DJCAD Reflective Research Journal – Week Seven

This week, I made a start on the ceramic tiles and have made three so far and painted a shadow symbol on each one. I have been advised to make more than I need (I had intended to make nine), in the likely event, that there may be cracking, warping etc… so I will need to do a few each week. I discovered that the paints used are clay slip with mineral pigments, so scoring well on the environmental and health scale.

I also painted a fluorescent pink acrylic shadow symbol on each of nine squares of canvas and pegged them on a string like a little washing line. I called them ‘Shadow Stains’ and included them (plus the oil painting on board of the Shadow symbols and the plaster and paper sculpture which I presented for the group crit. I called them ‘Destroying Desires I and II’) in an exhibition we organised of our years’ work for the open days on Friday and Saturday.

I also cut out some MDF shapes roughly in the shape of three shadow symbols and painted them on with the pink acrylic. But cutting the MDF created a lot of dust, which makes me not keen to use it in this way. MDF is not great anyway (health and environment wise), but I had thought if I could use off cuts it would be ok. I will still paint on offcuts, but without cutting out shapes – I wasn’t particularly happy with them anyway.

The last piece I worked on this week was a large sheet on watercolour paper, on which I painted, in watercolour, rows of pink shadow symbols with blue pubic and leg hair. All the work I produced this week had the most stylised versions of the shadow symbols, the extra-genital-mutant-ones. I feel I have really explored this theme as much as I can and am not sure how much further I can take it…though I haven’t tried the metal cut out versions yet, which I may still try.

I wanted to spend some time working on a submission for a student organised exhibition on the theme of ‘Rubatosis’, which I have now done. I wrote a poem and am still trying to decide whether to present it as just text or as part of an image. I also wrote a personal statement to go with it.

We received an email with an open call for performance artists and I have sent a note of interest for this enquiring whether it is just live performances they are looking for or if a video of a performance would be suitable. I am thinking of my dance track and video ‘The Watched’ which has spoken word poetry and me doing a sort of dance movement piece to it in a mask. I feel pretty excited and exhilarated by the idea of performing this piece live, but also terrified. I have spoken to some of my studio mates about collaborating with me and I can hopefully hire the seminar room and a video camera this week and try out some ideas.

The artists talk this week was by our course tutor, Ellie Harrison. I like Ellies ideas and energy a lot and feel an affinity with her subject material. She weaves the personal and political in a way which interests me. Much food for thought.

Our critical and contextual studies lecture was about materiality and objecthood and there was a talk by Sandra Plummer and then Gair Dunlop. Several artists of interest to me were mentioned, who I will research further.

I have chosen Phil Braham for my open tutorial tomorrow, partly because Mark Wallace suggested either him, or Eddie Summerton, because they paint. Having swung slightly away from painting again over the weekend and more towards thoughts of performance art, I am wondering if I maybe haven’t made the most appropriate choice for my work, but he is head of Art and Philosophy and will hopefully have some useful feedback for me either way. His work is classically inspired landscape paintings and photography, but I like the themes in his work and particularly a series of photographs of ‘dogging’ sites in Scotland, taken with naked models on a long exposure, which have echoes of similar themes to the ones I am investigating in my own work.

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