Monday, 29 March 2010

Happy nicking

Feel free to steal away!

Yes, I know the Fiona Banner work. She's one of those artists whose work I saw ages ago (in Turner Prize whilst I was doing my A-level art) and at the time didn't really 'get' or like that much but later became interesting. Another example would be Richard Long whose work I thought was really BORING until seeing the Tate exhibition last year. Probably something to do with scale.

I don't know Nicholson Baker's work but maybe I'll see if I can get them from the library. Hang on, I've just looked on Amazon and can get 'Box of Matches' for £0.34 (well £3 with postage) That'll do it! I must say I'm often quite a fan of books where nothing very much happens!

I thought I couldn't do the 2 ideas because of not fitting, although time-constraints are a consideration too! Will see how I get on.

Keeping a messy Palette

Hi All, 

Wow!! great posts coming through here! It's really getting me thinking. 

Amelia - you're ideas sound really interesting. They kind of fit with the processes i've been going through in the studio. Well, they talk about a thought process going on inside ones head - and that's what I was doing when I was cycling by the docks. Or even just the idea of letting your thoughts ramble and wonder as you walk around town. The idea of not being able to describe to someone exactly how to get somewhere - even though you know you could find the way easily - I've felt that!!

Your second idea is also a great one - those words really tap into the kind of things I'm dealing with in the studio. The messy push and pull between marks and the direction of where the painting is going. They're juicy words and seem to talk about that tangle of making well! Quite Physical - Yeah! I'd be up for both ideas being realised in the exhibition.

Michael - You're Mount St Helen's photos look interesting. It's nice to get a window on your practice that's different from what I've seen on your website. You mention the trees echoing the lines on digital videos...It will be good to learn more about how these photos fit into your practice.

Andrew - great set of inspirations there. I really need to watch Suspiria! hmmm, I'm getting images of what your work might be like.....

Thanks for posting your thoughts on this blog - it's cool to see what other people are thinking about and is helping me to solidify my own ideas for the exhibition - and hopefully yours as well!

I've recently decided NOT to clean my palate up completely at the end of each day (a big step for me)...I don't know why, but before this I always thought it was good practice to wipe away all the old colours, and start the next day afresh. But, then I don't know where to key off from when I start the next day - so now I'm leaving the colours there! It gives me a sense of where my thoughts/actions were the previous day, but in a physical more tactile way. 

I'll post some more images when I get in the studio:-)

speak to you all soon



Sunday, 28 March 2010

can i steal your wonderful ideas!?

Amelia, there are about 40 different potential artwork in a blog
why can't you do 2 different pieces-time constraints or the idea of fitting, i quite like the idea of not fitting or rather not quite fitting correctly!
but some late night thoughts....
the idea of places that are familiar on tv but out of context is such a feeling of uncanniness, it really throws you, i would love to see what story resulted from this.
and the others are gems too.
i am not convinced of image and text combined on the same image, seperate for me!
the 2nd image of the road with the steps down to the middle of the road is brilliant.
word drawings that are jammed, do it, do it, do it.
do you know the Fiona Banner life drawings? i put them above for you...maybe something there
also Nicholson Baker novels especially Box of Matches, seems to fit the story somehow, but not quite sure why......
Right got to dash to bed as my little boy is beginning to cry, which reminds me of another Nicholson Baker book called Room Temperature, again worth a read, just avoid the fermeta.
oh and your ideas are safe, i would never do that.

Two Possibilities

Hello all,

I’ve enjoyed looking at your posts and it has galvanised me into thinking about what I’ll do for this show. I have two still rather vague ideas whirring around in my head as possibilities. I don’t think these two ideas are compatible with each other, it would have to be one or the other. So I’m interested to get some feedback on what you guys think would interact or resonate best with your works. I appreciate that I might have to work these ideas up a bit more (actually start writing the text or doing the drawings) before you have an opinion one way or the other. However I thought it’d be good to get something up on the blog straight away and give you an idea at least

Idea 1 – places, experience and represenation

A series of 3-5 short written episodes to do with the relationship between place, memory, physical interaction and representation. These (written from autobiographical experiences but maybe a bit fictionalised) might include:

1) Story about going back to a place in the city where I used to live and noticing a pub which I’d been in before but never really seen what it actually looked like (quite distinctive mock Tudor). Similar to the experience of when a building is knocked down, wondering what was there before. Or when someone asks you directions and you know where they want to go, could get there yourself but can’t quite visualise the route. Place isn’t necessarily experienced visually.

