ASSESSMENT

STATEMENT

My practice is informed by my experience of movement through multiple environments. By recording fragments of my journeys through drawing, both in real time and from memory and photography explore a personal vision of this experience. I build collages from my imagery as source material for paintings in order to create new and impossible landscapes. I hope to convey a sense of continuance and a personal intimacy of the experiences in these paintings.

Through these impossible landscapes, I explore the landscape in motion and my sense of this being one of the most common landscape experiences in modern society. Using my own perceived understanding of this experience I aim to represent this juxtaposed reality, an environmental reality, which is dystopian and encapsulates my own personal experience of travel and place.

5 KEY POSTS DOCUMENTATIONS

When I first started this project my dissertation was still fresh in my mind, I was really interested in the subject of landscapes. I began by picking out the landscapes which I have recorded throughout my life, the Snowdonia mountains became the most interesting to me so I began there. As the work progressed I began to question how I could portray a modernised landscape, I thought about how in modern society we most see the landscape. The many road trips me and my boyfriend have been on inspired me to think about the landscape seen through a car. Specifically, the trips going from my home county of Shropshire to my university City of Cardiff. The trip is long and takes you through rural hills, I was thinking about how the car window abstracts your view of the landscape and you only see just fragments of these landscapes as the car travels. I made many sketches and took lots of photographs which were showing static images, these images helped me to move on with this project.

[1]  Drawings    &     Drawings

I realised I was being too controlled and struggled to ‘loosen up’ when painting. I knew I wanted to make a landscape which portrays many scenes, not just one static image. After consulting my tutors, I made the decision to create collages from the images I had been doing along with cut outs. It was a really fun part of the project and allowed me to not overthink the process too much and just do as I felt. I made the decision to paint with oils from these subsequent collages which created a juxtaposition of scenes, motifs and just general experimentation.  I wanted to use oils because it was still quite early on in the term and I wanted to try it out and hopefully expand my knowledge of paint in general, because of oil paints intensity of colour it inspired me to think more abstractly about my colour choices.

[2]  Collages

The oil painted landscapes I was creating were experimental and focussed mainly on colour and form, they are surreal and dreamy which was something I wanted to portray as the landscape seen through a car window is continuous and abstract. Using my drawings and photographs I was piecing together a landscape which conveys many trips and feelings I felt whilst travelling. By this, I have shown my feelings through intuitive colour choices which are often bright and joyous.

As this progressed it was time to think carefully about the degree show and what exactly I wanted to present for it. I decided to order 6 wooden boards, I wanted to use wooden boards as I felt it was the best foundation to use for mixed media. I chose to use 6 because I wanted an even number and because of the time I was given to finish it felt doable, I wanted these boards to sit side by side and show an elongated surreal landscape portrayal. I also decided that acrylic would be the best medium to use because my skill with oil was not as strong, and I didn’t want drying time to alter my work. I thought about what motifs I wanted to portray on these boards and which figurations seemed most important to me, the ongoing hilly landscape was something which I wanted to carry on throughout these boards. I wanted these boards to act as a series so on some there is an ongoing theme of telephone poles and foliage seen as I am taking these trips.

As I was painting these boards, I decided to create 3 daytime landscapes and 3 nighttime landscapes. This helped me to differentiate the boards and show how the landscape changes as your vision changes in the darker hours. I was struggling to create something I enjoyed looking at and decided it was time to take a trip home for inspiration, this really helped as I was able to confront the feelings of ‘going home’. I was looking around at home and I pinpointed imagery which stands out most to me about home, my dad’s iconic blue shed became a point of interest to me along with my mum’s abundant pots in the garden. I was thinking about how I could incorporate imagery of home within these landscapes, I thought about how I could use my imaginations of home alongside the actual landscapes. By combining the percieved and the imagined I was now creating more abstracted portrayals of landscapes which show the multiple visions, through the car passenger window and through the eye of the mind. This led me to feel more confident with what was going on my boards and gave me a fresh idea, from doing drawings and taking photographs I was able to incorporate these onto my boards.

[3]  Imaginations of home

As the degree show was built and I was given my space after doing all of the jobs to make sure the space was clean and tidy and ready for my work, I began putting up the wall cleats for my boards. I wanted to use cleats as they are strong and give the painting a slight elevation from the wall, this helped introduce a dreamy and surreal experience when walking through the show. I was wondering how I could enhance this further, I noticed that the elevation from the wall gave a shadow from the board itself. I experimented with facing my paintings towards the wall to see if the colours could reflect onto the wall behind, cadmium yellow was the strongest and gave a warm glow and I knew that this was what I wanted for the show experience. I painted the back of my boards yellow and concentrated on the actual putting up stage of the degree show.

