Welcome to my online Journal where i hope to share my thoughts, feeling, inspirations, processes, problem solving, and completed works as well as works in progress.
In my last crit show i showed my three large scale canvases with the video of me making the work projected over the top ( a theme others copied, i mean appropriated, themselves in the last crit show) they however made it to the top 20. The critique from my tutors was to be less "new-agey", what ever that means. I decided for this next crit show to make something extremely simple, to demonstrate and idea or observation with the minimal amount of materials, relying on small details to tell the story or make a point or observation. I currently have zero funds, work or a permanent home so i needed a way to work that would be possible in abject poverty and fluid living conditions. My large scale canvas's were such fun to make but the costs for the large canvases and natural pigments were high and not something i can afford to develop further at the moment. I sat in the woods and asked myself what i am trying to say or observe in my work. The main idea is to see how humans effect the natural world, how we change and twist it to meet our needs, i wondered how i could make a work to demonstrate this without being to new age or obvious, extravagant, or showy. Remembering a peice i made in my first year where i sprayed one leaf neon pink and photographed it, and also twisted honey suckle stems into a loop and also sprayed it, i simply gathers six dead branches from the forest floor and sprayed one bright red paint, the natural color of warning, or poison in the natural world and a color also used in England for public services, fire engines, post boxes and traditional telephone booths. I simply took them and placed them in the space, to add more human touch i broke the end of each one and snapped into three or four small pieces. I placed the branches upside down, skinny end on the floor, the opposite way a tree would grow and arranged the smaller pieces in a very human zip-zag pattern in-front. The effect was very simple but also i felt very effective. Would the point still get across, was it too cryptic, was it effective? It was the simplest work i have ever made and felt strange, almost cheating to make something so simple, how ever if Duchamp can call a urinal a fountain then why cant i objectify a stick to my own means?
How did the crit show go???
I was surprised at how well the work was received. The work was put on lots of peoples top five lists but didn't make the top twenty that the tutors chose. Before explaining what the work was about the other people in the crit had to try and guess what the work was trying to say, the first lady to speak said "i feel it is is about nature and how humans mess with it. It is about tree's, deforestation. The branches have been placed upside down and distorted, one is painted red to symbolize toxicity, danger." I was a little dumb struck at how all the little clues were picked up on and the story told with hardly any process being involved. My other works take days and days of meticulous process to complete, this work was as simple as could be. They said it looked visually interesting, the way the light fell on it was effective, the positioning of the branches was interesting. I told them how i was struggling with making something so simple, that it felt almost like a cheat and they were all very adamant that it was perfect as it was, it made its point and that was the important thing. One even went as far as to say it was one of my strongest pieces. It was all very reaffirming if not a little disconcerting.
Where to go from here??
I would like to continue with this theme to see what else i can make. I like the way only one part of the work is a man-made color. I think several more works can be made using this new simple format. Curious shapes and object made quickly and simply from found natural materials. I am currently working on a Bonsia inspired tree made from found wire and twigs which is quite complicated and fiddly so i feel allowing for time and budget this new way of approaching my practice could help me to make the points i want to make within these limitations.