Category : A3 – Reflection

A3 – Reflection on Tutorial

This time quite a different experience, having a tutorial with my tutor in London who also lives in London. I captured notes of our tutorial and she acknowledged my ‘thorough and detailed notes’ with adding only a few comments and references to art practitioners.

We went through the coursework and assignment works that I submitted all digitally, what certainly was a challenge regarding discerning materiality of thick Perspex with layers of painting on various levels through a digital reproduction as a flat picture. What brings up the question of presenting works in a convincing way and certainly to learn more from photographing sculpture and installation. Of the assignment series my tutor found no.6 Human and no. 2 Reaching, and possibly no. 2 Breaking Through the more successful ones (Fig. 1).

Stefan513593 - A3 - Reflection

Fig. 1: more successful pieces from assignment

 

I am not surprised that my sketchbooks and some more experimental works embracing more serendipity came out stronger. Overall, I do think that my wish to conclude and finish this assignment with a finished touch informed my work resulting in its containment. My struggle that resulted in my decision to continue with the figurative painted gesture was perceived as a bit too direct. However, I still think that especially human faces and hands could be portals to invite and engage the viewer.

I do think that the word ‚vulnerability‘ describes well my approach and attitude, although not so clearly verbalised by me. We discussed how I could trust more my instinct and put aside other thoughts coming from peer feedback. I could trust my discernment and to write this out more clearly , at least to myself when making iterations of work. It is good that my tutor noticed that all parts are there, to do more sketchbook works that would turn into larger scale work. What makes sense to me, as the dimension of my assignment work (40x30cm), dictated by what was at my disposal, felt restrictive. Restrictive not in a creative, opening up sense, but in a constraining, closing sense. Interesting for me to reflect more on what size is doing to my work.

Stefan513593 - A3 - Reflection - Ex3.1

Fig. 2: Paintings no 12 and no. 14 from Ex 3.1

 

Inspiring aspects my tutor suggested:

  • How gesture, mark making and materiality can relate to idea or subject matter (e.g abandoned patient gown maquette in Ex 3.1, perspex as material not fully explored?). Do think more about this relationship (would that mean a figurative oil painting on stretched canvas is less successful?)
    => Something I haven’t so much considered yet, but what feels exciting.
  • How fluidity and dissolution of boundaries appear to be more successful than ‘heavily framed’ imagery (e.g. Ex 3.3) of video work. (Fig. 3)
    => Can relate to this fully, as during the work I looked at Amy Sillman’s still images of her animated video work. While wondering about the motivation to print out stills of a video when there ‘apparently’ is not more visual information, I eventually discovered that a physical space the viewer can engage with, a physical and bodily approach to a narrative as one need to look and turn and move to see all, gives indeed much more further ‘information’. Last not least, I felt it was quite fun, and I would consider the exploration and construction as such even as a visual research process ! Definitely , an aspect I will explore more!

 

Stefan513593 - A3 - Reflection - Ex3.3

Fig. 3: Physical construction of narrative as installation , from Ex. 3.3

 

Points my tutor found important for me to keep in mind: 

  • To think about getting close-up and looking at areas or detail/pattern/texture and to avoid generalising (although, I don’t feel that my assignment work is generalized, perhaps abstracted from observation).
    => quite a valid point, a question how an idea or the material guides my exploration
  • To make more quick studies with paint, exploring the qualities of the painted surface/ edges, and using more transparency and layering (good examples: Fig. 1 and Fig. 2)
    => One more point where I found intuitively a more exciting expression of paint, but somehow as I did relate those to some of my earlier approaches I thought to make something different. Perhaps, this is a becoming of a voice, intuitively expressed strokes, marks, patterns, approaches that have a certain fluidity in it, alongside a sense of ‘being in my zone’

Elements that stand out for my tutor :

  • Paintings no 12 and no. 14 from Ex 3.1: my exploration of ambiguity through edges and fragments with a sense of vulnerability (Fig 1)
    => I agree that my sketches and studies that explored more the surface or the support and paint versus a rather observational ‘gaze’ turn out to be more successful, and for me also more engaging
  • Video flipbook narrative: my video work from Ex.3.4 was perceived as more successful and less confined, dissolution of boundaries.
    => This is another example of trusting more my intuition as resulting from peer feedback I decided to go for my other video with a closer look at , but perhaps more contained, as the first one picked by my tutor was certainly more about dissolving boundaries
  • Cast shadow of hand hand in video work with intriguing depth perception.
    => Something I would want to develop further.
  • Digital composite intriguing (Ex.3.4) as an intriguing and ambiguous set of surfaces and edges
    =>  I can relate this to my assignment 1 work of folded unfolded tissue with a fluidity of boundaries and borders. (Fig. 4). An approach I am still struggling with to find a meaningful development, is is digital? is it physical? how and what would I show in a galllery? a screen showing it or a ‘painting object’?
Stefan513593 - A3 -Reflection - Ex3.4

Fig. 4: Digital composite of painted surfaces from Ex. 3.4

 

On the technical side she suggested, considering my preference for oil paint and washes , to test Lascaux Aquacryl as apparently on can make transparent washes but also make thick pasty layers by adding impasto gel (closer to oil paint performance). I will give it a try in the next part and see whether it would work for me. Another material my tutor suggested is Latex, a material I do have first to find an entry into it to (unique properties?)

We discussed my parallel project, my intention to include my ongoing collaborative work music on same subject with Vicky Downey, and how my critical review will relate to my parallel project (thus, writing in first person is very appropriate, depending on what I have to say). I mentioned the deadline cumulating with a live performance of the collaborative project and was excited to hear that she would like to attend. This kind of excitement in such moments is what propels me forward. 

