THINKING THROUGH MAKING
'AND I ... PAUSED' BOROUGH ROAD GALLERY
a e i o u
OVERVIEW: The Borough Road Archive ran a number of experimental exhibitions in 2018 - Borough Art Labs in response to the concept of ARCHIVES and COLLECTIONS. Organised by the curator @theresakneppers we discussed 'how complex thoughts are arranged in the human brain as compared to ordered archival systems...'I used the first page of 'A' the Oxford dictionary. I planned to transform the first page of every consonant as I can not hear the difference in their sounds, yet they control how words are heard.
I produced a sort of typology of 'A'- a set of single images, 3 x collages and 5 x books. Each series explored a potential re-archiving of 'A' through tone as sound, form and colour.
I used a passage in Deborah Levy's book Cost of Living as a starting point (as shown in the photo). Levy is giving a book reading and pauses, overcome by grief. I was interested in the physical impact her pause had on the reading/auidiance and how her own writing had caused her to stop, how in that moment she was lost to grief and memory. I was trying to understand my own psychological desire to 'pause' to 'take a moment' to 'make a cut'.
RATIONAL: At this time I was reflecting on my creative process, patterns within my own behaviour and how these patterns showed up in my work. I identified the importance of the photocopier in my life. Plenty of people have told me how photocopiers were an intregal part of their art school experience pre Adobe Photoshop. As a Art Lecturer I have always had access and in different moments of my career have found myself repeating the same action of dragging to distort or transform. These moments could be seen as 'markers' or 'rings' in my artistic time line. (This later help me to interput this series of experiments- the visitors to the exhibition referred to these images as wood grain or sound waves, I often see them as a passing of time or a moment captured)
Water is essential to my thinking in this instance as a 'body' of living liquid. This research is an exploration of movement to collect data around stillness- what happens when a pause in enforced though the lens of a camera?
As the cloth is submerged it becomes saturated by the salty water. It becomes clumped and clinging as it softly bobs with the wind lapping at the waters surface. The synthetic cloth shimmers unnaturally against the seaweed and rocks. As the cloth is dragged under and wraps around my feet, I start to think of the cloth as a body, it is not clear if it is my body or a human body. It was strange to imagine I was looking at my own body, as it twisted around in the shallows I looked away and in that moment I could have been carried away by the current, lost to the sea.
BELOW: Photos, 2014: Shetland Isles / John Everett Millais, Ophelia 1851-2
When I began the Zsuzi Roboz Scholarship in September 2019 (2019- Sept 2021) I was challanged to consider the figerative nature of my work.
The scholarship program offered one to one mentoring and access to any course at Morley College. I selected classes that would help me to gain fresh perspectives on my work, practically and intellectually. I attended life drawing classes to obverse the 3d human form. Looking only at the figure whilst drawing; I mapped the models skin, bones and postures. This style of drawing was supported by Theraputic yoga sessions. That helped me to embody the observations made in the life drawing classes. Contextually, I considered my own body, as a metarophur for the 'figerative', the internal and external idea of worlds - the balance of real and imagined, landscape/environment/object. To gain a better understanding of my 'female' body I studied a board range of writing by British women from the Victorian period. The passages, diaries, poems and legislation were carefully put together and researched by the tutor to allow for a deeper understanding of working and upper class women.
My body features in some of my work almost as a ghost in the machine.
The grid is subject of artist practice and art theory (Grids, Rosalind Kruss, The MIT Press, 1979) . I am a fan of Angus Martin's work for the grid formation. I noticed the lines in my work were often in grid formation, trapping and framing the subject. When working across cloth and paper the fundamental difference is that cloth is woven, the weave tension and yarns used all play a basic but transformatory roll. Back in 2018, I set out to identify the visual cultures and languages in my everyday life. The grid appeared more then any thing else- specifically in the tiling of swimming pools. I swam 3- 4 times a week for a few years. To exercise my body, the relax my body and refresh my body. I was addicted to watching the pool water, is pushed, pulled, sploshed and splashed around the other bodies and the gridded tiles. The grid animated by the movement was also brought to life by the sun light (I mainly swim outside). It was at this point I began to consider the nature and characteristics of water and light. Thinking through the grid I began to try to draw cross sections of the pool water - drawing games
The colour in my work is often in part decided by the printing process I am using. The photocopier runs to CMYK system and so the colours that are dragged or pulled out of the machine come from the random selection the machine makes. I have some control over the base colour but it wasn't until I began to draw with Crystal Organza (a transparent synthetic cloth) that I truly understood the way that photocopier machine was producing colour. Inspired by Stanly Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odysea, dealth or re-birthing scene and Issac Newton's discovery that colour isn't not 'pure light', along with hours of watching light bonce and refract on the surface of water, colour is more then pigment, in my work it is the life source. To understand colour I have carried out explorations with water, well specifically ice and food dye (as well as printing Procion dyes on to cloth and paper). These studies helped me to see that colour in action with frozen water, paper and cloth- I am interested in the duality of 'states' of materials. The balance of edable and posionous dyes - life and death sources.
Some times colour is simply inherent to the process and is a mearly a side note of my thinking. The Haptic series for example is not preoccupied with colour at all, it is instead a study of repetition, in rumination and transformative nature of repetition. I often desire to edit the colour to something more within my taste; this always significantly changes the work, and often doesn't make sense to me. I have my work screen printed - CMYK halftone/ 4 colour seperation to capture all of the colour in the Photocopy drawings but also to see the work translated through another machine. The liner quality of the 'dragged' copies become dots, the copies once scanned also become pixels- the work then starts to be as much about shape as it does surface. Others often see the work as pattern- which it is when seen as line, pixel or dot; I am never specifically aiming to generate pattern or works at are decorative.