Monthly Archives: January 2016

Mark Butler

Iron ore vein

Dark

Dangerous

My five words were based on recent sculptural works I have completed based on the iron ore mines up on Yarnbury Moor above Grassington in the Yorkshire Dales. My thoughts were on the miners going down mine shafts to pick out this ore, a dangerous occupation in a beautiful location.

The picture I had in mind was of a very black painting with a sliver of gold leaf in a thin line across it.

I tried a few versions of this idea, resulting in these images:

5 words Mining1 5 words Mining2 5 words Mining3 5 words Mining4

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Ingrid Booz Morejohn

It’s weighing on my mind.

My reaction was the sensation of what it feels like to have a big decision that needs a choice or action taking, but where you are unsure of what the best course is.

No immediate image sprang to mind.

As I thought more about it, ideas began to come:

A figure walking forwards with leg bent as if supporting a large weight? Words around the body, “how to act”, “when to act”, “is this the right decision”, “what are the consequences”, etc.

As a painting, maybe a large central solid area, surrounded by thin vibrant coloured areas as other things (the rest of life) gets pushed to the edges by the thing weighing on the mind? The central area would probably be churning away – turning mass of greys?

Lino print of the brain in centre, the image described above it, the words below it? Something connecting the three?

Interesting that a print sprang to mind when Ingrid is studying printmaking!

In the end I combined some of the ideas above. Starting out with a brightly coloured background mass of lines and shapes, then adding a large central grey area over the top, all in watercolour on a watercolour postcard. Then I added an oil lino print of a brain on top.

5 words Mind

I think I approached this a bit too literally, but never mind.

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Catherine Banks

Summer’s dying lines Autumn’s cloak

Nice words!

Sensation of seasons on the cusp of changing, leaves turning, the weather getting cold, the night’s drawing in.

Images of leaves which are starting to turn, low light on the landscape, mist rising. Maybe that springs to mind because I know Catherine is a photographer and that is what springs to mind to me as an ex-photographer? I can envisage a suitable photograph, but what to do in other mediums?

The only image which came to mind was of a leaf starting to turn, so that is what I decided to go with:

5 words Autumn

The spots on the leaf are a bit more pronounced than they should be and could do with being blended together with the rest of it somehow. I’m quite pleased with how this image has turned out though.

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Ange Mullins

Whispering halfpenny water runs aimlessly

Initially, I wasn’t sure what these words mean! What is the halfpenny reference?

The words evoke the thought of a large body of water flowing quietly and aimlessly to the sea, a peaceful sensation.

No immediate image sprang to mind though, except possibly blue reflections in the water. Not sure how I would do that though as my painting skills aren’t great. Maybe gesso a flowing pattern then rub in blue watercolour or acrylic? That may portray the water running aimlessly, but does it express the whispering?

Following a suggestion by my evening class art tutor, I tried using watercolour on a sloped surface, letting the colour flow down the paper in a random and aimless way. This was not very successful though. I then moved on to applying gesso to the paper in a flowing way, then using watercolour on top, followed by oil pastel, more watercolour and acrylic. Despite this seeming quite a simple subject, this was the most difficult image for me to produce in the end, with multiple attempts until I reached one I was satisfied with.

5 words Water1 5 words Water3 5 words Water4 5 words Water5

This was the image I chose:

5 words Water2

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Bee Skelton

Glimmer rustle fluttering dart quiet

My immediate response is that of a bird startled, flying away and then quiet returning, with the ‘glimmer’ reference, a kingfisher springs to mind. Although, whilst the quiet applies to a kingfisher, I don’t recall ever hearing them rustle or flutter. Maybe a Mallard with its iridescent head colours? Still, the ‘rustle’ and ‘fluttering’ suggests sparrows or blackbirds more to me.

As for an image, nothing sprang to mind immediately. Some of the words contradict each other for a static image, rustle/quiet and fluttering/dart, so they suggest something with a timescale. How to express this in a static image seems quite complicated to me. This one may need some thought!

The words all chime with the activity of birds, so one possibility that sprung to mind was to paste a background of pages from a bird book, then draw shapes on top inspired by the word of Juliet and Jamie Gutch – mobile artists who base their work on the movement of birds.

