Part 5 – Bibliography

Barnet, S. 2008. A short guide to writing about art. Upper Saddle River: – Pearson Prentice Hall

Baker, G: Daly,A: Davenport,N: Larson,L : Sundell, M. (2003) ‘Francesca Woodman Reconsidered: A Conversation with George Baker, Ann Daly, Nancy Davenport, Laura Larson, and Margaret Sundell’. Art Journal. 62(2).

Beauvoir, S. D., Borde, C., Malovany-Chevallier, S., Reid, M., & Haynes, N. 2015. Extracts from the second sex. N.p.

Carey, F., & Egremont, M. 2017. Portrait of the artist. Käthe Kollwitz. Birmingham: Ikon Gallery Ltd.

Doloughan, F.J. (2002) ‘Teh Language of Reflective Practice in Art & Design’. Design. Spring

Emin, T., Noble, P., Parker, C., Shrigley, D., Woodfine, S., Wurm, E., Downs., Marshall., Sawdon., Selby., & Tormey. 2008. Drawing Now: Between the Lines of Contemporary Art. New York: Macmillan.

Friesen R. (2013) ‘Developing the Art of Reflective Practice’. In What Reflective Practice Can Teach Us. Waterloo: University of Waterloo.
Garner S. (2008) ‘Writing on drawing’. In Garner S. (ed.). Essays on Drawing Practice & Research. New York.

Hall J. (2014) The Self-Portrait: A Cultural History. London: Thames & Hudson.

Jones, A. 2008. The feminism and visual culture reader. London New York: Routledge.

Maltby K. 2016. My month in Kim Kardashian’s korset. The Times, 21 May.

McCarthy, P + Sherlock, G. (2001) ‘Drawing: an Image-Making Approach’. Jade. 20(3).

Meyer-Buser, S., Manacorda, F., & Barnes, L. 2017. Otto Dix: the evil eye. Munich: Prestel.

O’Reilly, S. 2009. The Body in Contemporary Art. London: Thames & Hudson
Riley H. (2017) ‘Drawing as Driver of Creativity:Nurturing an Intelligence of Seeing in Art Students’. IJADE. 36(3).
Romdenh-Romluc, K. 2011. Routledge philosophy guidebook to Merleau-Ponty and phenomenology of perception. London: Routledge.

Walker S. (2004) ‘Understanding the artmaking process: reflective practice’. Art Education. May

Webb, P. 2010. Death, desire and the doll: the life and art of Hans Bellmer. Gardena Calif: Solar Books.

Wolf, N. 2015. The beauty myth: how images of beauty are used against women. London: Vintage Books.

Young, I. M. 2009. On female body experience: “Throwing like a girl” and other essays. New York: Oxford University Press.

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Part 5 – Assignment 5 – Submission

I have decided to submit my Assignment 5 as a series of work which  investigates my subject in a variety of ways.

  1.  The Belly – 3D layering and interrogating –  inside, outside and the ability to expand and collapse
  2.  The Mother – Tea Dress – layering in 2D – masking to obscure and then reveal aspects of the image
  3. Pregnancy – embossing/indentation whilst thinking about the full and empty vessel
  4. Theatre of Skin – layers of skin and layers of parts of life as a construction and experiential investigation.

Personal Statement

As a dyslexic many of my thoughts appear between the lines of text and image. By misreading, misinterpreting, via puns on words I often cannot spell, mis- pronounce or understand I find myself thinking in a space between. Nonetheless I am obsessed by the depth of experience that individual words can evoke.

What occupies this in-between space is a disrupted (interpreted)  identity of ideas dominated by a lifetime of fascination with the body, my body, bodies of others, the mother, the child, the female. Viewing, thinking, feeling from both inside and outside the lived experience of my own body and the present continuing engagement with ageing – change and memory.

Bearing no nostalgia for the past, I live/think my life as near to stripped bare of the pretension of the constructed female. Having experienced the 50s, 60s and 70s and the changing containment of women’s body experience I am hyper-sensitive to this constructed ideal of the cultural female gender. Particularly the expectation of response to the male gaze (Mulvey) which has continued to bear an even stronger influence as the internet and social media gathers pace.

