relevance to hangings (Kaufmann Repetto, s.D. ), and Karla Black, for her fragile hanging ephemeral works (National Galleries Scotland, 2019) .

Informed by my parallel project on medical imaging, the transparent clinical body, and the medical intrusive gaze through the skin, informed my exploration of the vulnerability, the fragmented paint, and options of negative space making the opaque latex ‘transparent’.

To look at it from a different angle, I do wonder whether aspect of Minimal Art or mono-ha do not also play a role here, especially considering the perception of the work in space. It is just a fade sensation. Although, the works are rather small scale, I could envision to make them human scale, room scale, These are the dimensions that the works of both art movements (western and eastern) do embrace. I do can imagine it, but I can’t experience it with small scale works only. Possibly, a digital simulation could give a better idea.

Just as a afterthought, I read recently an article about extended MRI techniques that allows to measure brain elasticity by ‘sending vibrations through ..They move faster through stiffer material, producing … maps of tissue rigidity, that may correspond to brain activity.’(Makin, 2019)  This might be just too far ‘stretched’, but I found a certain resonance in how I worked with the latex paint material through sensing, feeling, stretching, responding to tensions – a vibrant matter.

(word count 491)

 


Amendment: 
I visited the mono-ha exhibition at Cardi Gallery, London, and was intrigued by some works that embrace with tension: inside the work between two materials and in relationship to the viewer in the physical space of the room (e.g. Lee Ufan’s Relatum, 1969/2015). After our performance event in London where I showed my parallel project (a collaborative work with music student Vicki Downey) I was more convinced that the right perception of certain works can only be bodily experienced in a physical space as an encounter. It resonated with a quote from Nobuo Sekine (Fig. 1).

“My act is intended to open up the state of transparent world …
What we are doing is finding ways to have encounters today.” – Nobuo Sekine

But this might be just the biggest challenge as a distant art student. And what eventually would result in make actual exhibitions of my work and to have that experience being conveyed as part of my work. I possibly have to put this aside till level 3.

 

"Fig.

 


Reference

 

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A4 – Painting through Skin

  • A4 – Painting through Skin
  • A4 – Painting through Skin
  • A4 – Painting through Skin
  • A4 – Painting through Skin
  • A4 – Painting through Skin

In my prior reflections, I articulated my aim for this assignment:

To explore latex as material, as paint, and as performative subject.
To find a balance between material feature, physical characteristics,
composition, and aesthetics.


Departure

I started to work first time with latex, considered it either as material for disposable gloves, as latex paint for wall painting, or as fetish material with erotic connotation. The first connotation was my first one, the third one that of a few other people.

Point of departure: using latex as conservation, surface coating – see  project 1  (Fig. 1).

Continuation: to understand that latex can be vulnerable when seen as material without support (as it stuck together, Fig. 2), that it doesn’t work as intended with all materials (failing to blend with plaster, Fig. 3), and that it can go sculptural when joined with supporting material (eg. wire, Fig. 4) – see project 2 

grid view – click on an image to open in lightbox view (Fig. 1 – 5):

My most exciting experience was to explore the literal stretching performance of latex as paint material (Fig. 5):  Stretching as a unique feature of the material, and not just acting as a prep to  support a painting, but to become the painting in itself.

I decided to look at two main aspects:

  • sculptural versus surface
  • stretching

Going sculptural

From project 4 I was interested to explore paper chips more, and to see whether they could give latex more sculptural features (Fig. 6-14)

grid view – click on an image to open in lightbox view (Fig. 6 – 14) – sizes each between around 12-15 x 8-10 x 7-11 cm

=> those small scale wire-latex sculpture do have some fascinating aspects. Especially the last one (sculpture no4, Fig. 12-14) do convince more through a combination of transparent and opaque;  patterns, lines and shapes; concealing and revealing;  play with color. In a similar way sculpture no2 has a sense of opening.

The drawback with these small sculptures build around wire is  instability: the wire doesn’t hold the latex-skin enough, both are rather a playful interaction, moving around without stabilising themselves. This might be an aspect to follow through, but I was more interested in other ways, more robust and stable approaches – more stretched ones.

Another, quite experimental approach I looked at was pouring latex over paper chips (those chips I used to paint with in project 4) resulting in quite unique scuptural object (Fig. 15). But it seemed to rather a dead-end – or one off.  No stretching ‘allowed’ here.

Fig, 15: latex-chips-sculpture

Fig, 15: latex-chips-sculpture; pouring – stretching – breaking – arranging; a flower bouquet?

 

At that moment, I decided to revisit a work from project 2 (Fig. 16, left). The stretched latex became after some time less tight, the tension diminished, reminding me of guitar strings that had to be re-tuned through adding more tension, to stay atuned. What led me to ‘unstretch’ it, following the motion of ‘hanging’ and installed it that way (Fig. 16, right). Leaving wide open space inside, space to breathe, to relax.

Fig. 16: revisiting from project 2- stretching the skin

Fig. 16: revisiting from project 2- stretching the skin

 

=> also this approach, through fascinating and intriguing to follow through (relax, breathing), it still did work the way I was looking for. No ‘stretching’ here.

Being complicit with latex – feeling resistance

Therefore, I decided to re-start with new latex-skin paintings, now on paper as a variation towards an unknown. My previous latex works where more about the surface aspect of the material (coating, sticking, folding). I wanted to explore its painterly qualities by layering various colored latex (Fig. 16 – 19). Without knowing the outcome, I was curious to see how it will turn out – and to work from there.

I applied the three colored latex (kind of primaries) rather abstractly and intuitively, in a way that I found intriguing.

grid view – click on an image to open in lightbox view (Fig. 17 – 20) – sizes approx. 32 x 45 cm

Exploring peeling, face lifting, and how the material will perform.  But it happened that some part of the latex didn’t got of the paper. Although, as learned from previous sticky results (Fig. 2), I used baby powder to protect the latex surface of just doing that.

Apparently, the latex mixed with phtalo blue was the one that kept sticking to the paper (the other colors with inorganic pigments (cd red, cd yellow, titan white) behaved differently. I started to think on how this could be an opportunity – and playing with an empty stretcher (Fig. 21)

Fig. 21: latex color skin - failure as opportunity

Fig. 21: latex color skin – failure as opportunity; paper as support and picture plane – stretcher as pictorial element – latex skin as paint and picture; do I need the bull clamps? 

 

=> Would this ‘failure as opportunity’ give me some new directions? 

Stretching

Exploring further, lifted paint-skin, informed by a pictorial use of an empty stretcher.  Extending the stretching aspect of the resulting latex picture.

First attempt, small stretcher (40 x 30  cm)

Fig. 22: latex stretch no1

Fig. 22: latex stretch no1; stretching a released latex picture onto a stretcher, opening negative space; do I really need the bull clamps ?

 

=> this seemed to work quite well. I was wondering whether I could stretch more, using larger stretcher. The color areas turned out to be important pictorial elements in the stretched composition.

Second attempt – larger stretcher (70x50cm)

grid view – click on an image to open in lightbox view (Fig. 23 – 26)- sizes approx 80 x 50 cm

=> I used bull clamps to fix one part of the latex skin on one side and pulled with my hands another part towards the opposite side. Trying what can be pulled towards where. At times, the latex skin became vulnerable and – broke. I worked further with the fragments, resulting in a diminishing picture plane, and increasing negative space. At the end it was not any longer a complete paint layer as in Fig. 16-19, but rather strings been held. The color areas flattened out and transformed into spatial lines.

Following up with these efforts, I decided to revisit the partly stuck-to-paper latex picture (Fig. 21) and to see how I could develop it further, trying to be more in relationship with the materiality performance and to see what the material wants to tell me.

grid view – click on an image to open in lightbox view (Fig. 27 – 30) – sizes approx 24 x 18 cm

=> an evolution of keeping inside the frame, contained, and white areas of paper stuck to the latex (backside) turned into a pictorial element. I found it really fascinating how things can turn around into an abstract composition by considering all sides, and features of the material, playing and revisiting possible constellations till it results into a somehow meaningful work – void of any representational framework or external connotations – just paint material composed and mediated.

I started to sense a familiarity with the latex material, a complicity? I wanted to make thicker layers of paint, and to go back to two colors in order to explore more the spatial performance of areas and lines, how the first can turn into the second.

grid view – click on an image to open in lightbox view (Fig. 31 – 34) – sizes around 24×18+ cm 

=> Because of the thickness of the paint-skin, it material was rather rigid, and the relationship between the shapes stayed pretty much stable. I thought that using the wire could make it more sculptural, not stretching but bonding. As done before (Fig. 23-26), I wanted to explore the shape relationship through stretching deeper and went back to the found object, the wine rack stretcher from Fig. 15.

grid view – click on an image to open in lightbox view (Fig. 35 – 38) – sizes approx 80 x 22 cm

 

=> stretching downwards (Fig. 35 & 36), demanding quite some strength, turning upside down (Fig. 37) and finding a more dynamic form and relationship. Here, I had to use bull-clamps again, the tension was too strong and the  strips the narrow.  The colors wavelike moving upwards, up-lifting. The paint-skin not completely covering the stretcher’s rectangular shape, but following its own dynamic and leaving enough negative space open to resonate with. I was curious to see whether the addition of a different texture (latex skin pattern made with the help of bubble wrap) could work (Fig. 38) –  but I found the result a bit too contrived, too dense, and leaving not enough open space .

However, I found the paint-mesh fascinating, adding certainly contrast, as also explored in project 4.5.  As my stretched works done earlier (Fig. 23- 26) were very open with not a balanced relationship between positive and negative space, I wanted to see whether the mesh could add more meaning to it. I could not undo the stretching and fragmentation of the latex-paint-skin, thus adding could work better. 

I was curious to play along this pattern and the stretched colored bands, placing, stretching as well the mesh-skin.

grid view – click on an image to open in lightbox view (Fig. 39 – 42) – sizes approx. 80 x 50 cm

=> an evolving process of increasing the tension of the skin-mesh, becoming more a net (reminding me of sea and fishing). It appeared to me that the two varieties of solid and meshed paint-skin do stand in a dialogue with each other. It occurred to me that I had to apply much less force to stretch the mesh than the solid paint-skin. An interesting aspect as it could inform future options of ‘stretching’. 

Reflection and possible next steps 

One of my concerns or interest in making the works for the assignment was to see whether I could get rid of the bull-clamps. I considered them rather a temporary fixings, but wanted to see how the paint-skin and the stretched could be more autonomous, being self-sufficient and the only partners in this relationship. I started to create variations since my second attempt on stretching (Fig. 22-25), replacing bull clamps by stretching the paint-skin mostly around the corners so that could be hold in place by its own tension. Only, in the thick latex skin stretched across the wine rack required me to use bull-clamps again.

My initial work (Fig. 15) was still with bull-clamps, but hidden at the backside of the stretcher. And my small scale sculptural works (Fig. 6-14) were hold by the wire net, but the tension was absent due to the fact that both materials (paint skin and wire) were both rather flexible.

The used stretcher (Fig. 39-42) seems now a bit too contained, too much frame like. Whereas, the one with the found stretcher (Fig. 35-38) does work better for me. The smaller one in Fig 34 also appears more successful as the stretcher appears rather as an embedded object than a frame, more than the one in Fig. 30. I would like to ‘un-stretch/un-frame’ , but do not quite know yet how else to fix the material, the edges. And some fixture is needed, otherwise there will not be ‘stretching’. One option could be to put nails in a wall as fixing points. Another option could be, to combine the idea from my small sculptures but instead of the quite flexible wire to use rigid bars. Or too look out for found objects, that could hold the strength of stretching latex paint-skin. Here, I could embrace my experience more that mesh are easier to stretch and hold that solid paint-skin. 

The most successful pieces are those that embrace the material unique features (stretchable, double faces) and have besides a material tension also a tension inside the pictorial elements, e.g. Fig. 36 or Fig. 42. The drawback of these are that they are pretty vulnerable as they are under tension (not good for physical shipments, rather a site-specific installation). And this would be also a key question to my tutor: how to work and present works like that for assessment.

Options to stretch – future extension or application of assignment work

static:

  • nails in the wall
  • rigid metal bars
  • anything ready-made: handrails, trees, hangers, 

dynamic:

  • between doors: open and closing doors kept under tension as performance
  • live performance: audience invited to apply forces, to stretch supplied paint-skins (or to think further, to search even for any material to explore stretching as such)

Options of paint-skin:

  • mesh 
  • solid
  • area or line 
  • different thicknesses for different tension
  • combinations of above

Amendment

inspired by the music-art collaboration and our event in London, I was wondering whether a painting can not also actually make music aka sounds. Here the sound of stretched paint (Fig. 36)

 


A spin off from working with latex mesh and trying to find objects that can hold tension – a failure due to structural collapse. Nevertheless, it became a wall object for itself (Fig. 43)

Fig. 43: Wall object; latex mesh and honeycomb board

Fig. 43: Wall object; latex mesh and honeycomb board

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Assignment 4 – Preparatory Thoughts

Reflecting on my recent works on materiality, I can discern the following main aspects and learnings.