I pasted some bird magazine images onto thick paper and added some blocks of colour. Then I sketched a number of bird outlines / ideas. Extracting the essence of the birds shape in the same way Juliet and Jamie do was not happening for me, but a drawing made up of lines seemed to offer the kind of idea I was looking for, so I scaled it up and ‘drew’ it in acrylic paint on top of the background:

5 words Birds

My painting skills are not brilliant and the background could certainly be improved.

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Alison Saunders

Fly away on gossamer wings

These words suggested sensations of floating, lightness. Maybe a dragonfly/fairy in flight?

It terms of an image, I thought maybe a patchwork aerial image, overlaid with gauze, then opaque white over the top to give a sense of wispy clouds/distance?

I painted the aerial image in watercolour, then used acrylic medium to add a piece of material over the top. Acrylic paint was then used to add some of the detail back into the image:

5 words Wings

I have painted too darkly on the buildings in this image, but the rest of it gives the feel I was looking for.

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Collaborative Art Swap

Back in 2014 I joined in with a sketchbook circle, hoping to try a different idea which might get me sketching more. It helped a bit, but I found that many in the group used figure drawing as a theme and so most of my efforts then became the warm-up sketches in my life drawing class that I would have done anyway. I drew a thistle root and its development into a sculpture in my book and invited others to think along this line also – I got a great response.

So, when a message came up from Ange Mullins about a collaborative art swap, where participants sent 5 words to the other participants and received a small piece of artwork back in return, I jumped at the opportunity.

The background information from Ange was:

Ensure you have enough time when you first read them to get down your initial reactions & responses. You may or may not make an immediate start on the physical aspect but please remember initial reactions are an important aspect of this project.

So jot down how the 5 words made you feel when you first read them, perhaps you’d consider some of the following questions:

What was your emotional & physical response when you first read them?

Did you even have an emotional or physical response?

Did a full or part image jump straight to mind & you were immediately inspired?

Did your heart sink or jump with a negative reaction?

How did you feel a few hours or days later once you’d had time to mull it over?

Has your response changed with time?

I suggested that we also produced artwork for our own five words, as it would be interesting to compare our own thoughts when we wrote them, to other people’s thoughts on them when they read them.

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Assignment one: Reflection

Note

I am approaching this reflection differently and would welcome my tutor’s feedback on this. I have previously tried to fit my reflection to the marking criteria (see my project reflection), but I feel this restricts me in trying to analyse my work. I may go back to that method dependant on discussions with my tutor.

Artist Statement

‘Sanctuary’

Standing as a monument to the loss of life in war, this sculpture is the shape of a bunker with defensive struts projecting from and piercing it. Splashes of red drip down some of these as a reminder of the blood shed. A white door in the structure offers sanctuary from the chaos outside.

Reflection

See my initial reflection here.

This is an improvement on my earlier maquette, but it is still by no means my best work. The white door now has more presence due to its contrast with the grey colours than when the posts were also white. The red ‘blood’ splashes would also be very powerful on a full size sculpture.

This assignment didn’t grab me as much as the preceding project work and I think the sculpture has suffered as a result of that.

People will be most creative when they feel motivated primarily by the interest, satisfaction, and challenge of the work itself — not by external pressures.
(Theresa Amabile, ‘How to Kill Creativity’, Harvard Business Review, September-October 1998)

I perhaps should have followed an idea I had for developing my ‘Residency’ works to monumental scale:

Sketchbook039

This would have inspired me more, however I wanted to try to produce something new rather than continue with ideas from my Sculpture 1 course.

Development

I was originally struggling to think how this piece could be developed further, but then an idea finally broke through:

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The shape here is reminiscent of a wave or an almost enclosed tunnel, the white rods now being like shafts of sunlight – in fact they could be glass rods / tubes to carry light through – the space is enclosed evoking more feelings – oppression, exploration, etc. Interestingly, although not an intentional idea at the time, this could also continue the theme of war, with dark tunnels broken through by shafts of light/hope, with the external surface similar to my current maquette.

