Visibility – on OCA sites

Today, I received an email from OCA office saying that one of my works (from a sketchbook that was in display at Showcase at oxotowerwharf (24-28 Oct 2018) has been chosen as featured images for the OCA website (main title) and their social channels. It made me very proud and I felt honoured . What made me aware that exposure is a big part of being an artist – and to be perceived as one .

After my public art intervention two days ago , I feel – and just hope – that this is one way forward to more exposure. Certainly a question to myself how, how much time and efforts, and what I want to move forward with. Also perhaps time to map out what I am doing as part of coursework meets gallery standards, and how much I want to continue with experimenting around but not at all being something to show. The selected work by OCA made me also aware that some of my sketchbooks works are actually of better ‘quality’ than larger scale drawings or paintings. 

Screenshots of OCA website and social channels:

 

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Public art – an intervention

Train stations can be quite fascinating – strolling along with eyes open even more. What started today with looking at things on a construction wall on platform 16 of Zürich’s main station, followed by sharing it on the FB group ‘Found Paintings and Sculptures’ went eventually into a gestural public art event (drawing a frame and adding a signature) that I shared later on my IG account (with my own hashtag #paint4OCA):  https://www.instagram.com/p/BqI7BlrDoxv/

Starting with being quite nervous about leaving my marks in public, it went overall into an intriguing experience that I found more and more exiting the more I looked at it. It evolved with making it, coming back a few times for short interventions, each time adding a new layer, marks ( frame -> signature -> inviting a friend -> adding hashtag). Beween each step communicating on social platforms).

Learnings:

  • Making the first step is the hardest challenge, anxious what other might say.
  • Being assertive and clear in my gesture and intention made it easier.
  • The work was not only a process of making but also a process of raising confidence. To have met a good friend and inviting her to take a photograph supported me in my adventure.
  • It matured and I can see now that this might actually evolve into a series – or just a different sensibility to putting me out there.
  • Once more, after the Showcase experience, questions of how to invite and engage with an audience appeared. Or just to leave my indexical trace alone ?
  • Open Questions of what might be allowed in public spaces? When to ask permission? Whom to ask? What if I make some interventions without asking (subversive)?
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Visit: Ferdinand Hodler // Parallelism – Kunstmuseum Bern

screenshot youtube video, copyright Kunstmuseum Bern

During my stay in Bern, now as a visitor and not any longer as a resident, I went to the current retrospective of the Bern born Swiss painter Ferdinand Hodler (1853 – 1918). The best exhibition covered 10 rooms on two floors, and one focal point on the ground floor was ‘Parallelism’, the art theory relating to nature’s harmony, symmetry, and rhythm with a cosmic beauty. Through the compositional principles and parallels in cultural and nature that distinction would have become obsolete for Hodler.

For me an opportunity to study a Modernist painter and to see what to take away from this for my own work. Would it give me some new insights? Or a desire to paint figurative and in nature? Compared to my recent visit to Humphries the paintings did not smell any longer of oil paint, more a smell of museums archives. Some picture frames truly conveyed this sense of ‘old’.

‘I love clarity in a painting, and that is why I love parallelism. In many of my paintings I have chosen four or five figures to express a single feeling, because I know that repetition of a single thing deepens the impression. – Ferdinand Hodler, 1904

Hodler made the main large works of ‘Parallelism’ in the 1890s. Compositional formal aspects seeem to have guided the artist in painting human sensations in context of nature: symmetrical elements, lines, repetitive elements. Examples are: Les âmes déçues (The Disappointed Souls)’, 1892 or La Nuit (The Night)’, 1889-90. The number five seems to be quite a balanced number for Hodler, as quite a number of paintings incorporated five figures, two on the left and right side of a central more pronounced figure (besides La Nuit also in The Day, 1900)

I was somehow intrigued by the sharp appearance of the figures, at times with black outlines. I compared them with the reproductions in the exhibition book on site and was a bit disappointed for the ‘bad’ print. But it seemed to be an apt sensation I developed – in front of a painting with the title ‘The Disappointed Souls’ (Fig. 1)

Exhibition view - Hodler ‘Les âmes déçues’ - front reproduction, back painting; photograph: SJSchaffeld

Fig. 1: Exhibition view – Hodler ‘Les âmes déçues’ – front reproduction, back painting; photograph: SJSchaffeld

 

While posting this as another reproduction as a digital image in this post, I realize how difficult it becomes to express a difference visually through a similar technique, in this case reproduction of lens based captured images.

The more intriguing aspect of those works for me (besides the clarity of the figures) was the interplay between positive and negative space, the contrast between dark nearly black color and light, often skin tone color. I studied composition and tonal contrast more in detail on above mentioned two works (Fig 2)

Sketchbook - composition and tonal studies

Fig. 2: Sketchbook – composition and tonal studies

 

In another room I was fascinated by another powerful compositional tool: the diagonal.  And the juxtaposition of two paintings Woodcutter, 1910 and Portrait of Gertrud Mueller, 1911. The diagonal, filling the space of the framed painting, adding a sense of tension or balance to the whole picture. Both paintings are dynamic in their expression based on the conscious use of formal compositional elements. However, to a different end.

Exhibition view; photograph: SJSchaffeld

Fig: 3: Exhibition view; photograph: SJSchaffeld

The later work of the 20th Century are without depiction of human figuration, more capturing the essence of the Swiss landscape, a reduction towards essentials, e.g. Moench with Clouds, 1911 or The Niessen on a Rainy Day, 1910 Through their reduction to essentials the pictures turn nearly into symbols. Symbols for a landscape that became nearly a stereotype for Switzerland: mountains and lakes. Artists as J.M.W. Turner but also contemporary artists eg Emma Stibbon went to Switzerland in order to capture that essence. And I could truly relate some of Hodler’s paintings (e.g. Thunersee mit Niesen, 1910) as they reminded me of my own on-site sketchbook paintings of same scenery during my past PoP1 unit (Fig. 4)

'The Mountain Cries' , (c)SJSchaffeld, 2016

Fig. 4: ‘The Mountain Cries’ , (c)SJSchaffeld, 2016

 

In a smaller separate room were a collection of books, contemporaries of Holder, whose authors had a significant influence on his conceptions. Examples on display:  art theorist Charles Blanc,  zoologist Ernst Haeckel who emphasized symmetry as a constructive principle of nature,  Gustav Theodor Fechner and Ernst Mach who postulated the hypothesis of ‘psycho-physical parallelism’ as a correspondence between the physical and the psychical, body and soul. Especially the latter idea resonates with my approach in art therapy that mental disorders and physical diseases are not separate. 

