Ever feel someone is tapping your dreams?

For the past few months my dreams and my days have been filled with Ruby and her journey through the forest, into the shadows with her animus. Soon this stage of her journey will be captured in the big end of year final thing… except Ruby will keep going, the journey is never over.

Just a few minutes ago I came across the work of Pierre Huyghe. Don’t tell me there is no collective unconscious… geez it feels like this dude and I have been invading each others dreams…. I looked at a couple of images of his work and felt I knew it… check these out:

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He even has the red ribbon.rag thingy…! I must look further into his work because the write ups I have read so far are totally fascinating, and deliciously inspiring to boot :)

Images retrieved on 22/10/14 from:

http://www.art-agenda.com/reviews/pierre-huyghe%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%9Cin-border-deep%E2%80%9D/

The Hood or the Hair?

We had our third critique session in studio today. I presented Ruby in her current state of half fur, and a couple of versions of my mixed media painting.

I wanted to know which version of the painting they felt looked best, the red hooded Tabby or the red hair Tabby. Leigh liked the red hair best but the other two group members liked the hooded version the best. I am posting images here in case anyone out there cares to give me feedback!

This is the hooded version, I do like it because it blends in well with the rest of the image which was the main gist of the feedback I got from the those who preferred this version.

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This second version I also like a lot, and Leigh liked it because of the contrast and shine of the hair. It actually printed out very vibrantly. I actually dulled it a little here to blend it with the back ground a bit more. I do like this, I like how it is a step away from the Red Riding Hood, but I wonder of it looks a little too real, a little too like a glossy advertisement? But then she looks very contemporary, whereas the animus looks earthy, and woodlandy, slightly musty which does work well with my narrative, as the animus is musty in many of us and needs unearthing. I will definitely adjust her eye colour in the hair image if I use that one, make them greener.

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The fur effect with knitting faux fur etc was approved by all. I totally forgot to take in my red cloak remnants, but they will be part of the finished installation for sure.

I had a chat to Jose one of our tutors later, and she agrees that the trees/installation works really well, as opposed to just having the painting on a wall.  I have been very tempted to go this route just to fit in the studio more easily. I had doubts about Ruby and her chopped off head, but after some discussion Jose suggested a plinth on its side. I tried this and with Ruby at one end almost imitation the *animus* dude in the painting, it totally worked! It could almost be used to bring the painting into the scene, like the two would be facing each other. I would continue to drape the wolf *pelt* around the plinth a bit and mayeb add some more red ragged pieces (signifying the cloak remnants but also with a deeper story of coming of age, menstruation…).

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I couldn’t get the space I wanted, but I have another corner. It has a large radiator on the wall but the tutors will have to ignore that. G-Block may be a nice design in the atrium etc but for an art studio with a view to having to exhibit end of year work in a professional way, it totally sucks. There is so little wall space in the studios.

So… I shall carry in knitting/stitching/shredding Ruby, and trying to decide on hood or hair!

Your opinions are highly desired and more than welcome!

Shaping the Wolf…

I have been working on Ruby’s wolf headdress or hat. This is a rough sketch of what I envisage, but I cant draw wolves… No matter, Maurice Sendak couldn’t draw horses and that didn’t stop him.

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I have decided to make a separate piece for this, but getting the right shape is proving a challenge. Experiments so far have included using cardboard, chicken wire and polystyrene, to try and get the nose shape.

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Johnny and I also took a very cool trip to Nelson Community Art Works,  an amazing art centre run by Faye and Karl Wulf, where they make incredible masks and other art from paper mache.

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Alas, not a wolf in site, but we did meet some amazing Burtonlings, hares, and a very cool unicorn with his friend the Cheshire cat.

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Formative Assessment

Today I set up my work as it stands now,  in the studio for the formative assessment. It was a useful exercise as I learned several things:

  • I need a lot more space than I first envisioned if I am to present my work this way in the exhibiton at the end of the year.
  • My mixed media work of the girl and the beast will look great if it is much bigger. I have sourced some quotes and I think I will get it printed onto a wrapped canvas, in at least A2 size.
  • Given more space I think shadows could work really well even with ambient lighting, depending where I am in the gallery.
  • I need to do the technical research to ensure that my trees and trophy are stable once installed. For the formative I relied on masking tape.