I feel this is one of the issues of this course in tackling new areas / techniques all the time, the development ideas often seem to come too late in the day to do anything about them!

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Assignment one: Final Form Maquette

My thoughts now are to take this down the war theme as that is the association it obviously has at the moment. The white coloured ‘sticks’ then don’t fit, so I’ll try painting them a darker grey than the mound (they were originally going to be made of steel rods, but I didn’t have enough) and look at reducing their number. I also have some pieces of rusty metal I might try to incorporate into the mound that might add to the impression of a barricade – worth a try.

As a barricade, this maquette is then too uniform, but that is a bit difficult to change at this stage. The main area to look at in this respect is the thin pointed end, which looks like a lizard’s tail at the moment.

I removed 6 of the sticks to make it less cluttered, then painted them a darker grey than the mound.

It was then quite drab which fit with the theme, but it did still need some colour. Bright red “blood” was the obvious colour addition, some thoughts:

  • red ‘blood’ on the ends – hurting others
  • red ‘blood’ on the base where the rods pierce it – hurting yourself
  • Both – hurting others whilst hurting yourself
  • just a few coloured, too messy otherwise

I also wondered about adding rusty metal, but decided against this in the end.

Red fluid acrylic paint was added by dripping it onto the end of 5 of the posts.

Sanctuary 1Sanctuary 2Sanctuary 3Sanctuary 4Sanctuary 5Sanctuary 6Sanctuary 7 Sanctuary 8

‘Sanctuary’
45cm x 57cm x 18cm
1:500 scale maquette Wood, clay, acrylic paint

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Assignment one: Initial Reflection

This maquette is OK, but it doesn’t have the oomph of my ‘Resurgence’ maquette completed in the earlier project work. I wonder if this was because I didn’t have a context in which I was constructing this sculpture? Having a context allowed me to think what related to the site and would work within it. Having no context for this piece, it was more about following a whim, with the lack of any constraints actually not helping my creative process.

In designing this work, the rods through the structure were intended as a bit of fun. However, these have ended up looking more violent, spearing the structure or protruding from it like spikes. Whether that is a good thing or not depends on what the sculptures purpose is. For me it didn’t feel like I had been successful in achieving my aims.

I posted images of the work on a Facebook group and had a number of people all commenting that it had war associations, looking like:

  • a WW1 Dreadnaught
  • a Paul Nash painting (interesting – not an artist I am familiar with – I can see the link made with his bare war ravaged trees and the implied violence)
  • a trench
  • a protective barrier.

The colour and hunkered down form of the structure add to this perception.

Maybe the structure could work as some kind of war memorial? Maybe it wouldn’t work at all? I think the site and purpose of a sculpture is important to be able to judge if it would work and not having this specified it is hard to do so. Maybe I should have picked a location in the same way the projects were site specific?

It is very interesting through the Facebook posts to see how different people view work which you have produced and come to different emotional responses / interpretations than what was intended. My view of it as a failure now changed to seeing that it could work in some circumstances.

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Assignment one: Maquette

The maquette was started by cutting wooden contour shapes with a jigsaw and gluing them together on a baseboard, as well as testing what materials could be used to fill in the gaps and be painted afterwards.

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The basic shape was then formed using oil-based clay, offering the opportunity to keep changing the form and whilst it will not harden to a firm surface, air-drying clays all seem to contract as they dry and crack if around wood.

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The rods were then added, using wooden dowelling.

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The ‘lumpy’ surface was then added using Plaxtin (not exactly sure what this is, but it also doesn’t dry). The intention had been to paint this afterwards, but I liked the colour of this so decided to leave it as it was.

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The next decision was what colour to paint the dowelling. I tried some coloured options, but none seemed to work.

Sketchbook035 Mockup redSketchbook036Mockup blackenedMockup metalicMockup white

The best options looked to be white, metallic/grey or black.

I started out painting the dowelling white and textured and painted the baseboard green.

IMG_6142 IMG_6146 IMG_6152

Having done this, I realised that the building is quite dark so the dowelling might be best left white rather than using the other dark colour options.

I was going to stop there, but in writing my first reflection post, my view changed.

