Tag Archives: painting

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: http://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 – 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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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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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 – 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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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 – 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

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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

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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 4.2: 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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Spin off play: Narrating a Gesture

Another spif-off idea from working on my assignment, playing with paper, paint, and stencils. Animation as narrative – painting as performance

A short animation video in nine still images (0:05 min)

 

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