I feel it in the air. Micromovements of a miniature world steadily decline.
Warm up Warm up.
Ready, set go. Painting the Honey Bee to kick start momentum.
Oil paint on board (25 x 25 cm).
at this stage I did no know that I would be so interested in human and animal relationships: human life as we know it would not be possible without our little friends. Over 1/3rd of human food supply is pollinated by bees.
With a greater insight to my overall theme of human and animal relationships I am now able to make a connection to how or why I may be interested in the honey bee and perhaps the animal may serve as a signifier to larger contemporary issues such as anthropogenic impact on the environment, biodiversity and resources.
In plastic resin we guard that which is sacred
Beetle in Resin
( x )
In order to paint this Beetle, I decided to shine the light through the resin in a dark room and capture its phosphorescent glow by using the macro setting on the camera. I found it intriguing that direct light showed a completely different array of colour to the beetle in normal light: like a kind of dazzling jewel found in at the back of a dark cave.
During the crit, I got asked 'What are the lines around the outside'
The lines represented the edges of the resin box. For me this was what made the beetle interesting to work with: the resin enclosure signified Man's subjugation of nature. The beetle killed and set inside for the human consumption. The resin beetle provokes me to question the human and animal relationship and the 'boarders' between the species. The resin acts as a man-made boundary. For more information about boundaries please see my unit 1 assessment essay.
Both the Honey Bee and the Beetle painting made me recognise the importance of technically understanding paint as a medium. Both paintings I decidedly used dark coloured backgrounds to give a chiaroscuro-type visual affect of bringing certain aspects of the subjects form to the foreground. However, due to a lack of technical care I believe the darker paints applied in thicker layers, over time will crack. Additionally, painting straight onto the unprimed board ( Honey Bee) allows the oil to continue soaking into the board and the paint will eventually crumble.
Beauty Facemask and Video link
What comes first, the skin or the mask?
At this stage I had an interest in Ritual and I liked the animistic quality in masks.
I imagined paintings of everyday ritual: brushing of teeth, combing hair, putting on and taking off cloths.
Routine, a preformative action, that makes something habitual. Through repeating the action the body and mind become trained, Routines grow harder to break as one grows older. Fear of being stuck in a routine.
Routine, a preformative action, that makes something habitual.
How can you stop the routine? Break a habit or behaviour patter when you can't turn back time.
The Answer was given by the snake. The snake who sheds its skin. Click here to read Trapped in Yesterday's Skin
I rang a breeder and ordered 'as many snake skins as a snake would shed- please'
'Give me a Month' the breeder said 'and I'll send you a good 20'
In the mean time, I set to think about how a human would 'shed their skin' pulling forward ideas of mimesis and phenomenological acquisition of knowledge experience.
So I bought Latex and peeled away my the skin of my hand (Photograph to the Left)
I peeled away a face masks and I made this (drawn out) video.
Inspired by: FriendsWithYou contemporary art collective (Contribution by Pharrell Williams and Alejandro Jodorowsky, Introduction by Peter Doroshenko) and there writings on animism
I put the mask around different objects in my room, they became imbued with an imprint of my face. Close up of the marks revealed the patterns upon my skin, little hairs stuck to the mask. Despite the mask being of my face, is light share and unspecific features give it a ghost like quality, this quality then transferred to the objects on which I placed it on.
And I made this story board
First Group Crit- Imprint of Self
October 27 2016
The day before the group crit, whilst painting my beetle (Left) I asked a peer what he thought.
In a much politer way he said:
' TBH mate, the marks around the wall tell me a lot more about you than the painting does'
A light bulb moment lead me to my first piece
Inspired by previous shenanigans, I realised I wanted to create a figure mysteriously poised amongst my marks. Something a bit more me in a literal sense. So I gathered my cloths and took my favourite coat and suspended them mid air, fastened to the wall. The full figure was 5 foot tall taken from on top of some books. The books indexed the literature that I read, whilst their placement underneath my feet referenced the countless of people who have joked about my height, offering me the yellow pages to stand upon. I fitted the latex glove into my sleeve and raised the arm as if in a sling, I finishing the hand off with my ring. The face mask now served as a face, shaded by my a hat.
