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Assignment two

The brief here is to make a drawing of a subject of your choice using the subject itself, or tools constructed from the subject, dipped in ink or paint.

In my mark making experiments, the use of rust printing and drawing with gunpowder have stood out as methods I want to explore further and fit with the work I would like to produce.

I frequently do a walk near my home which goes through a disused quarry and these drawing methods seemed to fit in well with this subject.

I did some sketches and made notes on possible options:

Quarry sketch 1 Quarry sketch 2 Quarry sketch 3 Quarry sketch 4

Using the subject in the drawing was a bit tricky as there isn’t much actually on the site!

I decided to draw two boulders which had been left in the centre of the quarry.

Quarry photo 1 Quarry photo 2 Quarry photo 3 Quarry photo 4Quarry photo 5 Quarry photo 6 Quarry photo 7Quarry sketch 5 Quarry sketch 6

These have drill holes through them where explosive charges had been placed. With a little lateral thinking I decided that the materials which would be used would be:

  • Gunpowder to draw the outline of the boulders – not using the subject directly, but making reference to the explosives which were used to blow these boulders out of the quarry face.
  • Rust marks – overall light rust over the whole image to join it all together, individual rust marks from items found on the site, rocks collected from the site placed on the paper whilst rust printing to hopefully pick up their outline in the rust print.
  • Possible marks made from part of a tyre found on the site?
  • Possibly adding crushed rock to the image?

The ink drawing of the background:

Quarry drawing 01

Line of gunpowder:

Quarry drawing 02

Video of the gunpowder burning:

After the burn:

Quarry drawing 03

Rusty objects and rocks added, rusting solution added and sealed to rust:

Quarry drawing 04

After rusting:

Quarry drawing 05

Charcoal drawing of the rocks added:

Quarry drawing 06

Random lines using found tyre added to try to blend the foreground with the rest of the image:

Quarry drawing 07

 

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Assignment 2 Reflection

I think the individual elements of this drawing all work well, although the foreground is the weakest area. What I am not convinced by is the overall effect of the whole image. I think it is because it is too dark and too cluttered for my liking. What might have been quite interesting would be to leave the rocks as a white space and fill in the foreground in more detail?

The gunpowder line doesn’t work as successfully on the heavy weight paper I have used in this drawing, with fewer holes burnt all the way through the paper. There is some scope in the future with experimenting with different layers behind the holes made with the gunpowder to see what effects can be achieved. The gunpowder line along with the rust introduces browns into the black and white image. I wonder whether this introduction of some colour, then means that more should be used?

To improve the image as it stands, cropping it to exclude some of the foreground makes the image work a bit better:

Quarry drawing 08

I can see the potential in using the subject in a drawing, both for the ability to make more random marks and to impart more meaning to the drawing. However, I think there is limited scope for me to do this in my practice as there are very few local locations in which I would feel happy disturbing any of the vegetation.

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Stage 2 Tutor Report

Notes on my tutor’s report for part 2:

Overall Comments

My tutor wants me to explore more widely other artists who work within a similar remit and develop a much deeper understanding through practical and critical research. She also wants me to now spend more time on my parallel project and critical review and give my practical work time and space to develop.

Project 1 Space, depth and volume

Picked up on a lack of idea development in my submission. Need to try a wider range of options and explore as many possibilities as I can rather than restrict to a single outcome.

Project 2 Mark Making materials

My tutor pointed out that I have not explained my thinking behind the mark making I have been doing. I think I need to document my thinking much more as I am aware that I spend a lot of time working stuff out in my head, but then struggle to document that thought process in my blog. I will try to work on that more.

It is interesting to see that in my tutor’s later comments, she has suggested I do exactly what I have been planning to develop for my parallel project, which is using drawing on steel / rust to draw my own studies of organisms through a microscope.

She also suggests using cartography as a means to explore drawing, with some suggestions on artists to look at for extending ideas:

Lee Maelzer

Maelzer paints or manipulates photographs of abandoned places or objects, they have a sense of time forgotten and a feeling of loss about them.

Her interest in abandoned sites and discarded items fits with the images that appeal to me. The texture of decay was an appealing subject to me when I was a photographer and has come back in my sculpture work in using rusted steel and now into my drawings using rust prints. This is definitely an area I want to explore more, so I will try to think how to continue this going forwards. I have a stash of images of abandoned places, so maybe I will try to use these in a project in future.

