Year 3: Reflections

I wasn’t able to attend the kickoff session in Barnsley this year which was disappointing, and I do feel less connected to the cohort. I’m also a bit confused as to what our actual assignments and deadlines are. However, I’ve started the year by reflecting back over the program, and have found some thinking, journaling and research from the last two years that actually gives me an exciting and logical place to start this unit – Reflective Studio Practice.

My aim this year was to focus on developing both a method and a voice with sequential frame moving image (using still photographic frames for stop-motion animation). I selected a group of images that I had made and exhibited in 2009. These images felt like a photo essay and I’d never been comfortable using them purely as 2-d prints. I also had been hoarding a haiku poem which I wanted to explore more fully through a body of work. I decided to use the series of images and the poem as the basis for my Year 3 project, and to centre the project around a moving image artwork. This would give me reason to learn video better compositing and editing techniques and more advanced software than I’d previously been using. Because I am very familiar with other Adobe products, and due to positive reviews about the version, I acquired and started to work with Adobe After Effects and Premier CS6.

Last year I explored working with expanded painting as a way to create immersive installations. I describe this as taking painting in to the dimension of space. This year I wanted to explore taking photography into time via sequential stop motion animation. The aim for my final project is combine paintings expanded into space with photography taken into time. This approach comes out of the recognition that I am both a painter and a photographer and don’t wish to give up either.

I feel that the video and photography work was successful this year, and I’m better understanding why I want to make this work. Photography is always comfortable for me and moving into stop-motion moving image feels like an extension from photography but the rhythm of making this kind of work is still very unfamiliar. I like the idea of continuing to make the content (images, sound) and editing myself rather than create a team like in traditional filmmaking. I am still committed to exploring ways to integrate the moving image with painting/expanded painting/installation. I need to work more with the editing software and need to do some additional tutorials with sound recording software and learn to create my own effects in both.

Losing my studio space two months from the end of the year was a challenge. I find it almost impossible to paint without a designated space. Photography and video is easier, but setting up proper lighting also a challenge. I will need to have a studio space by February next year at the latest.

I’m pleasantly surprised with the sound work this year. I need some more time to reflect back on the “theme” works I made earlier in the unit. They have a quality that I’d like to carry forward but I don’t know yet how to do this or where to use them. In preparation for next year, I have been looking at visual collage, and the idea of frames within frames. I wonder if there is a musical or a sonic equivalent of this?

I was pleased with the collection of work that came out of The Liquid Gesture, but I feel that the project still has the energy to generate more works. Carrying these other ideas through might create a stronger body of work for exhibition submissions. In fact, this might be the first body of work I feel is ready to submit as an exhibition proposal to some public galleries I’ve previously identified. I want to explore the scholars rock/mountain idea further and the layered portrait paintings. Also, I want to investigate working with ice as a metaphor for a way to capture the “liquid gesture”. Some additional sound studies are also under consideration. To date, I’ve not used obvious sounds for this work – water sounds – as I felt it would be too literal. However, I would like to go back and explore to find out for certain. I’ve contacted a local potters club to see about access to a kiln in order to make the larger scholars rock sculpture. I’d like to wire this in some way to connect to speakers so that it also becomes a way to project sound. A mountain that sings. (A phrase currently running through my journaling is the Australian Aborigine notion of times, places, spirits and relationships having their own song and the idea that you can sing someone distant “to you”.)

I’ve already started sketchbook and journal entries for ideas for my final project. I have a new working narrative that is based around the things we do to make ourselves feel better and folk and new age healing practices. There is a vein I’m developing around achievement, progress, the attainment of higher states of consciousness, science fiction and immersive video games. The challenge will be to avoid anything trite or obvious. However, there is much material for this idea and it’s crazy and random enough that it may well empower a rich body of work. And – the artists I’ve been most researching all work with a kind of “flight of word” connection to their content. This includes artists like Laure Provoust and Pipolotti Rist. The mysticism and ritualism David Noonan and the theatricality and didactic nature of his content also resonates for me. All of this is currently under consideration.

Themes in my artwork and practice this year:

  • Gesture as a narrative vehicle
  • Gesture as form
  • Elliptical and repetitive narrative
  • Sequential photography as moving image
  • Poetry as script
  • Lens-mediated story-telling
  • Deconstructed film making
  • Sculpture as evidence of gesture
  • Object as product
  • Object as prop

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