During the Crit, people expressed that they felt uncomfortable, the work reminded them of death. Additionally, they asked about the connection between the sculpture, the expressive paint and the bugs. Why had I also chosen to have something fixed to the wall rather than something they could walk around.
The work presented a series of figurative representations: a representation of a bee, of a beetle, the human figure. The marks on the wall and the messy state of the studio acted as organic states of me without the manipulation that the other work had and in light of my peers comments I believed it was important to juxtapose the works the 'not me' with an authentic me- the work becoming more interesting as a result. Indeed, during the crit group, peers helped me to realise the importance of the relationship between different presented works - especially in eyes of the audience.
Painting, Layering of skin, obliterating the image. Sketching on top. A Process of making, layering and deleting.
This painting is unfinished and on going...
Below, through investigating issue paper and oil paint, I found that the oil sinks through the paper when rubbed and to create another painting. The tissue paper's delicacy gives a vulnerability and softness to the painting.
To watch a video of this technique watch here
Boundaries and Boarders: Self and Other
The /crit drew my attention to the notion of boundaries and I started to question where does one thing end and the next begin? How does physical separation change human behaviours to that which lies on the other side? You can read about an experiment I did: The Reception Desk in the writing section.
Understanding boundaries as an ideological and physical tool to separate the self from the other. Hegel wrote on the Self and other:
I wanted to explore moments of mergence between the self and other. First this lead me to consider movement and dance before returning to a focus on human and non-human relationships.
Moments of Mergency through mimesis: Intersubject Connectivity
I wanted to explore moments when boundaries and boarders of the self disintegrated when mimetically interacting with another. Michael Taussig describes mimesis as an experiential foundation, which develops as a ‘dance between the . very same and the very different…registering both sameness and difference, of being like and of being Other’ (p. 27, quoting from Michael Taussig’s writings on mimesis).
I improvised movements with a MFA student and caught our interaction on video.I have chosen extracts from the videos that show moments of synchronicity below:
In this video, the bodys work together constantly responding to each others movements.
In this video the hands work together as one unit.
I loosely directed these videos, instructing the MFA student to think about 'flow'. 'Flow' is the first rhythmic stage of Gabriel Roth's 5 rhythms: Flowing Staccato Chaos Lyrical Stillness.
I chose to draw upon the 5Rhythms, as it's ritualistic quality claims to connect to: 'cycles of birth & death and hooks us into humanity and the spirit of all living things.' Which I thought an appropriate spring from animism.
Whilst I enjoyed directing these videos, I felt that the process of editing them did not engage me enough in order to pursue it further. Nevertherless, the notion of mimesis did intrigue me, leading me to explore the work of Marcus Coates and Joeph Beuys who enter mimetic relations with animals in their work:
I prefer charcoal as a medium when doing life drawings as I can manipulate it easily and it has a range of different effects as it is so soft. Life drawings can be viewed here.
Experimenting with charcoal, creating layers, pouring and freezing
You can watch a video of this experimental method here.
Once the painting was made I scanned them in to the computer an edited the contrast on the computer to get the final image, clack and white contrast, without the grey paper background.
I really like the look of the charcoal when it is in resin, it becomes suspended. The paintings are a result of action and they compressed and flattened. I like the idea of having objects suspended in a space, almost like things are frozen in time or mid explosion. It reminds me of Cornelia Parker's Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View 1991. An audio of Parker talkijng about Frozen Moments can be found here: here
watch a video of this method here
Previously I ordered snake skins, they finally arrive.
The skins in the studio caused quite a stir which I found interesting as they are clean sheets of skin that the snake sheds naturally each month. Alternatively, people are able to handle meat, use leather and wear wool. But the snake skin is unprocessed, it looks too similar to the animal it once was.
What is the relationship between painting a representation of the snake skin and using the snake skin?