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Assignment one: Development

Starting off with my initial vision:

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The initial idea of the building shape was a bit like the Nike logo and didn’t seem to work very well. Sketching this out led to this shape:

Sketchbook032

Playing around with adding back in the metal rods:

Sketchbook033 Sketchbook034

Working on a large sketch of this, randomising the rods and having them coming out of the walls seemed to work well:

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The building form has moved from being a smooth curved surface to becoming more organic in bulging where the rods meet it. It seems to make sense to expand this to the whole surface and make it ‘lumpy’ with a rough texture (stipple the paint?).

I am pleased with this form now and will start to work on the maquette.

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Assignment one: Initial Ideas

The assignment task is to make a monumental abstract constructed sculptural maquette based on the idea of monumentality and architectural scale, using simple constructional materials such as lengths and blocks of wood, hardboard, flexible metal sheet etc.

Unlike the previous projects, there is no reference here as to where this sculpture would be sited, so this assignment seems to be all about form in a way which would work on a very large scale. The suggestion is to start with various blocks of wood, arrange and design them on a baseboard and use this as a starting point for the sculpture. I find this way of working a bit difficult as I usually start of by having quite a clear idea in my head as to what I might construct. It’s all about challenging yourself though, so I will give this a go.

I sat down to try this and then realised that approaching it in this way is easier said than done. I have lots of wood in my workshop, but it is all in big pieces and to start using them for sculptures, you need to have them in suitable small pieces. To get suitable small pieces, you need to have a vague idea of the types of shapes you want, or you end up with a lot of firewood! Nothing sprung to mind whilst pondering my pile of wood, but what did grab my attention was a metal rod which I played around with.

Initial Forms

Two themes began to emerge, firstly the use of metal rods and something bendy between them:

Sketchbook024 Sketchbook025 Sketchbook026

Secondly, the use of metal rods and textured tiles:

Sketchbook027 Sketchbook028 Sketchbook029

Either way, I was looking to try to incorporate them into some kind of building to reference the architectural theme.

I had again started to develop two sculptures rather than the one required! I initially thought that I would again pursue both ideas as one may be more successful than the other again, but the curved building with metal rods idea took hold the firmest and I decided to just pursue this idea.

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Assignment one: Working to commission research

David Mach makes sculpture out of 100s or 1000s of mass produced objects and does most of his work by commission. ‘Train, 1997’ is a good example of how well his work scales up to produce public sculture (the largest in Britain at the time). I find his work interesting, but not hugely inspiring. I think this is because of his use of many of the same type of object, there is no variation in texture on his pieces.

It is interesting to read about the productions of Auguste Rodin’s ‘The Burghers of Calais, 1884-9’, a commissioned work, but one in which Rodin had very strong ideas that he would not compromise on, even when the committee commissioning him did not like the direction he was taking. I imagine many sculptors would have changed their designs, but then lost the integrity of their work. The resulting sculpture is very powerful, full of movement and emotion and much more heroic for the vulnerability of the portrayal.

Rachael Whitehead’s ‘Untitled (House), 1993’ is a public commissioned sculpture which was a continuation of her current practice. Again for me this is interesting work, but doesn’t inspire me much. I prefer work such as the Rodin example above where the evidence of hand on sculpting is there to see.

Creative Commons Licence. RayMorris1. "Angel". 28 May 2013. Online image. Flickr. 13 February 2016. https://www.flickr.com/photos/vidyo/13661912663/in/photostream/

Creative Commons Licence. RayMorris1

Anthony Gormley’s ‘Angel of the North, 1998‘ is probably one of the most famous commissioned works in the UK. To be selected to build such a monumental sculpture would be amazing. Like most of the commissioned work I have read about, this also caused controversy at the time, perhaps a given for producing large-scale works. I love the rusty metal texture of this sculpture and you can’t fail to be awed by it’s size and dominance of the landscape.

All the artists looked at here seem to be producing commissioned work which is in harmony to their current practice and not compromised by the commissioning process. They also research the location where they are to be sited, it’s history and significance, and produce work which is relevant to that history and makes reference to it.