Through looking at the most recent manifestation of enclosure (historic) the shapewear garment I have particularly concentrated on this maternity piece.   Its forlorn form now an empty vessel, abandoned, no longer useful shape epitomises aspects of female experience which bring together thoughtful conflicts.  The expansion and contraction of the belly, the skin, stretch marks and then finally into wrinkles, age spots and blemishes. This is depicted both through the drawings and the construction piece and its deflated form.

The Theatre of Skin I have built endeavouring to mark the 7 ages of woman via images that evoke both my era and my experiences so far. During the period of time developing the different approaches I have particularly looked at the work of Hans Bellmer, Francesca Woodman, Otto Dix, Kathe Kollwitz, Cathie Pilkington and Paula Rego.  These artists evoke stark truths which appeal to my tendency towards a lack of romanticism.

Through photography, drawing, construction I am seeking to display (perform) in series and in parallel a number of threads which make up my inquiry. By layering , covering and then revealing I seek further to find the points in memory and image that capture moments formerly suppressed or forgotten – like the looking backwards through the orifice of the doll parts to pre-birth. Aiming inevitably to finding a series of personal truths.

Assessment Criteria

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills

I have endeavoured in this part of the course to widen my material explorations and indeed started the journey with a wide variety.   However I realised quite quickly that I was not doing anything new but just submitting these new materials as a way of approaching the subject differently not but not essentially engaging with it.

Moving on I engaged much more in using the materials and method to interpret the subjects ie. embossing, frottage, drawing and rubbing back, revealing, layering, hiding , covering, so there was a shift into the doing being an active ingredient of the outcome.

The variety of approaches has led to a more interesting and diverse exploration of my subject mater. I believe I am only beginning to touch the surface literally of how to use some of the techniques to fully interpret the ideas.

Whilst I have gained some refinement in my drawing skills since beginning this course I am aware that as I aim to work on multi-layered work I need to acquire greater control over the chosen methods.   Control in this case could mean more aptitude to use spontaneous action as and when required. I have learned to take more time and commit to choices before starting a drawing. Also not to spend too long on any phase of work as this tends to tighten the outcome.

Quality of Outcome

Quite honestly I find this difficult to assess for this part.    A variety of ideas have been presented in a variety of ways. How these are judged in terms of quality I am not sure myself what criteria to bring to bear.

That I experienced some transformational thinking in terms of approach has meant that this/these piece/s of work has/have been the start of an important journey. I have enjoyed engaging with the diversity of materials and methods.   I believe the different “characters” of this series show a growing confidence to spread my ideas more horizontally in order to gain depth laterally.   However at this stage I am phased by whether the different aspects – are part of the same or diverse interpretations of “my story”.

Demonstration of Creativity

 

By working on different series or experiences in parallel I have opened up my understanding of drawing from formal representation to experiential enactment. I am now touching the beginnings of personal interpretive methods which are far from honed but have moved away from “doing a good drawing”.

In the pursuit of diverse interpretations the thinking behind phenomenology has captured my attention as a way of understanding some of  “the things the mind already knows” (Jasper Johns). Bringing these different and connected aspects into the light.   I believe myself to be in the state of conscious unknowing in relation to this phase of my investigation.

I have enjoyed this section of the course enormously – being free to go in my own directions has provided a rich platform of work.     Working with contrary viewpoints and interpretations has allowed a freeing up of my creative vocabulary although when, like at this time, having to “explain or interpret” I am still finding a difficult challenge/hurdle – words not being my thing.

Context

By taking the learning model by the horns this time and keeping to its reflective methods has enabled me to move beyond the “just doing more of the same with different materials” type of work.  I have also benefited from starting to read some more academic books and articles which has opened up thinking about the nature of drawing, the body in contemporary art, and feminist visual cultural interpretation.