Painting

What started out as a seemingly modernist critique of deconstructing the canvas and the stretcher turned surprisingly into a more insightful interrogation of materiality, especially of liquid versus solid paint. I found it beneficial to explore some linguistic signs, e.g. stretching and holding, to see beyond the obvious and to see possibly a wider cultural context.

However, I was – and perhaps still are – a bit concerned about the loading of material aspects in a cultural discourse, as it could lead eventually to see a sign or a signifier in all material used. Could one ever appreciate an oil painting without thinking about what ‘oil’ and ‘oil-painting’ could refer to?

From the beginning of this course, and also in discussion with fellow students, I do find the the question of what painting is and might begin like a quest, a search that never ends.  For me, I enjoyed, working with tactile materials, but also to see color beyond the physical medium. Like sound, color can be digital  – or an architectural space. Mostly, it is for me about space, negative space in between, and relationship.

Paint as sculptural medium

Till now, I was less concerned with distinction between painting and sculpture. Even less, as the the credit between Modernism and Minimal Art: flatness and inner relationship versus Gestalt and oute relationship. During this part, I found that one doesn’t need to use those 2D and 3D formula to find a way between painting and sculpture. I found it insightful to hear that Karla Black is considering her raw material works as sculptures. The tactility of materiality in its relationship with the surrounding space and how the viewer as the walker encounters it, seem fascination for me. I sense, that scale matters, as small scale works do not work in such an extent. Considering this means to consider my works rather a maquette, proposals for larger scale work that can go into gallery or other public space. To negotiate between small scale and larger, human embodied scale, would be a topic to look at more in depth in my future work.

Alternative materials

As I am quite experimental since the beginning of my art studies with OCA, I found all kind of materials intriguing. To bend, to stretch, to play, to interrogate materiality and to see how to paint ith them. What changed a bit during this part of the course, was that I do not paint that much with the alternative materials, but rather to paint through them. To see the material as partner, less as a medium serving a purpose. In that sense, I finally understood that notion of ‘being complicit with material’, as expressed by Petra Lange-Berndt in her introduction to ‘Materiality, Documents of Contemporary Art’ (2015).

I felt intrigued by what I could do with paper chips, and what latex could do more. The latter will be the medium for my assignment. I could see both either just as performative materials, or open up a discourse along its cultural use. But this could lead to a Pandora’s box, as interpretation could go in any direction  

 

Aim for my assignment 4

To explore latex as material, as paint, and as performative subject. To find a balance between material feature, physical characteristics, composition, and aesthetics.

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Project 4.5: Colour

Colours & Names

George Szirties  listed in one section of his ‘Bad Machine’ – ‘Colours’ all sort of poetic names for colors, often related to flowers, natural situations, feelings, or attitudes.  I feel reminded of Serra’ verb list as transitive verbs for acting on materials, to transform. However, Szirties’ list is more a description without intention, rather psychological than physical. 

Amy Sillman describes in ‘On Color’ (Graw, I. and Lajer-Burcharth, E., 2016:103-116) her experience in art college and how they worked with color and paint. At times, reminding me of addiction but also passion to learn, to dive into the material.  She describes, how she was able to distinguish, to differentiate, and to identify – by senses as touch and smell, more than just sight. What reminds me of my own experience with color and paint. I do like natural or anorganic pigments more than chemical ones, especially I prefer ultramarine instead of phtalo blues, the latter staining too much with the effect that my hand stay blueish longer (as I ‘have to’ put my hands, my skin into the material, certainly to be careful about..) And with time, I got  to know how to mix certain colors easily, or what and how to use some paint material in order to get an effect (e.g. peeling of effect with acrylic on plastic). 

Both describe an intimacy, a ‘complicity’ as Petra Lange-Berndt described it, with material perception. The more one digs into , the more one knows about it. True for all kind of areas. Overall, colors to have an impact on human beings and the way we perceive and relate to the world around us.

This intimacy could also be a danger, or a risk – to know too much could mean to rely too much on learned patterns. To unlearn continuously, to see the making each time afresh and with ‘wonder’ could open more creative ways to find out new knowledge. This is one thing that I took away from the study day on London on Thinking Through Art. To use new, uncommon materials could free up the mind, and to explore more curiously.

 


Image:

  • Featured image work from project 5, SJSchaffeld

Reference:

  • Graw, I. and Lajer-Burcharth, E. (2016) Painting beyond Itself  The Medium in the Post-Medium Condition. Edited by Graw, I., Birnbaum, D. and Institut fuer Kunstkritik Frankfurt am Main. Berlin: Sternberg Press.
  • Szirtes, G. (2013) Bad Machine, Northumberland: Bloodaxe Books, p.10., At: https://www.scribd.com/read/353203926/Bad-Machine (accessed 10 May 2019)

 

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Project 4.5 – Ex. 4.5: 3D colour chart

  • Project 4.5 – Ex. 4.5:  3D colour chart
  • Project 4.5 – Ex. 4.5:  3D colour chart
  • Project 4.5 – Ex. 4.5:  3D colour chart

Color – Mapping a Space

My chosen location was the garden of the South London Botanical Institute, that I visited as part of the ‘Art & Environment’ study weekend with OCA tutors Melissa and Dan (see my reflective account)

Two aspects fascinated me:

  1. The varieties of color of plants and flowers (Fig. 1), with a selection of it embedded in a slide (Fig. 2)
  2. The botanist gaze embodied in the microscopic view (Fig. 3)
Fig. 1: SLBI garden impression

Fig. 1: SLBI garden impression

and my collection (with some ethical concern, feeling myself as a Victorian naturalist, and with an awe for the powerful colors of the specimen)

Fig. 3: SLBI -Plant collection

Fig. 3: SLBI -Plant collection

..specimen to look at, to gaze through the human prosthesis: the microscope. Triggering associations of far away (planets?) and very close (‘inside the body’)

Fig. 3: SLBI - the botanist gaze

Fig. 3: SLBI – the botanist gaze

I wanted to comhine both somehow, with some preliminary experiments informed by project 1 of part 4. My fascination became even more intriguing as I could relate this to my parallel project on medical imaging, the microscope as perhaps the first human prosthesis to look deeper, to discipline the body, to slice, to flatten. My reading of Lisa Cartwright’s ‘Screening the Body’ (1995) supported my interest. 

My aim for this exercise:

  • to match the various colors found,  with my naked eyes in the garden, through the microscope, and through photographic reproductions after my return to my studio space. 
  • to build on, but also to free up from my initial thoughts, and to response more directly to the process of making

 

Preliminary experiments

How to capture color with the idea of microscope? I eventually found that circular shapes would be more suitable than rectangular as advised in the coursematerial. 

Considering the aims of this part of the course, I found that to isolate color as paint from its support might be also an idea to look at. 

Materials used:

  • circular shapes: found plastic lids from yoghurt products. Those lids did remind me of petri dishes (made from glass or plastic( that are typically used in microbiology 
  • paint: acrylic paint and/or Aquacryl paint plus impasto gel or arcrylic adhesive to be able to peel the paint skin from the plastic lids

Some experimental tests (Fig. 4):

Fig. 4: preliminary testing // peelable paint and plastic lids

Fig. 4: preliminary testing // peel-able paint and plastic lids

=> quite satisfied with the performance of the paint (though it took some days till completely dry and peel-able). The obtained paint-disks to work with, not so rigid, with some flexibility. More to see. This triggered some childhood memories: ‘melting crystals’ to create colorful melted, normally round shaped,  stained window pictures (they melt at around 180 C, and we used a kiln for that). Anything to take from this autobiographic experience? Quite astonished by this connotation. Would this trigger in other viewer’s mind childhood memories as well? Perhaps just a side effect, one of many narratives. 

Surface and supporting material: my main reasons are the disk shape resonating with the ocular botanist gaze, and the plastic material (acrylic paint easy to peel of) as found object (found as linguistic gesture of what I found in the garden, at the study visit, when looking through the microscope). Using other surfaces would alter that connotation. 

Next steps: to color match observed garden and microscope colors, and to discern difference between impasto gel and acrylic adhesive as well between acrylic paint (opaque) and aquacryl (transparent). Would it be possible to obtain transparent or translucent disks with light able to shine through? Like the light from a microscope? 

Matching colors

(slider view, click on one image to open Lightbox view – Fig. 5 & 6)

Fig. 5: matching botanic color

Image 1 of 2

matching botanic color

 

=> as envisioned, the plates with acrylic adhesive turned out to be glossy, compared to the mat impasto gel plates. Also, acrylic adhesive itself is transparent compared to impasto gel being rather opaque (surprised me). Further, I noticed that the color adhesive plates are much less transparent, wondering how this could be. Nevertheless, I decided to move on with what I have (and not trying to repeat till I get what I intended to get) and to see how things would work out in space, and under the performative impact of light.

Anatomy of Color

Question: to peel the paint skin of the plate? Or to keep it inside? I decided to peel – not knowing whether this was to best decision  

{xx color disks} in space 

together – alone – flat – in relation – activating the background – being activated by light – mapping

(slider view, click on one image to open Lightbox view – Fig. 7 – 10)

Fig. 7: color in space no1

Image 1 of 4

color in space no1: placing as collection

 

After my various ‘installations’ , still kind of flat though, I sketched down two ideas for more spatial installation: kinetic and negative space (Fig  11)

Fig. 11: color in space no5 - sketchbook ideas

Fig. 11: color in space no5 – sketchbook ideas; kinetic mobile and negative installed space with looking through circles

 

All in all, I am not so satisfied with the outcome. Perhaps, I was too busy with my parallel project and the rather flexible disks seemed to be rather restrictive. Nevertheless, there is something in that I cannot grasp at this point of time.

Naming my colors

Why to name them? For me or for the audience? As title for the work? As list of names as title? A poem? As contextual reference? Or as intentional meaning to guide the viewer? Perhaps, an invitation to connect linguistic and visual cues?

I could name them after the botanical origin, or after some colorant used in microscopic (eg. astra blue, sudan red or safranin). I didn’t find that those name who add to new knowledge, seemed to be rather too illustrative.

My thoughts for names:

  • yellow: ocular round
  • blue: botanist gaze
  • yellow green: nature’s skin
  • blue-green: water of life
  • transparent: transparent body

=> Here I can see how names, playing with connotations, can bridge somehow the gap between context, idea, and aesthetic perception, beyond the functional realm of paint tubes in stores or to nostalgia


Reflection

  • Overall, I was intrigued by my initial response to the idea from garden and microscope. Although, the technical execution of the color-plates was not as intended, I found some spatial arrangements, that went beyond that initial idea. Especially, I was intrigued by the light performance through a projected test-pattern onto the plates. Giving it all together a spatial appeal in a flat environment. Nevertheless, I felt that my direction went a dead end, and will therefore continue in a different direction.
  • The test pattern, laid over the physical paint-skin, adds a sense of artificiality, scientific, or medical appeal to it. I am wondering whether this could work in context of my parallel project.
  • By chance, I was struck reading about Percival Lowell and seeing his sketches and photographs of the Mars, 1905 in context of ‘objectivity’. The images reminded me strongly of my microscope images (see Fig. 3, especially right bottom) His drawings after photographs challenging the question of whether it is ‘objective fact’ (in Lowell’s case the appearance of channels on Mars) or whether to ‘say that the results were from the brain of the retoucher’ (Galison and Jones, 2013:331). I can relate this visual images as mapping (drawings and photographs), mapping similar as MRI works as a mapping device.

Reference:

  • Cartwright, L. (1995) Screening the Body : Tracing Medicine’s Visual Culture. Minneapolis, London: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Galison, P. and Jones, C. A. (2013) Picturing Science, Producing Art. London, New York: Routledge.
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Project 4.4: Painting without Paint

What does painting without paint mean? In previous parts I looked at painting without brush, painting without gesture and control, painting without a ‘stretching’ support.

Painting without paint could be looked at from multiple perspectives:

  • paint as a material not consisting out of pigment and binder, and with conventional purpose of being used as paint, to paint with, e.g. found materials, urine, blood, skin, soap (materials that have more or less a staining or spatial impact when applied)
  • painting with paint that is different to conventional conceptions of how painting works, i.e. applying color to surfaces, creating illusion of space, playing with space-color relationships (I do consider color as light phenomena getting to our retinal surface of the eye).
  • without relating the material used (paint) to the technique applied (painting). Here I am not sure how this could look like, but perhaps to apply paint in different fashion, or to make a painting with 

Overall, considering the suggested artists to look at, I do believe the focus here is on non-traditional painting materials, i.e. anything but oil, acrylic, watercolor etc paint. Materials that do stain or not, materials that do can create spaces and illusions of space. Materials that are either direct or indirect materials creating through the act of making a ‘picture’ (flat, spatial, temporal, microscopic, cosmic etc.)