[4]  Back of boards

Initially, I wanted my boards to sit flush side by side, butted together to create an ongoing continuous landscape. After doing this, I realised that the wood had warped slightly even after I had made frames for the back. As frustrating as this was, it made me rethink the amount of gap space I wanted in between each board. I decided a small gap would be best and the most unnoticeable, this also led me to notice the edges of the boards which I had neglected. I thought about how I could hide the messy and scruffy edges, because of the intensity of colour I decided a muted light grey would look the best. This really did make a difference, they began to look more professional and I actually preferred the small gap decision.

[5]  Final show 

5 KEY POSTS CONTEXTUALIZATION

[1] Peter Doig creating dreamy and surreal landscapes, experimental and evoking inspiration for the start of the project.

[2] Gillian Ayres exhibition being confronted with large scale abstracted paintings inspired me to think about the exhibition set up.

[3] Gerhard Richter keeping my photographs and drawings in order, so they are in categories/chronological order and aesthetically pleasing to look at.

[4] Barbara Rae abstraction of colour, inspiring me to enhance my colour choices.

[5] Jonathon Casella thinking about the presentation of the boards for the show, the shadows and reflections.

Exhibition set up continued.. 

Over the last two weeks, we have all been working together to create an exhibition space for our final show. This has meant that we have needed to do a number of jobs;

  • Build the degree show itself, collapsing walls to create a spacious show design.
  • Sorting the walls, by painting them white, polyfiller’ing holes and sanding them down.
  • Cleaned the floors
  • Filled the windows, by making a timber frame to go inside the window then screwing in panels to cover the window itself. (Me Ronnie and Ffion worked together to make sure all the windows which needed to be filled were filled)

When this was completed we were able to stack our work against the wall to see how it would look visually before committing to the actual wall. This process also allowed me to play around with the space I was given by moving the boards to create different spaced gaps. Because I was still unsure about spacing, I spoke to my tutor regarding my worries. He suggested I trim down the wall fixing for the cleats so I can slide the boards when I fix them to the wall.

I came across a few issues whilst putting the boards up, my boards were all warped so when they were fixed to the wall sometimes they sort of jumped out. Making it impossible for the boards to sit flush side by side with no gaps. After consulting my peers I decided that a small gap would look the best given the issues with the wood. This has resulted in me thinking about how the sides will look seeing as they are now being exposed. With help, I decided that using a really light muted grey would be the best colour choice for the sides of the boards. The boards are really colourful so by using a plain black and white grey on the sides, it doesn’t distract from the artwork. It has also given my artwork more of a completed look and more of a professional aesthetic, especially seeing as I have so much white space around my work which can make scruffy edges stand out.

 

Final images for degree show set up;

From a distance, my boards look level but when you get up close you can see how the boards have warped and because the actual walls themselves aren’t level and nor is the floor it seems pretty impossible to get it looking perfect. Because of this, I have now decided that a 2 cm gap in between each boards. I believe it makes it less obvious to see the issues. The gap has also meant that the yellow is more obvious all around the boards instead of just the tops and bottoms if they were all butted together.

IMG_2217IMG_2220IMG_2219

Here are images of all the boards as individuals, I have also shown the gaps as the next board begins to show. I have ordered them in the order in which they are shown on the wall, three nighttime landscapes first and three daytime landscapes after.

final board 1

final board 2

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final board 4

final board 5

final board 6

Thoughts..

“It is true that imagination lies at the heart of our existence. So much so that we would not be human without it.”     Richard Kearney (1998)

As my project moves forward I realise that I am focusing on the imaginary as well as the perceptual, I am combining the two to create collaged landscapes which hold subconscious imagery as well as figurative imagery. By looking through the eye of the mind we are able to see our imaginations, this concept of imagination has played a key role in my landscape portrayal. My creativity has been a result of collecting items and imagery through my own experiences of travelling through the landscapes and juxtapositioning these elements alongside actual representations of the landscapes. This creates contrast and comparisons throughout the landscape, as it is a large body of work the viewer can take the time to question it. By including imaginations and memories within my work, it becomes more than just a landscape. It becomes a personal journey in which I take in my adult life, from moving out from my parents in the countryside to becoming my own person in the city. This concept of creating impossible landscapes through the use of my imagination has altered my overall aesthetic of painting, this is for the better as I am now conveying altered and impossible landscapes which explore my personal intimacy of experience.