Take aways:

  • Visual impact of compositional formal aspects
  • Feeling that art theories as Parallelism could lead eventually towards a dead end when seen as a paradigm
  • The difference it makes to me seeing and experiencing paintings versus reproductions in a wider sense.
  • The idea of capturing sensations or human emotions through repetition, as Hodler did do so with repetition of number of figures.
  • The power of simple but accurate execution of paintings

Featured image:

  • Screenshot from youtube video (Kunstmuseum Bern, 2018b), copyright Kunstmuseum Bern

Reference:

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Visits: Julie Mehretu – Helen Chadwick

Fragmentation - Assemblage - Sketchbook ideas

Julie Mehretu at White Cube Mason’s Yard (21 September 2018 – 3 November 2018): ‘Sextant

An Exhibition of more recent works from 2018 by Mehretu with a joined text by the curators stating`Featuring large-scale paintings and etchings, the exhibition highlights Mehretu’s use of gestural abstraction as a conduit for evocative and charged emotion and intellectual enquiry.’

She applied a multiple layered process in the large scale paintings in the basement that I found especially intriguing, perhaps as they combined color and gestural marks broader than possibly her previous works. Her starting are found images, manipulated in Photoshop, and airbrushed onto canvas. From this rather abstracted picture created she continued with layers of screen printing, ink and acrylic paint – applying broad strokes and marks, challenging conceptions of whether this is a drawing or a painting. A space in-between resonating with how I find my place at the moment. Following a Fine Arts degree, working currently on a painting course, I am wondering whether the work in itself should not be more important than a classification. Questions of wether the work engages the viewer and opens questions might be more relevant for me.

One could see her process works as layers of memories, materialized through paint or other media. Faded images as abstract reflections do allow a more holistic view on the work as such. The power of the applied colors in relationship with marks, edges and soft tones. The room as such seemed to be activated by the energy of her paintings.

Compared to the basement room, I found the upper room with more monochrome and mostly aquatint techniques quite dull. Not that thoses didnt’ have a certain appeal, but I found the energy to be quite different.

Fig. 1: Installation views – digital collage , photo: SJSchaffeld / Copyright: Mehretu, White Cube

Helen Chadwick (1953-1996) – a reading encounter at the British Library

I pre-registered abroad as a reader to the British Library, and was excited to reserve upfront some book to read in the reading room ‘Humanities’. I registered beforehand and now I am an official BL reader.

Chadwick’s subjects are often around a gender sensibility and to the material side of life. One of her main disruptive series is ‘Viral Landscapes’ (Walker, 2010) –  viral in relation to microbiological phenomena. She feels attracted by Roccoco, the decorative and moving element pulsing at the same time. Roccoco is quite close to the Baroque and the aspect of movement and concealing is an aspect I looked at since part one of my current course. 

I found her sketchbooks pages interesting as they allowed me to look inside the artist’s approach of working, how she uses various media and visual thinking in developing her works (Fig. 2). 

Helen Chadwick's sketchbook notes (book scan)

Fig. 2: Helen Chadwick’s sketchbook notes on developing ‘Wreath to Pleasure’ (book scan – taken in reading room of DrawingRoom)

Her sense of materiality is reflected in her earlier sculptures made of cloth, vinyl, rubber, latex, hair. She used photography to document the objects as they were worn by models or performed. I find this resonating as at times I am wondering how photography sits in my working approach.

Her idea development alongside her photography approach is reflected in her series Wreath to Pleasure, 1992-93. Formal composition, mandala like using various materials (flowers, creams, soap etc.) to convey senses of touch and pleasure sensations. the work as such are volatile sculptural compositions. The works on display are printed photographs (C-prints on aluminium faced MDF, framed in circular powder coated steel frames) of these compositions, executed to high quality. I very much like her approach to transmit sensations through materiality, although the final work is ‘material-less’, ie. a flat glossy reproduction. 

On the other hand she worked with performance to present work, as a display of things relating to the body. Kind of moving ‘tableaux vivant‘ with an emphasis on the body as subject in relation to the object (Chadwick, Walker, 2013)

Her work ‘of  mutability‘ are photocopies, using the photocopier as camera, everything has been placed onto the glass plate of the copier, and subsequently creating out of each image a composite, a mosaic of hundreds of pieces of photo copy. The machine as an object that performs and the artist’s gesture is the intervention through an assemblage approach. This approach to  In another work she reflects on spheres as representing fingertips that explode (Chadwick, 2011).

 

Take aways:

  • Materiality can be seen quite differently: medium as material, material as medium, material as model, material as reference (e.g. for sensations)
  • Layering: Both artists do work with layering. Mehretu through a process of layering incorporating photography as a point of depature, and Chadwick photography as a way of documentation.
  • Visual exploration of ideas (Fig. 2) resonates well with the way I want to work
  • I feel that both artist will play a deeper role in my own practice and will look at a few aspects deeper:
    – object-subject relationship related to image (original, machines)
    – question of reproduction in the process of making
    – objects as precious things, mediated through participation , agency of the viewer
    – Fragmentation and concealing, an aspect that I do relate also to Jacqueline Humphries work.

Reference:

 

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Visit: Drawing Room ‘From the Inside Out’

My visit to DrawingRoom, London was suggested by fellow students who will attend a study visit on Nov. 3rd. I was excited to go and see that place and how artist explore the theme of the current exhibition was ‘From the Inside Out‘ (20 Sep – 11 Nov 2018). From the curator’s point of view it would be considered as a female and feminine approach to topics of vulnerability that often seem to be rather a tabu. interesting to note that the curators don’t walk about ‘feminist’ position, what shows me an increasing contemporary sensibility of a difference between feminist and feminine. The latter possibly, and considering the personal approach taken by the artists in this show, a more intimate and less political positioning. A curators’ perspective – but also resonating with my sensation on site.

‘the exhibition explores the capacity of drawing to convey the complexity and diversity of female” experience’ – Exhibition text

I knew one artist, Emma Talbot, who wrote an insightful article about her journey and struggle with and through painting (Talbot, 2017). One other artist Athena Papadopoulos was suggested to me by Catherine. The other two were new to me: Nilbar Güreş and Marie Jacotey.

