Much of what I have been doing in my practical work recently has been documented in my sketch book, but I thought it was time to share a few pieces online. This photographic series was done with limited control and the only editing which took place involved changing the photographs from black and white to more of a subtle sepia tone – each image had identical minimal changes. (the exception is the photograph above which is layered from three of the aforementioned images).
Exploring working with dark tones and the self-portrait, this was fun to produce. I knew what I intended the series to look like, giving it the leading title of ‘Hook, Line’. I know what I mean by this but this does not mean the viewer will feel similarly, or know the relevance of the theme.
This work followed some experimentation with clay. I was initially developing a series of pieces in which, using black clay, I only allowed myself to work on the edge of wedges of clay. I was quite clinical about how many times I was allowed to cut and re-wedge the clay prior to having to work with whatever was on the edge of each piece.
I often find myself compelled to make, as though any of the words I can find will not come close to expressing the emotion, yet a handful of clay and some simple movement and manipulation of it can speak volumes. I continued to work with the black clay but decided to take a literal handful, developing these squashed faces: imprisoned in the palm of my hand – yet also the creation of the same hand. I am creator and destroyer (is this what they call a ‘God complex’?)
I have also been painting on a large canvas for a production of Animal Farm. The canvas measures 173cm x 225cm and has been such a pleasure to work on. The freedom to develop it in any style I wanted was extremely rewarding. I was keen to stick reasonably closely to what was needed for the production, whilst still retaining some identity as the artist in the style of painting. Working on this at the same time as the election, no doubt influenced some of the other pieces, giving me far too much to think about in terms of power and abuse of power, as well as those who are trapped in the system, and die for the ideology of another.
Napoleon 173 x 225 cm
In retrospect this piece inspired me to continue experimenting and finding ways to work with the self-imposed restrictions I had planned in this exploratory project. I continued to develop the mixed media boards, adding a layer of photographic transfer paper from prints I had created earlier in the course.
These boards are almost complete and only need a very small amount of tweaking. The fact that one layer almost obliterates the previous (in about 5 layers) is both distressing and exciting. Allowing myself to ‘lose’ imagery is also richly rewarding.
Above I was drawing ‘blind’ on top of a painting which I had scorched. I had intended to burn through the canvas but discovered that I am VERY BAD at creating fire – even with matches!
Another drawing on A1 board. This piece was drawn at arm’s length, moving my ink and drawing with enough distance between myself and the work to engineer a forced sense of physical imposition and stress. I wonder how much this is translated into the face itself (recorded from a sculpture I created earlier in the course). All of these works have brought me closer to an understanding of the pleasure of de-forming, and have allowed me to express this both through manipulation of materials as well as through the imagery. It is certainly something I want to keep experimenting with.