Maelzer, L. (2018). Leemaelzer. [online] Leemaelzer.com. Available at: http://www.leemaelzer.com/ [Accessed 23 Jul. 2018].

Torkwase Dyson

I struggled to get a sense of Dyson’s work through the images on her website and other sites. Her work is about the way spaces are negotiated by black and brown bodies, with historical work on the history of slavery and racism. Her work is highly abstracted though and mostly evades my attempts to interpret it

Dyson, T. (2018). TorkwaseDyson.com. [online] TorkwaseDyson.com. Available at: https://www.torkwasedyson.com/ [Accessed 23 Jul. 2018].

Meier, A. (2016). Creating a Spatial History of Slavery through Abstraction. [online] Hyperallergic. Available at: https://hyperallergic.com/287833/creating-a-spatial-history-of-slavery-through-abstraction/ [Accessed 23 Jul. 2018].

Project 3 Narrative

My tutor thinks my drawing of my father is very earnest and representational and I need to be more experimental. I decided to re-visit this exercise again and see what I could do to rectify this:

Hanky 1 Hanky 2 Hanky 3

I made the mistake of trying to use charcoal dipped in oil to darken areas of this drawing, but on the map background this didn’t work, maybe because of the acrylic gel used to affix it to the background paper. The resulting image may be lacking in technical proficiency in areas, but it has resulted in a more interesting image and more open to investigation and interpretation.

My tutor suggests I look at the work of Cai Guo-Qiang, which further reinforces the lack of explanation I am putting into my blog as it was his exhibition in the Whitworth back in 2015 that inspired me to try out gunpowder drawing.

I definitely need to document my thinking more, which is an important note to take forwards into the rest of the course.

Parallel Project and critical review

Need to think why work having a distinct narrative through a landscape is important to me. Think wider outside of the brief. Think about how going to start making work for the theme. Make work around my research.

Pin down what going to make for the project and more importantly, why?

My initial approach is going to be to start making sketches around landscape locations and also to try to translate some of them into sculpture.

Experiments to try:

  • Drawing in wire, with tissue paper wrap over the top
  • Drawing in oil based clay
  • Could do thin plaster casts of these in Jesmonite?

Contextual focus point: Cornelia Parker

My tutor pointed out that my comments on her work were ill informed and she is right. I shall try to rephrase what I was trying to say:

Parker’s work is mostly all about the conceptual message. The hand of the artist (i.e. craftsmanship) is often absent. I think many of her works are interesting in their conceptual approach, but that only some of them hit the mark with me. There are sometimes hidden meanings in the conceptual work, i.e. in her ‘Pornographic Drawing 1996’ where she uses Rorschach drawings which are used in psychoanalysis to reveal subconscious desires, providing additional layers to appreciate. With the ones which don’t resonate with me though, there is often no fall-back position of admiring the craftsmanship of the work.

Her work is highly sought after and the exhibition of her work at the Whitworth gallery I went to in 2015 was interesting. What I was trying to say is that in my work, I want there to be more evidence of the artist’s hand in the work and that craftsmanship is important to me.

I have gone back and re-written this section to make a more informed assessment of her work.

Assignment 2

My tutor points out that I am still trying to make a representational drawing and also that I haven’t followed my ideas through to exhaustion.

One of the key questions she asks is “think why you think that the final image needs to read like a painting? Is this important to you?”

I like abstract images, so I by no means feel that it needs to read like a representational painting. I do feel though that a drawing / piece of art, should have an aesthetic beauty to it. I feel that it needs the ‘hook’ of being an attractive image, to draw people into viewing is closer, to then impart more of it’s meaning to the viewer. A visually ugly image can turn off viewer attention instantly, or quickly impose a negative impression of a piece which it is hard to get past. So “yes” and “no” really!

I will keep exploring this site and how to draw this area.

Sketchbooks

My tutor encourages me to be more open to creative exploration and investigate other artists to gain confidence in my own approach and development of my personal voice.

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays

Be less critical about what my work looks like and think more about that I enjoy in making marks.

Suggested reading/viewing

Look at artists like Agnes Denes, Herman de Vries and CCANW – See Parallel Project post

IMPORTANT NOTES

I definitely need to document my thinking more, which is an important note to take forwards into the rest of the course.

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