In preparation of this visit I was positively surprised to see how the gallery was publishing further resources on their website: Besides the Exhibition guide also  Reading lists (selective books or articles chosen by the exhibiting artists or curators)

The exhibition was located in one room and with 17 pieces on display, on four walls, one piece on the floor and two on a plinth, and one suspended from the ceiling. Through this variety the room was activated, but not too full. I very much appreciated the reduced number of works, allowing me to spend more time with the works. Attached to this room, was a reading room with a table and book shelfs around. One shelf held a selection of books from the reading lists (other books were linked to amazon items)

Sketching on site

FIg. 2: Sketching on site

I was intrigued by the multiplicity of layers and materiality alongside the expansion in space of the work of Athena Papadopoulos, especially her work Even Deader than Dead Grapevine, 2018 . With a connotation of a drape and with a strong presence. Layers of text, letter and words, embedded in thr work, used materials e.g. antlers with deferred meaning. Altogether, a work that kept my attention and I studied it more in detail through sketching.

Fig. 1: Sketching on siteThe other work that kept my attention was Frozen Zebra, 2017 of Nilbar Güres. A mesmerizing alternative pattern of black and white stripes making me dizzy when looking too closely at it. She stated that her work is related to her home country Turkey and the connection to a queer community. Fragments of human shapes, concealing full disclosure, only partly visible – a reflection on how she experienced life. 

The works by Emma Talbot are in more ‘illustrative’ narrative, at times amended with symbolic meaning. In a more sketchy way, Marie Jacotey is expressing her feelings and sensation of her living a female life with menstruation, pain, and feeling of death ideas. Her works reminded me often of diary sketches. 

Looking across the common theme of female expressions that according to the curators are oftern hidden or not expressed openly, I can understand the intention of the exhibition of getting things out, or as a quote by Helen Cixous mentioned in the joined text:

‘Woman must write herself …must out herself into the text’ – Helen Cixous

In that sense, I got a feeling of familiarity, resonating partly with what I experience in my work as art therapist. Inner mental images and partly visualized archetypes relating to C.G. Jung gave the exhibition a sense of raw expression. For me good to see how artists, all four are MA graduates, do express themselves in a more direct and at times symbolic manner. I will bookmark them for reference, useful to talk about in my art therapy practice as well. 

Overall, I left with a mixed sensation – between my curiosity of exploring painting and drawing through materiality, and a concern of being overly symbolic and illustrative. Wondering how my fellow students do respond to the exhibition at the study visit.


Images:

  • Featured Image: Installation view with my reflection in the work Gloria in excelcis, 2018 of Marie Jacotey, photograph SJSchaffeld
  • Fig. 1: Sketchbook page, SJSchaffeld

Reference:

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Visits: Identity & Technology

Stefan514593 - Parallel Project - sketchbook

Wellcome Collection

After suggestions by my tutor and others I visited the Wellcome Trust Collection. The Wellcome Trust has the ambition to bring science, health and thriving life together through embracing new and creative ideas. 

For me there were two aspects to that visit:

  1. Seeing the collection and get possibly new viewpoints on medical imaging and arts that could inform my personal project
  2. Engaging with the people to see how I could benefit from an exchange of ideas. 

The second point kept still open as I have to undergo a written request (ongoing). On the first point I got a few ideas of creative transcriptions of medical imaging techniques.

Artist works:

  • Michael Hopkins (2004) Untitled: He applied white ink on slate to freely and more gestural with eraser and stiff bristle brushes to make suggestive abstract works , appropriating x-ray visuals of the human body (bones structure)
  • Annie Cattrell (2001-03) SenseShe uses functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)technique to visualize human five senses (touch, smell, taste, hearing and seeing). The generated scans of active brain zones were converted into three-dimensional  structures of amber resin using rapid-phototyping process. 
  • Chris Drury (2003) Landscape of the Heart: A layered and interwoven work consisting of ECG patterns and a mountain landscape, linking heart rate increase when one climbs the mountain. The artist stated ‘to make mind and visual connections’ between microcosm and macrocosm. 

I was surprised that I could find these works. For me perhaps too literal takes and visualization of the process. Not sure it is the way I want to move forward. Nevertheless, it made me aware of how sculptural elements, layering (Drury) and isolation (Cattrell) could be used to explore invisible things.

In context of medical imaging, I was excited to see OCA student Beverly Duckworth’s work ‘Capsula’ at SHOWCASE. Understanding that her work has been selected for the May 2018 conference ‘Becoming Image: Medicine and the Algorithmic Gaze.’ by Digital insides, supported by Wellcome and UCL, made it even more fascinating. Unfortunately, not having much time to talk with Bev, I am starting to see a wider picture of medical imaging in arts and some key artists, institutions etc.  What I saw from the various works was that nearly all of them are digital lens based or using primary medical imagery as such for the work. Wondering how painting could leverage or providing a different viewpoint on this. It might seem a stretch to move from medical techniques to painting or video, though both have in common the visualization effect and a deferred meaning. What the eye sees (paint or curves or images) is not what one stays at, it goes deeper, a process of reflection and encoding of signs is happening.

I find the idea of layering technical patterns with gestural patterns an interesting idea. Something that I can relate to the works of Jacqueline Humphries and Jillian Mayer.

Both encounters were rather a coincidence than a planned trip. Browsing the current  galleriesnow.net map I was intrigued by how both artist explore sense of identity technology, wondering whether I could get some further inspirations for my personal project. 

Sketching ideas for PP - inspired by exhibition visits and talks

Fig. 1: Sketching ideas for PP – inspired by exhibition visits and talks

 

 

Jacqueline Humphries 

At Modern Art Gallery Vyner Street (02 Oct – 10 Nov 2018)

All new large scale paintings from 2018. Entering the newly ‘White Cube’ (reconstructed one year ago) I could smell the oil paint, kept my attention and made me aware why I love oil paintings (versus rather sterile acrylic paint when finished and installed). 

Humphries (b. 1960) is an accomplished abstract painter and the new works on display is her process driven encounter with her older paintings seen through a layer of digital information technique. She converted the visual scanned information into ASCII strings, made from these strings larger sheets of laser cut stencils, and pushed through these holes thick paint manually onto the canvas surface. A process form analogue through digital towards analogue again. With subsequent erasing those paint partly and with added gestural strokes, she created mesmerizing works, decontextualized (nearly void) and with an emphasis on an aesthetic outcome. The joined text states that

‚the emotive content contains traces of memory and ghosts in the process of their translation‘ – Modern Art Gallery

I like the idea of memory and fascimiles, layers of time and space developing into something new. Her stencil approach resonates with some of my explorations with cut-outs and overpainting, exploring shapes and edges.

It is a very tactile approach to code, encoded information. Something that I like compared to some more literal translations of coded (medical) date as seen at Wellcome Collection (see above). A possible approach to my more embodied encounter with MRI imagery.