I believe I have begun to enter a new realm of understanding:-

“conceptual drawing encourages a journey round associative thought that does not have to be logical or resolved, …provokes an aggregation of memories, and impedes access to resolved meanings.”  (John Berger)

Truly I don’t have anything else to add at this stage of my drawing journey.

Part 5 – Theatre of Skin Drawing

This is the multi-layer drawing – 20 minutes each layer – admittedly I only got to 6 layers as I did not know what I wanted to use for menopause/crone/old age.  Worked on pre-ink dyed paper, water soluble crayons, pencils, graphite pencils, charcoal, rubber, craft knife.

My immediate response is that I am drawn into this piece.   I am particularly intrigued by the mood, lighting which recalls the noir drawings and my interest in this genre.   There is something of the ancient about the tones which have been kept within quite a tight range.   The drawing was produced under controlled circumstances in order not to over-draw any section.   Although time was taken after each section to reflect and in some cases adjust or reassert small sections.  Some concern as to how readable the images are or indeed whether they need to be at all remains a question.

This asks further questions about what is happening and why certain parts are more distinct than others.  Looking into the piece the lower right section appears to be complicated anatomy. I am not sure what is inside and what is outside.   The beguine armless doll in the background lies inert on a stage that is a hive of action or if not action supposition.   The “tags” of the womanhood figure here elongated anchor the figure within the space and define different areas of the composition.

There are crevices and dark caves within the structure that may hide truths or memories and could be further excavated. Building up the layers and definition has achieved a bolder conclusion.   However there could have been decisions about single or multiple lighting – as in stage acts – that might reveal more interesting aspects of thought. and intention.

Further by keeping to a general similar method of drawing limits the emotional aspects of any particular layer.   On the one had that could indicate a similar flat, un-demonstrative, repressed existence.    Alternatively building using different processes could add a richness – print, collage, ink, etc.

tos detail 3

Detail of the top half  – where a skull seems to be emerging below the doll. – with a light-lance through its cranium.

tos detail 4

Complicated anatomy of the lower half , child resting on the large footprint of the past. Also possible to see the effect of the graphite on sections.   This contrast in finish and its response to the light need more working to achieve a glistening finish.

Part 5 – Life Drawing – Drawing Multiple Perspectives

This week at my life drawing class the  task was to draw on the same piece of paper 3 images of the model for 20 minutes each finding ways to bring the images together.

Not sure why but chose in each place to use 2 sheets of paper which I had pre-inked.   this way there is already a dimension of perspectives to work with.

3 x 20 minute 1

In this first drawing it seemed important to build in the perspective of the space both inner and outer in order to add further dimension to the drawing.   I had been looking at images by Dorothea Tanning and thought that I have brought this surrealist element into this image.  As I built the layers the context of the space became more and more important.   However I have lost the dimensionality of the figure – except in the head – over the whole figure.

What interests me is the concept of the over drawing so that not ending up with a single significant outline or edge the drawing seeks to extend the “space” of the figure into the environment.   This has not been as successfully achieved in the final piece – perhaps I should have taken images of the different stages so that I can analyse in retrospect the important dimensions. Whilst turning towards the viewer the figure achieves some movement which is contrasted with the stability of the stuffed fox dummy (cast template for a taxidermy fox).

3 x 20 minute 2

In this second drawing I have chosen a 2 directly contrasting pieces of pre-inked paper and have endeavoured to leave more of the lines of the 3 different poses in tack.   I think this is more successful and interesting. Detail of lines and edges are more deliberate and the “memory” of the earlier poses are not completely obliterated as in the previous example.

 

2 x 30 marc sitting

(Couldn’t resist putting this extra drawing in which was 2 x 30 minute poses on the same sheet – the following week)

Looking back at these various Dorothea Tanning paintings and through the experience of the 3 x 20 minute poses I see a way forward to working with the 7 ages of woman or The Theatre of Skin.   It leads towards a deliberate way by working with the layers :-

  • superimposed but deliberately thought through in order to retain the multi-dimentionality of the whole
  • more careful selection of the imagery of the “ages”
  • distinct choices of the materials to use and the background supports to employ
  • use more specific references to the space and context of the individual stages – this may also refer the the colour choices
  • meticulous cataloguing of the different stages of the drawing in order to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the stages and overall piece

Inner and Outer

When doing these drawings I caught for the first time a means of capturing the inner and outer experience through drawing the body – a body, my body.     Making the vestigial marks part of the memory both of the drawing and of the experience of a phase of life and skin.