Anyhow, here are the images, the trophy of course has a way to go, but on the whole I am please that I have a clear vision of what my final work will be like.

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The ruination of Ruby…

I started to make Ruby more beastly looking today, but I made a mistake of rushing the process in time for the formative assessment tomorrow. I created her ears ok, but then I applied wet wallpaper paste and tissue paper to the dried Ruby head and of course it soaked through the dry stuff and she ended up a bit if a mush.  :(

I dried her with a hairdryer and added more foam inside, sort of like botox, to push her nose and lips back out. I also experimented with making the wolf hat that will go on top of her head, but didn’t get too far with that.  I kind of managed to resue her but as you can see from the photo below she is rather battered looking. Still I quite like the texture of the new tissue as it looks fur-like. I was going to beastify her anyway so I guess it is not too much of a disaster.

Lesson learned… wet wallpaper paste on top of dry paper mache is a BAD idea!

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Antlers for Ruby

I spent a couple of hours today working on Ruby and her antlers. I had to carve out a polystyrene ball and insert in inside her head to hold them in place. It will still need some weighting though.

The images below show the various branches I tried. The one I really loved was way too large in the end for the scale of the head but I am pleased with how she looks now, which is the image on the bottom right.

Photos from Sep 2014 Photo Stream

 

Wolves in the Shadows

Today in studio I was experimenting with large, shadow like drawings of wolves. I quite like the idea of drawing these directly on the wall of the exhibition space. I would ideally like to project them as shadows on the wall but given the fact that it will be a joint exhibition this could be difficult. I talked about this with my tutor, Will, and we discussed creating an enclosed space which would eliminate ambient light. It would involve having a viewing gap though which would create more of a voyeur effect which I don;t really want.

I think this vague shadow drawing is actually quite effective and can imagine it larger on a wall. I believe it would look pretty neat with the tree branches around it. I will have to experiment in the studio. I am running out of space with all my trees and branch antlers!

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Kiki Smith

Kiki Smith is an artist who I totally get. An American artist, born in Germany in 1954,  Smith occupies a unique place in the art world. Her work is varied, versatile, powerful, weird and wonderful. There is no artist I have found who works as she does, except myself, and I am a mere fledgling.

Kiki Smith works in several different media and her exhibitions bring together etchings, painting, textile art, sculpture, book art and photography. The glue for these works is a central theme for each exhibition. In the late 1980s  and early 1990s Smith worked with themes surrounding body issues, effluvia, and taboo. Her work has often featured female iconography and more recently the female icons have been plucked from the world of the fairy tale.

In the sculpture below we see a different take on Little Red Riding Hood.

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Image sourced on 4/9/14 from: http://tinyurl.com/m723ljx

This time a drawing entitled, ‘Wearing the Skin’, this image reflects how I portray the Red and the wolf in my own art.

Wearing-the-Skin-Kiki-Smith-2002Image sourced on 4/9/14 from: http://tinyurl.com/l8pjrqc

In an interview with Psychology Today,  Smith said:

Just do your work. And if the world needs your work it will come and get you. And if it doesn’t, do your work anyway. You can have fantasies about having control over the world, but I know I can barely control my kitchen sink. That is the grace I’m given. Because when one can control things, one is limited to one’s own vision. As a child I prayed that my calling be revealed—but not with expectation and not with a destination. I became an artist because I didn’t know what to do and I thought it was really fun to make things.

I like her words as much as I like her art. Making art, being creative because you have to, is the difference I think between being an artist and being anyone else. I am amazed that not everyone has this burning need to create, that not everyone obsesses over colours, shapes, light, shadows, the way I do, that not everyone regularly takes a hundred photos on a morning walk.

I was also very excited to discover that Kiki Smith worked with fairy tales, and that we had much in common in our media and themes, if not expertise. I had already planned that my personal work would be a collection of various different media and techniques around my theme. Finding out that an artist whose work I admire and respect, both creates and exhibits her work in this way, strengthened my concept for me personally.