Material use seems to be more complex in contemporary art. In the past, the technical challenges and mastery of paint as material and its application to a surface were of main concern (alongside color theory, color matching perspective, and observational accuracy). Today, used materials are less ‘innocent’ and its deferred connotation and relationship in a wider cultural and political context are taking over interpretation and reception of artworks. Materials are associated with power structures, gender identities, environmental impact and consumer culture. My previous works since part 1 could be seen in this context: dog poop bags, packaging materials, shellac solution, or latex. However, I do sense that at that time I didn’t consider the wider context in depth. A more considered focus on one material alongside the process as an artist’s gesture might be the better.

Body fluids as material 

Andy Warhol (1928-1987) Oxidation Painting, 1978. He coated canvases with wet copper paint and urinated on them. The following reaction of oxidation of urine oxidizes let the color change. His use of urine and the act of urination was considered as a reaction to one of Jackson Pollock’s attitude, and could be also seen as a male gestural act. 

Other often used body fluid is blood, the most symbolic material for life – as well for threat,  vulnerability. or as menstrual blood as a feminist position (Alvarez, 2015)

Soap as material

Rashid Johnson (b. 1977) and Anxious Men, 2015 (David Kordansky Gallery). He used black soap (a unique Western African cleansing soap) and shea butter (used in cosmetics as a moisturizer or lotion) for his black paintings. He is black and lives in the USA with the legacy of black heritage. I believe that this triple combination would always lead to a racial connotation and statement. Soap as a cleaning agent as a mean of failing to clean-off the black color. I never heard of black soap till I found out that it actually is a unique Western African soap with the color derived from plant ashes. 

Interesting to notice that he was inspired for his work at the show through his visit to the Freud Museum in London and especially the ‘day beds’. He related it to healing, as the material of soap and shea butter would relate to cleansing and made him to state that he ‘always wanted to make an object that you could potentially clean your body with.’ (BBC, 2012)

In another work he elevated the floor to the wall by using wooden floor tiles, burning them with a torch, and making in that was his own charcoal to draw with and into.

Any inanimate object would want to be an artwork – Rashid Johson 

Overall, he pulls from his autobiographic objects, e.g, read books or listened music album, to integrate them into his works. His works, though clearly having from a conceptual point of view a political statement, the visuals and paintings with various materials are conveying a uniform and independent visual language. 

For me the striking aspect is how cultural ordinary objects and materials can be used for painting. The connection between the pictorial and a cultural context is certainly more in the mind of the audience.

Dye as material (appropriated use)

Olafur Eliason (b. 1967) created a the land-art and site-specific project Green River Project (1998 – ) that was ‘installed’ and ‘performed’ across various locations. He put a a green dye used by biologists into various city streams and river to invite the audience to relate to this changing environment of their daily life. My first association when seeing the work was algae, a green surface growth indicating over-nutrition of urban or communal water areas. But as I got this impression only by looking at small images on my small screen devices. seeing the water in real life would certainly would be a different experience (as a dye is different to a material plant body)

He stated that

We tend to see cities and spaces as static images, but in fact they are changing all the time. Sometimes it takes a radical shift to make us aware of this fact.” – Olafur Eliason (The Art Story, 2019)

The coloring of water lasted a few hours, with different reactions from the audience. Eventually , and to overcome possible panic reactions (as by subjective connotations of ‘green colored river’), he moved this land-art experience including maquette of the surrounding nature into gallery spaces. 

Eliason’s project has two key aspects: Land-art and temporality. The focus lays on the encounter itself, the experience of a spatial and temporal phenomena through materiality. With respect to land-art or site-specificity and water I feel reminded of my personal project work for PoP1 related to decay of residential buildings. I was intrigued at that time also by the small canals around the neighborhood, canals originated from the peat cultivation culture for draining the land. Water that is often brownish (from peat) and in summer often green (from algae). A changing environment in colors – to think more about my local area perhaps.

Common materials (found materials)

Phyllida Barlow is using materials typically connected to DIY stores and to outside construction sites, e.g. untitled: shadowplatform, 2018– 2019).

The works of Karla Black (b. 1972) are similar to Eliason’s project site-specific ‘land-art’ explorations of materials and physical space are made from mundane materials and composed site-specific installations that response and reflect on the material characteristics, e.g throwing dry plaster powder across the space and not the floor, with the resulting sculptures having a sense of impromptu performativity. I can relate to her thought of a non-hierarchy between the different materials. In an interview, she mentioned two aspects that I find intriguing:

  • she considers her works as sculptures, pulling from other disciplines as painting, but not installing them at the wall
  • she feels a direct relationship with the material, nearly void of cultural connotations, responding to the intimate relationship with it (though, it would be myth to think that an artist can work ‘innocently’ void of context.

She considers her fragile works as a temporal encounter: 

The fact that the experience of making is allowed to be seen within the finished work of Land Art, its often temporary nature, its site specificity and its scale, as well as the materials themselves, are all things that stay in my mind. – Karla Black (National Galleries Scotland, 2019)

She stated that she wants ‚the work to be attractive, but also for the materials to remain as raw and unformed as possible‘ (ebid). In the video of her Venice Biennale 2011 works, her large scale sculptures seem to expand and fill the room in a similar way as Barlow´s sculptures did at RA, London. The suspended folded plastic sheets seem quite familiar to me, though large scale seem to make the difference as a physical encounter with materiality. There seemed to be some controlled randomness involved in the shown works, rather artefacts than finished works. They are working in the relationship with each other and the viewer. I am wondering how this kind body of work could be possibly shown to my tutor or assessment (similar works perhaps). I do have the impression, that what really matters is the negative space, the space around the objects, space to breathe, space to walk through without barriers. Something to think about deeper when it comes to pre-assessment.

Some of her large scale installations remind me – at much smaller scale though – of my work for A1: paper, crumpled, and placed (see A1 – One Attempt of Failure)

One my inspiring artist, Helen Chadwick (1953-1996) used and appropriated all sort of materials, rose pedals, lotion, chocolate, light, urine, hair etc. (Chadwick, 2004). Due to its temporality of the used materials, she mostly preserved the work through photography.that became the work in itself and was installed in different way: on glass or steel with backlight (e.g. Self Portrait, 1991 or the series ?Wreath to Pleasure, 1992-93), as plaster cast (Piss Flower, 1991-92)

 

Learnings

  • Any material can be of use by exploring its unique characteristics. Contextual notes would come afterwards (but certainly not to avoid during making as well – the idea of ‘innocent’ un-learning as we discussed at our study day Thinking Through Art  might be just a myth).
  • Context can lead to specific materials. Although, the making and my work could go of a tangent during the exploration and making, embracing intrinsic visual languages of the material used.
  • I very much like found objects, paper, tissue and plastic – from different origins
  • Overall, I do have a sense that some materials would better work when embedded into other materials (e.g.Johnson), some to expand the typical use at larger and public scale (e.g. Eliason), and other just as they are (e.g. Black)
  • Temporality of used materials can be either embraced through on-site installations (e.g. Eliason, Black), embedded with other materials (e.g. Johnson), or documented through photography that becomes the work in itself (e.g. Chadwick)
  • What would be my materials for painting? Are they easily available? Do they need to purchase? And how to interact with them? Should I just take one or two materials that cross my way? Or to think deeper how material relates to context, e.g. to my parallel project on medical imaging and the transparent body? Certainly, it will be a physical engagement with material in space.

Image:

  • Featured image: SJSchaffeld, 2019 – work from Project 2

Reference:

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Project 4.4 – Ex. 4.4: Exploring unconventional painting materials

  • Project 4.4 – Ex. 4.4: Exploring unconventional painting materials
  • Project 4.4 – Ex. 4.4: Exploring unconventional painting materials
  • Project 4.4 – Ex. 4.4: Exploring unconventional painting materials
  • Project 4.4 – Ex. 4.4: Exploring unconventional painting materials

Building up the surface of a painting using unconventional art materials. Creating and extending a material surface of texture, tone and/or colour, to transform the canvas. – Course material

Selection of materials

I feel that I should stay focus and not to browse wide openly in an experimental manner all sort of things around me:

This is visual mapping of materials (Fig. 1)

Fig. 1: mapping materials and relevance

Fig. 1: mapping materials and relevance

 

Form my mapping, I looked for commonalities Eventually I decided to go for three varieties:

  1. mud / clay: with much water to paint with, the final work will dry on its own
  2. cardboard chips: with less and more water, the final work will dry but separate; possibly to use with addition of paste to solidify
  3. plaster / latex: as I felt inspired by the moment of failure / chance from project2 -both resisting each other, the final work will dry on its own; possibly to use with (baby-)powder (talc*)

My aim would be to see how those materials can build up a skin, and how opaque, transparent, permeable these will get.

a) Mud

For the sake of simplicity,  I used for this exercise a surrogate for mud:  clay (would still love to work with the mud from the coast). Mud aka clay has an earthy connotation. It relates to the sense of touch, and I use it in my art therapy as a low barrier material to stay connected and to raise awareness of one’s body sensation., also it provides resistance to touch.

My aim was to see whether clay can be more than a modelling material, i.e. how clay can be used to flatten out. Typical features of clay (aka mud)

  • clay: solid mass for modelling, though flat squares. 
  • mud: rather associated with flat areas, e.g. river beds, sea coast (like the Waddensee at North sea coast)
  • already ‘painted’ brown
  • transformative through wetting and building up, usually without much water (what would makes it brittle during drying in the oven)
  • openness for new ideas….

Flattening out clay aka mud. Some beginnings – (Slider view: click on the image to open in lightbox view  – Fig. 2-4)

Fig. 2: Mud / clay 1

Image 1 of 3

painting with mud

=> a warming up, I’ve done these at the beginning of part 4 before my other works. A fun way to paint with wet clay aka mud on paper, and to feel how it starts to dry. On black paper a more dramatic visual effect. I couldn’t resist to paint directly on wet clay (usually one paints onto dry clay), resulting in a double-skin sculpture, a fold unfolded (relating to my interest in the Baroque, see post here)

How could mud be seen in context? Certainly, it reminds me of Richard Long’s mud paintings, the Avon River mud paintings, 2011. Also of my own mud drawing Mud Falls, 2016 for Drawing 1 unit. The materials resonates for it very tactile character. I decided to stop here with this material and to see whether another material could have a similar tactility and potentiality to build up.

b) Paper chips

I chose Kraft-paper chips, used as filling materials for shipping boxes, as they are made from paper, typically a support for painting, and they are structured, with extension into 3D (see Fig. 5). Paper is made from natural fibers or cellulose with chemical modifications, and it is considered as a ‘natural’ material. Paper chips are a more environmental alternative to styrofoam chips or bubble wrap as filler. 

I was wondering,  considering the previous coursework, how not only paint, stripped of the support, can transform itself into a sculptural painting, but whether equally also paper, a typical flat ‘canvas’ support, could turn into a painting. Considering my works with paper-mache in part 1 for the ‘combines’ – What is Below and Beyond), I wanted to explore the unique features of that material:

  • spatial, though flat squares. 
  • multiple pieces
  • already ‘painted’ brown
  • transformative through wetting and mixing with wallpaper paste.
  • openness for new ideas….

(slider view: click on the image to open in lightbox view – Fig. 5-11)

Fig. 5: painting with paper chips 1

Image 1 of 7

paper chips, building and constructing a picture plane

=> starting with piles of chips, spray painted on-site with acrylic paint spray (could envision an entire gallery room filled with this ‘filling’ material; Fig. 5). This way it works only with gravity, a bulk of materials, spreaded out on the floor. I was wondering whether I could bring this ‘back’ to the wall, the traditional place of the canvas, using paste to stick those chips to the canvas. Paste made them flattening out (Fig. 6). Developing, building it further, being more careful to the amount of paste added, modulating surfaces and space, attention to inner and outer relationships => resulting in two canvas (Fig. 7 & 8), the second one more figurative?

Considering the idea of slides from my visit to Environment as well as to the exhibition on artist cards in the British Museum, I felt intrigued by smaller scale works, and decided to work on card size scale (10 x 15 cm). A more intimated approach to work, more closer view, and I felt I put more attention to graphic and line (Fig. 9 & 10)

Overall, I was positively impressed about the potentiality of this material. It cultural use as packaging material, and as a more environmental one compared to plastic fillers, could possibly be used to inform works using this material. Packing, filling, discarding – a useful, though dysfunctional material at its final destination.

c) Plaster / Latex

My third material, I was eager to explore happened by chance: finding out what doesn’t work, and what doesn’t work well together. How to make a good solid mass in an instant, made from semi-liquid plaster and liquid latex (Fig. 12). A resistance, and yet, not separable. Could this be developed into something else?  Could I explore those resisting and cohesive forces? 