Also becoming more particular in choices brought to the concept of the drawing, i.e. materials and supports, as well as consideration of the stages undertaken.    This I believe is an influence of looking at the lithographs of Kathe Kollowitz (see Exhibitions).   The remarkable but often spare use of different mark making devices.   Struck by how the non-worked space adds drama and contrast to the overworked parts.

Unemployed

Unemployed – Kathe Kollwitz

Having experienced the beginnings of an idea of the way to bring together the 7 layers of skin/women through working on different layers of a drawing which is time limited and worked on top of each other. Have decided to do one more drawing of The Theatre of Skin working on this principle.

I will complete a drawing working for 20 minutes on each layer – probably using the same materials on a pre-inked sheet. My aim to to see how to incorporate or obliterate pieces of the “story”.   Because of the timing I will not seek further images to depict the stages but stick with the ones I have for the moment.

This will be the final drawing in the series.

Part 5 – Writing – Building Personal Statement

mind map personal statement

Trisha Stone – 515876 – Drawing 1 –  Personal Statement

As a dyslexic many of my thoughts appear between the lines of text and image. By misreading, misinterpreting, via puns on words I often cannot spell, mis- pronounce or understand I find myself thinking in a space between. Nonetheless I am obsessed by the depth of experience that individual words can evoke.

What occupies this in-between space is a disrupted (interpreted)  identity of ideas dominated by a lifetime of fascination with the body, my body, bodies of others, the mother, the child, the female. Viewing, thinking, feeling from both inside and outside the lived experience of my own body and the present continuing engagement with ageing – change and memory.

Bearing no nostalgia for the past, I live/think my life as near to stripped bare of the pretensions of the constructed female. Having experienced the 50s, 60s and 70s and the changing containment of women’s body experience I am hyper-sensitive to this constructed ideal of the cultural female gender. Particularly the expectation of response to the male gaze (Mulvey) which has continued to bear an even stronger influence as the internet and social media gathers pace.

Through looking at the most recent manifestation of enclosure (historic) the shapewear garment I have particularly concentrated on this maternity piece.   Its forlorn form now an empty vessel, abandoned, no longer useful shape epitomises aspects of female experience which bring together thoughtful conflicts.  The expansion and contraction of The Belly, the skin, stretch marks and then finally into wrinkles, age spots and blemishes. This is depicted both through the drawings and the construction piece and its deflated form.

The Theatre of Skin I have built endeavouring to mark the 7 ages of woman via images that evoke both my era and my experiences so far. During the period of time developing the different approaches I have particularly looked at the work of Hans Bellmer, Francesca Woodman, Otto Dix, Kath Kollwitz and Cathie Pilkington.  These artists evoke stark truths which appeal to my tendency towards a lack of romanticism.

Through photography, drawing, construction I am seeking to display (perform) in series and in parallel a number of threads which make up my inquiry. By layering , covering and then revealing I seek further to find the points in memory and image that capture moments formerly suppressed or forgotten – like the looking backwards through the orifice of the doll parts to pre-birth. Aiming inevitably to finding a series of personal truths.

Part 5 – Research – Reflection – Exhibitions

Reflective Learning

The challenge for me of Part 5 has been to actively integrate reflective learning into my practice.   As I have noted in my sketchbook and in previous posts I was not using the process effectively and found I was still working in a historically random way.    My experience of taking on an active response via this model has I believe made and enormous difference in the way I have been able to move forward with this final part of Drawing 1.

Walker’s (2004) paper in which he identifies 5 key components of the successful artmaking process namely:-

  • delaying closure
  • risk-taking
  • actively searching for contradictions
  • rejecting the conventional and familiar
  • exhibiting tolerance for ambiguity

has enabled me to work my way through this Assignment 5 in a more productive, structured, thoughtful way. Furthermore Doloughan (2002) articulated this even more usefully , “the language of the creative arts is necessarily metaphoric multi-layered and qualitative and that the rendering of multi-modal projects requires access to a range of meaning making resources.”

