Assignment 4 – Tutor Feedback

Some bullet points taken from Skype assignment feedback:

  • Think about whether the accuracy of the topography is something which is needed. It could be more representative of the experience of being there / exploring the area.
  • Increase depth of reflections and contextualisation. More about my thoughts in creating the work. Question more what the pieces are communicating to the viewer. Are there areas that lose the communication of the ideas?
  • The museum-like presentation bases work well, however the additional pointed steel grid on the Conistone tile is over-elaborate and detracts from the message of the sculpture. It adds an industrial feel to the pieces which is not warranted.
  • Do more large drawings in pen & ink / graphite. Don’t feel like have to do ‘loose’ drawings if these don’t suit me.
  • The sketch of the fractured map tile works better, both as a sketch and as a sculpture, as it doesn’t have the baggage of the OS accurate map.
  • Try more sketches working on an imagined scale / dystopian landscapes.
  • A comment my tutor made about the Grimwith tile feeling like flayed flesh gave me an idea of having a tile with an area pealed back. Could do this with an archaeology tile – pealing back the surface – could do that literally, revealing an impression of what was underneath?


Suggested reading/viewing:

  • Boyle Family
  • Robert Smithson essays
  • Paul Noble


Comments on suggested reading:

Boyle Family

The Boyle family are best known for their ‘Earth Series’, a series of casts of the earth’s surface, selected at random. They incorporate objects from the sites with resin, fibreglass and paint, and aim to be accurate representations of that site.

Their exhibition of an area of coast on Barra in the Outer Hebrides (part of their ‘World Series’, a random survey of planet Earth, selected by throwing darts at a map of the world) is a very similar idea to one I have been mulling over, essentially having an exhibition based on a small section of land. Their exhibition (Barra project, World Series. 1992-2010) consisted of reproduction of a rock cliff face and a rippled area of sand, accompanied by a film piece of the site and electron microscope images of plankton and seaweed found at the site. They also included electron microscope images of their hairs, including themselves in recognition of their impact on the site by visiting it.

It is interesting that a fellow student has just written a blog piece on originality and finding that other artists have done the same thing as your own brilliant and innovative idea (Eaton, 2017). Having completed my map tiles in stage 4 and now working on sculpture based on microscope images in stage 5, I was thinking that these could be combined by selecting a small section of land and producing both a map tile of it and sculptures based on microscope imagery of what was found there (e.g. pollen, pond creatures).

Their work concerns itself with accuracy aiming to ‘present a version of reality as objectively and truthfully as possible’ (, 2017). My aim is to move further away from the accuracy of the depiction, to capture more of the essence. So the resulting work would be very different, but part of the concept to offer different interpretations of the environment is the same.

Another interesting piece of their work to me is ‘Sand, Wind and Tide series, 1969’, fourteen studies of the same square of beach. It looks like these are all monochrome though, rather than replicating the colour of the sane and I like this idea of removing colour to concentrate on the form and texture.

No doubt I will come back to look at their work again.

References: (2017). Boyle Family (About). [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2017].

Eaton, A. (2017). Confessions of an art student: Part 4 – WeAreOCA. [online] WeAreOCA. Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2017].

Mottram, J. (2017). Boyle Family – Submit Response. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2017]. (2017). Tidal Series (1969) | National Galleries of Scotland. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2017]. (2017). TateShots Edinburgh: Boyle Family. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2017].


Robert Smithson

Robert Smithson works directly with the landscape, creating earthworks or land art, most notably ‘Spiral Jetty, 1970’. Works like this alter the landscape to form his art, but he also produced work such as his Non-sites, where he brought materials from remote sites into galleries and placed them with maps and mirrors to create a ‘dialectic between the outdoors and indoors’ (, 2017).

I find his essays hard to understand, but his essay on ‘A Provisional Theory of Non-Sites’ he says:

‘By drawing … a topological map, one draws a … “logical two dimensional picture” [this] differs from a natural or realistic picture in that it rarely looks like the thing it stands for. The Non-Site (an indoor earthwork) is a three dimensional logical picture that is abstract, yet it represents an actual site…’

I guess this is what my tutor is suggesting I do in moving away from ‘the baggage of the OS map’

Ideas sparked – I could construct a map tile as a container. Have the map tile around the edge, with a recessed box in the centre, fill this box with collected material from the site?

Map tile with found items

References: (2017). Robert Smithson. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2017].


Paul Nobel

Paul Nobel produces drawings of a fictional place Nobson Newtown. These are very detailed pencil drawings, usually based on text as a starting point.

They are very different to my work and I am not sure what I will get out of these at the moment. I guess my tutor has pointed me towards these to show that detailed intricate drawings can be a valid way forwards rather than the way students are often pushed towards loser, freer drawings. It also shows where rolling with your imagination can take you.

I had some similar ideas in my ‘residency’ work, which I thought could be expanded to incorporate drawings in the form of architectural plans for the ‘buildings’ and a language used by the ‘unknown creatures’ – again proof that there are no original ideas, however much you may think you have them!

References: (2017). Paul Noble Nobson Newtown drawings. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2017].

Tate. (2017). Paul Noble | Tate. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2017].

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