I continued with the smaller scale approach, as I found it might even work better with those ‘precious’ painting-constructions (slider, click on the image to open in lightbox view – Fig. 13 – 17) 

Fig. 12: a solid block of plaster and latex

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plaster and latex - failure as creation

=> first I couldn’t repeat my previous ‘chance’ result (Fig. 13), afterwards it ‘found’ it again (Fig 14). But I was not very satisfied with that block thing, although it might have some aesthetic appeal. I was looking for different, more considered ways to work with, and added both components not all together, but layered one above the other (Fig. 15) – a temporal, unstable composition, as the dry latex layers peels of the plaster (as I’ve notice before in project 2).  I concluded, that it might be better to work with latex separately, let it dry and to build up a painterly sculpture with plaster afterwards (Fig. 16). Here, I used bubble wrap to texture the latex skin. Fig. 17 shows the side views on the four attempts. 

Overall, considering my initial enthusiasm, I found the subsequent result less convincing. The separate approach (Fig. 16) more informative for further work. Latex can be easily textured, and to use fragments of it alongside other materials might be the better move forward.

 


Reflection

  • Do the resulting ‘painting objects’ suggest particular ideas or subject matter?  
    Mud: scratch marks, reminding me of the sea-coast, the wetlands
    Chips: no1 (Fig 7): a spatial map, like Bruce Nauman’s studio mapping (Two Messes on the Studio Floor,  1967), extraterrestrial mapping no 2 (Fig 8): – rose (intentionally done), rough construction
    Plaster / Latex: like pebbles, gems, found objects; or trash
  • Do they operate more like sculpture now than painting? 
    => a good question of what is difference between painting and sculpture. Karla Black considers her spatial works as sculptures, less a painting. I tend to see them in between, the mud and the chips wall pieces rather a painting with sculptural material, the plaster/latex attempts rather sculptures. How would I differentiate for myself? Sculptures when it comes to relationship between the object and the viewer, painting when it focuses more on relationships between surfaces and color inside the work. Although, the latter also take the viewer’s relationship with the work into account.
  • How would I present them in an exhibition? 
    Mud: Site-specific, on location installation; a frieze across the wall?
    Chips: I could envision an entire gallery room filled with the paper chips as packaging filler material, with paint partly covering it and the material itself as spatial paint (Fig. 5). Site-specific, on location installation. Alternatively, covering partly all room surfaces, an extension of surfaces in space, an interior view (or also exterior?) . This could build on the idea of interior-exterior / inside-outside dichotomy and a postmodern notion of multiple intensities (Wegenstein explores this in her book at more extend (2006, chapter 4)
    Plaster / Latex: Besides exciting ‘gems’ through a quick transformative process, I don’t consider the results as something to move forward. Having said, the quick transformative process might be an idea for on-site installation, though I don’t know whether this will work on larger scale as well.
  • How could I develop them further, larger scale? 
    Two key aspects seem to be important for me at this stage: skin and stretching.
    – I like the spatial expansion approach with the paper chips and could envision to use them for larger works, possibly more to paint with and onto. Pieces that make a whole, like body parts that constitute the body. 
    – I very much enjoyed working with latex and to discover its unique properties through modulation with addition of acrylic paint, thickener, applying texture and patterns. It seems to be the skin material par excellence (for what I found out so far): it peels off easily, is flexible, can be cut, can be colored, can be stretched and works with other materials when well chosen. I do think there is more potential (my project 2 work, see there Fig. 11 & 12). I don’t think that the chosen combination with plaster works best the way I worked with. Better to see both as two materials in dialogue.
  • I didn’t looked at two materials specifically in this exercise: peat and mud. I felt those would need much more attention and could be a parallel project in itself. Secondly, I felt it would divert me from my focus on my current parallel project as the coursework is to some extend closely informing it.  Both projects would be quite site-specific.
    Peat – for its cultural heritage and environmental impact 
    Mud – or as called in German ‘Schlick’ – relates to the natural reserve at the Northsea cost, a material full of life.
    I am wondering whether these materials are more to draw upon, or to paint around with.

 

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Project 4.3 – Ex. 4.3: Reflective exercise

Relationships with materiality (contextual focus)

‘What does it mean to give agency to the material, to follow the material and to act with the material?’ – Lange-Berndt, 2015:13

Why do I choose what I choose for painting? What are the qualities I explored and perhaps could explore deeper?

  • My favourite ‘traditional’ painting material tend to be oil paint, on the one hand with a full bodily texture, long to modify, resisting a fast drying. On the other hand diluted down to a dripping liquid For the same reason that I like to paint with ink, specifically to let it ‘drip down’. Especially on Perspex or rhenalon oil paint dries very slowly, what appeared to be a great hurdle in developing and exploring those materials, thus often I moved to acrylic paint although with weaker performance of transparent layers.
  • My favourite material approach tend to be transfer processes, acrylic transfer. This goes often alongside a more ‘skin-peel’ approach as dry acrylic paint gets of the ground with a shiny smooth surface on one side.
  • My favourite artist attitude to material is that of bodily exploration, in proximity, a tactile approach, feeling material, a kinaesthetic experience. To notice how painting media is covering and interacting with a surface (liquid oil, ink). Also to work with ‘non-traditional’ media, as mud-dispersion or liquid shellac supporting a performative aspect of painting.
  • My favourite supporting material tend to be paper, what moved over time to transparent, translucent materials, e.g. perspex, mylar but also un-stretched canvas, rather textile. A flexibility of material, with a breathe of their versatile features.
  • Then there are two other media that I like but not sure how this can be played with:
    – Water: a medium I like for its versatility, and that I consider rather as paint than as solvent. On the other hand it is a tool, more versatile than a brush through spraying and flowing around. But it also as this feature of reactive, opposing, not wanting being absorbed e.g. by oil paint.
    – Light: light is performative, reflections are non-substance pictures performed by light. 

At times, those get mixed, and my fingers touch the oil paint and the transfer is embedded with my body traces.

My verbal response to characteristics :

  • Oil paint: the touching eye, the seeing skin
  • Water: versatile, existential, life
  • Transfer: multiplicity, difference
  • Paper: absorbing, fragile, versatile
  • Transparent : a mindset? multiplicity
  • Body: my kinaesthetic preference and sensing of the world? Being and feeling alive
  • Light: without, the eye is blind

What it tells about my material approach?

A versatile, experimental attitude toward discovery of unnoticed traces and evidence. A kinaesthetic approach that is missing in a digital, screen based realm. A phenomenological approach, embracing the Gestaltung through materials. Figure and ground, just a viewpoint, both to look at, both to explore.

In summary

The paint and the surface, an equal relationship. Paint as material embeds, but also absorbs. The surface absorbs, but also entangles.

Me and material, an equal relationship. Performative gestures on both sides. Control and chance as well. A dialogue of listening and response.

Reflecting this way on what I did and why, makes me aware that there could be a common pattern. A unique approach perhaps, that can be informed by those specific characteristics? Something to see how to do, a quest.

How to Be Complicit with Materials? (Lange-Berndt)

The text looks at agency of materials from a post-human perspective. On the one hand material that is informed by social constructed notions, e.g. gendered materials (?), and on the other hand autonomous acting materials beyond matter with a life in itself. How to bring these together? From the reading I felt as if the author tries to argue for approaching materials innocently, quite in context of Ruskin’s notion of the ‘innocent eye’, a footnote to ignore or put aside the world we are growing up in. Nonetheless, there is certainly something in it that resonates: material versus a thing, a thing is made out of material, substance and is through a production process exposed to thought. What relates to Serra’s ‘Verb list’ as acting on material with the artist being the subject. The author relates the process of change to a Marxist notion of alienated production as well as to the Platonic idea of transcendent ideas (material turns into matter) that exceed the material world, a position she links to Modernism. Both viewpoints are anthropocentric perspectives and the author votes for an expansion beyond this central focus. She notes that material culture in that sense relates to anthropology, human made-things out of material.

An interesting shift happens when the author refers beyond material and matter to contemporary view of ‘materiality’ where physicality is not any longer a condition, e.g. sound, language. This approach resonates wrongly due to my interest in sound (through my collaborative project with music student Vicky) and light (partly explored in assignment 3 as the material that allows appearance of reflections) as materials. However, it is hard to grasp, reminds me of the cause and effect dilemma. To take sound as an example, it relates to our senses and to a subject, e.g. a piano, that makes the sound through time-frequency patterns. In other words, it is a sender-relationship transmitted through a medium, eg. air. Language, spoken or written would be similar. In comparison to paint, where the light is the transmitting medium between the materiality of paint and the receiving eye. It seems to me sound is more similar to color than to paint as material.

The author refers to ‘mono-ha’ as an approach to look at material as a passage, a performance and structure through which things reveal their existence. Viewpoint that I also came across in the recent art&environment at SBLJ. I take from this that a material in itself, that includes any non-human substance, can be attended to, listened to. However, it will go through a process of sensing and cognition, conception and abstraction to derive meaning from this attentive moment. The author puts this into context of the ‘Eigenleben’ (life in itself) and the post-human new realism conception of ‘vibrant matter’ as described by Karen Barad (p.17).

The author refers to Elizabeth Grosz who herself refers to Deleuze who took ‘sensation as that which subject and object share, yet is not reducible to either subject or object or their relation. Sensation is what art forms from chaos through the extraction of qualities’ (Grosz, 2008:19). In that sense, I can relate to material process and acting on: a dialogue between me and the material, once I make e.g. a stroke and the material responds, resists, performs, depending on structure and surrounding conditions. A ‘materiality-effect’ or a phenomenon of materiality (p.17). Something the author relates to the ‘Materialästhetik’ by stating:

Possibilities of materials should be set free without turning them into commodities – p.15

This description can be certainly argued with when talking about art in the form of objects, e.g paintings, sculptures, installations.

to follow the material means not to discuss aesthetic issues .. but to investigate transpersonal societal problems and matters of concern – p. 16

This notion seems to me a bit too restrictive as it puts an anthropocentric view on material that the author a few pages before criticised. I am wondering what it means to paint in oil paint from a material perspective?

However, what I find intriguing is the ‘follow the material’ pathway through crossing boundaries of discipline and to look beyond the circle of art, it means to go to places where a specific material is of concern.

If one want to to be complicit with materials, it is not enough to point to the fact that some objects are made out of …. The point is to understand the history of the material used, to research other context in which they were applied, to follow their traces, … to embrace the carnevalesque, the popular, the excessive. – p.20

Fig. 1: SJSchaffeld, 2019: latex paint skin - stretching - displining - performing

Fig. 1: SJSchaffeld, 2019: latex paint skin – stretching – displining – performing

 

Conclusion:

  • Material and attention to materiality opens up new views and sensations. To stay a tuned with materiality means to stay in a dialogue with the material.
  • The embrace the history of a material means to put it into a human perspective of reality and cultural conceptions (what includes all political, racial, and gender issues)
  • To look beyond the art-realm means to interrogate with material in a wider cultural and environmental sense.
  • It seems as to leverage a material through art practice would automatically address political and cultural issues, e.g hair is not innocent when placed in art space.
  • For my practice it means to be aware and to make conscious decisions, and to look at relationship between subject matter and material. An aspect my tutor highlighted in our last tutorial.
  • I am intrigued by sound as ‘material’ or medium as it will be a large part of my collaborative and parallel project. How to paint with sound, or rather how sound can transform spaces.

Images:

  • featured image and Fig. 1 works by SJSchaffeld, 2019 (from P4P2)

Reference:

  • Grosz, E. (2008) Chaos, Territory, Art: Deleuze and the Framing of the Earth. [Scribd]. At: https://www.scribd.com/book/338697448 (accessed 05 May 2019)
  • Lange-Berndt, P. (2015). ‘Introduction / How to Be Complicit with Materials’. In: Lange-Berndt, P., ed. Materiality, Documents of Contemporary Art. London: Whitechapel Gallery and The MIT Press, pp. 12 – 23.

 

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Project 4.2: Paint as material

I’ve seen Frank Auerbach‘s (b. 1931) works some time ago in a museum during my Drawing 1 course. At that time being more interested in his bodily back and force approach to drawing – with the same sitter ‘E.O.W-‘ he made the drawing Head of E.O.W., 1959-60 (Schaffeld, 2015). The extremely thick painted portraits (e.g.  E.O.W. Sleeping, 1966) are so intense and deeply scratched into the painted mass. Any photographic reproductions doesn’t deliver on that experience. His approach in drawing and painted seemed to be quite similar, seeking for forms. Nevertheless, Auerbach did a portrait painting on board (canvas not strong enough to hold the weight of the paint). 

The step moving away from the canvas aka board constraints was partly done by Anj Smith (b. 1978) in her figurative and representational paintings, e.g. Chorus, 2012 (Hauser & Wirth Gallery).