One main topic is certainly materiality and its relation to process and idea. The other ambiguity in my visual language alongside fragmented and disrupted space. To look at my work and my next steps from just these angles might results in more intimate approach.

With some more distance between me and my assignment work, and with a few study visits and workshops I attended in London that supported my reflection, a question to ask myself is what is my practice approach and what is my final work and message (if at all). I tend to move away now from conveying my embodied experience to the viewer (did I intend that they would feel, see similar things?), to consider this more as my own attitude in approaching and processing things, and to create works that would be more open ended and disruptive. Main aspects I want to avoid it being didactic, illustrative, or direct in that same sense.


Contextual suggestions of art practitioners:

  • Ally McGinn – Performative painting
  • Andrew Bick – Incorporates Wax, Perspex, acrylic
  • Alex Roberts – Use of transparent supports in her paintings.
  • Justin Mortimer – viscosity of paint.
  • Tania Kovats – Water 
    => Her book on ‘Drawing Water’ was suggested by my D1 tutor after I finished the course, as I was exploring mud and river through performative full body drawing
  • Hannah Maybank – latex/acrylic/watercolour
    => I already looked at her work in previous parts, intriguided by her muted color palette and sense of ambiguity
  • Alberto Burri
    => burlap and other materials used to overcome the conventional notion of painting on a canvas
  • Will Kendrick
  • Jason Martin,
  • Frank Stella 
  • Eva Hesse ( and here)

I will look at those artists more in detail during my next works and researches.

 


The full formative feedback (my notes amended by my tutor) is available at: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1-4OnH0ZP1ZejKWFJjqAOUVyAttBakhNb

  

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A3 – Self-Evaluation

How am I doing against the criteria?

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills

I explored new materials resonating with my sensibility of screen-based images: Perspex, Rhenalon, Mylar, and last not least moving images through recording and projecting. These materials are quite challenging from a technical perspective (how to paint, transfer paint onto, very long drying times) as well as from viewing perspective (front view, back view, illumination). I would not say that I master those materials, but I felt more at ease to take on these challenges and my assignment selection shows a more fluid approach with barriers, i.e. through layering and playing with layers to find meaningful compositions, and through repetitive cycles of doing making it nearly a habit. I applied some ‘printing’ aspects in my work, e.g. transfer, decalcomania, that felt meaningful to use. I struggled with the question of figurative versus abstract versus gestural painting, eventually found the layered ‘hand-gesture’ a balanced compromise in between that even triggered deeper responses from peers.

Quality of Outcome

Throughout this course and previous parts I went wilder and more experimental in my works that resulted in rather raw pieces, more sketches of work. For my current assignment that took quite some life no time due to above mentioned technical challenges (but not only) I was more concerned with quality of outcome. Informed by my public exposure since A2 with three exhibitions (!) I was seeking for more balanced compositions, quality of painting, aesthetic appeal of work and looking at settings that could be carried on to a gallery space. Therefore, I worked also with pictures frames to see whether the work would be supported by it – or not. In my six assignment works, this discernment comes through.

Still, considering the paintings challenges with Perspex and oil paint (that I prefer to acrylic for its body and more luminous colors especially in washes, but went mostly for acrylic at the end due to time constraints) I do not feel comfortable yet with the outcome. To get some technical advice would be helpful.

Demonstration of Creativity

With my constant curiosity and looking beyond paint in a conventional sense, I embraced moving images, and the performative aspect of light through projecting previous recorded painting images. I chose to work with transparent materials (Perspex, Rhenalon) to push my boundaries and to embed the ‘screen’ idea through its materialization. I engaged myself with performative painting by appropriating Richard Serra’s ‘Hand Catching’ video that informed my further engagement with my bodily representation of viewing and perceiving.

Overall, I did find resonance of my current work with my previous work from part 1 and 2.. Ideas and approaches through masking, transfer, folding, concealing, and disruption of picture plane and possible readings. However, I found it difficult to find a way to paint more gesturally.

I got new ideas (called spin-offs) for my parallel project where I started also a collaboration with a music student. In that sense a fruitful part of my course. Though, I need to move much faster now.

Context

I started with my parallel project idea with my MRI experience and eventually settled in with an appropriation of Richard Serra’s video work through a staged painterly enactment of the gesture of catching – and failing to do so. The theme of failure continued since my assignment 1 work, now with the addition of my bodily sensation of dissociation while staging the hand. My assignment work was not only informed by my previous works (e.g. folding, concealing, performing) but also by new works especially inspired by Jaqueline Humphries from a technical-painterly approach and Helen Chadwick and partly Mona Hatoum for their conceptual but also embodied expression of ideas in creating composites. I tried to be more focused on artists and those mentioned will certainly continue to accompany my journey.

Eventually, peer feedback on my moving images and my paintings informed my continuation with the ‘hand gesture’ as an entry portal for the viewer to engage with the work, versus pure abstraction. Through this approach, I found a more stimulating and meaningful way to narrative through painting and a viewer’s agency.  I struggled with the notion of narrative as storytelling as a rather didactic approach.

 


Questions to my tutor:

  • I am still intrigued by my video recording of reflective projection (Performance – Unframed #01) I am struggling once again with the question on medium: moving images or painting. Whether and how moving images could be considered as an expanded field of painting. Where to look for artists?
  • The performative painting: context and artists working in this field? 
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