 

Jillian Mayer

At Annka Kultys Gallery (24 Oct – 24 Nov 2018)

Quite a shift to see Mayer’s work. All video art from the filmmaker who co-runs the company Borscht and openly publishes on YouTube. Fluent with media and exploring liminal experiences in a digital age impacting our sense of identity. Instructional videos how to disguise one’s face to move undetected in public spaces (considering the presence of facial detectors), how facial measure could tell more about oneself than in would expect, and a musical performance as a work between video, film, and musical. At times with a dystopian sense reminding me of the film ‘Matrix’. 

I looked up the artist website and found her painterly sculptures ‘Slumpies’, useable sculptures that either enforce or enable a posture typical for some cultural habits of interaction with smartphones, or making selfies. Fascinating for me to see the ‘rawness’ of the sculptures that I could related to the ‘rawness’ of the objects in my Object-Box. An appearance my tutor was questioning. Mayer sees the ‘lack of conscientious design as an ad hoc solution made from simple materials in direct contradiction to the sleek forms and designs, and the marketing culture, that defines our intimate dependence on technology.’ (Artist website at: https://www.jillianmayer.net/slumpies-1) 

I was thrilled to have an engaging talk with the gallery owner. The gallery was upstairs above a shop, one open room with a desk and three walls. She even asked for my IG profile -what by itself was a ‘shocking’ moment for me after the private view at SHOWCASE – totally unexpected. But after visiting another small gallery in the same neighborhood made me aware of the importance of social media interaction with newer galleries. Something more traditional galleries,eg Marlborough Gallery, would be less engaged with. For me, to think how and what I want to use which channel for.

Conclusion

Technology, eg medical imaging techniques, could be either translated literally through drawing and painting (eg Hopkins, Cattrell), or layered with paint as fragments and memory (eg Drury, Humphries) or just using primary imagery for new ways of seeing at things, alongside an aesthetic appeal of the resulting work (e.g Duckworth). Making the invisible visible relating to how it impacts our self image (Mayer) is showing through her layered video projects. 

I take away the idea of layering of coded information with gestural marks, technology created patterns as a layer in between. 

After my visit to London and some further visual encounters with various works and artists, I sense a better understanding on how things might move forward. I sketched a few ideas on one of my many tube rides and am exciting to play around with some of them when back in my studio. 

I will definitely reach out to more people (e.g Liz Orton from Digital Insides, or Wellcome) to see how this could evolve. But first to make some practical stuff – as I feel that I need to phrase somehow my scope before talking with people who could possibly support me.


Reference:

  • Duckworth, B. (2018) [Email sent to Stefan Schaffeld, 29 Oct 2018]

 

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A2 – Reflection on Tutor Feedback

This time we arranged an online tutorial, me writing the minutes, and my tutor amended the formative report. Overall, a great experience, sharp to the point, and with an effective discussion with a one hour timeframe. We covered assignment and coursework as well as my initial thoughts on my parallel project related to medical imaging and MRI with a sense of fragmented identity. 

Key aspects that I took out of our discussion:

  • ‘Stop working intuitively’, let the energy of moment not avoid a deeper reflection on what I’ve done
  • Work more intimately with the material qualities
  • Give the work more space to breathe (e.g. Two Folds of Folly as too dense, contrived, with too harsh contrast)
  • Consider more critical composition, relationships, contrast and edges, what is needed and why?
  • Explore further fragmentation, concealing, trapped, revealing, memory, and transformation
  • Line and tone, movement and color: some sketchbook pages did work well, e.g  Fig 1
  • Be less impatient, narrow down critically
  • Be more critical to what and how I am doing what

My sketchbooks did show some intriguing explorations, to be developed more deeply further. My learning log was appreciated for its comprehensive writing and well articulated researches and visit reflections, though less broad interest and deeper interaction with one or two artists might be beneficial. 

Stefan513593 - P2SP - Sketchbook - developing Walking Through Painting

FIg. 1: P2SP – Sketchbook – developing Walking Through Painting

 

Some works stand out for my tutor:

main reasons: 

  • balanced composition with good relationship between forms
  • engaging edges and shapes
  • visual flow through the work 
  • idea of trapped objects (partly concealed in Fig.2, in poured paint in Fig.3, around perspex in Fig. 4)

=> My tutor had some concerns re the bright red color in Fig. 2, too reminiscent of blood, violent? Something for me look at deeper, as in Fig. 3 I had a similar bright red. Perhaps, shape matters in how we connotate meaning to color. Fig. 3 is a rather monochrome relief painting (versus the other mixed with white one Preservation Box #2). Fig 4. 

My Object-Box, submitted for SHOWCASE, was questioned for its ‘crudeness’ (of made objects) and of a shift towards less personal.  What is ‘crude’ and what is ‘refined’? Is refined always better? Would one say that gestural abstract paintings are refined? Or is the perception different when we see actual physical objects? The crudeness a a mean to disguise, to reduce recognition was intentional  – but this was perhaps the reason for my tutor to respond to it as ‘less personal’ and and with less opportunity’  for further development of revealing and memory.

One point we discussed deeper was how important is the participatory engagement of the audience with my work. I will see next in oxo tower how the audience will interact with the Object-Box.

My tutor suggested the following..

Elements for further exploration

  • ‘Investigate composition alongside exploring media more critically’
  • ‘Transparency/opacity’
  • ‘Remember to consider edges and contrasts’
  • ‘Continue to disrupt the reading/narrative’

Notes on personal project

Fragmentation as I started already some exploration in my sketchbooks, as well ideas of coding and concealing. Along the way to consider format of presentation, e.g book, trapped objects, disrupted surfaces. Explore widely and refine when I reach project 4 ‘Thinking through PP’.

Conclusion: A deeper Reflection

 

 – Materiality – Depth – Relationship –

 – Contrast – Edges –

 – Fragmentation – Disruption –

 

Such are the keywords for me to keep not only in mind but also to take them in my making into account. There will be mostly a shift happening in how I approach my coursework and my assignment work: more focus, deeper, establishing a more intimate dialogue with my chosen materials and eventually let my ideas and thoughts merge with the appearance of the visual works created. 

Key thing clearly to develop in more steps forward and less multiple steps in parallel without moving forward. A serial versus a lateral approach?  Question would be when to shift from the latter to the first mode.

My overall experience with the tutorial and drafting directly the report for my tutor to amend is very positive of much learning support. I feel that starting from the discussion, through rough note capturing and writing down the report, I already learn more and deeper than just reading a sent report.

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Part Three – Ex 3.0: Object as a stand in for the body

  • Part Three – Ex 3.0: Object as a stand in for the body
  • Part Three – Ex 3.0: Object as a stand in for the body
  • Part Three – Ex 3.0: Object as a stand in for the body

Clothing as a proxy body, sign for human presence or absence. 