Intermediate question to myself: Is latex a paint or a surface? And what about clay? (Fig. 1) 

Fig. 1: latex - clay

Fig. 1: SJSchaffeld, 2019 – left: tissue , latex, watercolor, marker pen- the tissue as support for latex, the latex to support the tissue’s structure, contour as line; right: clay – medium to build, to paint on, to paint with

 

A much bigger leap was done by Lynda Benglis (b. 1941) by eliminating the canvas and working with the material properties of paint. She builds underlying structures just to keep the paint somehow suspended in mid-air, otherwise she just pours paint in thick layers onto the ground, e.g. Night Sherbet A, 1968. In other works the supporting material as bunting or plaster seem to be more of a partner in dialogue with the paint, e.g Sparkle Knot IV, 1972

Her approach to bodily texture and materiality is certainly relevant to how I engage with paint. I found her approach to build first some structures out of chicken wire and polyethylene an interesting aspect for setting the scene of her subsequent layering of polyurethane foam (Walker Art Center, 2015). She refers to oil flow in a river, for me it resembled (at least viewing screen framed video) more of chocolate mass. I also can relate this to the slick, mud at the Northsea coast, the wadden sea. A thick material created by tides. I am wondering about the distinction between material as index (mud) or as symbol (Benglis use of adhesive as paint) for meaning, and how this informs perception.

Her later appropriation of those polyurethane forms as a more ephemeral structure resulted in bronze casts, eg Quartered Meteor (1969, casted 1975). Through this re-sculptural process she made the work permanent, and the solid cast reflects in an uneasy way the surface of the foam. This casting process reminds me of Rachel Whiteread‘s House (1993) with the solid cast reflecting a vulnerable outer surface / skin. Rachel Taylor adds an interesting argument by stating that Benglis concern was ‘of the artist as a force of Nature’ with similar power to ‘congeal or liquify matter’ as rocks. I feel reminded of Barnett Newman‘ essay ‘The First Man was an Artist’ (1947) that I looked at during my UVC course (Newman, 2003).

Form and texture create the mood and the magic of a work – Lynda Benglis

I enjoyed hearing about her motivation for creating painterly spatial forms without : as a reaction to Minimal Art and informed by PopArt. Interesting to hear that she relates Minimal Art with ‘a final closing, …a closed deductive reaction’, and her wish to create more ‘excessive art’. A key difference for me between her and Minimal Art is more about difference in quality (surface, non-geometric) resulting in a different emotional response due to material quality’. Both seem to place the viewer into a relationship with the work and the surrounding space. More inspiring for me was her description of (Tate Shots, 2012):

‘Edges create kind of reading the way we read into clouds or landscape forms’ –  Lynda Benglis 

 


Reference:

 

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Project 4.2 – Ex 4.2: Exploring Form

  • Project 4.2 – Ex 4.2:  Exploring Form
  • Project 4.2 – Ex 4.2:  Exploring Form
  • Project 4.2 – Ex 4.2:  Exploring Form
  • Project 4.2 – Ex 4.2:  Exploring Form
  • Project 4.2 – Ex 4.2:  Exploring Form
  • Project 4.2 – Ex 4.2:  Exploring Form

Traditionally, paint is considered a material to be used to create illusive shapes onto flat surfaces – as a surface application even when applied to sculptural object. Paint, especially through its characteristics of color and tone, creates perceptual forms and spaces. Good example for space creation are the works of Katharina Grosse. She considered earlier on that paint had to be solid with a material density before she moved on towards very thin, spray painted, rather translucent color application (Art21, 2015). This conception challenges the distinction between surface and corporeality, 2d and 3D objects. It reminds me similar to the dilemma of whether a point has a spatial extension or not, and whether a line would not also has an extension into the second dimension, making the line rather a flat extending surface.

However one wants to see it (mathematically or visually), it relates to human perception of color in space. One way to free paint from this perceptual constraint, is to make it a solid structure unconstrained from y supporting surface. A question I looked at in previous exercise on canvas. Nevertheless, also that structure will have an outer surface we perceive and an inner core that is concealed and provides structure. 

Approaches:

I decided to explore various painting materials:

  • acrylic paint: the material I had most previous experience with 
  • plaster: a material I discovered in previous exercise (quite experimental)
  • latex: a material I didn’t have any experience with yet and suggested by my tutor

1) Acrylic Paint

a) automatic application:

While pondering how to apply the paint on a temporary surface, I decided to check out a rather automatic approach of skin application (Fig. 1): a spinning found plastic cup with some holes at the bottom (already there) , suspended from the ceiling, adding two colored acrylic paint inside, and manually spinning

Fig. 1: Acrylic paint - an automatic application // WIP

Fig. 1: Acrylic paint – an automatic application // WIP – when gravity is not in favor of making

 

=> This didn’t went well at all. Thus, quite a failure: Either the paint didn’t come out or too much. Nevertheless, I kept the painted surface to dry and to peel it off , with a more interesting result as thin layer (Fig. 2)

Fig. 2: Acrylic auto paint A // a picture

Fig. 2: Acrylic auto paint A // a picture

 

=> A thin layer, but stable enough to separate from the plastic sheet underneath. It reminded me of Rorschach blots and partly of a distorted image of a brain. Although, I might be biased through my parallel project to see ‘brain-images’ all over the place .

Next step was to move away from ‘automatic’ paint application to manual one. In order to keep some elements of chance and with the hope of creating interesting patterns, I was searching for different plastic materials that I could use as temporary support: plastic packaging materials as bubble wrap (Fig. 2)

B) manual application:

Inspired by my parallel project work and some MRI images of the blood vessels in the brain (so called angiography) , I decided to use a red-color mix of acrylic paint.

Fig. 3: Acrylic paint - manual application using found plastic materials as support - WIP

Fig. 3: Acrylic paint – manual application using found plastic materials as support – WIP; used support: top and bottom left – flat plastic sheet, top and bottom right – thick and thin bubble wrap

 

=> I was curious to see how the material could be separated from the support. I was unpatient, and thus spoiled partly some areas. Had to wait longer, till results became clearer. Too precious works , protected and conserved as an archive (Fig. 4). Am I a fetish collector? 

Fig. 4: Acrylic paint B // archive

Fig. 4: Acrylic paint B // archive

 

The interwoven mesh of flexible acrylic paint, more flexible than opaque solid acrylic paint layer, made me wonder how it could be used, bended, applied differently than just laying onto another flat surface. I I got reminded of my veil ideas from previous exercise: unveiling to reveal the interior objects as expressed by Holtzmann Kevles (1997:3). In this case to veil in order to conceal, but failing to do so (Fig. 5) – or just another fetish object, installed to be looked at (Fig. 5 – center)

Fig. 5: Acrylic paint B // installation

Fig. 5: Acrylic paint B // installation; triggering narratives and cultural connotations

 

Excited by the varieties of visual material expression,, especially informed by my open mesh strands (Fig. 5 center) I decided to move further away from the one flat and solid opaque paint-skin towards reduction of dimensions: making a flat area into line. 

c) paint as line

How could paint as material be used as a painted line? (Fig. 6)

Fig. 6: Acrylic paint C // as line

Fig. 6: Acrylic paint C // as line; drawing , installation, and containing

=> the acrylic paint, not any longer a flat skin, a solid line. Not easy to bend, with some resistance, but still: a line painting with dry paint, drying not after painting, but before painting. Found this transformation intriguing. Color and paint resembling more of drawing in space. I tried to install it on an empty stretcher, just suspending and expanding. This reminded me afterwards of the puddle paintings of Ian Davenport.  I placed the strand across an empty jar, and lastly out them in and closed the lid. Containing and conserving, another approach of archive. An previous object. Does it remind me of those medical jars with preserved, dissected organs and other at times morbid curiosities that one could have see in various medical museums, e.g. here? Catherine told me during our visit at British Museum that those jars are not disclosed openly to the public any longer. It also reminds me of Helen Chadwick’s late and unfinished project ‘Cameo’, 1995. And in different, more homely context, it could relate to preserves (of fresh produce).

Some cultural take-aways at this stage:

A relationship: paint as a material with a surface, a skin, like human skin, a material with body, like a human body, fragmented, distorted, disciplined through my interactions and exposed to the gaze of the viewer (incl my own) , like medical gaze and the idea of fluent boundaries between medical imaging, the medical gaze, and media technologies and visual culture at large.

Interestingly, my experiments with paint skin did also show that paint is not only a surface, it is also a density. Although one can not look beyond the opaque surface, one could envision that it would look similar: uniform paint. Paint is pigment and binder (besides other minor additives). The binder makes it solid and stable. Therefore, I was wondering how the binder can not also be a paint, a material as such. 

I decided to work with plaster, stripped of the fabric as used in previous exercise in the form as plaster bandage, and to see how it can be colored and used.

2) Plaster

To make a solid form, a sculptural form, one uses plaster. A fast drying material, mixed with water, and why now with acrylic paint. I wanted to make the skin from previous acrylic paint application thicker, more solid (Fig 7)

Fig. 7: plaster paint D // failure or a fragment?

Fig. 7: plaster paint D // failure or a fragment? – inspired by brain images, slices of a flattened disciplinary interaction

 

=> It turned out to be less simple as expected. I could have foreseen the brittleness of plaster, although trying to mix with with acrylic paint and even with some liquid hide glue didn’t help much: a failure as the ‘plaster skin’ resisted to be taken off. My drawing with paint onto the still wet plaster surface was inspired by MRI images of my brain and a drawing I did at the Drawing Room at the British Museum (see blog post): ‘After Deacon / informed by my MRI project‘. I had to transfer carefully from one to another surface and eventually decided to place it between to perspex plates (Fig. 7 right). This kind of installation was a reference to the way the Visual Human Project was created and established: the MRI imagery had to be mapped against a physical point of reference – cryogen slicing of a dead human body (National Library of Medicine, 2019).

Fig. 8a - a solid block of plaster and latex - failure as creation

Fig. 8a – a solid block of plaster and latex – failure as creation

I felt inspired by those disc images, sliced disks as sliced matter, and considering the vulnerable features of plaster. And  informed by a preliminary failing test to add latex into plaster: resulting into an immediate solidification and creation of a solid block – Fig 8a.

What to do with that? To make a more careful ‘arrangement’ of material matter on a support, to see how both material possibly could work together in a different way, resulting in a process of transformation (Fig. 8) .

What started out as uniform wet painted shape, changed during the drying process: latex turned yellowish, plaster dries and contracted, the materials separated from each other  – fragmentation as result. It became brittle and the latex parts started to separate even more. Fig. 8 right shows the ‘installed’ fragmented disk – partly with kind of playdough appeal 

 

Fig. 8: plaster paint D2 // fragmentation of matter

Fig. 8: plaster paint D2 // fragmentation of matter

 

I concluded my plaster experiments and decided to explore latex as material alone. Latex as the most flexible, stretchable material, loaded with various cultural connotations: latex gloves as medical protection (what is replaced more to nitrile gloves currently due to latex allergic reactions), and mostly (when I asked others what the relate with latex) latex as erotic fetish material. A second skin, applied to the human body (I can’t imagine how people can stand the unique dry latex smell) . It seems, that material as skin has various connotations, and I am wondering how the latex skin in a double sense could work further for my project.

 
3) Latex

Starting with some simple colored latex applcation (Fig. 9)

Fig. 9: latex paint // another kind of fragmentation - vulnerable to touch

Fig. 9: latex paint // another kind of fragmentation – vulnerable to touch; right: recto and verso

 

=> just to see that after peeling of, latex turns into a sticky material, collapsing, sticking together, nearly impossible to get it flat again. I took the form the material had chosen, to install it fix on a paper, with the idea of making at the backside a small window, to peak through – on the one hand a stripping of context of the full form, one the other hand it could be referred to the erotic material connotation: a peak-show. In context of my medical imaging project, I could see the backside view also kind of medical gaze, and stripping of the subject (the patient) as a living human being. Like at surgery, when a blanket is concealing the patient and revealing only a sterile entrance into the body’s interior.

Latex can be disciplined as well – applying baby powder when peeling of from the support. The paint-skin turned into a ‘carpet’ (Fig. 10)

Fig. 10: latex paint no2

Fig. 10: latex paint no2; recto and verso

 

I wanted to play more with the skin idea and to see what else I could do with the ‘freed’ material: installing, modulating, manipulating.
 

4) Beyond skin-peeling

I was trying to create something new with the most flexible skin-paint approach: latex (Fig. 11)

Fig. 11: latex goes sculptural

Fig. 11: latex goes sculptural – a dialogue with mesh wire – adaptation and disciplining

 

=> by using a metal wire, I was able to form the skin . or to quote Lisa Cartwright (1995): to ‘discipline’ the skin – into a flat image. Latex is an opaque material and I was trying to get a sense of ‘transparency’ through the use of the thin wire (the one used to stabilise plaster sculptures)

I got even more reminded of the notion of ‘disciplining’ when I was exploring latex paint skin to the limits, by stretching. Here the traditional canvas stretcher came handy, though I used another found wooden rack (Fig. 12)

Fig. 12: stretching the skin

Fig. 12: stretching the skin

 

=> With this approach I started to think how this could be pushed further for my assignment work: stretching the skin in reference to the human transparent skin exposed to the medical gaze. The dividing line as a focal point. Can this line be further stretched?