References:

Benedek, N. (2000). Auguste Rodin: The Burghers of Calais, A Resource for Educators. 1st ed. [ebook] The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Available at: http://www.metmuseum.org/~/media/Files/Learn/For%20Educators/Publications%20for%20Educators/Burghers.pdf [Accessed 13 Feb. 2016].

Gateshead.gov.uk, (2016). Background. [online] Available at: http://www.gateshead.gov.uk/Leisure%20and%20Culture/attractions/Angel/Background/Background2.aspx [Accessed 13 Feb. 2016].

RayMorris1. “Angel”. 28 May 2013. Online image. Flickr. 13 February 2016. https://www.flickr.com/photos/vidyo/13661912663/in/photostream/ [Accessed 13 Feb. 2016].

Royalacademy.org.uk, (2016). David Mach | Artist | Royal Academy of Arts. [online] Available at: https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/artist/david-mach-ra [Accessed 13 Feb. 2016].

Tate.org.uk, (2016). Rachel Whiteread: Biography. [online] Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/unilever-series-rachel-whiteread-embankment/rachel-whiteread-0 [Accessed 13 Feb. 2016].

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Assignment one: Sculptural form as architecture research

My initial thoughts about this are that sculptural form as architecture would be a sculpture that happens to incorporate an element of a building, whereas architectural form as sculpture would be primarily concerned about the building, with the sculptural form coming second?

The examples of this kind of sculpture given in the course notes are the architect Frank Gerhy’s ‘Guggenheim Museum of Art’ 1997, in Bilbao, Spain and the sculptor Rachel Whiteread’s ‘Holocaust Memorial’ 2000, sited in Vienna’s Jewish Quarter. These two examples would fit with my initial thoughts, but I can see that the distinction could get very blurred.

Looking into this further it looks like some sculptors also find the distinction blurry and a number of them have looked to merge the two. Siah Armajani invented ‘archi-sculpture’ in 1979, abstract sculptures using architectural elements. Similarly Anthony Caro invented ‘sculpitecture’ in the 1980s for his crossover pieces.

In relation to specific works, Per Kirkeby’s ‘Wanas’, 1994 is very clearly in this category, being a roofless pavilion. Won Ju Lim’s ‘Elysian Field North’ 2000 references the architecture of Vancouver using plexiglass and foam core, with projected images of industrial site played over and through it. These are the more obvious architectural sculptures, being either buildings or cityscapes.

More abstract forms like Caro’s ‘Forum’, 1992-94 obviously reference buildings in the shapes used and the form of the combined structure.

Forum

My ‘Residency’ sculptures from stage 1 would fall into this category also.

Residency No.6

Less obvious forms might include Sophie Ryder’s ‘Sitting’, 2007, a hare formed from galvanised wire, but cut in half down the middle. The gap between the two halves offers the opportunity to walk through the two halves (if it wasn’t fenced off!) and I believe there is a seat incorporated into the sculpture (although I can’t seem to confirm this, certainly there is a hollow which would allow access to a cave like space), bringing in usefulness and the makings of an enclosed room. As an aside, the materials of this sculpture were very interesting, using flattened wire, but the result is not well formed, nor makes any sense being cut in half!

Sitting 1 Sitting 2

“Evaluating Structural Form: Is it sculpture, architecture or structure?.” Is an interesting paper on the crossover between these three forms, with the linkage between them being the increasing number of constraints as you go from sculptural form, through architectural form, to structural form. Sculptural form having much more freedom than the other forms, with the only critical criteria being that it will stand up under its own weight.

As to when a sculpture starts to reach this blurred division of forms, it seems to me that pretty much the only criteria is size (either real, or implied). Any large sculpture will (intentionally or not) start forming spaces which might provide cover, or routes through it, or masses sufficient to provide rooms, or use industrial/architectural materials.

References:

Wanas.se, (2015). Konstnär. [online] Available at: http://www.wanas.se/svenska/Konst/Konstn%C3%A4rer/Konstn%C3%A4r.aspx?fid=29 [Accessed 3 Dec. 2015].