“Every individual imagination is charged accordingly by the symbols of society which surround it – as it, in turn, recharges these symbols with its own creativity”  – Richard Kearney (1998)

Intentionally creating shadows 

As the exhibition comes together, I think more deeply about the aesthetic of my boards. As I am showing them as one continual landscape with no gaps in between my boards, the colour choice on the back of the boards needs to be vibrant enough for it to glow on the wall behind. Artist Jonathan Casella‘s Silly Wolf exhibition inspired me to think about how I should present my work for the exhibition.His paintings hold a shadow which projects onto the wall, I wondered how I could create a coloured shadow on the wall. I wanted to do this because my boards already create a shadow from the use of French cleat fixings, because colour is an important aspect of my work this year I felt it necessary to incorporate colour onto the back if it was at all possible.

After some tests, I decided cadmium yellow would create a glow shadow which looked really warm and subtle. By doing this, I am exploring the overall experience of my work being placed in that gallery space. This has made me more aware of how the public would view these landscapes, I believe that by adding this new concept I have made my landscapes more contemporary and exciting.

Below I have included pictures of the process of colouring the back of the boards, as well as the finished outcome;

Jonathan Casella

This contextual reference highlights how the presentation of work can be affected in an exhibition space. Casella’s paintings are on thick edge canvases, this is interesting because once the paintings are presented onto the wall the shadow of the canvas becomes almost as important as the paintings themselves. I believe that this technique elevates the artwork which, in turn, creates a deeper sensorial experience when viewing the artwork in an exhibition space. The experience of walking through an exhibition is as important as the works themselves, the work’s presentation should be parallel with the concept of the work itself. Casella’s paintings are similar to mine because of his use of colour and collage type technique of painting.

This inspired me to think more deeply about how my use of cleat fixations could adjust the aesthetic of the overall presentation. The cleat allows the board to hover subtly against the wall, which leaves a sort of shadow. The shadows are in no way as obvious as Casella’s but, I believe I can enhance this by introducing colour onto the back of the boards. I have hyperlinked a later blog post which explains my thought process more clearly about how I adjust this idea to make it my own;  Blog Post

Jonathan Casella, Once Hidden in Time, Twice Forgotten Until Found Near the Pressed Flowers, 2015, acrylic on panel, 13 x 10”

Jungle Jazz

The Silly Wolf exhibition

 

What role does memory play in art?

  • Using memory in art , creates impossibilities
  • fabricates the truth, allows you to play around with your imaginations and memories
  • memories and imaginations run high when travelling in a car. I’ve always told myself to never fall asleep in the car, anything outside of the window can inspire you.
  • Salvador Dali /

https://www.khanacademy.org/partner-content/tate/archives-memory/art-and-memory/v/cyprien-gaillard

http://learninglab.psych.purdue.edu/downloads/2013_Karpicke_Lehman_Oxford.pdf

“The neocortex and thalamus are responsible for controlling the brain’s imagination, along with many of the brain’s other functions such as consciousness and abstract thought.[15]Since imagination involves many different brain functions, such as emotions, memory, thoughts, etc., portions of the brain where multiple functions occur—such as the thalamus and neocortex—are the main regions where imaginative processing has been documented.[16] The understanding of how memory and imagination are linked in the brain, paves the way to better understand one’s ability to link significant past experiences with their imagination.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imagination#Memory

Motifs

  • the pilon and the striped lines representing the passing telephone poles and similar attributes of the modern landscape

The pilon and the telephone poles which I have incorporated onto my boards symbolises the obstructions which modernised life has affected the environment. These obstructions become more and more obvious when travelling through a landscape in a car, we recognise them as flashes of black stripes every now and again whilst moving through the landscape.

  • recurring elements, fields/mountains/foliage

I wanted to still create mountainous features for my boards, I find them striking and really enjoyable to create with paint. I wanted them to show a continuous throughout the six boards so they can act as a series as well as a solo painting. The fields and mountains are things which I have taken from my photographs and imagery. I have also incorporated figurations from nature which has helped me to focus on the landscape as a natural scene even whilst in a car.

  • imaginations from home dad’s shed/mum’s pots and plants

By including imaginations within my paintings, it helps me to underpin important imagery to me as my own person, including imagery from home helps me to pinpoint what exactly I think about most when I am going home. In order for me to include these I took images and made still life drawings from being at home, this helped me to think about multiple sensations within the boards. I love the idea of using imaginations of home, I believe it creates a more intimate portrayal of myself as well as the actual landscapes.