 


Reflection

  • Big challenge: drying time of thicker paint, with or without binder, especially at current ambient weather conditions. Would like to get something drying quickly like plaster but keeping a flexibility. I can appreciate why Benglis used a strong, solid mesh construction for her pour painting, e.g. For Carl Andre, 1970. 
  • How to free the paint from its support?  That is the challenge – my curiosity, unpatience, and deadlines are challenging my approach. Should I wait longer or cleaner results, or should I embrace the fragility and vulnerability of half-wet paint as a learning in itself? Perhaps, new aspects could come up. My above experiments are reflecting this process of failure.
  • Key phenomena or actions explored and ‘discovered’: 
    – Vulnerability: unstable materials, e.g. plaster or partly also acrylic paint, resisting a peeling-of, breaking as intrinsic feature, creating new ideas?
    – Fragmenting: through breaking, incoherence, non-suitable material combinations (e.g. plaster plus latex)
    – Stretching: acrylic paint skin less , latex paint skin more, a stretching to flatten and distort the picture plane
    – Disciplining: Stretching and framing, installing on wire, or other objects – a disguise and a distortion
  • Material alongside the way I manipulate, discipline, and install it, can trigger various narratives and cultural connotations inside the viewer’s mind (see Fig. 5).
  • On a wider level, I can see a relationship between paint as material with a surface, a skin and the human body with the skin.  It can be fragmented, distorted, disciplined through my interactions and exposed to the gaze of the viewer (incl my own) , like medical gaze and the idea of fluent boundaries between medical imaging, the medical gaze, and media technologies and visual culture at large.
  • Latex as material for second skin: a double sense meaning towards human skin, and towards paint as skin.
  • Next steps: to explore deeper stretching and disciplining of paint skin. metaphor for human body, human skin as surface? Can possibly see some relationship with my parallel project: under the skin – transparent and permeable skin

 

 

 


Reference:

  • Art21 (2015) Katharina Grosse: Painting with Color | Art21 “Extended Play”,[online], At: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBfPMGS7XPo(Accessed on 29 Aug 2018).
  • Cartwright, L. (1995) Screening the Body : Tracing Medicine’s Visual Culture. Minneapolis, London: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Holtzmann Kevles, B. (1997) Naked to the Bone : Medical Imaging in the Twentieth Century. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press.
  • National Library of Medicine (2019) The Visible Human Project®, At: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/research/visible/visible_human.html  (Accessed  02 May 2019).
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Reflection on a London visit

With some time to digest my recent week or art in London. It has been a full packed week of study days and gallery, museum visits, meeting good friends and working on my parallel project in a different location. While thinking how to capture best the essence of it (see reference list with links to separate reflection on study days), I decided eventually just to put down the moments that kept my mind busy for longer

A visual-verbal collection of lasting moments

Art History

A painting: figurative or abstract? The uncertainty of the floor area (Zanobi Strozzi, Anunciation, 1440-50) – wondering about the paint blots, contrasting so much with the detailed rendering of the rest.

Fig.1: Zanobi Strozzi, Anunciation, 1440-50 – photographed in National Gallery, London

 

Text as visuals

Seen at British Museum Drawing Room (art collective) after my study day in the Drawing Study Room – an exhibition on artist cards, smaller formats of visual stimuli, often to be shared, at times just as a piece of art. Inspiration for part 5 of my coursework.

Fig. 2: photographed in the Drawing Exhibition Room at British Museum, London

 

Making of zine at RA – longdistancepress.com

A collaborative project between artists, Adam Shield and Thomas Whittle, and public participatory exposure, at RA London. Seeing the result of the current trendy Riso technique famous in the group of zine-makers. But, the machine had a breakdown, a drawback with technology. Copy-machine as alternative. I liked the handing display , freed from the contained stapled/folded zine format

Inspiration for my involvement of as editing and curating team member for edge-zine, a collaborative continuing approach of 4 OCA students. Difference between print, handprinted, and online zines. Limitations and opportunities.

Fig. 3: photographed at Royal Academy, London – Image Drum

 

Sean Scully at National Gallery ‘Sea Star’ (13 April – 11 August 2019)

Oil paint on aluminium. Why aluminium? A smooth, shiny metallic surface, covered completely with oil paint, geometric abstract art. A series of paintings, Human 3 (2018), with cut out squares and inserted in another one, after all have been painted in the first place. Re-combining and embracing the concept of window. 

A window is a promise, like a doorway. A facade is not totally relentless because of the window and the door. That’s what humanises the wall’ – Sean Scully

A phrase that very much reminds me of V Flusser.

At times like checkerboards, at times color applied in abstract manner on canvas informed by art history, e.g. Vincent van Gogh’s paintings of Arles. And an appropriation of Turner’s The Evening Star (1830), juxtaposed in the exhibition both works, a modern abstract connection. I loved the smell of fresh paint in the room an index of new works, a similar experience I had while visiting Jaqueline Humphries show in East London last year.

Phyllida Barlow at Royal Academy (23 February — 23 June 2019)

Found objects, materials, at XXL magnitude, installed in dense spaces, though regular exhibition space. The sculptures, or sculptural paintings, seem to reach beyond the extensions of the room. Reaching out and beyond, overwhelming the viewer with large-scale, looking down on them. One work looked like solid, massive concrete construction, e.g. untitled: crease; 2018. Unfortunately, this exhibition was one like others in traditional museums: ‘don’t touch’ (wondering that RA also adheres to same modernist notions). Trying to overcome possible illusions of sight, I touched that work just to discover that it was very non-solid, rather light  PU construction, quite opposite to the visual illusion it conveys. The guard approached me to tell this is not allowed. I am thinking of how sight became so dominant in how we perceptive and receive knowledge of art nowadays, overriding other senses. Something for me to reflect more for my parallel project, as my embodied experience is key.

The exhibition booklet states that she used ‘inexpensive materials, including timber, plywood, plaster and polystyrene’ what certainly makes me wonder as I would not consider those materials like polystyrene as cheap, especially considering the massive amount of material she used. Kind of contradiction for me against ‘arte povera’ as she apparently ‘gravitated’ towards that movement. 

I really like the work untitled: shadowplatform; 2018– 2019, what reminded me of sliding mud-land, perhaps in the mountains after a very strong thunderstorm, leaving a desert with cut trees behind. A work that triggered my imagination further. The incisions made in the solid steel construction could contrast with my idea of skin, human skin that becomes porous and transparent through contemporary medical imaging techniques. A bold contrast might actually work better than finding a material that matches an intended connotation.

Phyllida Barlow untitled: shadowplatform (2018– 2019)

Fig. 4: Phyllida Barlow untitled: shadowplatform (2018– 2019)- installation view, photographed at Royal Academy, London

 

Overall, I am wondering about the titles: ‘untitled‘ – but still adding a description to it? To confuse or to make an intention explicit? More to reflect on in part 5.

Edvard Munch at British Museum ‘love and angst’ (11 April – 21 July 2019)

One of my long time favourite artist, mostly for his approach to psychological landscapes and his approach to series and repetition of themes across formats: painting and printmaking, color and B&W. Positive moment, this exhibition was more a side show compared with the parallel ongoing exhibitions in other places. Also the most famous works were not on display, e.g. the painting Scream, what I felt as a relief, as those famous pieces not only drive the fees up but also attracts massive crowds resulting in not being able to look and see all works more in depth.

I was very happy to have finally met with my fellow student Catherine. And  I do feel some resonating aspects as she also works in the medical area. I think we were talking about many other things than the exhibition itself But very worth it. An inspirational and motivating encounter.

Vincent van Gogh (27 March – 11 August 2019) and Don McCullin (5 February – 6 May 2019) at Tate Britain

Block buster shows! with massive crowds moving in and around. I was more interested in finding out more about Van Gogh’s time in Britain. But was disapppointed that the curators brought in all kind of later paintings (1889-90) and even the famous sunflower paintings, what possibly was the main attraction for visitors and selfie-makers. The last room showing works by other artist depicting van Gogh as subject matter. At times, I felt I had to step aside and even to apologize (what nonsense thought) when one person move with the camera from one piece to the other and approached my ‘zone of seeing’. 

However, being in London, I found out that one the boarding houses Van Gogh stayed, still exists (87 Hackford Road in Stockwell) – the picture of the facade was installed at the entrance to the show. Now under the guidance of Chinese owner to use it for artist exchange program with Chinese students. I find this a good idea.

I felt exhausted and left soon, going to Don McCullin and found that the combination of both exhibitions side by side actually made sense. The subject matter in both body of works is emotion empathy and mental or physical  distress (also resonating with Munch at British Museum). The context (personal encounters of the world around the artist versus war times and encounters with suffering and dying people) and format (paintings and drawings versus b&w photographic reproductions) were quite different, the artistic approach in trying to find visual expression of what one sees and feels and thinks were quite similar.

There was one phrase on the exhibition booklet that kept me wondering. It relates to McCullin’s fame as a war photographer and how he saw the impact his images made and that photography is about feeling.

‘If you can’t feel what you’re looking at’ he says, ‘then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures’. – Don McCullin quoted in Tate, 2019

A harsh statement as an artist statement. Is this true? What about people who have have difficulties in discerning human emotions (eg autistic spectrum)? Are those not also cultural constructions? And what about the idea that meaning and interpretation is in the mind of the beholder? This statement is quite didactic, and I was wondering about the curator’s motivation to stage such an amount of works in one show.

Bill Viola ‘Intimate Works’ (2 April – 4 May 2019) and Joan Snyder ‘Rosebuds & Rivers’ (4 April – 11 May 2019) at Blain Southern, London

Bill Viola is a video artist whom I started to appreciate since my UVC studies. Joan Snyder an artist I never heard about before. Viola is well known for his very-slow motion videos, often appropriating works from art history. The exhibition consisted of installed video only, either on one screen or multiple screen panels, no projection.

A new series of videos intrigued me most: Small Saints, 2008 (Fig 5). It reminded me of my work for part 3 with the flat screen and the performative aspects of painting through moving images. In this series, Viola captured the movement of six persons, each on one screen panel , moving forward through a curtain of water (kind of waterfall) and afterwards moving backwards. Behind the water the persons are depicted in b&w and in low resolution, in front of the curtain they are turning into 4K and color presentations. I find it fascinating, how Viola captured the sense of flat screen imagery with the perceived image not behind and not in front of the screen, not tangible. Through the water curtain he simulated the screen perception as bodily encounter (people in the video actually got wet) . Amazing piece of work.

Fig. 5: Bill Viola Small Saints (2008), looped video on six OLED flat panels mounted on shelf – installation view, photographed at Blain Southern, London

 

In the other room of the gallery, was the exhibition of Joan Snyder, an American painter having now her first solo show in UK. She looks at the anatomy of a painting, with gestural strokes and with found objects mostly organic matters, embedded in the picture plane creating a new narrative. Her works become a symbolist meaning that places here close to that movement. However, she doesn’t approach it from a figurative and imaginative view point but from a material view point. Quite in context of my coursework. As Viola in his shown work Dolorosa, 2000  – a bifold freestanding panel installation similar to middle age sacral paintings, she appropriates triptych setups reminding of sacral art as well. A staging to be looked at.

Joan Snyder - Summer Fugue, 2010 and Samll Rose Alter, 2014

Fig. 6: Joan Snyder – Summer Fugue, 2010 and Samll Rose Alter, 2014 – installation view, photographed at Blain Southern, London

Conclusion

Although, it was a very packed and dense week in London, I did appreciate the view from a different angle. Extracting more rather than collecting. A few visual stimuli and – alongside research in BL especially on Helen Chadwick and Mona Hatoum – I found it helpful to connect aspects in a different sense, e.g. screen, materiality, and curating impressions. 


Images:

  • all images reproduced in this blog post are photographic reproductions (by SJSchaffeld) of original works shown during exhibition hours at the respective galleries and museums. Copyright of the original work belongs either to the artists mentioned or to the gallery or other owners not know at this time. This blog is for educational and research purposes only.
  • Featured image at top: Photograph SJSchaffeld, 2019

Reference:

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Project 4.1: Reimagining the canvas

Art practitioners did re-visit the canvas as a stretched and framed picture since Modernism, e.g Barnett Newman, and especially in the evolvement of Minimal Art with Donald Judd or Richard Serra. The canvas as a surface dictated by it’s relationship to the stretcher was perceived as contrived, also at a wider visual cultural discourse. A key question could be what we would expect a painting to be located, and how we encounter it physically and embodied b moving towards, and around.

I looked at some aspects during my earlier coursework, e.g. Walk through Painting and my object-box (#Paint4OCA) – besides those earlier works that I made ‘on a side’ as reflected on in my current coursework.

