DJCAD Reflective Research Journal – Week Twenty One

Worked on my essay most of last Friday and a bit over the weekend. Finding this one such a struggle. Went to the print workshop most of Monday and Tuesday and finished my second etching, this time with aquatint tones and also worked back into my first one with aquatint. Really quite enjoyed the process after saying etching wasn’t for me. Feel less impatient and more like I am starting to know what I am doing now. Monday night I also worked more on my painting, really not happy with the way its going, have completely lost the will and imagination for painting it seems. Still stuck on where to go with the performances…wondering if I should go back to the idea of puppets, me the life-sized wolf, interacting with small puppets? It all fell into place last semester but am struggling much more this one (struggling with enthusiasm anyway; I am still producing the work.) Joined the gym two weeks ago too and have been doing yoga and Pilates classes most evenings too, which I think is taking away from my creative energies a bit, so am reducing the classes to 2 or 3 nights this week. Plus, I am playing music with Christopher a couple of times a week, life is full, and there’s not enough hours in the week!

Wednesday’s artists talk was from Sion Parkinson (despite the strikes again) and was brilliant. Great speaker and performer. His work sounded fascinating when I researched him first and his presentation of it didn’t disappoint. He described the inspiration or starting point of the work before playing an odd disjointed sound/music piece, or singing live or showing an object/sculpture, or stills from a live performance and then let us take in the piece of work without overly describing it (as I would have been tempted to do and I should learn from this). He was funny and seemed completely confident in his delivery and performances, while remaining humble. Very inspiring. Someone discovered that sign-up sheets had been put up for open tutorials next week. Needless to say, by the time I discovered this Sion Parkinson’s sheet was full. But there were spaces on Erica Eyres’ one, who I have been wanting to talk to for a while too. I don’t know why we didn’t get an email about the sign-up sheets, or why the open tutorials are going ahead when the days are during the strike?

Wednesday Afternoon, I finished the big painting, based on my first etching and performance. I really wasn’t satisfied with it but found it hard to put my finger on why. Talked to studio neighbor’s Lucia and Tilda about it who had some very helpful ideas. I had thought about trying to turn it in to a more sculptural object, to interact with as part of a performance, and I originally painted it to be part of a performance, before Kate (my tutor) put me off that idea. Lucia had suggested making a screen from more than one painting before, which I have done (before art school) but I couldn’t justify exactly why with this painting, until Lucia suggested performing from behind the screen. I had thought of cutting holes in the canvas and adding 3D elements, but never thought about working from behind, or setting up this scene for other people to interact with… So this got me semi excited about the idea of cutting eyeholes and holes for hands etc… and later when I talked to Calum Adams (another student), he mentioned a mise-en-scene, (the arrangement of the scenery, props etc on the stage of a theatrical production or on the set of a film or the setting or surrounding of an event) which I loved. This term perfectly describes setting up a scene…the potential of what will happen there, (though the scene shows more than you’d expect from a theatre set maybe). The possibilities for interaction suggested by the narrative would be an interesting way of making others create the performance. I could even set this scene up, (before assessments) and invite groups of people to interact with it and film each other with the mise-en-scene.

On Thursday, I went to the CAP workshops to make my stretchers/screen. Have decided to go diptych, rather than tryptic for the time being unless another idea strikes. I made the two stretchers, finished them off on Friday and now just need to stretch the completed painting when its dry and stretch and prime the other to paint and then once it’s done, I have a piano hinge to turn them into a screen. I also took down all last semesters work from the walls of my studio space to make space for making the new work.

I have also been looking into the terms, internalised patriarchy/sexism/misogyny which I have realised is what I have been talking about in my work already. These terms came up during another conversation with Lucia, where we discussed having and talking about ideas for and in our work which we later discovered were already established and much written about. When I think back to what I thought I had missed out on over the years, by not having been to art school, this is the kind of thing. Being exposed to the ideas of artists, philosophers and psychoanalysts etc., in the artists talks and lectures and having the time and space to read about them, discuss them with my peers and investigate them in my own work is great and I feel very lucky and privileged to be in the position to do this and am definitely getting a lot more out of it now than I would have done when I was eighteen/nineteen. It’s a shame we missed out on two of the lectures during the strikes (which won’t be repeated).

The lecture on Friday was on Freud and Fetishism, which is the one I am writing the essay about. I had done a lot of the reading already, but there were a few extra bits of information that were useful and I spoke to Sandra our lecturer about my essay and about whether it was ok to identify and analyse some of Freud’s theories in my chosen artists work myself, or whether I always had to find academics writings, where these same theories had already been identified in these same artists work. She said I was allowed to have some opinions, they liked original thinking, but it was best to find as much back up to my ideas as possible, even if I was just referencing Freud.

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