I started sketching out a hand and the snake skin but i felt that in a painting this wasn't very strong. The contrast of materials wasn't visible enough. This lead me to cast my hand and work it with the snake skin.
Animal snake paper mache, Animal snake canvas, Animal snake skin-cloths on a hanger
Making a snake skin canvas
The delicate tissue paper compliments the way that the charcoal has shattered like glass. I really liked the outcome of these pieces and it is definitely something I could return to.
Manipulating the skins became interesting work within itself. Dried, the skins are rigid, flaky and extremely fragile, ripping easily, however, (as advised from the breeder) when the skins are bathed in warm water they become flexible, slightly slimy to touch and easy to move about. I bathed the skins stretched them out and hung them up to dry. This process reminded me of the way that cloths are hung out to dry or how they keep in a wardrobe, This furthering the metaphor building about the snake skins being like human cloths, ritualistically coming off and on off and on whilst simultaneously referencing the body, skin, the conscious and unconscious behaviour patterns. Here is a sample of a short story in working progress:
To read the final piece or further development of this piece, more visit the words section or click here
After visiting the Welcome Collection's exhbition Making Nature and the Marian Goodman exhibition I started to develop the notion of categories and boundaries of animals as well as the ideological hierarchies between the species.
Jorge Luis Borges, concluded: referencing a (fictitious) Chinese encyclopedia that classifies animals using the 14 categories listed here. He concludes that “it is clear that there is no classification of the Universe not being arbitrary and full of conjectures”.
Influenced by the the history of 'non-descripts' (The term given to those who straddle descriptive boundaries, resisting classification) detailed at the Welcome Collections I made my own non-descriptive. Man-Made Plasticine part snake, part bird, part human. resisting classification by transgressing boundaries of the cube. Becoming frustrated with the cube, the non-descript pulls the bars of his metaphorical cage together, thus warping the cube.
I chose Plasticine for its malleable quality as i had ideas of making a stop motion animation with it.
However, I also had ideas to develop the cube as a category also. I wanted a man-made hand to hold a cube. This lead me to the casting workshops
Casting my hand, I wanted to place materials between the fingers, snake skin and more.
Enjoying the way the plaster piicked up so much detail I printed the snakeskin (an imprint of the snake) into the plaster. An imprint of an imprint
There I something I like about contrasting materials. I am specifically drawn to organic and biodegradable materials as I believe it is important to consider a sustainability of materials and practice. I shall address the issue of sustainability further in my 'Professional Practice'.
After interviewing Nancy Miliken, US based artist, (audio can be found here) I recognised that If I am drawn to materials then I should allow myself to explore my materials as an investigative process to art making.
Exploring the Cube: hierarchal structures,
and the Vitrine
Building up paint layers very slowly (10/11 layers of Gesso) and then making multicoloured grounds.
In the first series I then covered the oil with a acrylic paint then scraped away to reveal the base beneath
The second painting have built up the gesso slowly and now applying just oil paint in very thin layers.
The cubic shapes and stair like structures reference the vitrine, categories and ontological hierarchies.
Wire cube, Copper cube, Wooden cube
Scaling up the cube each time. Changing materials.
The wooden cube I hve made completely out of wood. At first I made it using screws but changed the design as I felt it was better to have it all out of organic materials. I have made it so it can construct and deconstruct so that I can take it around different sites and reassemble it. I plan to take photos of it constructed around different categories of things of: 'nature'= tree, man-made- bins, streets, lampposts, although I am aware of forced nature of these categories. in fact I I hope my work emphasises this absurd nature of categories.
I have applied to a residency in February to showcase a preformative piece of work using this piece. My application can be viewed here.
Depending on how this looks I may construct a further cube from metal and interlink the two structures. Currently I am investigating with metals to do this with in the workshop.
Birthed from the notion of Hierarchical ontologies I drafted this piece of writing, which needs to be read from bottom up (Page 1 & 2)
Prints: Linocut and monoprinting