Some time ago, I discovered during my visit to the Bern Kunsthalle (2018) the work Untitled Chair, 2015 of Nicole Wermers (b. 1971). Interestingly, that the work reproduced on the Art Basel webpage shows ‘just’ a chair with a fur coat. The Bern installation expanded this single viewpoint into a dialogue with a heater from the building, turning the latter into a piece of art work as well. In my visit reflection, I described my physical encounter as ‘my embodied perspective: distant, looking at it, looking down at it, sitting down and look in the direction’ (Schaffeld, 2018).  All together, installation of work can raise questions but also engage the viewer to look ‘beyond’ and to move into a physical dialogue.

Wermer’s work is not a painting, as apparently no paint was used, but it relates to the work Mundanza (green), 2015 or Mudanza (green), 2016 of Angela de la Cruz (b. 1965). The gallery’s artist description highlights how she embraces ‘deconstructing and reconstructing paintings into recyclable “Commodity Paintings” in a wider art historical discourse (Wetterling Gallery, 2016).  Here, she takes the canvas completely away from the stretcher;  compared to her earlier work Vacant, 2013, a canvas too small to fit the stretcher frame. The canvas as a glossy, shiny surface, emphasised with paint to make it a sculptural work, and even more, an installation.

I start to get a sense of how a sculpture could be seen differently from a sculptural painting. It seems, as the latter need to be installed. A sculpture as well, but the painting invites more for a relationship engagement, a sculpture possibly more for a face-to-face engagement. Possibly, that sculptural paintings like the ones of Angela de la Cruz do embrace much more a Minimal Art, a Gestalt approach as would be seen just at a first glance (or by looking at online screen based images alone). In this context one could see Frank Stella’s painting of shapes and lines with its own life, eliminating the support, letting the shapes and lines be the support in an open space. Similarly,  works by Richard Tuttle – or others.

I feel that Sarah Crowner‘s (b. 1974) paintings (as seen at Simon Lee Gallery) do relate strongly to an art historical moment of geometric abstraction, with large shapes painted with a limited palette but with high saturation that do extend the limits of the top surface and extend around the edges. I can certainly see some reference to Barnett Newman or Piet Mondrian and others. 

However, I am fascinated by her work ‘Garden Blue’ (2018) for the American Ballet Theater, New York (Morris, 2018). She made the customs and the props for the performance, reminding me of Robert Rauschenberg’s engagement (his series of ealier ‘Combines’ with Merce Cunningham’s Dance Theater (Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, 2019) or of Jean Dubuffet’s Coucou Bazar (1973, Foundation Jean Dubuffet). Both, painterly, sculptural and relational compositions to be engaged with (the actors) in a performative act.

Differently to de la Cruz, Dianna Molzan (b. 1972) engages at an intimate level with the stretcher. The stretcher functions beyond keeping a canvas tight and flat, e.g. untitled, 2014 (empty stretcher with suspended ‘cans’ inside the ‘picture plane’, or other works with suspended ‘pictures’ that build on art history and language to seek meaning from it. But not all works are embracing the stretcher frame, others look like side tables at the wall, with objects as pictures on the small shelf, e.g. untitled, 2015. I feel reminded of Nicole Wermers’ Moodboard #5, 2016 – as seen at the same Bern exhibition mentioned above (Schaffeld,2018). As stated on another site, Wermers  creates:

sculptures, collages and installations, whose humor and deep psychological resonance derive from their diverse subversions. They sabotage their objects’ original function, radically rethink unusual combinations of materials, and destabilize expected spatial and social hierarchies. – about Nicole Wermers (Art Viewer, 2017)

And her later work the conscientious objector, 2018 reminds me of Jutta Koether’s installation series ‘Seasons and Sacraments’ but also of Barnet Newman’s The Wild, 1950.

Fig. 1: SJSchaffeld - Presence and Absence, 2017

Fig. 1: SJSchaffeld – Presence and Absence, 2017 – an early approach to artefacts and releasing the frame. Re-staged as folded fabric on the stretcher (apparently new ones)

 

I can see other artists who work at the liminal space between painting and sculpture. With Sarah Crowner an example on the rather painting side and Nicole Wermers rather on the sculpture side. Somehow, all are in between, trying to get a physical demanding piece of work installed where the viewer can not relate merely on a dead-pan gaze of a flat surface, but need to put her/himself into a physical but also cultural and art historical relationship:

  • Alex Roberts (b. 1975) uses silk as a translucent supporting material, letting the stretcher shine through (Midpoint II, 2019) alongside an intriguing installation with fragmented painted parts on steel bars. Examples: Reds to blues, 2015 (Acrylic on wood, 23.5 x 17.5cm) as part of the installation The Room is the Resonator together with  Paul Abbott & Alex Roberts in an Old Police Station in Deptford, London (2016). The colored tiles resonating with the monochrome painting, questioning not only a White-Cube ideal but also the agency of a painting. 
  • Simon Callery (b. 1960) who embraces the textile materiality of the canvas to make sculptural paintings, e.g Undercut Yellow Wallspine, 2017.. Installed to advance from the wall into the open space. They remind me of large pocket filter units used in industrial air filter environments. These works seem to be a re-interpretation of the stretcher and the canvas as visible in Symmetrical Aluminium Wallspine, 2017. Fascinating to see how he even re-interprets the thread. In other works, e.g. Blue Horizontal Wall Pit Painting, 2014 the stretcher becomes a different shape and the viewer feels reminded of other cultural artefacts, e.g a toilette cover. An interesting approach can be seen in his work Flat Painting Bodfari 14/15 Ferrous, 2014 – 2015, painted on canvas with distemper and use of  thread, wood, and aluminium. (Distemper an interesting cheap material made from hide glue and wetted whitening chalk, with added colored pigments  – see here). Callery interrogates the material of the canvas as a fabric in all it spots and flaws, though installed as a flat wall based work.
  • Alexis Harding (b. ) looks at surface phenomena of paint on a canvas, e.g. Substance and Accident, 2012. The paint rather as a skin, peeling off the surface and extending the edges. Materiality of paint from a rheological perspective.
  • Sarah Sze (b ) is looking more at fragments of pictures in space through fragmented materiality of supports, turning the entire room into a colorful and painterly installation. She extends the dimension of painting <-> sculpture with the element of photography. Her installation are full immersive spaces of images leaving possibly the viewer uncertain whether to be an observer or an integrative part of the work.
  • Ally McGinn (b. ) defines herself on her webpage as a ‘conceptually representational painter and installation artist, working within a narrative that questions perceptions of art and the conditions of painting’. For her, paintings are paintings because of the materiality of it, not because they are painted. A very interesting shift in perspective on what is painting. The materiality of objects, used for work, are re-presented in a painterly manner. Perception of what material objects tell us. Her recent works after her MA (2017-2018) shows how the stretcher becomes embedded as an material object inside the picture plane of a painting.

Learnings:

  • The stretcher and the canvas, deconstructed in its structural elements (wooden frame, fabric, threads) are becoming materials for new interpretations and appropriations. Often applied, to raise questions in a wider cultural discourse – of rejected objects or commodities.
  • Materiality as such are combined with the visual energy of color. Paint as a mediator for new meaning.
  • It seems that a reduction on material  properties alongside linguistic signs (e.g. through shapes or cultural use) do open up new perspectives not only of meaning but mostly of creating, an exploration of material behavior.
  • Installation of such ‘sculptural paintings’  do question perception and can raise narratives beyond representational functions.
  • Re-staging painting as material performance, as Ally McGinn addresses a shifting perspective of what painting can be, as a very perceptual encounter.

Reference:

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Project 4.1 – Ex.4.1: Stretch, stitch, fold, crease, wrap

  • Project 4.1 – Ex.4.1: Stretch, stitch, fold, crease, wrap
  • Project 4.1 – Ex.4.1: Stretch, stitch, fold, crease, wrap
  • Project 4.1 – Ex.4.1: Stretch, stitch, fold, crease, wrap

From my pre-reflection , I got a sense that the ‘stretcher’ in any form or material does act as a holder, ‘container’ for the ‘canvas’, whatever this could be. The opposite would be a ‘canvas’ turning into a container, the holder for the stretcher, like wrapping paper or a table of objects (see combines and Georges Perec’s notes on the work-table), an approach I looked at with my object fragments in part 2. Certainly, one could always consider the canvas as a container, as what appears on the surface is often a perceptual illusion of an image. It seemed, I already ‘made’ some re-imagined canvases. However, those works can be seen only as sketches for something that need deeper investigation.
 

Re-Imagined Canvas

My motivation in relationship to my parallel project as subject matter (brain, MRI, medical gaze; ‘under the skin’ as transparency – inspired by the Wegenstein’s book) informed my exploration of the re-imagined canvas. Canvas as skin, as tissue – a material concealing though protecting: 

skin – fold – incision – fragment – transparency

So far, I have chosen in the previous part plastic sheets or perspex as transparent materials (canvas) and oil paint or acrylic paint washes for transparent images. I am wondering if these are the only materials to be used to explore transparency, especially in context of skin. I can relate to my subject matter also in a way of incision, dissection (more metaphorically) and slicing (into fragments), but also as mapping. Words to play with.

Exploration

Chosen materials: tissue paper (two different kind of cellulose fibers), plastic sheet, mylar, paper, canvas – an exploration of studio artefacts in my sketchbook (Fig 1):

Fig. 1: exploration materiality

Fig. 1: exploration materiality

To get started I played around with the new paint: Lascaux Aquacryl, a very intense liquid watercolor that is supposed to have magnificent performance in washes as well as combined with impasto gel: plastic sheet as flexible surface, and rigid (Fig 2)

Fig.2 : canvas as plastic no1

Fig. 2 : canvas as plastic no1; the stretcher to hold, contain; reverse view, enforcing transparency

 

=> not very convincing as a re-imagination, more a warming-up; still a framed, contained surface; though a transparency is visible with backlit. Continuing to be more exploratory and to keep surface material visible (to avoid covering it all), trying to install (Fig.3), using a found object:

 

FOLDING, ENROLLING

 

Fig. 3: plastic no2

Fig. 3: plastic no2; bullclamps left has temporary holding device, the stretcher to frame and contain

 

=> a step towards overcoming the stretcher’s containment; becoming a sculptural surface, containing in itself an object, a holding device. The intermediate ‘final’ stage (Fig 3 right) conveys some features of the material (plastic sheet) as well as implying marking that follow those features. The water flow markings, left in flow direction by gravity, right at right angle view, more intriguing, reminds of writing, code? Here, the canvas is enhanced through paint or, the painted marks enhance the materiality of the canvas. To keep in mind for following explorations.

Moving from plastic to paper, looking at paper feature of fragmenting when very wet (learnings from assignment 1)

SPATIAL DRAWING

Fig. 4: paper no 2

Fig. 4: paper no 1: upper half wetted with water, bottom half kept dry; packaging plastic band to hold and to be hold

 

=> being inspired by the ‘holding device’: a packaging plastic band; how can it hold a paper? dry and wet? When the surface performs without containment. The dark thin object acts as a line crossing the surface, though spatial independent of the surface. A contrasting element.  I liked the markings on the dry paper from the water flow downwards, kind of incisions (mirroring the cut openings), looking like seams. Those markings are absent in the upper, wet part.

To build on this ‘drawing’ element and the folding and en-rolling aspect, I explored it further (Fig, 5):

EN-CAPSULATION 

 

Fig. 5: paper no2

Fig. 5: paper no2 – paper, painted, rolled, folded, and contained

 

=> turning paper as flat surface into a folded stick, drawn around to encapsulate, to contain. The canvas turned into a sculptural object, independent of holding or containing.

 

Breaking away

Through the unconscious rolling, folding of surface materials (Fig. 3 and Fig 4),  I felt reminded of a description by N. Holtzmann-Kevles, a book I was reading for my parallel project: 

‘physicians gradually pushed back the veil in front of the internal organs, revealing first the living skeleton, then the stomach, intestines, gall bladder, lungs, heart, and brain’ (Holtzmann Kevles, 1997:3 – highlight by me)

resulting in a performative approach with tissue (chemically modified cellulose) 

VEILING

 

Fig. 6: tissue no1

Fig. 6: tissue no1 – work in progress

 

… with a resulting veiled image: : 

Fig. 7: tissue as veil

Fig. 7: tissue as veil; with adhesive – ‘stretched ‘on background paper

 

=> This is not yet sculpture, nor painting. However, the ghost image of the imprint on the background paper (the ‘stretcher’ in this case) could convey a narrative through visual depth. An idea, to explore further? It brought up questions around how the ‘canvas’ can act not only as a surface to paint on (example see FIg. 3-5), but also a skin and a matter concealing, though protecting (like human skin as tissue). The applied adhesive made the soft tissue more rigid, but might be considered also as an act of conservation.

