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Monthly Archives: August 2017
Animalcule 3 was unfinished at the time of submitting my assignment, it had the steel and bronze is a raw state. This looked good for this sculpture, but wouldn’t stay in that state, the steel would rust (quickly if displayed outdoors) and the bronze would slowly colour over time.
I liked the colours in the raw state pieces, so I started out by painting the steel silver. I then made the mistake of patinating the bronzes mostly in a blue colour. Some of them went a bit brown in colour and these work better, but the blue ones don’t provide enough contrast between the two different colourings.
I think I need to strip the bronzes back and re-patinate them a brown colour. I’ll not be able to do that until after assessment though, so I will submit my original unpainted/patinated pictures and video.
I developed some more ideas for map tiles, covering issues such as desertification, flooding, drought, etc.
Looking at the work I had produced for this assignment, my tutor made the following comments:
Work well as a body of ambitious work. Have more of a sculptural sense about them that my previous map tile work.
‘Captured passion’ – whilst the grid is interesting and the patina works well, the pollen sphere is too placed and ‘pretty’.
‘Animalcule 1’ – the steel form has the form of a scientific vessel and this theme could be played on more? Of the 3 animalcule sculptures, this is the one which needs more work.
‘Animalcule 2’ – The canvas softens the steel and works well with it, but perhaps the wiring could be made more of (too delicate at the moment)? It is like a zeppelin and has the feel of wanting to travel.
‘Animalcule 3’ – This is very dynamic looking, with animation in the way the internal bronze elements travel around the steel structure. This has much more confidence in working with the materials and placement of the forms.
My research is OK as far as it goes, but it needs to be more fully integrated in my processes. I need to broaden my reflections and identify the areas I need to work on more. I also need to make notes on what I am reading, comment on the work and how it could be used. Need more clarity and more depth. I also need to broaden my reflections
My tutor suggested I research and comment on the following:
Isomorphology by Gemma Anderson
This is a fascinating little book by Gemma Anderson. She has obviously spent a lot of time drawing different specimens to come to the conclusion that forms can be compared based on their basic form.
The fact that animal, vegetable and mineral forms can be classified in a similar way is interesting, but the most interesting points for me are:
Following a line of thought in great depth can lead to interesting results – I will take this forward with my pollen work, dedicate a sketchbook to this work and follow it in as many different ways as I can think of.
Combining science and nature can work well – this may form the basis of my third stage project.
Drawings can be very simple (her bold coloured outline drawings), or detailed (her etchings) and still work. I had this discussion with my tutor earlier in the course that the notes often push towards the free expressive marks, but that these don’t work for everyone – myself included.
Place by Tacita Dean and J Millar.
I will research this book in relation to the stage 6 essay
On Growth and Form by D’Arcy Thompson
Having only got through the introduction and first chapter of this book so far, I also looked at the Henry Moor Institute Essays on Sculpture 70, which is about the influence that this book has had on sculptors (Hammer et al., 2014).
Thompson’s principle theory was that the growth and form of living creatures could be explained using the laws of mathematics. His ideas were very controversial and none more than his ‘Theory of Transformations’ – the idea that physical forces could account for differences between different species. The diagrams he produced to show this were very convincing and influenced Henry Moore to produce his ‘Transformation Drawings’.
Naum Gabo believed in an alliance between science and art and was also heavily influenced by Thompson, particularly his work on shells.
Richard Hamilton was the sculptor whose work directly referenced Thompson’s book in his 1951 exhibition of the same name, which presented objects which translated Thompson’s diagrams into three dimensions and mixed sculptural items with scientific objects.
Other artists who were influenced include:
- Herbert Read
- Ben Nicholson
- Barbara Hepworth
- Jackson Pollock
- Mark Bickers
- Charlotte Sale
This shows what a huge impact his book had on artists and sculptors in particular because of his focus on shape and form. This influence is obviously still continuing in inspiring Gemma Anderson with her work. I shall keep reading and see where it takes me.
From the introduction to the 1961 abridged edition of ‘On Growth and Form’ I bought, this is attributed to the fact that ‘it is good literature as well as good science; it is a discourse on science as though it is a humanity’ (Thompson and Bonner, 1961, p.viii). This seems more common nowadays, so as more and more science is explained in this way, the link between science and nature will no doubt only strengthen.
Science is obviously influencing my own work and I am interested to take my pollen work forwards, looking at the effects of genetic modification of crops. I can’t find any images of GM pollen, so I could work on combining images of bacteria and pollen, then use some of the principles in this book to distort/modify these and develop the work in this way. This could be an interesting project to take forwards to level 3.
Hammer, M., Jarron, M., Kemp, M. and Le Feuvre, L. (2014). D’Arcy Thompson’s “On growth and form”. Leeds: Henry Moore Foundation.
Thompson, D. and Bonner, J. (1961). On growth and form. Abridged Edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
I had an encouraging tutorial for this assignment and seem to be heading in the right direction with my essay. I have many notes on how to tweak it, my main stumbling block is adding in my tutor’s suggestions whilst keeping it below the 2,000 word count. I only hope I have cropped out the right bits!
For my next level 2 course I need to deepen my research and its application to my work as I go through the course. I also need to ensure I have primary research as part of my next essay. It will be interesting to see what comments I get from assessment to add to my list of ways to improve.
I need to do some more drawings in relation to my map work for the assessment.
My tutor suggested I research and comment on the following:
Whistler’s “arrangement in White and Yellow” 1883 in relation to the movement towards displaying art in minimal spaces.
Whistler’s exhibition ‘Arrangement on White and Yellow’ was staged at a time when the usual method of displaying art works was the salon hang, with pictures crammed together, occupying the majority of the wall space, on bold painted walls and framed in large gilded frames. Whistler’s exhibition went completely against that principle, framing the works in thin white frames, spacing them out, painting the walls white to merge into the frames – an arrangement we would be very familiar with today. In addition to this, he turned the exhibition into a performance, affecting the quality of the light with yellow drapes, adorning guests with yellow satin and velvet butterflies and an attendant dressed in white and yellow to match the gallery theme. Such a significant change in display challenged the established way of displaying artwork, caused great publicity for his exhibition and led to the minimalistic gallery environments we now all expect.
Rosner, V. (2005). Modernism and the architecture of private life. New York: Columbia University Press.
The Fine Art Society. (2017). James McNeill Whistler. [online] Available at: http://thefineartsociety.com/artists/63-james-mcneill-whistler/overview/ [Accessed 11 Aug. 2017].
Olafur Eliasson in conversation with Tim Marlow
This is a fascinating talk that I think will take me some time to digest fully. Some interesting points I noted:
Regarding space in works – do they celebrate your movement through them, or try to alienate you for moving? – In Olafur’s case, definitely the former.
People come into galleries to take a closer look at the world. They heighten people’s senses.
In his works, he wants to encourage shared experiences that people see differently – he sees their disagreement as a positive thing, to be celebrated and embraced. Certainly when looking at ‘place’ as I am, no two people will experience or remember it in the same way.
He gives the responsibility of finishing his art works to the viewer. He trusts them and gives them the confidence to experience them fully and make the works their own.
Royal Academy of Arts (2016). Olafur Eliasson in Conversation with Tim Marlow. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KmUFPZxp6E [Accessed 11 Aug. 2017].