DJCAD Reflective Research Journal – Week Eight

Started the week with my open tutorial with Phil Braham. He was helpful, but I realised I could possibly have prepared some questions. I talked about my ideas but quickly switched to painting technique, which I suppose I felt was what I needed most help with at that moment. Not technique exactly as I think my handling of paint is not bad, but more, decisions about painting techniques and compositional choices. He suggested I play around with paint and what it does more, maybe, rather than worrying about composition. He also suggested I look at other artists for palette selection ideas, as my paint was more like a “rainbow painting’ at present, which was interesting to hear and I have taken on board, though it’s surely an artist’s choice to paint a “rainbow painting’ if they want?… But I had said I was struggling with the painting and wasn’t happy with what I’d done, so it was constructive feedback really. He said my ideas were good and suggested some artists I research, some of which I already had, but not all.

Experimenting with the way I apply the paint is what I then focused on a little, interspersed with other types of work, including finishing my submission for the ‘Rubatosis’ exhibition, which incorporated a poem into a mono printed and collaged, black, white and grey paper based work.

Later, I made three more ceramic tiles with shadow symbols on and also a ceramic mask based on one of the shadow symbols, but had to leave it to dry and be fired before I could use it.

I hired the seminar room for an evening and tried out a few experimental videos with my phone camera. I wore a rudimentary cardboard mask I had made first with a vaginal mouth.

I used electronic music I had already made and improvised movement to it wearing first the mask in jump suit and then in my underwear with a scarf round my head as well as the mask to completely hide my identity. It was exhilarating to do, but I had no intention of showing anyone and it made me realise there’s no way I could perform it live. However, the next day, I was persuaded to show a couple of my studio friends and they were so enthusiastic and encouraging, That I am plucking up the courage to reconsider doing some sort of movement piece live. Next one of these friends encouraged me to show it to another friend who does video work, who said she’d love to edit it. So, I have sent her the video and the song, and we have talked about the idea of collaborating, by possibly projecting her edited video work on to me during a performance.

I feel really excited and motivated by the thought of collaboration and my studio friends are interested in joining me with my next video experiments and it shows how socialising and sharing work and ideas can lead to collaborations like this and generally just open up ideas. I feel working in a lovely supportive group of people is really helping me feel braver and more adventurously creative and feels like it’s one of the most important aspects of being at art school which I feel some of the students are missing out on, maybe through shyness or choosing to work in isolation. I think some working alone is definitely necessary, for example essay writing and I do feel I am engaging more and more in conversations and sociability in the studio more than I probably should, but then if I feel I haven’t achieved enough in the day I go and work in the studios in the evening when its quiet.

I have started researching performance artists, which I haven’t done much before. And rediscovered a performance artist; Monster (formerly Marvin Gaye) Chetwynd, who came to my attention when she was nominated for the turner prize in 2014 (and who I then discovered lived next door to my brother in Glasgow).  She makes humorous, lively performances with dance and handmade costumes, often with pop culture references. I think I would like to try to make simple masks and/or costumes to symbolise the shadow characters and attempt some sort of performance which shows us stepping into our shadow characters and acting out shadow behaviour.

I have agreed to do a short performance piece at the performance artist showcase event; ‘Fleeting Motions’, which will either be spoken word, or the Shadow Characters movement piece, depending on how that progresses.

Wednesday began with an artist’s talk by Patrick Keiler (I had gone to a screening of his film ‘London’, the day before, which I liked and would describe as slow, dryly witty and depressingly and comfortingly British or English.) I went to a workshop at the Cooper Gallery that was part of the Jasmina Cibic exhibition and also part of Neon Festival: Double Her – The Female Body as Political Image.

There was discussion following on from the speaker; Catherine Spencer, showing us the work of various performance artists. I went to this, as it seemed very relevant to the direction my work is taking. There were some fascinating and distressing works, including Regina Jose Galindo’s,Tierra, 2013 and WHEREISANAMENDIETA’s, No Wave Performance Task Force. I was also interested in the group W.I.T.H.C, putting their hex on Wall Street in 1968.

I also went to a screening of artists short films, as part of NEON, which were brilliant, especially Chloe Galibert-Laine’s,My Crush was a Superstar2017 and Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung’s, Gas Zappers, 2017.

Thursday started with a walking tour of the Neon Festival where the most memorable works, were about gun violence in America; Untitled (Vase No. 3), 2016 by Addie Wagenknecht and Elegy:GTA USA Gun Homicides, 2018-19 by Joseph Delappe and climate change, notably Julia Schicker’s, Utopia Generator.

Our critical and Contextual studies lecture was on the selfie this week, brought forward a week because of the impending strike.

I finished the week at the newly reopened Aberdeen Art Gallery, which has some pretty exciting new paintings.

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