How do I relate to clothing? What kind of clothes would resonate for me as an identifier? I was pondering the exploration of my suitcase aka object-box and my personal project. I decided to work around thoughts for my personal project (‘Medical imaging aka MRI and identity’), wanting to explore my own journey when I did my MRI inspection some months ago, kind of visual memory

The first thing that intrigued me when revisiting this is the ‘dresscode’ in clinics, also required when undergoing MRI: the patient gown (Fig. 1).  

MRI - dressed in a patient gown, image credit: Inselspital Bern

Fig. 1: MRI – dressed in a patient gown, image credit: Inselspital Bern

The skin that covers the body, but the back is open. A simple cloth, anonymous, concealing and also revealing. One had to undress in small booth on the corridor, leaving one own’s dress there (hanging, folded) and returning with the gown. A change – making it clear that from now on the person is a patient, part of the institution, a clear role, a function.

I talked through this with fellow student Alan, who works in a clinic, and he was willing to get hold of a gown, possibly also to make an image. Ideas of sharing across borders – and possibilities of collaborative work might surface.

The Patient Gown – Concealing – or …?

To move on, I looked online at those gowns, and with my own memory of the gown I wore. Moving on to remake, questions of size, scale and material?

Eventually, I turned to mylar and a human scale size with several connotations related to materiality: 

the idea of translucent material, is the body, or person concealed or revealed? Reference to my mental images of how I felt (and others’ possible as well), vulnerable, exposed.

  • the idea of smooth surface: is it a double skin, without external references? Blank, ‘innocent’, and behind could be quite different
  • Mylar is a material one uses for masking (airspray painting) , an material for a purpose, not for its own sake. 
  • Mylar, is not as flexible as fabric or paper, hard to fold, better to roll; when folded a crease is permanently made (not removable or to be flattened out), but easy to cut, and to tape; also easy to paint on with acrylic or oil paint (as checked in my previous explorations)
  • My remake from memory and online visuals is possibly a reference to how the patient gown and its relation in a clinic setting could be considered: anonymous, only half-way personal, replaceable? Makes me wonder how my different placements of the remade gown will work – different context, a double remove from clinic reality (1. remade, 2. context)

 

The remake was quickly done, made outside on a sunny wonderful fall day.

Stefan51353_P3_Ex1_patient gown in mylar

Fig. 2: Patient gown in mylar

Time and context:

After the making and laying it on the ground – ideas popped up of abandoned gown, lost, vulnerable? Not used as a gown – but what if that prop is a person? Reminds me how we connect belongings to a person self. What might the connotation trigger in the viewer’s mind? I haven’t asked.

Fig. 3 – 6:  The abandoned gown – each 42x 30cm (click on thumbnail to open the lightbox view)

To move away from a mere visual depiction in a quick painting and to include some connotated aspects is quite challenging. Do I perceive it the same way as others? Perhaps to upload for peer review and see…

Continuing with taking the made-gown up, putting it somewhere closer, more protected, leaning on a tree, looking from front and backview. Thinking about context (surrounding space, environment) and how shapes and line could work together. A start towards further abstraction (eg Fig. 9)

Fig. 7 – 10: The attached gown  – each 42x 30cm (click on thumbnail to open the lightbox view)

In Fig 8, I added later back in my studio tapes for cropping, giving a different appeal of the painting. On the other hand I find that additional layers, e.g. tapes might give also another layer of meaning. I experimented with more line markings as part of the composition, giving a more abstract appeal but also could be considered as a contained frame (Fig. 9).

With these two ‘scenarios’ or sensibilities, I started to experiment on site further with the idea of loss, abandoned – alongside a sense of fragmentation (displacement and disembodiment). I applied a stencil and partly a monotype technique that I explored in the previous part: abstraction and reduction. My starting point was Fig. 10 – the more abstracted backview, with ‘fleeing’ shapes.

Fig. 11 – 14: The fragmented gown – each 42x 30cm (click on thumbnail to open the lightbox view):

=> the repetitive placing and re-placing of a ‘gown-stencil’ allowed me to leave painted traces on the paper, to overcome a too representational and literal depiction of the scene in front of me, and to abstract connotated thoughts of fragmentation, memory and ‘fleeing’ shapes. What if the idea of vulnerability and stability are reversed? Fig. 13 (photo doesn’t show it) was an exploration of a movable paper, the support as ‘fleeing’, the shape of the gown static. Just abstract explorations. From these quickly done series, I find Fig. 12 the more interesting one, as it plays more with shapes, fragments, edges and (in-)stability.

Next scenery was placing the gown in my car. Having the car with me allowed me to take more stuff with, what allowed me to do above experiments.

Fig. 15 &16: The protected or cared for gown – each 42x 30cm (click on thumbnail to open the lightbox view):

=> Instead of my gouache, acrylic approach, I used oil paint sticks for the first one (Fig. 15). A more gestural and searching approach to the scene and the connotations of protected as well as vulnerable. The second one more a ‘protected’ perspective, relaxed and stable in the backseat of the car.I considered in the composition the interesting interplay between the gown and the head protection of the car. I am not so convinced by the contained central compositions. 

After the longer session outdoors I looked the other day at the domestic scenes.

Fig. 17 – 20:  The domestic gown as actor – each 42x 30cm (click on thumbnail to open the lightbox view):

=> quite different appeal. It seemed the gown took more presence. Lost at the front door outside, being a staged actor on the toilette, a narrative in itself between Fig. 18 & Fig, 19. After a long day, I out the gown mockup in the hallway, I was fascinated be the strong presence of it (Fig. 20). With a deeper viewpoint, making it more solid and dominant actor in the composition, more refined versus a rather sketchy background. I find the two last ones (Fig. 19, 20) more appealing for the bolder contrast. However, contrast in itself would give a different indication of a message.

With my explorations of the mockup ‘patient gown’ I was interested in exploring further ideas of fragmentation, memory, and instability. I decided to work in my A4 sketchbook rather gestural with a similar stencil and moving approach as I did in preparation for my large scale sculptural painting. and inspired by my on-site experiments (see Fig. 9, 11, and 12)

Fig. 21 – 24: slider images sketchbook – A4 (acrylic, gouache,  charcoal)

Stefan513593 - Part 3 - Ex1 - object for body - sketchbook 2
Fragmented prop #1 - sketchbook
Stefan513593 - Part 3 - Ex1 - object for body - sketchbook 3
Fragmented prop #2 - sketchbook
Stefan513593 - Part 3 - Ex1 - object for body - sketchbook 4
Fragmented prop #3 - sketchbook
Stefan513593 - Part 3 - Ex1 - object for body - sketchbook 5
Fragmented prop #4 - sketchbook

=> I was intrigued by the multiplicity of the shape. Reflecting back on my initial thoughts of the patient gown in a clinical setting, with the rather anonymous, at times displacing sensation of wearing it, I do feel that this might be developed further, possible ideas for my personal project.