Backhouse, J. (2015). Vancouver Art Gallery launches a new series on emerging artists of the Pacific Rim. [PDF] Vancouver: Vancouver Art Gallery. Available at: https://www.vanartgallery.bc.ca/media_room/pdf/100902.pdf [Accessed 3 Dec. 2015].

Saliklis, Edmond P. “Evaluating Structural Form: Is it sculpture, architecture or structure?.” Architectural Engineering (2007): 25.

Collins, J. (2007). Sculpture today. London: Phaidon Press.

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Project: Maquette for a public sculpture commission

Skipton map tile

The maquette for this sculpture was produced from similar materials that the full size sculpture would be constructed out of. Because this is a smaller sculpture, a scale of 1:4 was chosen and a 30cm square tile produced.

The initial stage was to create the map tile from sheets of foam board, cutting them roughly to the contours of the land. The transport links were to be highlighted as features, so the route of the canal was cut out of the board to highlight this.

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Paper mache was then applied to smooth out the shapes and wool like fabric added to the hillsides (to reference the “sheep town”). The rail and road lines were added in 3D paint (at a larger scale thick string might be used for this purpose which would provide an interesting texture).

This was then sealed and then moulded in rubber with a plaster shell. Unfortunately the wool texture was not sealed well enough and embedded itself in the rubber. This was eventually removed through brute force, but a lot of the material was left in the rubber. The string applied for the railway line also encased itself in the rubber and was lost from the design. This would have to be added back into the wax using carving.

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(I forgot to photograph the work before moulding it)

Do to time constraints my aim was to produce this map tile in paper clay slip rather than bronze. I poured slip into the rubber mould, but it didn’t seem to want to dry out at all.

My slip cast did eventually dry, but cracked along the lines of the canals where it was thinnest and stuck to the embedded material and had to be broken out in these areas:

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Overall, a disaster! However, it has taught me some valuable lessons. The most important of these was that whilst I was waiting for it to dry, I came to realise that it was going to be a pretty uninteresting sculpture (whether successful or not). There wasn’t much that would distinguish this from a 3D map you might buy in a shop apart from its medium. I had got lost in the process side of things and the need to get the work finished by a deadline. I should have left it alone for a while to think about it and whether it worked as a sculpture before ploughing on with the moulding process.

What could make it more interesting? The contour map is how it is, but the surface could be made far more interesting by incorporating objects / toys / etc. to reference the areas I was trying to highlight. For example, the wheels off a toy could reference the road network, sections of knitting/crocheting would be better on the hills than the wool fabric I had tried to use initially and could be formed into more interesting shapes and textures. Objects such as these could be added to the map tile, sealed in properly, then moulded and cast. This would be similar to the approach used by Sophie Ryder in her sculpture ‘Crawling’, 1999 where she added car parts and plastic toys to add interest and texture.

Crawling

The danger is that this might look a bit cluttered on a small map tile, but I will give it a go and see how I get on.

Sketchbook023

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1:4 scale maquette in foamboard, paper mache and found objects.

I was much more pleased about this maquette than my previous attempts. It is also properly sealed onto the base and shouldn’t cause problems when being moulded.

I will continue to develop this sculpture and add it back in here when it is in a state worthy of being on here, but as I have my second option for Threshfield quarry, that will suffice for this section for now.

 

Threshfield towers

I chose to construct this maquette out of paper clay as I thought this would be the easiest medium to achieve the curves I needed for this sculpture. I started out by making a plaster form on which to form my sheets of clay:

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This wasn’t as successful a former as I had hoped, but it did provide a gentle curve to start the sections off on and it was twisted by hand after their construction.

The five sections were created by using this mould to support one side and constructing the edges and second side on top of it. These were then joined together once dry by blocks of paper clay and attached to a base.

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Unfortunately because this is a very tall thin sculpture, this didn’t provide a very secure join between the pieces. They hold together and have survived the painting process, but they would not survive any lateral force being applied to them.

Once fully dry, the paper clay was painted in primer and then iron paint which was then treated with a rust activator to rust the surface. The base areas were painted with acrylic paint. Fabric mesh was treated with acrylic paint to represent the vegetation growing in the cracks and inserted into the holes when dry.

