P3- Contextual Studies Assignment 2

Student name Sue Gilmore Student number 301644
Course/Module Contextual Studies Assignment number 2

 Overall Comments

 You have let your thoughts develop to arrive at some strong concepts and the beginnings of a direction for your research project. I see you mention in your blog how following a train of thought can find you in an unexpected place.  Doing the spider diagrams has obviously helped you pinpoint TIME and CONTROL as main areas to investigate. I have put a thread about the notion of time in art ‘Making Time For Time’ on the Coffee Shop part of the Forum. Already there are a few interesting posts- in particular, from a student called Brian, who has talked, in an imaginary fashion, about art changing through time. Why don’t you add something to it, in relation to Eva Hesse’s work. This would also count as evidence of Peer Engagement, which is a requisite of this level.

You have used a different voice for your exhibition review this time. Keep exploring different ways of writing about art. Perhaps write comments in your research folder on different styles of art writing. This doesn’t have to be lengthy and involved but, if you like the way a reviewer or biographer has talked about a piece of work, investigate why.

Assessment Potential

 after Assignment 2

 I understand your aim is to go for the Painting/Textiles/Creative Arts* Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, providing you commit yourself to the course, I believe you have the potential to succeed at assessment.  In order to meet all the assessment criteria, there are certain areas you will need to focus on, which I will outline in my feedback.   

 Feedback on assignment

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

 Exhibition review

Anselm Keifer was a good choice. He works in 2d and 3d. He uses natural material- lead. He is interested in notions of time, in particular the effect of history on the present. The dripping water making things change eventually ties in very nicely to your other concerns. It is well written and held my attention. I liked the narrative feel to it, which you got by beginning and ending with reference to the Freidrich book you were reading on the train. This is a voice you could consider expanding on. Remember last time I was saying it is good to experiment with different forms of art writing- interview, academic report, narrative etcetera. It is best to avoid words and phrases like ‘awe inspiring’ and ‘great presence’ as these are generally overused so have lost their potency. Instead, tell us why they are.

Contemporary Artists

I assume the short pieces refer to the section on Contemporary Artists where you were to write spontaneously about aspects of their work. You have a good range and have managed to relate them well to your own work. Make sure you also address the questions in the course notes about what makes these works contemporary, which other artists work in similar ways, how might viewers have responded in a different era, why you have selected these particular artists.

 Research project

 I think writing about Eva Hesse’s work is a good idea. There are many links evident with your work. You mention the link between 2d and 3d as a possible start. You also talk about her contemporary relevance and how her work has changed through time. There is also the question of scale. What strikes me most, though, is how her work resonates with you because of the personal connection to the losses in her life. I think you may be able to find some questions that encompass all of these things. I know she made hundreds of works on paper, sometimes for days on end with hardly a break. These were an outpouring. How did she see these in relation to her 3d work? Did they come before or after (or both)? Investigating her working processes and methods, as well as the materials and outcomes will be useful. One question could be ‘How did she approach her work?’ You could relate this to your own process- when and how do you decide to work in 2d or 3d? Is one more related to a particular desire or emotion than the other? It may not be, but is worth asking. Do you see 2d as being preparation for 3d or do they both exist as equal partners? The role of time in her work (and yours) could be explored further. There are obvious references to time in traces left in a work. When working with a material like latex and willow there is also the sense that they will decay or denature through time. How does all this relate to the life cycle? (She also used the circle as a motif.) If all this feels too difficult, ask yourself how it relates to maturing and wisdom. An object or work of art that matures and changes through time takes on the effects of the environment. Can this be accelerated in an artwork through the use of chemicals, force, abrasions? How do you record this?

I notice that the next assignment talks about setting up a dialogue and adopting two voices (p37). This is interesting because I was thinking that you could do a sort of dialogue with Eva Hesse, where you take both roles. I don’t know if you think this is a bit silly or not, but no one need see or hear the outcome. It could be written or recorded and may be very silly until you find your way into it. I think it may be a way of honing in on what it is you are interested in regarding her work and finding these all important questions which will direct your research project.

Research Folder

 Thank you for sending me copies from your research folder. There is a lot of good work there. It might be an idea to highlight some areas of the photocopies, so that you can refer back to sections. Leave the originals intact. Later on, you could photocopy some pages again and you may find different passages that stand out that you wish to highlight (perhaps in a different colour), Sometimes, a note written in haste can be the start of something new. How you see the notes will change as you do. Later on we can discuss how these will be presented.

Suggested reading/viewing


Related to your interest in Tania Kovat’s work, I remember seeing an installation in Iceland whilst on holiday last year. It was by the American artist, Roni Horn, consisting of pillars of glass filled with water from every glacier in Iceland. Some of these glaciers no longer existed. She is also interested in Geology- the youth of Icelandic geology fascinated her. You can’t see from the photo, but there were Icelandic words related to water etched into the floor.

You might want to have a very quick glance at a recent exhibition that Lizzie Farey took part in: Hunting For Lost Crafts at Inverness Museum and Art Gallery. It looked at crafts that were used in and around hunting and crofting in the Highlands. The theme will probably not be of interest to you (hunting, shooting etc.) and the work is contemporary maker based rather than fine art based, but there are a few interesting things. Lizzy mentions using ash which was much less yielding than willow.

Pointers for the next assignment

I will be interested to hear how the talk with Tania Kovats and Tim Knowles goes. Given that Tania’s work has parallels to scientific research, it would be educational to formulate questions on how she manages to work in this very disciplined and methodical manner, but with a mutable substance like water. Her works seems, to me, to be very controlled and thorough. She has been keen, in the past, to record every outcome, every river, every crevice. How does she sustain the interest? What keeps her involved? There must be something about completion that drives her. What is the role of intuition in her process? I find there is a poetry to her work. Perhaps it is because of the repetition, or the use of glass with water (both transparent). The piece in Jupiter Artland also had the sounds of lapping water, which added to the piece. Is she interested in the role of sound?

I am not so familiar with Tim’s work. As his work is so transitory, how he records it becomes very important. You could ask him something about how he feels when he makes something fleeting so permanent. Does he feel some of the energy is lost in the recording process? In general, this brings up questions of performance versus documentation. How does this relate to Tania’s interest in fixing the unstable?

Make a start on a very rough draft of your essay. (I don’t have to see this yet.) You may find that your ideas and starting point change, but getting something down in a scribbly fashion will help with that process of finalizing your proposal, which I do have to see. Consider what ‘voice’ you are going to use.

Keep experimenting with different approaches for exhibition reviews.

Pay particular attention to what is required in the Contemporary Artists section.

Tutor name: Olivia Irvine
Date 2.11.14
Next assignment due 2.2.15

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