Term 1 Critique

27th November 2017



Unfortunately, the more I reflect on my critique, the less confident I feel about it. I have listened to the recording of it multiple times now and I do not think I was eloquent in my perception of the physical work and my ideas. Everything discussed was entirely relevant and the work was well received, however, my intervention was descriptive but uninformative. Annette described the work as a ‘proposition’, and I agreed. Ultimately the work is a demonstration of my own attempt to comprehend my abstract thoughts.

Micheal highlighted the fact that when one speaks through making, one has to be clear. I don’t think my intentions with this work were entirely clear, I am still yet to find clarity within the work myself. At this point, I think I have forgotten what the work is about, and where my specific interests lie. I need to distinguish, once again, where my ideas arise from rather than just illustrating them.

The critique bought me to the conclusion that my work is indeed not about Zen Gardens, the Zen philosophy was merely a tool that I was using to demonstrate my thinking and physical approach to my work through. The work is instead about materiality. Annette suggested it was about illusion, three-dimensionality, and when something becomes an image. The worked also seemed to propose the question of labour, weight, and the value of different actions. How much can I say with one action? 

On reflection, I have come to the conclusion that I must refine my ideas from this point on and attempt to be more directional. I struggle with translating everything that I am thinking about into a physical artwork. In my opinion language and conversation is inadequate in depicting experience and translating ambiguous and extensive ideas. I therefore need to find a way of drawing other elements into the work to give it a sensually fluid quality, and attempt to open it up and give it a sense of experimentation.