Reflection:

  • A mockup clothing can have strong connotations of human presence. On the other hand it could be merely seen as an obsolete thing trashed or thrown away. Nevertheless, through learned patterns and beliefs the simple mockup has a certain power that reminds me of my research in fetishism in part two.
  • My chosen material (mylar) provided a rigid material that could stand. Partly flexible, it was at times more responsive, falling back to more stable structures, kind of memory not lost, not completely yet. 
  • The juxtaposition or assembly of multiple paintings (see slider on top of this post) does convey a sense of narrative, a time-based movement of the mockup as ‘actor’ – a journey.
  • Painting in a sketchy, loose way, strongly allows the visual exploration of ideas, resulting partly in some further experimental works (see Fig. 9, or Fig. 11-14)
  • Digging deeper into the relationship of the mockup and its placement in space allows to convey narratives (e.g. Fig. 18 & 19) and to convey a sense of emotional response. 

Working with color quickly:

  • I tend to mix the main local color beforehand on a palette. Being outdoors I prefer to use either tear-off palettes from coated paper or just milk-boxes, cut open as a rectangular shape (re-using trash). Mixing those local color beforehand allows me to loosen up in the following painting and to ensure that colors are not totally off. Painting and mixing no the go and on the support directly feels more direct and responsive.
    Overall, some preparation is quite useful, e.g. having my tools ready to go, knowing what is where. However, I do not like the meticulous preparation of each color as some suggest in instructional books. In the studio with more refined rendering of tone this might be more useful. Working quickly means for me to be present in the moment, be responsive to my embodied sensations, what I see, feel, hear, think. Not all elements that go into a quickly made sketch visible through the naked eye. Often, associations and connotations turn into painted strokes. And for that I prefer to mix directly on my support. 
  • Advantages:
    pre mixing: accuracy, more fluid painting without thinking about matching colors
    mixing directly on support: more gestural, expressive, responsive to the scene and my imagination, at times less constraining

 

Further reflection on other artists:

How paint can support meaning and interpretation:

  • Vincent van Gogh‘s A Pair of Shoes , 1886 one of his paintings of his time in Paris was and is often a trigger for wide psychological and symbolic interpretations. Apparently he stated once that ‘he bought old work shoes at a flea market. Then he walked through the mud in them until they were filthy. Only then did he feel they were interesting enough to paint’ (Van Gogh Museum). Here ‘worn-out’ would mean be exposed to a person, with an ordinary usage as a functional object. The gestural application of paint supports the sense of ‘crudeness’, of heavily used shoes, no precious objects to wear only a few times. I can see that he painted from life, just whatever captured his attention, a contextual and gestural expression of sight and sensations.
  • Philip Guston The Coat, 1977 is one of the works in series he made after his rather abstract painting and often called  “urban primitive.” (MoMA) The rather graphic, comic-style depiction with flat appearance could be seen on various levels, as a depiction of his coat and shoes, and as metaphor for his stance and personal position in the world around him.  Here the graphic, flat application of paint could possibly relate back to the identity of the artist himself and how he perceived the world. I can relate to this approach in the way I work, as part of my paintings are not visible elements but also a reflection on sensations and thoughts. 
  • Lisa Milroy’Shoes, 1985: repetition of similar shoes with a sense of difference in sameness. She painte them ‘neatly’ and in order, but a closer look reveals more disorder. They remind me of bugs or mussels. The overall picture seems like an encoded message, with some pairs conveying a sense of alphabet, words, language, e.g. the V shaoe appearing twice, but with some adjustments. For me a visual reflection on Deleuze’s conception of ‘Difference and Repetition’ (1968). The refined and repetitively and orderly application of paint could relate to the sense of collection and alienation (as missing context). Objects are becoming part of an assemblage, a different wholeness. Quite contrasting to van Gogh’s shoes as showing the individuality, Milroy’s shoes are missing nearly any individuality though the seem each to be different in appearance. I find that Milroy’s work are more of studio paintings, with prior reflection on composition and key aspects of how it might come across.

 


Reference:

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Virtual Study Visit (VCrits): Lee Miller and Viviane Sassen

The first virtual study visit organized by OCA was managed as a VCrits by photography tutor Helen Warburton. The visit covered two exhibitions at the Hepworth Wakefield museum (22 June – 07 Oct 2018): ‘Lee Miller and Surrealism in Britain‘ and ‘Viviane Sassen – Hot Mirror‘.  I was not be able to visit in person, thus prepared myself with the marvellous resource package provided beforehand with good questions to reflect on and substantial numbers of online and offline references. The material perhaps too much to digest as a mere preparatory material, but definitely very helpful for future reference and deeper researches. I didn’t know the artists, and had some concerns about a totally photography focus, what really was not the case as it turned out. 

We were a group of 8 students from various pathways and levels plus Helen as tutor, two incl me were not from UK. Two students visited the exhibition in person what led to a good discussion around difference in virtual versus physical experiences (quite strong in Sassen’s video installation Totem)

Key learnings

  • Virtual study visits are different in quality versus physical study visits. Perhaps more contextual focused, whereas an physical visit seem to be more focused on the actual visual imageries. 
  • VCrits in the form of Google Meet do add a layer of reflection through various viewpoints, e.g. :
    – surrealism as a personal response to war traumatic experiences?
    – telling a story 
  • Considering the two shown artist’s works it became clear that both do act in a different time (around WWII and today), informing not only techniques used but also questions around identity and gendered roles and expectations
  • Role of the curator: Viviane Sassen were actively involved in making the exhibition, Lee Miller was ‘represented’ by curator’s voices, interpretations, and staging the show.

Take aways:

  • Before visiting an exhibition to compare what the gallery, curator and what press and/or the artist is saying about it. 
  • Considering the purpose of the exhibition (e.g. documentary, increase the visibility of an artist?)
  • Considering how images do reflect context of time and could be linked with different artists
  • Embracing artist’s talks and discern how online images versus physical encounters can change meaning and impact (also for my own work)
  • Viviane Sassen’s work Totem is really intriguing, a pity that I can’t see it in reality, as it adds a narrative through a rupture of the pictorial plane by the way mirrors and projection is installed. Very relevant to my current coursework.

