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.

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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)

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.

 

[40] Gerhard Richter – Atlas

In Gerhard Richters ‘Atlas’ series we are shown a tremendous archive of various pictures since the moment of his creative breakthrough in 1962. From snapshots to magazine cut out’s, Richter has acquired these images as they have caught his eye or through means of inspiration. The archive holds over five thousand photographs which portray his life at that moment in time and subjects he relates to, whether it by kitschy tourist New York cityscapes, bad family portraits or romantic sunsets expressing all aspects of nature.

“The Atlas comprises over five thousand photographs, drawings, diagrams and proposals which constitute the foundations of Richter’s practise as an artist.”  – Iwona Blazwick 2003

Gerhard’s archive shown in a grid format presents to us his ideas, processes, life and times of the artist himself in sections with the occasional diagram or plan of how the artist himself see’s these images in a studio space. An intimate perspective on the artist’s thoughts and what inspires him as an individual. Often these collected images acted as a basis for a subsequent painting, a painting which holds more truth and is illogical as opposed to the static photograph. It is clear from this series that the collection and preservation of these images is an important part of Richter’s artistic strategy. An example of this is ‘Parkstück’ 1971, based on panel 155. The relationship between panel and painting is clear, his use of abstraction in his brushstrokes conveys truthful movement within nature.

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Gerhard Richter ‘Parkstuck’ (1971)
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Gerhard Richter ‘Atlas’ [panel 155 – parkscapes]

“He looked to photography for a way to release painting from the political and symbolic burdens of Socialist Realism and Abstract Expressionism.” – Helmut Friedel

Below are images of selected pages from Richter’s ‘Atlas’. Natural landscapes alongside man-made landscapes.

This inspired me to archive my photographs and drawings which have accompanied me throughout this project, it has been really helpful as all the imagery is set out in sections/categories and is all in chronological order. Below I have inserted photos of my version of ‘Atlas’;

atlas 1

atlas 2

atlas 3

atlas4

atlas 5

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[20]

These landscapes were created initially through the method of collage, I found that once I had made a few collages I was able to paint freely with all the experience I had gained from that initial process. So although these boards don’t necessarily follow an exact collage they have been inspired by the collage making technique and outcomes I had encountered by making collages. This method helped me to become a lot looser whilst painting, creating these abstracted and figurative portrayals of the passing landscape. I had helped me to make the natural, unnatural. By using sharp lines, bright colours and juxtaposing memories from home with actual landscapes that I had passed by.

My aim for this project is to create a journey which encompasses my feelings associated with going to and from my home in Shropshire, glimpsing at passing landscapes and targeting my thoughts as I am passing these landscapes. Whether that be my fathers’ bright blue shed, my mums’ many mismatched pots scattered in the garden or the hills in the background. By combining all of these aspects of ‘going home’ I am able to create an exciting collage style, throughout the making of these boards I experimented with colours and how they react to each other. The shapes of the natural environment and how I could create a continuance throughout the boards as they are side by side.

I decided to create three daytime landscapes, which focus on the vibrancy of colours and use of mark-making to intensify the fast passing hedgerows which are eye-level to me as I sit in the passenger seat. These paintings are abstract and convey dreamlike qualities, which corroborates with my effort to try and illustrate a memory state and also the abstracted perceptual field which being in a moving car has. The three nighttime landscapes also incorporate the elements I explained earlier, but they are darker and have more silhouettes. They are bearer which also illustrates how the nighttime landscapes are harder to visualise, being in a car means that the only light is either from the car headlights, street lights or reflectors on the road or signposts.

Daytime landscape no.1

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Daytime landscape no.2

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Daytime landscape no.3

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Nighttime landscape no.1

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Nighttime landscape no.2

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Nighttime landscape no.3

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