Tag Archives: reflection

A6 – Reflection on Tutorial

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

Overall, my tutor acknowledged that

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

Parallel Project

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

Critical Review:

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

Conclusion at the end.

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

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

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

Next steps:

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

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

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A6 – Self-Evaluation

How am I doing against the assessment criteria? 

 

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills

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

Quality of Outcome:

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

Demonstration of Creativity:

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

Context: 

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

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A6 – Reflective Account

 

Living through the skin of materiality

 

How medical imaging becomes materiality for transformation in my practice

 

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

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

 

Transformation – vulnerability
    disconnected – disruptive

 Interdependent – ambiguous

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

(word count: 788) 

 

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

 

 


Reference

 

 

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A5 – Reflection on Tutorial

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Fig. 2: 'Be Large ' - leaving behind

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

Coursework

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

Sketchbooks

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

Critical Review

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

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

 

Learnings:

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

 


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

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A5 – Self-Evaluation

How am I doing against the criteria?

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills

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

Quality of Outcome

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

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

Demonstration of Creativity

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

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

Context

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

 


Questions to my tutor:

  • Potential of my ‘hanger’ sculptures
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Medical imagery – an ethical question?

On Ethics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


Image:

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

Reference:

  • Foucault, M. (1994) The Birth of the Clinic : An Archaeology of Medical Perception, Routledge classics, Reprinted ed. New York: VIntage Books, A division of Random House, Inc.
  • Hayles, N. K. (1999) How we became posthuman : Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics. Chicago; London: The University of Chicago Pres.
  • Institut für Plastination e.K (2019) Bodyworlds – Körperwelten,  At: https://bodyworlds.com/  (Accessed  10 Jul 2019). Heidelberg:
  • National Library of Medicine (2019) The Visible Human Project®,  At: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/research/visible/visible_human.html  (Accessed  02 May 2019).
  • The University of Cambridge (1566) ‘Juan Valverde de Amusco (ca. 1525–ca. 1588), Vivae imagines partium corporis humani aereis formis expressae. Book 2, plate 1’, in Juan Valverde de Amusco (ca. 1525–ca. 1588), V. i. p. c. h. a. f. e. B., plate 1, ed., Antwerp: Christopher Plantin, print.
  • van Dijck, J. (2005) Transparent Body : A Cultural Analysis of Medical Imaging. Seattle, WA; London: University of Washington Press.
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P5.2 – Parallel Project Ex5.2: Reflective exercise (Part b)

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

 

Feedbacks received:

in key words

Stefan513593 - P2SP - Parallel Project - Reflection - key words

Fig. 1: Parallel Project – Reflection – key words

 

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

 


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

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

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


Positive moments of our work:

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

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

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

Questions to myself

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Key subject

 

– Transformation – Crossing Boundaries –

 – Disrupting narrative – 

– Vulnerability  Fragmentation – Material Reality –

 

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

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

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

 

Actions to develop the work

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

 


Image:

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

Supporting Material

Reference

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

 

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A4 – Reflection on Tutorial

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

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

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

.. and with regards to my blog:

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

 

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

 

 – Fragmentation – Disruption – Boundaries –

– Vulnerability – Fragility –

– Transformation – 

 

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

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

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

 

Comments on these works:

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

 

Aspects to keep in mind:

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

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

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

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

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

Parallel Project

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

Key aspects:

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

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

 

Critical Review:

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

 

Conclusion:

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

Suggestions on art practitioners that could inform my working practice

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


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

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A4- Self-Evaluation

How am I doing against the criteria?

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills

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

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

Quality of Outcome

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

Demonstration of Creativity

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

Context

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

 


Questions to my tutor:

  • Suggestions (presentation, assessment) for work that are under tension, vulnerable towards movement and especially heavy handling.
  • Discussion on multiple media (e.g. plus sound): I could embrace this to work in a gallery setting as the sound coming from the backside of the ‘still’ painting. How to get this virtually across?
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Assignment 4 – Preparatory Thoughts

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

Painting

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

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

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

Paint as sculptural medium

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

Alternative materials

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

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

 

Aim for my assignment 4

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

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