To share or not to share…

  
I am two months in to a six month collaboration with ten other artists . My practice has become more about being present and mindful of the ‘process’ of having a ‘practice’. So I set a brief and shared it with others to play with the idea of context or place (see earlier posts). And what I am discovering through being part of this collaboration is the fundamental need to share, to show what your response has been, and that makes me curious. We have agreed to limit ‘sharing’ images via social media of work in progress to a minimum so as not to disrupt the process of the collaboration. That limitation has been difficult for me as I am a compulsive ‘sharer’; I have never really questioned why before but now I am. 

I am not interested in having a commercial practice, in having a brand or product. I am not really that interested in galleries. I wonder therefore what motivates the need to ‘share’. I know that I have made links with others who have similar preoccupations through seeing the world through their eyes/work. Maybe that’s the reason? To validate something undefinable? Still mulling it over….

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Maps, not maps 

   
 As part of an ongoing response to the old war hospital site at #Brindleyvillage I have been looking at how to ‘draw’ the unseen- the parts that are no longer there. 
I am not normally a fan of digital drawing, the quality of the lines made to me are somehow flat and unexciting. However I have discovered an app called Sketches Pro which allows layering of digital transfers and transparencies and this suits my printmakers mind.    

 I am interested in how I can use this as a developmental tool in formulating a response to the footprint left at the war hospital site. The only architectural remains now are square concrete post-holes and bits of moss covered brick- mostly square in shape. These remnants, combined with aerial maps of the area in the 1940s have been combined to form abstract pattern:    

   

Dis:placed Month 1

I am going to limit my blog to talking about/ showing process rather than final outcomes, as we have agreed as a group not to share images of the work that we will be sending on to the next artist during the course of the ‘Dis:placed’ collaboration. That in itself causes a different slant to the internal discourse, as I have become used to sharing outcomes regularly with Twitter followers and the Artist Teacher group.

What has come up for me is a filtering of processes, I am a bit of a magpie when it comes to ‘collecting’ techniques and approaches to recording from an object. Maybe it’s the printmaker in me but whenever I approach something new I immediately set about finding ways to extract ‘markmaking’ from it- casting, rubbings, printing, photographing….numerous ways of getting something to talk to you.

From drawing to manipulating surface qualities, I have found that digital development is starting to feature more prominently in the process that I am using; video and projection are relatively new media to me but are starting to appear in my approach to pushing a drawing further.

Video and projection 1

Video and projection 2

I have two sets of objects to respond to this month and it will be interesting to see how I can develop the role of digital media in this process further…..

 

 

Displaced -collaboration begins 

  This month the magic begins…. after a non-productive hiatus in January involving much soul searching about the future, I am glad to see the beginnings of this collaboration. And the agreement not to share images of work produced along the way is an interesting one to follow….so far all I have visually reflected upon is processes that are jostling their way to the front. 

My part in the collaboration is to respond to two ‘places’ each month, as it was necessary to ‘make up the numbers’ so that we can all participate in four pieces of work each before the work is collected back together. Having spent the last few months coming up against a stumbling block in legitimising my response to the old war hospital site it is energising to be the recipient of two very different ‘puzzles’. 

My dialogue with each of the ‘places’ I have been sent is a weaving of current preoccupations and a push to explore and question new ways to share my response; a vehicle to move away from the stumbling block and look afresh at what ‘response’ is. And the main point of setting this brief was to examine the removal of context in responding to a place- none of us know the background or significance of the place that has been chosen for us to be inspired by. 

Oo the fun is only just beginning! 

New Year, New Idea

    

The process of developing my own practice through the Artist Teacher Scheme with BCU since July 2015 has raised interesting questions, most particularly about context. In my last critique I placed site specific work meant for the Brindley Village war hospital site in an interior ‘exhibition’ context and it was duly interrogated, read and given meaning in that context. Placing the objects into another setting gave them a different meaning and a lost connection to their ‘base’. This disparity has got me thinking about how to explore this friction in the actual work. In July we have a space allocated at New Art Gallery Walsall to exhibit outcomes from this course and from the outset I have pondered on how to ‘rupture’ that process in some way through a discomfort in the boundaries placed on gallery set work. So how can I make place specific work that is understood out of context of place? How can I challenge the ‘don’t touch’ interaction that is not problematic when people encounter work left in public places? These are my thoughts in trying to form a direction for the remaining six months of the course. 

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And so an idea has formed- why not explore the process of displacing a material part of a place, removing the context, and seeing how that can change a response to a place. 

Another element to my practice that is fundamental is collaboration, the possibilities generated from allowing the un-known to unfold from the interaction of others is exciting and a way of working that I find more invigorating than solo practice. 

During 2015 and through using Twitter to share work with others I have been priveledged to get to know the work of other practising artists who share my slant on the world. My new idea is to find out if they would like to collaborate for the next six months in exchanging work along these lines: 

Dis:placed

SONY DSC
To produce work in any media that responds to a specific and unseen place; to respond to material qualities in work received from another artist

So how would this exchange work, in outline, something like this:

Jan: select a significant place and choose something material to that place to post to next artist in the circle. Provide some clues on location but no photos of place itself. 

Feb: respond to received object in any media, exploring suggested qualities or processes inspired by your package. Post everything together to next artist. 

March- May: repeat last months process with whatever is received next. 

June- all work returned to original sender and re- located at significant place/ document work in situ electronically and post all work to me for exhibition. 

July- exhibition at NAGW and electronically online. 

Ideally I would like this process to push drawing/markmaking practices to explore beyond the obvious as well as to possibly allow new ideas about responding to a place to emerge through having the collaborative input of others who are essentially ‘blind’ to the place itself. 

So now to find out who is interested in joining me? 

#artfag9

It’s been a while since I’ve written on my Rizla paper as I promised to do, but I’ve had some time to bring it all together in my head this morning; two routes becoming clearer in my mind as to how to approach making work about the war hospital and the shellshock patients treated there.