 

Conclusion:
The kind of virtual study visits and VCrits was a pilot, new to all incl. to Helen. The package provided beforehand was outstanding (though it would have been good to add sizes of reproduced works) and close to a coursematerial. I believe it took quite some efforts from the authors to make it. A resource document valuable for future references as well. What opens the question of preparation for an exhibition or physical study visit that mostly do not include such comprehensive package. 

One comment from Helen to take further into account: to run such VCrits under students’s ownerships, perhaps with invitation of a tutor. Question of preparation as well.


Background on the two artists: 

Lee Miller (1907 – 1977): A pioneer of experimental and surreal photography from a female perspective. The exhibition text explained her role, at her time underestimated and mostly falling behind her male contemporaries as Man Ray, Henry Moore, and Roland Penrose (her later husband). She was a key person in the surrealist movement in Britain around the 1930s/1940s. As a fashion photographer working for Vogue she became during WWII a war photographer that made apparently a deep impact not in her time but also mentally on her health.

Viviane Sassen (b. 1972): A contemporary Dutch fashion photographer and artist living in Amsterdam with for me a strong painterly exploration of visual images through a more abstract approach. She explores the subconscious, the uncanny and the spiritual realm of dreams – quite in context of original surrealist thoughts as proaclaimed by André Breton in the ‘Surrealist Manifesto’ (1924). 

What I find interesting is her approach to photography crossing boundaries to other discoplines:

“I’m interested in material, texture and tactility. I’ve always been drawn to sculpture and painting, and photography – being a medium with such smooth surfaces –makes me particularly obsessed with texture!” – Viviane Sassen (Muraben, 2018)

 


Reference:

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Project 3.1: Working from props

Props, costumes, masks, models – disguise or make-up as absence of human body

After part two with my exploration of objects that do related to how we as human being relate to our non-human environment, more a mental exploration with giving objects a certain subject-hood instead seeing them only as objects, to function, to use, to collect, to trash.

But what about us? What are the objects closest to us, that we not only take us as I did with my object-box, but actually take on and off with a routine without even thinking of it: clothes, undershirts, shoes, glasses, hats, and perhaps jewellery.

Objects that represent us, and objects through which we present. Not always consciously. How to move from fetish-objects to clothing?

Clothes are performing objects

The artist Paula Rego uses models, masks, costume and props to construct complex and often unsettling visual narratives that are being represented through her paintings. Her paintings could be considered as  the reproductions of telling a story, a story the objects did in her studio in the first place. Objects charged with memory, and empathy.

What I like is when she said

“It is real, or I pretend it is real – what is the same thing” – Paula Rego

There is quite substance in it, a constructivist approach, and resonating well with my experience in art therapy and constellation work: what we perceive or see as a visual mentally transcribed image is the real thing that matters to the person – it guides them in life, it is part of their life.

Rego works quite traditionally with her figurative paintings of things, she doesn’t work with human life models, but with made life objects. She stages a scenery similar to a film or stage director with found and made objects, all with a human touch, either through a likeliness with human bodies or through a human memory related to these objects. By that the objects are charged with power, a process that very much resonates with my exploration of subject-object relationship and fetishism.  I am wondering what was the motivation for Rego to work that way.

Another thought that Rego’s works triggers in my mind is the distinction – or no distinction – between objects, made, painted and the representative and observational painting of it. During part 2 I was shifting my attention from observational paintings to painting with and onto objects in order to let them perform for their own sake.

During my reflection on ‘Flatland – Abstract Narratives’ I was wondering how objects by themselves can perform and convey a narrative. Rego’s work shows another, figurative and charged with human memory, approach towards narratives. Question which way to go?

Example: Rego’s found monkey puppet is her life model for a narrating painting. Can the puppet be in itself the support for a narrative that goes beyond the subjective memory or her? Can the puppet be transformed into something else through a co-creation of the viewer? And what is the difference or advantage or a flat representative painting of staged object scenery versus an installation of such a scenery as I did in my Walking Through Painting, though not quite anthropomorphic as Rego is doing it.

Another work that I can related to this performing clothes might be the work by Carolina Burandt‘s work ‘FLURMOMENTE – Garderobe (example procedure)’  She graduated this year with a BA in Fine arts from the Academie Minerva, Hanzehogeschool Groningen (the closest brick&mortar university for arts for me) who won this year the Klaas Dijkstra Academy Award.  The work is a participatory performance art, about transitional moments in-between and as a research project. The audience is invited to redress and take on some construction gowns before be asked to do some tasks (see video here) What strikes me here are the element of dressing up for a performance (the dress as an objects to give permission?), the contrast between bright color of the gown and the environment, and the conception of addressing the space in between artist and viewer, art and mundane objects/tasks, visible and mental images, inviting for a dialogue, art as a mediator for collaboration. and social exchange.

Question: How do clothes contribute to identity ?

Mockup Patient Gown - acting and performing, (c)SJSchaffeld, 2018

Fig. 1: Mockup Patient Gown – acting and performing, (c)SJSchaffeld, 2018

Clothes are Identity

Pawel Althamer’s installation of objects as representing his identity in ‘Self-Portrait as a Businessman, 2002/2004. It is this question of self-portrait and identity that let me start looking at my frequent travelling and living with and out of suitcase at the start of part two (see my blog post here).

Althamer’s earlier work Self-Portrait in a Suitcase, 1996 seems closer to my idea as it developed over time. Although, I find the presence of the artist as a puppet a bit redundant, restricting a co-creation of narrative in the viewer’s mind too much.

The interesting aspect with Self-Portrait as a Businessman is possibly less the final image, but the process as it developed, unfolded: the artist took on clothes and props that he thought or representative for a businessman (external conception) and undressed him completely in a public square, walking away naked. This performance not only attracts more people but also adds a narrative to the installation. What if the installation was done without performance? Would it be less strong? Less narrating? The final plays with absence of the person (either artist or a businessman), the dressing and undressing adds another layer of artist’s intervention and intentionality. It reminds me of my own corporate business past, and how at the end I consciously undressed after work to ‘get rid’ of a layer, a mask, an identity perceived. Clothes do impact how we perceive ourselves, and how we are perceived by others. Clothes do tell a lot of the person wearing them. After death they are intrinsically charged with presence of the deceased. Buying new or second hand also can add a different connotation:. Who was the person wearing them before?

