A4; Tutor Feedback

I was quite resistant to the idea of face-to-face feedback to begin with. I felt I would be too nervous to remember what was said and unable to answer any questions coherently. I need not have worried! Cari was warm and supportive, what came from our discussion was really thought provoking.

Here I will begin to consider some of the points Cari raised in the written summary she provided:

Overall Comments

– Strong clarity of image achieved in monoprints, through good use of mark making on the plates. The influence of Matisse on the nature of the image is clear.

– You are directly responding to both the technique and approach seen in your contextual research, which is great.

– Good range of material substrates tested to achieve a range of aesthetics.

– You’ve explored composition well through thumbnailing in the sketchbook but the prints often have a central motif surrounded by negative space and texture. Explore more varied compositions in future print, testing where the image appears within the frame.

All of my sunflower series featured a central motif, of course I must have noticed this- it was partly why so many images were culled at the selection phase- they were too similar. Why did I reproduce the same image so many times? I guess because I was experimenting with materials- paints, inks, papers and fabrics, I chose to the same composition to provide a constant when comparing results. Given that I had gone to the trouble of thumbnailing compositions I don’t really know why I didn’t carry this through properly.

I could easily do this and add to the presentation book with a note to say they were made in response to feedback.

– Figurative, illustrative approach worked well (sunflower series) and great to see exploration of text too.

I really enjoyed the illustrative element of printmaking. It did feel nice to be producing something that looked like something else. Cari suggested prints don’t need to be ‘of’ anything and given my interest in abstraction I am surprised that I felt the need to be so figurative.

– You’ve also developed some good repeat patterns. The knitted print in the sketchbook has great rhythm and depth produced through varied line and colour interaction.

– Great to see exploration of relief and 3D – printing on pleated / corrugated / folded materials. Consider presenting photographs of the pleated prints, so you present the work as you want assessors to see it.

This was really a credit to Cari whose Pointer for the Next Assignment at the end of Part 3, really inspired this line of enquiry. We discussed the addition of photographs to help explain the construction of the pattern. This makes a lot of sense to me and aids the inclusion of 3D.

– Working onto prints – drawing, scratching, layering, works really well.

Working on top of my work is something I felt I had never had much success with before. I am glad Cari found it worked well, I did concentrate a lot of effort on improving this area of my work.

– The sketchbook contains some great tests and the aesthetic is more varied than in the presentation book. The quicker, more minimal exploration haven’t been valued in the presentation book to the same extent as the more traditional approaches. (E.g. minimal pattern, the woven photocopied prints.) Consider the criteria on which you are selecting work for presentation.

I’m so glad this came up. It identified a misconception I had about the selection process. I thought I was representing the journey through the exercises, demonstrating what I had learned, including mistakes. I now realise I was supposed to be showcasing my best work. This misunderstanding might be contributing to the fact that my sketchbooks are always better than my final pieces.

We also identified that I have preconceived notions that to be ‘good’ or ‘final’ a piece of work must reflect an investment of time. This would help to explain why pieces like these were omitted:

I explained to Cari that on some level, I know they work but I just don’t understand why. She has recommended some things for me to think about (see * below).

Learning log:

– Discussion continues to critique and question your approach and the nature of the work.

– There were times when I’d have liked some more evaluative comments about the aesthetic (composition, role of motif, what it communicates), as your discussion of the prints focusses more on the technical aspects. Consider broadening your evaluative notes in part 5.

The conundrum continues… how to write less without leaving things out? How to broaden my notes with out saying too much? I think that this issue will resolve with practise. I will find a balance!

(*) Crafting, perfection, time… What makes art have value?

Some really interesting questions emerged through our discussion about your perception of value, which it would be great to consider reflecting on.

-Time and crafting: Should time-investment in art work equate to value? If something looks more detailed or time-consuming, does that make it more expensive?

Context: Look at the different contexts within the art world. People buying work for their walls in a local gallery work may value different aspects compared to visitors to the Tate Modern. Tracey Emin’s tent was vilified for looking thrown together, eliciting comments like ‘I could have done that’ at gallery shows. In this example, does the concept being communicated through the materials/process create the value rather than the process/medium? What do you value in others work and your own?

Function: Quilting and similar craft disciplines when used to create functional outcomes need to be well crafted to ensure they withstand time and use. When processes are used to create work that isn’t functional, the role of crafting will shift.

Sloppy craft: Consider the execution of techniques in art. Is perfection necessary? Something may be time-consuming but not look it. Look at the sloppy craft movement and Josh Faught’s work. (There’s an academic test about this but I haven’t read it yet. Sloppy Craft: Post-disciplinarity and the crafts, Elaine Cheasley Paterson, Susan Surette)

I think these pointers go a long way to illustrating the benefit of video feedback. The issue came up through back and forth questioning, the result is perfectly tailored to meet my needs at this moment in time. I am not going to comment on them yet but I will definitely be giving them much consideration.

