A1 – Reflection on tutor’s feedback

I am pleased with the overall comments from my tutor on my first assignment, who returned with her formative report incredibly fast after just two days.

This is a very good start to the course Stefan. Your have worked methodically but also inventively through the project exercises, using your research as an enquiry into the ideas that you find compelling. I am looking forward to seeing these ideas develop. – Clare Wilson


I submitted as assignment two approaches with focus on gesture, body movement, and repetition. My tutor found my Folding – Unfolding work ‘intriguing and an inventive series of works’ and recognized process related strengths. She highlighted some aspects visible in my video recordings that I was perhaps less aware of: imprints of shapes revealing a trace, a sense of revealing and concealing, and collapse of form.

My tutor related the two final works of fragments and grounds (#1 as intermediate and #2 as concluding work) to aspects that let me look at my work from a different perspective: impact of background on composition (less successful on black (flattening effect – ‘Keeping Aside‘), more successful on white with the white negative space as activating agent (‘The Puzzle of Gesture‘). Relating to the background my tutor suggested to work in collage and possibly with perspex. What I actually did, not perspex but mylar (see example and Fig 1). Unfortunately the photograph is not showing this effectively (photographed flat on a surface) and as I covered the entire transparent mylar, it is less successful, better to keep negative space to activate. And I should use more backlight to show effect.

Stefan513593 - assignment 1 -reflection - unfolded folds on mylar at window

Fig. 1: Stefan513593 – assignment 1 -reflection – unfolded folds on mylar at window


Overall, she recognized a greater awareness of the relationship between forms and edges. Other comments related to my intermediate work and my choice of color (considered? opposite to organic process?) and my experimental work of collage on ground (Folding #1 – final) exploring edges and openings, of revealing and concealing. 

The final ground of #2 What is Left Behind was considered an effective and balanced piece, though ambiguous. She suggested to add cleaner edges and suggestions of form and outline to increase spatial depth. I do agree that this work could be further elaborated, at that time I felt it should stay in an un-finished state to be less dominant in context of my performance work.

She found my Dog Shit Performance a well balanced combination of painting/installation that conveys a sense of tension between the smeared marks, punctured paper and red plastic bag. I am glad to hear that the second approach came across as a meaningful combination and composition. At the time of making I was less positive and felt it was more the gesture as process than the final result that would work.

Of my submitted exercise work, my tutor liked my work with removal of gesture The Elements showing my ability to ‘explore surface texture with a degree of subtlety’ whereas my work Skating was perceived primarily as performance than as a finished painting through embracing gestures and a dynamic of the work.

Regarding my sketchbook work, that I myself am not satisfied with, she appreciated the use as visual mapping, but suggested to experiment more with materials (e.g. various paper and fabric materials, collage) related to my subject matter and to be make my color choices more considered. Also she recommended to keep on working from life to sharpen color and compositional awareness. I fully agree with her as I definitely want to get back in my normal experimental sketchbook routine as I did much more during my previous course units. Somehow, I felt that the first part with much more focus on body movement in time and space need to be done in larger studio space, and therefore, my sketchbook felt too restrictive and limited.

Regarding context and my researches and reflection of my own practice I am very glad that my previous course UVC seems to get its rewards, as my tutor acknowledged my writing as ‘very articulately and with a good level of reflection’ and recognized my ‘looking extensively and thoroughly at artists and their ideas’ as ‘helping you contextualise your own practice’.  

My tutor highlighted one point on my Blog structure as being not easy to navigate. Her point was that the blog is the learning log, thus a separated category ‘learning log’ would be redundant. I already cleaned it up, deleted all subitems under coursework, and placed my learning notes under research & reflection. Thus, this category is now covering all researches and reflections related to coursework and extended personal investigations. 

Elements for further exploration

  • Ambiguity: as sense that I really would like to get across to the viewer and to maintain. Thus, glad that my tutor picked upon this.
  • Materials: explore and experiment more (incl sketchbook)
  • Composition: to balance towards a final result.  To consider adding more contrast and to play with transparent and opaque. 
  • Color: to choose more considerably
  • Edges: to play and explore more combinations of hard (clean) and soft edges. To think along the line of  ‘portals and points of entry, revealing and concealing’ as my tutor stated it. Consider relationship between forms and edges
  • Layering and movement: to develop further what I started to explore. 
  • Space and imprints: To think of how to leave more evidence of imprints revealing shapes, a sense of concealing and revealing (as in my video recordings). To think of space as activation.
  • Collapsing of form and materials: to explore and develop further
  • Control and gesture alongside repetition: to explore balance further
  • Performance versus finished painting:  questions of purpose, audience, documentation and recording.


Gesture – Repetition – Control – Space

My tutor’s feedback made me aware of some struggles I went through, and eventually leading to my titles of ‘failure’.  On the one hand I am pleased that she acknowledged some results as effective, balanced, as well as ambiguous. On the other hand I continue to think which way to go and how to proceed relating to the tension between performance and finished painting. One element, that I feel uncertain and not addressed is my question of documentation and recording alongside the question of painting as moving images. Thus, should my focus lay on creating finished compelling pieces? Certainly an aspect I need to improve on looking back at assessment comments from POP1. 

She gave my some very helpful reference to artists I was eagerly looking for. Part two is about still life in a contemporary context and how sculpture, the spatial element, can be incorporated into painting. For me a shift more towards painting, and to think about my personal project and critical review. I hope to keep my momentum related to gesture, control and repetition. I am also eager to continue working with moving images and the performative aspects of painting. Not sure how, but I will keep my exploratory approach to painting wide open.

Suggested reading: 

(more to look at later)
  • Sophia Starling – how she considers the boundaries between painting and sculpture, the relationship and tension between the folds of fabric and the paint  (using raw pigment and oil) 
  • Clare Price – how she activates the space combining gesture, transparency and flat shapes.
  • Stephen Buckeridge & Vincent Hawkins – disrupture of the picture plane – often using non-precious methods and materials.
  • Helen Chadwick – her work Piss Flowers
  • Richard Tuttle – his fabric pieces
  • George Braque – his use of edges and layering in the still life studies
  • Henri Matisse, Patrick Caulfield and Ben Nicholson – their different ways of disrupting the reading of a still life arrangement
  • Gillian Carnegie – still life paintings with delicate, subdued palette and interesting use of tone
  • Hannah Maybank  watercolour pieces and layered acrylic/ latex paintings exploring ideas of absence and presence as well as ideas about beauty.

I am collecting found images of above and other artist on my Pinterest boards at:

The full formative feedback is available at: https://drive.google.com/open?id=18Xv0CApdMK7h3IkAqVPmbqtHN6qM77Vw



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A1 – Reflection
A1 – Another attempt of Failure

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