P3- Contextual Studies Assignment 2

Revised proposal for research project.

DSC_1049 DSC_1050Following on from my previous assignment I spent some time just considering some of the themes and concepts that you identified in my work, and tried to pin-point somehow where the various aspects of my work my sit. I did find it wasn’t all together straight forward and often there seems to be this tug backwards and forwards between the opposing forces. I imagine this is what resolving a work is about. As I considered the various concepts, TIME seemed to crop up as a repeating factor. On thinking about this in terms of my work and working outside, and growing material outside, I thought of the unpredictable nature of the elements along with the constant of time. I hadn’t really thought about it like this before.

This idea of control/lack of control or order and chaos is an element in the work of both Eva Hesse and Anselm Kiefer, who I have written about. Time is a factor too for the work of them both, their works subject to change over time.

‘The archaeologist Colin Renfrew has written widely about the parallel vision of artists and archaeologists and what they share in their material cultures; ‘the visual arts today offer a liberation for the student of the past who is seeking to understand the processes that have made us what we are now. Over the past century or so the visual arts have transformed themselves from the preoccupation with beauty and the representation of the world into something much more radical… into what might be described as a vast, uncoordinated yet somehow enormously effective research programme that looks critically at what we are and how we know what we are.’

 These words allude to what it might be to be a contemporary visual artist. The paragraph comes from p38 of Tania Kovat’s book, ‘Drawing Water- Drawing as a mechanism for exploration’. I think it caught my attention because it somehow refers to a change, and possibly a different way of working, a deeper investigation perhaps. Kovats book is interesting because it documents the many facets of her investigation and her thoughts about them, along with her own work. In some respects it is almost curatorial, and I suppose in addition to art historical references in her work she is acknowledging the use of drawing as a means of exploration by people other than artists, making for a much wider and comprehensive study.  I suppose it is the idea of a different way of working that interests me in the light of the breadth my work with willow has taken.

So, as I think about my research project I am confused

I have uncertainties about where my work sits and yet I have found the work I have been doing enriching, this is where I think of Hesse as influential in the way she was true to herself.

I have found being on a painting course and finding myself making 3 dimensional forms unsettling, and yet Hesse, Kiefer and Kovats all work in 2 and 3 dimensions.

I have found working the way I have enriching and helps to maintain a momentum and a fluidity of thought.

Achieving a sense of cohesion in the work is more challenging- Michelle suggested that negative space and possibly the notion of ‘absence’ could be a link. (I will send you a copy of her recent report)

I found it reassuring to find John Newling, who also includes ‘growing plants’ as part of his practice, and using the materials grown in his work.

And Ursula von Rydingsvard (currently at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park) who works with one tree, the Cedar is at the centre of her practice, but balances huge sculptural works with work of an almost domestic scale that are 2 and 3 dimensional scale.

‘The relationship between 2d and 3d is fascinating. Can you go into it more? What is the difference? Real space is the obvious one. How do you perceive the difference and similarities in working in both ways in your own work? How do you perceive it in others’ eg. Randall-Page?’

These are words you wrote in my last report which stood out to me as I read back through. I know I have to pin some research questions which is tricky, but I think it will be around the nature of contemporary practice. Many artists seem to work in 2 and 3 dimensions, but also varying in scale. How do they decide ‘what the work is’- I can think of a number of exhibitions I have been to that have included sketchbooks and studies. I am interested in the idea of Hesse’ work having contemporary resonance, and Briony Fer refers to her studio works, small pieces, as evidence of this. I am also interested in the nature of the material she chose, latex in particular, a natural material from a tree. So I have an idea that I would like to explore Hesses work more and probably the links or resonance with contemporary work, whilst considering the inter-relationship between 2 and 3 dimensions. I have a couple of books about Hesse I want to read, including Fer’s ‘Studioworks’. I hope this will help me to frames the ‘questions’ more specifically.

In my work I also have strong sense of ideas emerging, Michele mentioned ‘absence’, I think you picked up on ‘nurturing’, and these resonate strongly in terms of what has happened to me. Sometimes focusing on these things is too hard. Wrestling with these things is I suppose just what I have to do; I can’t ignore them and yet not quite sure how to address them other than keep making and doing. I think it is likely that this has added to my difficulty in pinning down questions. I feel a resonance with Hesse’s work, but also a personal connection to the losses in her life. It’s funny, earlier I wrote about the tug backwards and forwards between opposing forces in my work but I can sense this too in my thought processes. I think I’ll work my way through.

I hope what I have written does give a sense of where my interests (and my struggles) lie. In my last report you asked that next time I include some examples from my research folder. I shall photocopy a selection of notes that I have taken relevant to work I have written and send with the assignment. And perhaps list some of the other things I have been looking at. In discussion with Michelle for my recent assignment 2 with her we spoke about my ‘blog’ and ways of recording what I have been looking at that is often in addition to what I have read for my written piece. She suggested making a new page with a bibliography. I haven’t done this yet, but will probably work towards doing this. I know the Contextual Course book refers only to a research folder, rather than blog , but I have included my Contextual work on my blog, including assignments and reports, and would welcome any feedback on ease of use or suggestions around what I have already done.

I have also included a copy of Michelle’s recent report.













A couple of photos that give an idea of my research folder/ notes.

 Exhibition- Anselm Kiefer at the Royal Academy.

Artist-Eva Hesse.

Other pieces-

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