 Lisa Milroy’s use of clothing is perhaps more of topology (e. the ‘Dress’ series), paintings resembling an apparel boutique. At times fragmented like sewing patterns pre-cut and ready to be stitched together, e.g. Coming Apart, 2012. At times they remind of paper doll clothes, paper cut-outs, e.g. For White, 2012. Ideas of archive, as the collection of shoes shows. At first glance neat and in order, with closer view more with disorder and hard to distinguish one pair from the others (though they are all in pairs), e.g. Recent Shoes, 2014. The vast repetitive amount reminds me the work in series of Allen McCollum (e.g. ‘Surrogates’). Somehow I find her installation paintings PARTY OF ONE, 2013 or Split Personality, 2013 or 70 dress-paintings more intriguing, they are sculptural, painterly and building with references of visual language and eventually leading towards spatial curiosities, e.g One-to-One, 2015 – and they are to be engaged with, the viewer can get close. Her work White Shadow, 2012 is a painting that wants to get out of the flat surface, building on her earlier ‘Dress’ series but not at the stage of an installation painting yet. I have the feeling that her later works are getting more abstract and possibly more interesting as they build on absence and patterns across objects, e.g. Bag, 2014. Overall, Milroy’s paintings and installation flow between performative objects and identity-giving objects.

Mockup Patient Gown - a second skin, (c)SJSchaffeld, 2018

Fig. 2: Mockup Patient Gown – a second skin, (c)SJSchaffeld, 2018

 

With regards to painting, installation and clothing the Japanese artist and queen of polka dots’ comes to my mind : Yayoi Kusama, e.g. Dots Obsession ,1997 or Infinity Rooms. Often the artist wearing clothes matching the patterns of the objects and the room, making her a living object of it. In the 1950s she even created a fashion series with the polka dots. 

Clothes becomes skin

This brings me to a work I’ve notice in ArtForum, Anvar Musrepov, IKEA Costume, 2017. It resonates with my work from part two  (packaging material, useful object) and to transform it into an outfit, even an identity? A dress is what one wears, and the IKEA bag (blue is the one one can buy and take home, the yellow one is for in-story use only) is often see for many different purposes, it is big, and one can put quite an amount of stuff inside. A dress, a fashion, a cultural identity. As it is IKEA one could connotate this with a lot of lifestyle and consumption habits as well.  His work relates to the work of Edson Chagas and his series ‘Back to Purgatory’, appropriation of African tribal masks and a consumption oriented world, the bag becomes a piece of our clothing, our outer shell, or as C.G. Jung described our social mask once, our ‘persona’.

It seems as if clothing gets close to our skin, our natural outer shell before culture invented clothing. In the work of Toyin Ojih Odutola this becomes visible through regular patterns on the skin, opening question whether it is skin or clothing, conveying an unsetting feeling.

Re clothes and Sam Gilliam I find one notion relevant during my past exhibition visit when Gilliam was asked to get more personal in his drapes and eventually he incorporated found objects from his direct environment into the canvas, traces of his identity, concealed or trapped inside the drape as reference for clothes one wears and one is recognized for (e.g. Jail Jungle I, II, III, 1969 or Composed (Formerly Dark As I Am), 1968-74). Reading the joining exhibition text I was wondering how personal expression in painting and cultural identities are related with each other, as according to the text ‘some African Americans working in figurative modes described Gilliam as making art in service to the white power structures’ – quite a statement. Re my own work and reflecting on my tutor’s comments on my Object-Box ‘as apparently less personal’ due to ‘rather crude objects’

Another approach to that could be seen in the role clothes play through replacing as second skin, eliminating faces, disguised faces. Ewa Juszkiewicz (Beers, 2015:138-39) paintings are conventionally painted portraits, appropriated from original older paintings, in three-forth profile, fully clothed in the dress of the profession (Cardinal, 2012) with disguised faces, folded, clothes or locks (Locks, 2012), the backside of the head. This disruption of an expected picture disrupts the narrative, through a high quality execution of the paintings, the unsettling effect seems to be stronger as if applied more abstract paintings, e.g. as in Dana Schutz‘s provocative painting Open Casket, 2016 appropriating a photograph of the lynched African American Till Emmett (see my blog post for UVC) that opened up questions of who had a right for cultural appropriation.

One artist who explores fabric and social heritage across cultures is Yinka Shonibarembe MBE. In his recent exhibition ‘Ruins Decorated’ classical ruined white marble sculptures are decorated with Dutch wax textiles. Dutch wax are considered as staple in African clothing. Double side printed cotton fabric in batik method, originally known for the technique developed in the Durch West Indies. One manufacturer of that traditional style is https://www.jansenholland.com/nl/. With the contrast of materiality (white marble, Batik textiles) he challenges color conceptions of cultural appropriation and colonial power structures of a Western White and an African colorful. The materiality and iconic perception of Dutch wax fabric informed his paintings (http://www.yinkashonibarembe.com/artwork/painting/) in a reduced abstraction moment with geometric shapes .

Without the content as such I  ponder choice of materiality alongside color, shapes and forms to be used in contrast or disruption of a narrative.

Below the Skin

Considering my tutors’s comment about my choice of bright red in my Fabric Wall #2 (too symbolic to connotate with blood? ), I was curious to see how other artists are handling bright red paint, e.g. Jane Lee‘s Solid Turn Liquid, 2015 (Melick and Morril, 2016:168-169), triggering ideas of blood dripping clothes, folded canvas that remind me of the multicolored canvas drapes of Sam Gilliam.  The paint on the floor alongside the painted canvas is conveying the spatial dimension of the material. At the end, it is all a painting. I find the comment in the book text interesting

“any symbolic violence is quickly undermined by the attention to material and form”

Another example is Turned Out, 2009, bright red painted canvas cut in thin strips and rolled like a firehose, certainly nothing to do with clothes any longer, but with materiality and surface. Both works emphasis the materiality of paint, the chosen color triggering ideas of blood might be just a reference to another reference, as blood could be seen as a paint as well (through its red color) Would the comment from the book mean that the chosen color and the chosen form are talking to the viewer through its materiality in a dialogue? Both bringing in different references, e.g. red=blood, form=fire hose?

Conclusion

What do I take away from this?

  • Clothes are a second skin.
  • Clothes are performing, are part of our identity, or part of our ‘persona’ (social mask)
  • Clothes do perform in absence of human beings.
  • Clothes are objects of desire, obsessive things to collect and to stage.
  • Skin:  human skin as clothes are the layer that surround us closely , in that sense clothes a second skin. Both protecting us, allowing us to interact with the environment, and give a sense of identity. Question what is behind or below? what is concealed? person, body  – blood, organs
  • Identity: Clothes to represent, they perform on us or for us.
  • Materiality : contrast alongside cultural connotations to disrupt narratives

Another object that is considered as identity given is the human brain, behind the skin, concealed by nature’s or culture’s clothing. An aspect that might bring me from a different angle to my personal project – to keep in mind, to explore.


Images:

  • All images are my own paintings as part of Ex3.1 (c)SJSchaffeld, 2018

Reference:

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