Notes from Critique
  • Yin Yang, Tension of string on lighter canvas, darker side on floor piece. Floating and pale, Dark and Heavy. Lightness/grounding. Attempting to balance each other. Separate but intimate in that they belong together. So could this be the same piece of work?
  • One piece, a lot of repetitions, rocks under the fabric are directional. Symmetry on gauze but still a lot of interruptions. Discussion/conversation happening in regard to composition, forward/back. Reference to directional lines
  • Is this sculpture or painting? Sculpture because of the physical/grounded nature. I see canvas stretched on the frame, is there a relationship to painting aswell? Aware of that, Robert Morris, perfect/perpendicular. Wall piece sags slightly, aware of objecthood, imperfect construct. A side issue?
  • Difference/Sameness. Casts of the same mould at first impression. An investigation into what is visible and what is not visible. Not necessarily trying to classify whether the work is sculpture/painting (clearly frames involved). Its actually dealing with space?
  • A lyrical feel to this piece. It just happens to use the constituents/signs that signify paintings/sculptures.
  • Something is naturally occurring, but you don’t get repetition in nature. Stones you get in lithography? Referential of repetition… different colours etc.
  • I wouldn’t feel comfortable walking between the work, Annette walks directly through and investigates. I think its because it feels very much like a physical passage, with immediate physical presence, there is a lot to investigate (individual preference?).
  • Why does she want us to see through the painting/sculpture (transparent fabric). It doesn’t dominate or take away from the objects. Subtle creases would not be apparent. It allows us to see how it was constructed. Tonality/colour.
  • Why is there a very visible stretcher frame in the sculpture, and why has she used repeated casts of what looks like a natural object? How would the work be perceived if elements were taken away or added to the piece? How does she want us to read this? Think? Feel? Understand?
  • Peaceful, a sense of calm in its presence, cool colours, a balancing act, similar dimensions, symmetry in rocks, colours, easy to look at, standing stones, stones stacked on mountains, ritualistic?
  • Zen garden, relaxing floor piece in contrast to dirty wall piece, I want to clean it. Wall piece is lacking of something to focus on, an annoyance. Annoyed/puzzled/bored, therefore attracted to floor piece.
  • A lust for the objects that sit in the frame, a ruin, something we are obsessed with in our past that contextualises our present. The nuances in the rocks and the dips reminds me of something that broke in bad terms but is something that we fetishize.
  • Wanting to touch the stones. Floor piece is satisfying to look at; wall piece is awkward to look at. Disjointed in that you want to look at one but not the other.
  • A critique on the relationship between painting and sculpture. The painting creates a physical, jarring space. Architectural readings seem a key issue. An art school language? A lot of questions?
  • A question of what is an illusion of something, and a question of labour? Looks simple, yet work is laborious. A value system of different actions that stand against each other and create an economy of making, how quickly do I do this? And what do I say with it? How much can I actually say with one action? Relevant and widely discussed in critique of painting vs. sculpture. Something is proposed. A proposition of thinking about weight, the illusion of weight, and the illusion of labour and actual labour and its value system.
  • Easy access to stretcher making? Wooden frame adds a breakage of colour or a bed/grounding. Its still there nevertheless as an art frame. If that’s not what’s required then another frame with a different meaning could be used. To use something for convenience seems quite arbitrary. Every single piece here is so elegant and so minimal and therefore important and will add/take away from the reading the audience receive. Art Frame is such a strong signifier. It could be any object; objects carry social significance, poetic significance, and a number of readings. Every object should be important.
  • Its very simple, its not trickery. Placing something underneath, placing something on top, are very simple actions. It’s very simple to stretch fabric over a frame. Says something about placement and action in relation to interior and perhaps even image.
  • Labour, why did she decide to put effort into something she could have collated naturally (stones)? Mechanical production. You can see how its plaster cast in some areas but it also makes me think of marble and the way that it breaks up when its mined. It’s definitely trying to make us think about weight and the illusion of weight and the three-dimensional.
  • Why didn’t you build a real zen garden? When you speak through making, you’ve got to be clear.
  • Language/Conversation. Words don’t translate experience, they aren’t adequate?
  • Culturally what would it mean to appropriate/build a zen garden. This is my interpretation. The work is also not really about the zen garden and refuses to be. Its actually about the stuff that I’m working with, despite thinking about the principals that exists in a zen garden, the work is nothing like a zen garden, so we are looking that something that is its own thing. Zen gardens definitely don’t use lithography stones and they don’t use all the same shapes of stones. I still think it’s very strongly to do with illusion and three-dimensionality/ when something becomes an image. It’s kind of to do with the repetition of making something more than once but with slight difference, so there is a different kind of sameness.
  • I need to distinguish where ideas arise from, rather than just illustrating my ideas because that isn’t that interesting in the long run. We need to move from something to something else in a transformation from one thing to another and that in-between space is what becomes interesting.
  • Flatness, Illusion and Object hood are questions proposed in painting as well as sculpture as well. Illusionary language of image making (wall piece).
  • Lucy Skaer. The familiar objects that I use exist as my language, and exist as translators. Describing and illustrating my work using familiar and accessible art objects and materials. Re-using and Re-forming energy, by taking something apart and re-arranging.
  • Surrogates that dissolve (each repeated stone).
  • Hanne Darboven. Agnes Martin.
  • Coining a mathematical formula in which she can contain all mathematical language and knowledge. Maybe thinking differently about material would enrich a lot because currently I am keeping it in a comfort zone, which will become boring. Talking about big ideas, there might be a way of drawing other things in to give sensual and physical quality to the work that would open it up more and give it a sense of experimentation.
  • What objects you choose to cast? What objects I choose to place them with? If casting is the thing? Or should I find a different method?
  • Play with execution of wall piece. Representative of how difficult making actually is/how hard it is to keep it clean. Canvas on stretcher screams art. Should it have more poetic charge?
  • Japanese painter who paints nostalgic scenes and paints white over them to attempt to make viewers think about meditation etc. Wall piece feels like a very unfinished object and slightly uncared for. But on the other hand maybe it should be more awkward. Personal conflict? Why do we find it annoying? Human error? Unavoidable?
  • How would an art audience read the work? What is actually here? We need to step outside ourselves and re-interpret the work?
  • The work is a proposition. We need to assess the physicality of the work in the space. It’s an interesting starting point yet slightly under-developed.

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