Resurgence 1

My tutor didn’t like the ‘stones’ around the base, saying that it was “hiding the base rather than celebrating how it stands”. Also the green ‘vegetation’ doesn’t work on the images and looks like it is just stuck in, distracting from the rest of the sculpture.

I removed both these elements and re-photographed. These two images clearly show the before and after:

Resurgence 9Resurgence 6

It does stand stronger without the boulders at the base and the removal of the green fabric does also help.

Resurgence 1Resurgence 2Resurgence 3 Resurgence 4 Resurgence 5Resurgence 6Resurgence 7Resurgence 8

‘Resurgence’
45cm x 15cm x 15cm
1:20 scale maquette in paper clay and fabric, with iron and acrylic paint.

I thought of the potential problems with the bolts providing hand/footholds (mentioned in my previous blog post) after I had constructed the maquette, so these features may need to be altered in the full scale sculpture.

Site 6 b mockup Site 6 c mockup

(Not the best mock-ups, but you get enough of an idea of how it would work on the site)

 

Reflection

The most important lesson I have learnt with this project is the need to step back from what I am doing at times to ensure I am on the right path. I enjoy the process side of things and the challenge that it offers, but can let that overtake the artwork I am trying to create. My first disastrous attempt at the Skipton sculpture was just what I needed to re-focus on what I was trying to create. I need to build in more time for reflection whilst creating work to ensure I am on the right path.

Artist Statement

‘Resurgence’

This sculpture provides an imposing and dynamic gateway into the quarry site, standing as a memorial to the human presence on the site which is now gone, the industry, construction, toil and noise that took place here. It has a corporal feel, that of two sentries guarding the entrance. The rust patina and after time the splashes of vegetation which would appear, reference the new life of the site as it returns to nature.

The site appealed to me as it has the evidence of previous industry with rusting metal and ruined buildings. Decay often seems to offer much more interest to me in terms of shapes and textures. The vegetation has taken hold in some areas which makes exploring the site seem like uncovering archaeology. There is also a desolate feel about the site, sadness about an industry now gone and a busy place returning to silence.

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

Materials:

The paper clay used gave me the ability to produce curved shapes that would have been difficult to manage using other materials. The iron paint works very well to make this look like rusted steel.

Techniques:

The method of construction was not thought through enough to provide enough stability for such a tall thin maquette. It stands, but I wouldn’t want to have to transport it!

Observational Skills:

The sculpture appears to work well on the site I have chosen for it (although my mock-up’s are not brilliant) and the patina compliments the form.

Design and Compositional Skills:

This maquette was planned using sketches more than I have done so previously, and I think benefits from this

Quality of Outcome

Stability is an issue for the maquette and the twist wasn’t as even as I had planned (although not necessarily in a bad way). Other than that I think the maquette is successful.

Demonstration of Creativity

Developed from an investigation of the quarry site and the possibilities it offered. Once the site was decided on, the idea came fairly fully formed and changed little in development

Context

This maquette has some similarities to Anthony Gormley’s Angel of the North, which was referenced in the course notes for this project. The obvious links are the rust colouration, the bolts/rivets holding it together and its upright standing form. Whilst my sculpture is more abstract, it does also share a corporal feeling, that of two sentries guarding the entrance to this site.

Comments

Despite the structural problems of building out of paper clay, I can’t think of a much better way to construct this maquette. I also can’t think of further ways to develop this sculpture. It is pleasing to construct a maquette and have it come out so close to how I envisaged!

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Musings on Motivation

On a walk recently I was mulling over my position as an artist. Many artists seem to have injustice either in their past or their current society to rail against in their artwork and give them a strong sense of direction and purpose.

I have no such injustice in my life. There is injustice in my society, but it is self-absorption, ignorance, capitalism and a lack of caring about society and the environment. They impact on me to make me despair of the human race and I can produce work which makes comment on these, but I would be very naïve if I though such work could really make any difference in relation to these issues. That is not to say that I won’t make comment about some of these, but what do I seek to achieve with my art?

I think there are a number of emotions/sensations I could hope to stir:

  • Beauty
  • Intrigue
  • Discovery
  • Spark of imagination
  • Playfulness
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