2) The weird experience of seeing familiar places on TV. A moment of recognition but seems odd as out of context.

3) Walking along my familiar bus route and it having a completely different sense of space, speed and scale than when on the bus.

4) Looking at the town where I grew up on google maps and realising that I never really considered that I lived right at the boundary of the residential part of the town. Because there weren’t parks to take me there I didn’t really think what was outside it. Ariel view gives a new perspective.

5) Story about doing the same walk twice in the Lake District by mistake in 2 consecutive years because we bought guided walk books both times that must be compiled from the same range of walks. The second time we got chatting to another couple in our B&B who had done the same walk that day too – but set out earlier than us. The husband of the couple however obviously did not register what we were saying to him as he proceeded to get his map out and show us the route they’d taken, explaining the walk in detail as he did so not acknowledging that this was a repetition of what we’d done too.

The reason I’m considering these ideas for this exhibition is really from Hamish saying that his paintings though abstract come from an interest in/interaction with the world or landscape around him. I’ve been thinking about how my local landscape is embedded in my mental space and to some degree the impact of mediation (Maps, TV) on this. There is possibly also some resonance with Michael’s work? – from what I’ve seen on your website at least.

The stories might be combined with photographic images. Here’s some photos from a fairly recent photo taking trip that I quite like though I’m not sure they’re the most relevant thing.

Maybe also map/ariel images. In which case I’d probably quite simply just put them next to each other. Or they could just be texts, possibly on print outs that could be taken away. Or could be audio recordings, listening through headphones.

Here's a couple of visual references that may or may not suggest where it's going!

by Victor Burgin

Idea 2 - Drawings of words to do with mess, disorder or trying to hoard up against this:

Some possible words so far:


This might be a series of 4 drawings or a single drawing with lots of words grappling for space - CHOKE UP, CRAM, FILL, FORCE, GLUT, JAM, OVERFILL, PACK, PUSH, RAM, SATIATE, SQUEEZE, WAD, WEDGE. Probably messy, pencil and paint on paper.

clag, gloop, gunge, gunk, mush, slush, crud, dregs, mire, scuz
sleaze, slime, goo, sludge
dribble, seep, drip, pour, slop, slosh, spill…
daub, slather, smear, smudge, swab….(not sure yet how I’d use these, just a starting point. Might put them into sentences somehow)

Some visual references:

I've lost track of the artist of this one

By Bruce Nauman

I guess I am interested in the synaesthetic qualities of words. I thought particularly that putting such words with paintings, they might refer to the material qualities of paint and the aspect of controlling paint but also allowing it to drib, dribble etc. In some of the references Andrew posted there seems to be something about disorder taking over, or slipping into chaos.

To some degree these words have come from recently reading “The Stuff of Thought” by Stephen Pinker. He writes about how things like causing and letting are expressed using different grammar. I’m not going to spend the time to go into this more here now, but suffice to say, his point is that the ‘stuffness’ of the world gets embedded in how we use language. Things like causing/letting, forcing/allowing and also spatial relationships are conceptualised quite clearly at a fundamental level and then have to be expressed by the clunky system of language.

I’m also interested in how we conceptualise ourselves as having an ‘inside’ and ‘outside,’ human subjectivity is conceived in spatial terms as if our bodies were a container for our selves. I haven’t really thought this through, but somehow that seems to fit with the idea of a ‘box’ as a container and thinking outside it. The following 2 phrases are to do with this notion and could just be simple black, vinyl lettering on a white wall.

what if we are empty?
what if we are full of mess?