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A4; Self Assessment

DEMONSTRATION OF TECHNICAL AND VISUAL SKILLS

Printmaking felt like an extension of the drawing and painting skills that are one of my strengths, as such I think I had the technical skill to manipulate the materials, although I did struggle with the Intaglio process when printing the Collatype plates.

I used this unit as an opportunity to develop my collage skills. In the past I have really struggled with collaging and layering and have felt reluctant to ‘spoil’ work I have produced. Addressing this issue gave me the freedom to play with colour and composition in a way that I haven’t experienced before. I became much less precious about my work, experimenting with cutting and layering in a curious manner.

I think the unpredictable nature of the print and the spontaneity of the process gave me the confidence to accept imperfections, it was also much more difficult to pre-plan an outcome, I found I had to work with what I got! This builds on learning from previous units.

QUALITY OF OUTCOME:

Being experimental and taking risks means that inevitably some efforts will fail. I was much less discouraged by this than in the past and used these stumbling blocks as a chance to problem solve and find out what would work. This often led to newer more exciting ideas, for example My BIG Idea.

My sketchbook is very different, at times I found the unit chaotic and sprawling. I was often working on several ideas at once. As such my sketchbook lost some of the continuity I am used to, I found I had to organise it thematically rather than chronologically. The result is more obviously a a working document, especially when compared to my Part 3 sketchbook which was very controlled and well laid out.

My final selection has been tidily bound and looks quite professional. The overall impression I get when I look through it is that there is a variety of quirky pieces that reflect me as an individual. The question remains whether or not to add the labels I prepared?

There is some duplication of prints towards the end when I simply couldn’t choose between them. I hope I have shown enough discernment, it seemed important to show how different prints from the same plate could be!

DEMONSTRATION OF CREATIVITY:

I think Printmaking came more naturally to me than some of the other mixed media techniques I have encountered so far. This provided the temptation for me to get bogged down in the production of ‘perfect’ images, I am happy to say that I think I managed to avoid this. My choice to begin the exercises using acrylic paints, copy paper and the Gelli Plate encouraged me to concentrate on the techniques and to be experimental. I worried that more expensive materials would foster the perfectionism that I am trying to ‘grow out of’.

My tutor’s pointer to use the processes from earlier in the course to introduce surface relief was certainly instrumental in creating some of the more imaginative pieces. I used the pleating, folding, cutting, tearing and crumpling exercises from Part 1. I was pleased to be able to incorporate encapsulation with resin from Part 3, to ‘Preserve the Transient’. Adapting the collatype technique allowed me to prepare a reverential wrapping paper that drew on the themes of concealment and revelation from Part 2.

CONTEXT:

The biggest difference in my research for this unit seems to be the shift from WHAT other artists have done, to HOW they did it, which in turn leads to the question WHY. This was more deeply embedded than it might appear and ran right from the beginning of the unit where I discovered the subtractive monotypes that lie beneath some of Degas paintings right through to end where I considered the role the of Collatype Plate. My research challenged me to think beyond the print as a final product and to consider them as another stage in the process. I think this will formulate the work for Part 5. (see bottom of this post)

Cari’s challenge to write less without paring too much away, was quite a conundrum! I have done my best to be more succinct (I don’t know how she found out my word count or I could check and compare!) whilst maintaining the same level of reflection. My sketchbook is more visual and relies many on notes to support the work, however, I did still include a lot of my research it rather than on the blog.

A4; The Selection Process

I previously wrote about the Selection Process and what I didn’t include from Project 1 (here) I have now compiled my entire selection and sent them to my tutor. I chose to mount all the prints on A3 paper as they were a variety of sizes and materials. I bound the pages with loose rings to enable the prints to be removed and viewed side by side if necessary.

The nature of the final exercise meant that there was time between the drying of plates to perform the analysis and selection as I went along. This meant there was not a last minute scramble to make choices at the end. It also means that there seems little more to say about the process, detailed information can be accessed via the menu tab.

I hope I have been able to show a level of discernment in my selection, I chose 39 in total which seems rather a lot but I found printmaking to be extremely prolific, I have a huge amount left over that I didn’t send!

I prepared a set of labels to stick to the bottom of each page to curate the collection. I ended up placing these at the front of the book for Cari to read- I will ask her opinion on whether or not to use them. I wanted to provide information for the assessors about my choices but I don’t want them to distract from the images.

4.1.1: MARK-MAKING

 

4.1.2: PAINTING ON

4.1.3: BACK DRAWING

4.1.4: STENCILS

4.1: DEVELOPING COLLAGE SKILLS & INTRODUCING SURFACE RELIEF

4.2.1 & 4.2.2: COLLAGE & POLYFILLA BLOCKS

4.2.3: COLLATYPE PRINTS

I apologise if any of the images disappear, I had terrible trouble getting them to stick!

 

 

 

4.2.3; Scope and Potential

Embracing Collatype Printing was actually very rewarding. I didn’t find it nearly as ‘pre-school’ as I thought! I surprised myself at the level of sophistication I was able to achieve, even though the prints had many imperfections. I believe there is a lot more that could be done both with the technique itself and the prints I have already produced.

