For reasons discussed elsewhere, upright flat surfaces and film are my primary expressions of artistic enterprise rather than anything requiring manipulation. With that in mind, I have still produced work that has surprised me, and found techniques that I know I will take forward. I have used ‘ready-made’ quite a lot in these works, although not in the Rauschenberg sense. I have not, though, brought ‘my own bodily presence’ into it, unless this is in the subtext of my limitations, and of course that has necessarily influenced my approach to making paintings.
This series of assignment works is based in ideas drawn from the various tasks – the idea of letting a random element make the marks, the use of the ready-made, and an element of the 3D. Each piece chases shadows/patches of light across three different surfaces (vertical cartridge, flat cartridge, the floor) and fixes them at different points using the media of pastel, paint, and photography.
I think it’s important to say that I use surfaces of scale, usually A1, as sketchbooks. Only dabbing occasionally into actual sketchbooks where I want to try out different kinds/dilutions/mixes of colours or media, I rarely use them to work out compositions. This takes place on the larger scale where I can see more clearly what happens to the space.
Everything I’ve used in these remotely driven pieces where composition was not a primary concern, I’ve used before and chose them for the qualities I’ve become familiar with although I don’t think I’ve ever made a ‘flip book’ before. This was one of those developmental trails that brought itself into the frame once the photos were on plain paper and I began laying them out. I wanted a different kind of surface for this final piece and the black cartridge seemed to resonate with the black surface of the floor covering. Only as the process of assembly progressed did the fold, the wire retainer, and the idea of a vertical and a horizontal surface as a combined piece emerge.
It’s hard to evaluate this work against learning/assessment criteria because I’ve been travelling a parallel path. But I think this in itself demonstrates inventiveness, an ability to find different ways to express an idea, and some less than conventional use of materials. None of it is completely original but, in tackling the requirements outside the expected framework, I think there is originality there.
Footnote: the text, ‘Wherever you see a shadow, you know there’s a thief stealing light. Whenever you paint a shadow, you are the thief’, refers to the different ways black is produced by light frequencies (subtractive) and pigment (additive) so that real world shadows happen where light frequencies are excluded and painted ones are the result of absorption of all frequencies by pigment. Tiny black holes.
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