My discussion with Annette attempted to understand why my physical artworks lack connectedness with my thoughts and ideas. They run parallel and are cohesive but don’t always successfully interact. I seem to exist, myself, in a contradiction between metaphorical thinking and an instinctive inclination towards the ‘art making’ process.
My recent Programme of Study reads;
Lucy Skaer’s American Images (2014) introduced me to a small Iowa ghost town once known as “Lithograph City”. The town was created in the early 1900s as a residence for quarry workers excavating the fine-grained limestone widely used in lithography at that time but soon replaced by metal plates. This knowledge leads me to consider the redundancy of materials in favour of others with more efficient properties. In a poetic and cyclical response, last term I coated one of my plaster limestone replicas in aluminium paint, in order to re-contextualise and disassociate. Coating the stone in ‘metal’, strips the object of any reference to art making, and further exposes its true form and shape.
As a result of my recent critique and assessment, I have come to the conclusion that I want to suppress psychological and calculated thoughts for a while, in favour of a more direct and intuitive way of working. I intend to be more impulsive this term, and play with the physicality of my work, prioritising materiality. My work tends to exist as a series of esoteric propositions, moving forward I intend to be more conclusive and understanding of what it is I want the artwork to say. Currently, I am not entirely sure of this, yet with a more physical studio practice I hope to come to a clear comprehension of what remains through my repetitious and cyclical translations of material.
I have been encouraged to be more outward thinking, and actively respond to worldly entities and influences. I shall consider the potential inclusion of other media in my work, such as sound and colour, which could possibly be representative of such worldly influences.
Rooted in ‘facticity’, Lucy Skaer’s work is subject to a process of elaborate transformation as she breaks and stretches representation and logic. She plays with shapes that carry agency rather than content, and is interested in discovering what remains coherent beyond translation. Skaer’s ‘terracotta army’ (2013) consists of multiple ceramic lozenges, which take the form of a cut emerald template. This template was constructed in response to how a material, in this case emerald, behaves and is best exposed. The artist’s sculptures sometimes reveal material, yet are also often deceitful in that they are mis- appropriated, mis-contextualised, cast or glazed. A fall out of information occurs through Skaer’s tender ‘rubbing out’ which gradually emerges as she removes her art objects from their original framework.
Having recently come across Solar System & Rest Rooms, a book of writings and interviews from Mel Bochner, I have become invested in the idea of Serial Art. Serial Art consists of Methodical Systems that are characterised by regularity, thoroughness, and repetition in execution. It is generally considered the antithesis of artistic thinking. Mel Bochner’s Measurement Works realise that standard and recognisable measurements (of building materials for example) are so deeply embedded in our experience that they regulate our perception, yet remain completely invisible.
Lucy Skaer’s emerald cut template and Bochner’s Measurement Works expose the truest form of a material through a deceptive disguise; one that may only be recognisable in our subconscious. Existing as a worldly entity, the universal template/ sample size carries agency without content in such cases, and therefore metaphorically carries the viewer through perception of an artwork.
I think it is very unlikely that I will be able to ignore my thinking process in favour of my making process, and on reflection, I don’t think it will be beneficial to do so. Instead, I need to find a way of integrating the two. Mine and Annette’s discussion came to my mind-map style drawings which cover the walls of my studio space. Excited by the content, Annette encouraged me to make something physical in response to the drawings, taking direct control of my reluctant relationship with art-making. I explained however, that I am opposed to making/building forms myself. I am instead inclined to trigger and aid a process of forming art, one that I cannot entirely control. I feel this is somewhat necessary in order to achieve work that appears as art <<art=object>>. My practice follows methodical steps and therefore I enjoy mimicking my thought process through a slightly detached art making process (such as lithography, or casting) in order to physically manifest my ideas.
Although my work may appear aesthetically interesting, the result is often an inaccurate depiction of my thoughts and readings. My intention moving forward is to not dismiss drawings and writings as inadequate art objects. In my tutorial, I argued that past a certain point, language/writing may be the only substantial representation of my abstract thoughts.
This introduced a discussion of late 19th century mathematical models.
In response to the “crisis of intuition” in mathematics, numerous collections of mathematical models were established in the late 19th century. These visuals aids were meant to help a new generation of mathematicians, engineers, and technicians visualise the abstract surfaces, bodies, and functions that were crucial to their work.
Within a few decades the degree of abstraction in mathematics had advanced so far that new models could no longer be developed.
This leads me to consider a movement beyond material, and at what point the visual can no longer suffice the metaphoric. I am fascinated by the idea that an artistic equation or an idea can become so complex that it surpasses anything visual/physical. The idea becomes so advanced that it detaches itself from any material existence and dissolves into the world, leaving obscure and incomprehensible traces. All that is left is a residual ripple on a piece of paper.
I therefore believe that within this contradiction and conflict is where I exist as an art maker. Boundaries; The boundary between an images/ideas coherence. At what point does an idea come into and fall out of coherence? The conflict between an idea, and its physical manifestation. The boundary where an idea/ concept/ mathematical equation surpasses the visual due to its complexity. No longer is an art object/material an appropriate translation of thought.
A Bar of Soap, An appropriate metaphor for change/creative comprehension? Objects are directly affected as we interact with them physically, they disappear and dissolve into the world like a bar of soap.