The Prints:

I would like to experiment with adding to the prints I have made. Earlier work in Project 1 showed me the dangers of adding too much detail in the form of a heavy outline. I found this made the shapes very static and the overall print too dark:

I am hopeful that further experimentation with collage gave me the skills to avoid this happening again:

The photographs below demonstrate that adding colour to a ‘failed’ print can be effective but I still think more embellishment is required. I will be adding machine stitch.

The Abaca prints below could be adhered to another substrate in the manner of Chine Colle. I would then be interested to see how hand embroidery can be used to develop the image.

There would be little to lose from working on top of failed prints: either too light or too dark, they could be used to form the scaffold of another piece of work.

The Plates:

What excites me more than developing the prints, is the thought of using the used plates for something else…

The Cromer Pier Plate (2) has already been covered with Gesso, I intend to paint over this. I think I will find manipulating paint with a brush over the textures in my own time, easier than racing to apply sticky ink and hoping it transfers to the paper.

DSCF5631

The abstract plate (1), that gained the look of a Miro painting after inking has been coated with several layers of latex and scrim. I have an idea that when they are separated the latex will pull a certain amount of residual ink with it. Will I then be able to cast that? Will the ink then colour plaster (like Rachel Whiteread’s book sculptures from Part 3? I don’t know what will happen and that is what attracts me!

The construction of the Windmill plate (3) meant that many features were set in relief to achieve a clean white result on the finished print. What if this were cast? The detail would be reversed, would this change its appearance? Would this change the way it printed?

DSCF5633

I am reluctant to say very much more as I believe these ideas will form the basis of Part 5. I had an entirely different idea of where I was headed for Part 5 but these thoughts coupled with the discovery of contemporary artist Arlene Shechet has changed this.

Shechet has a healthy attitude toward ‘play’ and her process is really organic because of this: “You are prepared but you don’t know anything” ¹ This is exactly how I want to work in Part 5. She uses a number of materials to form her sculptures and is not tied to any particular technique, she points out: “The thing that’s unseen is sometimes way more interesting than what you want people to see” ² and I find myself in total agreement. I often find the incidental products of making as attractive as the work itself, be it the table protector, the cloths used to clean up, the stencils, the mould from a casting OR the Plates used for printing… I think I have found my way forward!

¹ and ²: https://art21.org/watch/extended-play/arlene-shechet-pentimento-in-paper-short

A4; The Selection Process (What NOT to Include?)

There were practical reasons for beginning the Selection Process at the end of Project One, rather than waiting until the end of the unit:

  • as usual I went totally overboard with the quantity I produced. I had stacks of prints to sort and quite frankly they were driving me crazy!
  • I needed some clarity regarding what I had done and what I needed to do next.
  • I found during Part 3, when I thought I had finished, sorting the work inspired further pieces that I felt were amongst my strongest.
  • I was waiting for Collagraph plate to dray and for Akua ink to arrive.

The process felt very different this time, maybe more physical? I found myself actively involved in shifting and sorting the prints. In some regards it was easier, I felt quite detached and emotionless as I rejected some prints. Others were harder to part with.

This post discusses how I decided what NOT to select

Some were clearly not good, they were easily dispatched.

Some I liked but were more reflective of the ‘old me’, they were tricky not to include!

Some were multiples (I totally over did 4.1.1 and 4.1.2) I had to find a balance between showing the learning, representing the effort and not boring everyone to tears with sunflower after sunflower! No one wants to see this:

Sometimes it was very hard to chose between similar prints. The Emin inspired back-drawings for example contained interesting elements but there was no clear front runner.

DSCF5469

I found it hard not to include any of the knitted stitch prints, I wanted to, simply because I liked the idea. In the end I decided no matter how good the idea was the prints just didn’t do anything for me, I found them a bit bland and safe.

Another difficulty was rejecting a print that represented a lot of work on my part. I tried long and hard to resolve back-drawing on stencil prints producing muddy images. In the detail below you can see that it was beginning to work but a poor choice of substrate (copy paper) had led to buckling. I mounted the print below, but ended up removing it.

This was also the case for the oil paint/brusho back-drawing experiments. They just don’t work, I think the reason lie in the original sketch and/or the subject. The focus of the drawing was the pattern made by the ivy leaves, yet the darkest most dominant part of the composition was the space between them. Had I used it as a negative space exercise I might have had more success. There are also colour issues with the blue/green both with the falsely intense brusho and synthetic looking straight-from-the-tube oil paint.

I really enjoyed 4.1.3 and totally threw myself into it but actually produced very little that I could use, my resolution to this was to include a lot of it in my sketchbook. I found that I used my sketchbook very differently during this unit. It was much harder to keep it chronological, my ideas became rather scattered amongst the pages. I discussed this issue with course-mate Inger, I was extremely tempted to cut it up and re-work it into some sort of order but we both agreed this would not be time well spent. In the end I decided to ‘go with the flow’ and stick things in thematically. I prefer my organised layouts in the A3 sketchbook but I think this one will show the same level of learning- in a rather more organic (chaotic) fashion- it is a working document after all.