That’s it for now!
I've spent the better part of the last two months just getting situated. Putting my stuff into places, and finding new stuff, and finding places that need stuff. So I haven't quite established a way of working in my new place, or where to find the things I need to make work, or how to connect to places to make new work. Hopefully this will change as I get out of town for a week or so, and reconnect to my normal process of making things (although it will be significantly altered.)

So I don't have a whole lot to contribute to new inspirations. But maybe I'm rather taking this time to think back a bit on what I've been working on before I enter a new phase of work and (worry?) about how that will come to end.

So here are some photos that are more towards the beginning of what I've been working on the last few years. They are photos of a trip I took to Mount St. Helens, which erupted in 1980. At the time I went to visit it (nearly 30 years later), the volcano began a new cycle of activity - rebuilding it's lava dome. Although I didn't experience it's original eruption, I lived a few hours away from it at the time I took these pictures, and in the shadow of Mount Rainer a much larger and potentially much more devastating volcano that was labeled dormant. Regardless, and as cool as volcanoes are, I was less concerned with the mountain itself, but rather the area around it.

This was really the beginning of my inquiry, and I have a lot of photos of this. After the volcano erupted it knocked over all of the trees for miles. Logging companies came and took those trees and also started logging the forests nearby. After clearcutting an area, they replanted acres of trees. Different areas of the forest were replanted in different years and have signs marking them. Because of all of this there are large plots of land with the exact same trees, all the exact same age, grown at the same height and sometimes in clear rows. It seems like an optical illusion when you stare at them. And it reminded me a lot of digital media and video. With these perfect interlacing horizontal and vertical lines that are natural, but human-enhanced.

This is some little cave at the base of Mount St. Helens. Since around it nearly everywhere is death, I wonder what lives in it.

This is the top of the spent mountain, with a new dome of rock slowly smoking and being created.

These are the surrounding hills at the base of the mountain. What used to be covered in forest, is now covered in thousands of quiet logs laying down. Bleached white from laying in the sun for thirty years, but maybe also the heat and shock of the initial blast.

In the forests along the perimeter of Mount St. Helens, logging companies are still hard at work clearcutting vast areas. These are the neat little piles they leave behind after clearing an area.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Andrew Bracey's Inspirations

Ballard's The Crystal World and this book jacket Dario Argento's Suspiria, or rather my dim memory of it
A floral festival in Brussles.

Great to see the painting Hamish and I cannot wait to see the actual thing in Royal Standard soon. I have made a start on things for the show and seeing you work, makes me feel more strongly that the new work fits in nicely.....we shall see soon. Thought I would leave some of the inspirations that are going into the new work to leave you guesing, hopefully tantalisingly, but maybe intrigued, excited, baffled, disapointed, dazzled or confused or somewhere in between. Or I leave these as hopefully a common link to Amelia, Hamish or Michael and their work.....

The trusty painters palette

Wil Alsop's proposal paintings, so much more exciting than the buildings.

Buckminster Fuller

The back of the Hollywood sign

My thought of what Las Vegas must be like from a low flying aircraft

Drawings without the trappings of transending language or reality.

Magic mould gone crazy

Bike Rides

Here's a picture of a recent work of mine. It's called 'It's got to be fresh' (30x42cm) and is the starting point for my work in Global Studio. I made it last Autumn amongst lots of other works. I haven't really produced anything quite like it since, as it's a bit unknown to me at the moment - but feel there's something in there that captures what I'm about and my relationship to my surroundings.

I'm interested in the character and life of the marks in this piece. Surface quality will be important. I feel that marks come alive when there's a physical manifestation coming through on the canvas - like a ridge of smeared paint alongside a smooth area of paint.

On Thursday I took a bike ride at lunch time away from the studio down to the docks. It was a sunny day and great to get sense of space and scale different from my usual surroundings in Liverpool. I didn't have a specific plan as to how the sights would feed into my painting - I just wanted to make sure my head was filled with actual images of things, as well as the abstract marks and shapes that are in my work.