Some of my ideas  developed through making above works: conservation (reminding me of my works for assignment 2, e.g Preservation Box, inspired by Candice Lin), folding (see Fig.2, 4, 5, 6), incision (cutting open or writing marks, a scalpel approach related to the medical gaze, seeing and touching). Another trial, still on a ‘stretcher’ background paper to hold (Fig. 8), veiling becomes sculptural (not yet):

 

CONSERVATION

 

Fig. 8: tissue no2

Fig. 8: tissue no2: with shellac to conserve – ‘stretched’ on background paper

=> the canvas as sculptural expression of gesture (weaving, folding), not yet released from its ‘stretcher’ (background paper), a different view on veiling, and using of shellac as preservation technique. Interesting that manual labor, weaving, reduced the outer shape. The added yellowish shellac solution added kind of tainted appeal.  Although quite obvious, it also means that the accumulation of mass through weaving, turns a flat surface into a sculptural surface. This led me to think about more rigid materials, materials that solidify, and are also used in a medical environment: plaster bandage. A material applied to skin, acting as a second skin, malleable when dry and wetted, rigid when hardened. Incision can be done through tearing (initial stage) or with scalpel (knife) when hard. 

Appropriating a postmodern theme, the stretcher as painting, the blank and monochrome canvas, the empty canvas. I wrote an essay on it (assignment 2 UVC), looking at Plaster Surrogates (1982-84) of Allan McCollum (Fig. 9)

Fig. 9: canvas a container no2

Fig. 9: canvas a container no2 (plaster cast), verso view; a skin of absence – suspended (invisible thread)

=> a plaster cast from of an empty stretcher, reverse view: a container becoming the surface. Reminding me not only of Allan McCollum but also of Rachel Whiteread’s House (1993): the cast as a skin transfer process revealing traces of the interior walls. I find two aspects intriguing: the porosity, slight transparency, openness of the plaster fabric (reminding me of the permeable skin) and the single threads at the bottom. Both giving the rather minimalistic work a sense of intimacy.  And the single threads reminded me also of line drawing. Single threads are playing an important role in Simon Callery’s works, e.g. Symmetrical Aluminium Wallspine, 2017.  And the cast shadow at the top could be seen as a linguistic word play: to cast an object, to cast shadows.

Nevertheless, one idea sparked during this exploration (Fig. 3) and embedded in above cast:  the container. Typically, the stretcher acting as the containing part, I was wondering whether the surface can not contain as well (Fig. 10).

CONTAINING

 

Fig. 10: canvas a container no1

Fig. 10: canvas a container no1: tissue, folded and contained – left: with black reflective background board; right: suspended (white thread)

=> turning the canvas into a container, a gifting, a sweet. An idea for uncanny moments when filled with unfamiliar things, e.g. organs, brain matter? This brings me once again in relationship with Helen Chadwick and her exploration of aesthetics of medical matters, e.g. Self-Portrait, 1991 or Monstrance, 1996 (Chadwick, 2004:114, 142-3).

Conclusion

My aim: to overcome the stretcher’s containment (even the holding background paper as in Fig. 7 and Fig. 8)

Key element to explore further: 

un-stretching

The first thing, to release the woven, now solidified, tissue (Fig. 8 left) from it’s ‘stretcher’:

Fig. 11: un-stretching (from Fig. 8)

Fig. 11: un-stretching (from Fig. 8) – suspended (invisible thread)

 

=> I photographed this suspended in front of my studio wall (with white paper backing) and coincidentally a black line mark came onto the photo (right). I felt intrigued by it without knowing why, and decided to leave it in the reproduction in this blog. Perhaps, it reminded me of the ‘line-drawings’ above (see Fig. 4)? The shadows casted, a notion I reflected on my plaster cast (Fig. 9), gives depth, and the line to the right adds context, a dialogue, a direction.

transparency

Second thing, to see how opaqueness and transparency could work with tissue and plastic sheet, can it be done without plastic sheet? Trying to start with a combination of Fig. 3 and Fig. 11: 

Fig. 12: transparency no1

Fig. 12: transparency no1; plaster bondage, cut into stripes and plastic sheet, watercolor infused

 

=> perhaps not very successful execution of interwoven plastic-plaster stripes, as if both do not like each other. The touch of it felt also awkward, kind of opposing elements

I was wondering whether I could combine this in a more interwoven surface as I did before (see Fig.11). Also, to see whether I could ‘re-construct’ the canvas inspired by the casted stretchers (see Fig. 9).

Fig. 15: line and fragment -  plaster bondage, infused with watercolor, in stripes, suspended

Fig. 15: line and fragment –  plaster bondage, infused with watercolor, in stripes, suspended

 

=> here, I was facing a ‘stubbornness’ of plaster bondage, cut into stripes, woven and sprayed with water . but apparently not sufficient to get the woven pieces stuck together (Fig, 15. left top). While looking for alternative ‘wetting’ devices, I filled a bucket with water added some drops of blue and red watercolor to it, and placed the strands completely under water (Fig, 15. left bottom). Drying made to color fade (Fig, 15. center), and resulting in a interwoven, combined fragmented plaster canvas (Fig. 15, right).

I decided to move away from the plastic and to look at

skin – line – veiling – incision

While thinking of skin, I wanted to test latex as my tutor suggested, as well as seen in some of the works of Lynda Benglis.

Fig. 13: - skin

Fig. 13: skin; tissue paper (cellulose) and latex, watercolor and marker pen

 

=> a similar shape as Fig 13, surprisingly unconsciously. I felt inspired to add some line markings. Perhaps too much too illustrate skin incisions as one can experience during surgery? The marks left behind, closing the opening with thread  – also kind of stretcher, a pull together. The combined texture, tissues and latex felt strange, quite elastic and rubbery. Compared to plaster bandage and tissue, this one is not porous any longer, quite opaque surface.

I wanted to make line markings with a similar way as before (see Fig. 4) and decided to work with tissue and the found plastic band alone – embracing more the porosity and permeability of the surface. To make it more robust, I decided to go for adhesive (not rubbery as latex, and not as solid as shellac solution). 

 

Fig. 14: drawing through space (tissue and found wrapper)

Fig. 14: drawing through space (tissue and found plastic band)

 

=> This resulted in a more expressive canvas with embedded stretchers. I found it more successful, as the band (‘stretcher’) works in a dialogue with the tissue (‘canvas’). The ‘line’ extends the surface and all together it became a sculptural surface.

 


Reflection

  • This exercise allowed me to look more into the materiality of a surface, that traditionally acts as a mere flat support for a painting to become. Here, the surface tuns sculptural and the materiality tells what lines or shapes are possible. The imagination is not painted onto , it is woven in the materiality itself.
  • I was facing the question of three aspect, the canvas, the stretcher, and the context. E.g. in Fig 8. the works are built on a holding surface, a working table. Is this ‘table’ part of the work or not? Is this another kind of stretcher, similar to what one is doing when stretching wetted watercolor paper on a board, to tape the edges? My ambition let this work be ‘un-stretched’ from this context (see Fig. 11), only to realize that the background of the suspended piece also adds context, illustrated clearly by the black mark on the right side of the reproduction (Fig. 11 right hand)
  • Throughout this execise, I developed new ideas derived from visual cues discovers in a previous steps. I found as if the ‘canvas’ through its materiality and response to actions, e.g. the ‘stubborness’ of plaster bondage stripes to stick together (see Fig. 15) does ‘tell’ me what could be done next. 
  • The canvas can be enhanced through paint or: painted marks enhance the materiality of the canvas (see Fig 3). Building on features of the canvas’ materiality with markings responding to it. 
  • Using a found objects, e.g. the plastic wrapper, to draw in space. The line becomes independent of the surface, though in dialogue with it (see Fig. 4)
  • I do feel that I possibly could have looked even deeper in one material only. Certainly, an aspect to consider more in my following works (deeper not wider, not the first time I reflect on this).
  • I do think that the more successful pieces are those that I interacted closer with, with more intimacy to the material orders, partly Fig. 3 right, Fig. 4 and Fig, 11, more Fig, 5 right, and even more FIg. 13 and Fig. 14 The least successful ones: Fig. 2, Fig 7, Fig, 8 right, and Fig. 9.
  • Overall, I find plaster bandage and tissue do have some quality of canvas, a porosity and permeability. Bandage as long it is not completely plastered into a solid mass, tissue and canvas similarly, to have a certain openness exposed. Something to work deeper with.
  • An overall question would be whether this ‘canvas-stretcher’ interaction is a mere experimental approach or whether t could be seen in a wider context (see Fig. 13.)

 


Reference:

  • Chadwick, H. (2004) Helen Chadwick / edited by Mark Sladen ; with a preface by Marina Warner and essays by Mark Sladen, Mary Horlock and Eva Martischnig. Edited by Sladen, M. and Barbican Art, G. London : Ostfildern-Ruit: Barbican Art Gallery ; Hatje Cantz.
  • Holtzmann Kevles, B. (1997) Naked to the Bone : Medical Imaging in the Twentieth Century. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press.
  • Wegenstein, B. and Hansen, M. B. N. (2006) Getting under the Skin : The Body and Media Theory. Cambridge, MA; London: MIT Press.
  • Wetterling Gallery (2016) Angela de la Cruz, At: https://www.wetterlinggallery.com/artists/angela-de-la-cruz#artist-description(Accessed 02 May 2019).
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Project 4.1: Pre-Reflections

Background and reflection

This part of the course explores the surface of painting, the canvas as considered traditionally the support for painting, especially oil painting. Today, I do see ‘canvas’ bifold: as material and metaphorically as a conventional flat base giving space for perceptual pictures.

I thought it would be good to look back and see if some of my previous works would suit this context. I discovered that some could be even be revisited in this part of the course (Fig. 1). At that times, both works were rather a side product, a leftover of my subject matters, and a result of serendipity. Both are painterly artefacts. Now the question: how to build on that? if at all…

Fig. 1 – Fig. 4: Artefacts of performative painting (click on an image to see in lightbox view and captions)

 

Also during part 1, I made a performative painting Washboard (laundry), and wondering how this could be considered as a canvas-stretcher relationship. The support (the ‘canvas’): a paper. The tool: not a brush, but a plastic foil. The paint:  a mix of shellac and gum solution.

The final work possibly a reverse: the tool became the canvas (Fig. 3)

What I do take away from my previous works:

  • stretcher gives context (Fig. 1)
  • stretcher does contain, but can also trigger deferred to narratives in a wider context (agency of viewer)
  • canvas as medium, rather than just support (Fig. 2)
  • installation: looking back I am more concerned now with way of installation and how the viewer is placed into relationship with the work. In that sense, Fig. 2 and Fig. 3 less successful due to a not so well considered background
  • deconstructing further might lead to new outcomes (Fig. 4)

 

 

stretch, stitch, fold, crease, wrap

 

These words brings me back to my museum visits of the works of Sam Gilliam, but also the large scale suspended and spray painted canvas of Katharina Grosse. The canvas released from its containment, and being free to play its own spatial role. At times, I am wondering when the canvas turns into a textile. Either from material point of view, or from a metaphorical point of view as well. And while looking deeper at Angela de la Cruz work in this context, I can see some relationship of above work (Fig. 1, left) with e.g  her work Vacant, 2013 (Wetterling Gallery, 2016) – that has quite a formal appeal for me.

Structural quality of the surface

Alongside my research on artists practising a deconstructing of the canvas and its stretcher, I did feel inspired to develop further some of my previous works in relationship to: 

folding, transparent, fragmentation, vulnerability, disruption

However, I think the question of canvas and stretcher a bit Modernistic, or as critique of Modernism by embracing the wider social context. I am wondering whether I could not find a more personal meaningful way…. With more ideas coming from previous works on relationship ‘canvas’ and ‘stretcher’ (Fig. 4) – with quite a few artists using a ‘stretcher bar’ as pole for canvas: Phyillda Barlow untitled : canvasracks, 2018-19, as seen at RA, or Robert Rauschenberg’s Pilot (Jammer), 1975

Fig. 4: revisiting ideas from part 2 - project 3

Fig. 4: revisiting ideas from part 2 – project 3, exploring canvas-stretcher relationships and meaning of stretching / folded paper as medium, as tool on paper/ installed fragments on transparent layers / timber  as dysfunctional stretcher – as poles to suspend from.

 

Perhaps one way to brainstorm on some ideas around canvas and stretcher (Fig. 5):

Fig. 5: sketchbook - ideation

Fig. 5: sketchbook – ideation / with some mockup artefacts from previous works (plastic ‘canvas’)

 

I got a sense that the ‘stretcher’ in any form or material acts as a holder, ‘container’ for the ‘canvas’, whatever this could be. The opposite would be a ‘canvas’ turning into a container, the holder for the stretcher, like wrapping paper or a table of objects (see combines and Georges Perec’s notes on the work-table), an approach I looked at with my object fragments in part 2. Certainly, one could always consider the canvas as a container, as what appears on the surface is often a perceptual illusion of an im