More about Kiki and her work soon. I discovered her fairy tale work through a cover on one of my Jack Zipes books. The cover art was created by Kiki Smith in 2002, it is entitled Born

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Image sourced on 4/9/14 from: http://tinyurl.com/o7qatwa

 

 

The Map is not the Territory

The following post is by blogger Andy Parkinson

I found it fascinating, how he connects the mapping and NLP theories with abstract art. I was initially reminded of René Magritte’s painting, Ceci n’est pas une pipe.

…according to John Grinder and Carmen Bostic St, Clair the territory isn’t even the territory, (Whispering in the Wind page 25). They use the term First Access (FA) for the point where we gain access to information about the world through our sensory systems. The information received at FA is already a map, though we are accustomed to think of it as the territory. The vast majority of what is out there never reaches our senses, and the information that does reach us is also transformed. FA is the product of these transforms or mappings. Grinder/St Clair use the abbreviation F1 to refer to the set of mappings that occur before FA.

Then there are the linguistic transforms that take place after FA, the mappings that we usually refer to when, with Alfred Korzybski, we say “the map is not the territory”. Grinder/St Clair use the term F2 to refer to these transforms, our linguistically mediated mental maps.

It seems to me that abstract painting is particularly well placed to explore the pre-linguistic, F1 transforms or mappings or representations, that occur between the events of the real world and our visual perceptions (It can and does also explore F2 mappings as does figurative painting).

The coloured discs you really see in this painting are not out there in the external world, they are not on the surface of the painting. Neither are the 49 bright white discs that appear in the centres of the squares (especially when you look slightly sideways). They are part of the F1 transforms, mappings or representations that take place between the world out there and FA. I suggest that whilst that’s so for everything you see including the canvas, knowing that these colour/shapes exist only in our  F1 mappings shows us something about that mapping process. I think the painting is helping us to model colour.

Something else about these subjective/colour shapes that intrigues me is that we see the discs as perfect circles. Although the drawing is inaccurate we see the discs as if they were accurately rendered… your eye is more accurate than my hand. Your representation or map is, in this respect, more accurate than the territory.

Go for witchy…

We had an APA referencing session in the library this morning. It was good to find some of the sites available in the depths of the NMIT library website. Can’t help but wonder why this was not given to us right at the beginning of the course though, it would have made a lot of sense, especially when I was doing the writing diploma! Anyway it was useful.

Yesterday, I had a wee tutorial with Jose, one of our tutors, about my work, and that gave me confidence in what I am doing. Jose said she can see how all of the things I said in our first tutorial have come together, and that made me happy. Although the path I am currently treading feels right to me, it is good to know that it feels right to someone else too. I have been having many more ideas since then now I feel that I have a license almost to carry on, it seems to have opened the floodgates.

Some of the things I learned today:

I want to carry on my theme of forests, trees and shadows in this current work, especially in the final presentation. I am going to present my work in a forest-like setting, hopefully I can have shadows on the white walls of the Refinery Gallery where the exhibition is to be held. I would like to use one of the white painted brick walls, and I will need a corner. I have already been looking for suitable tree branches to use in my setup!

There is a lot of art in this world that concentrates on the darker less attractive side of life, and the abject. While I can appreciate the meaning behind latex shower curtains with embedded pubic hair, or unmade beds surrounded by the daily mess of a depressed human being, this is not what I want to do.  I can admire those who spend their artistic talents in making shocking  statements about society, and how we live,  but my way is more subtle. I have seen the dark side of life, I have experienced rape, violence, abuse and madness, and maybe because of this, I want to make something beautiful from the darkness, rather than focus on the murky detritus.

When you are caught up in a project, and then start thinking about your audience, anxiety can set in and you wonder if they will get it, and because of this you can be trapped into becoming too literal to get the point across, this is something Jose helped me to see, and something I want to avoid. So I am going to make my art without worrying too much about whether anyone gets it or not, and that is extremely freeing.

I can get witchy… I am witchy but it is ok to let it come out… woohoo!!

My current wall display… I do like the antlers a lot… the dark murky image near the bottom is a work in progress which went wrong due to an overdose of gel medium, but it is still useful a template.

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The view from my studio window :)

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