Through this more thorough understanding of the process and the self-identification of my own way of seeing the world via my dyslexic aperture has  been further sensitised by the essays in “Drawing Now” (2007). Where it “abandons the resort to appearances presenting instead the use of experience of something..rather seek to experience what is NOT visible – the invisible or the unbeseen“. (p xiv)

These thoughts have led me back to a piece that I read a while ago and might even have been responsible for my continuing absorption with the female body and my own body experience.  Young (2005) Throwing Like a Girl: a Phenomenology of Feminine Body Comportment, Motility and Spaciality connected me to a very personal experience of being thought of as a tom-boy, too physical, too strong, too….   Young seeks to “begin to fill a gap that thus exists in both existential phenomenology and feminist theory.   It traces in a provisional way some of the basic modalities of feminine body comportment, manner of moving, and relation in space” (p 30) This is something that I had instinctively understood but never seen articulated and certainly not understood that philosophers such as Merleau-Ponty (M-P)(1962) and Beauvoir (1942) brought together “combining the insights of the theory of the lived body (M-P) and the theory of the situation of women as developed by Beauvoir.

Way way back in my life around 1985 I had been developing a 3D tapestry piece based on the Beauvoir quote – “one is not born a woman but one becomes one”.   The structure of this was based on the childhood paper fortune telling game:-

Each section of the piece was to be a different life choice which a woman could take.   It was to be enormous, more than life size and incorporating actual objects (including dolls) as well as other paraphernalia.   A strong clash of ideas with art department staff saw that this piece or the completion of my degree was not realised.   Looking back, with the insight of time I can now see that even at that stage 1980s in an art college setting my non-conformity (being married with 3 children) and having ideas of my own caused strong responses.

Reconnecting with myself and these thoughts and recognition that the body, my body has its own story to tell.   I was particularly struck by a connection to understanding that “Feminine bodily existence is an inhibited intentionality, which simultaneously reaches towards a projected end with an “I can” and withholds its full bodily commitment to that end in a self-imposed “I Cannot”. (Young p 36) My choice of shapewear the modern equivalent of corsets (see Kardashian Korset) is the most recent fashion manifestation of this phenomenon.

Phenomenon and phenomenology are new concepts for me to consider in relation to my subject matter.  Particularly I am drawn to the discussion “M-P claims that the reason we are apt to forget phenomena…and (he) conceives of “perception as a movement from what is ambiguous and indeterminate to what is determinate, squarely located in the shared world and so available to others” (Romdenh-Romlux p 18)  through his interpretation of Husserl’s Libenswelt or lived world. Furthermore “He claims that complete objectivity is never fully achieved in perception either – I cannot view the world from nowhere.   I always perceive the world from my own particular perspective”. (R-R)  Without going headlong into the various philosophical debates, which as yet I have no depth of understanding.  I think I am at a cross-roads in which I am  finally enabled to engage in connecting to my own phenomenon – not with complete understanding, in fact after a lifetime of trying I believe I can let go of that one.   What interests me is the place/places/spaces/experience between. (see personal statement)

Feminist Visual Culture

Summarising the understanding of 30 years of “feminist struggles around representation” (Betterton (2003) concludes that we are:-

  • aware of how gender shapes looking and the “gaze”
  • understand terms like “gender” and “patriarchy”
  • a certain reflexivity in the representation of self
  • a willingness to explore issues of identify and difference
  • an interest in and engagement with body politics
  • an ability to “read against the grain” of a given text

Interesting historically and personally as it fits entirely with my own timeline. Furthermore re-reading Wolf (1990) I am not sure how much has moved on.

“Gender is not passively scripted on the body, and neither is it determined by nature, language, the symbolic, or the overwhelming history of patriarchy.   Gender is what is put on, invariable, under constraint, daily and incessantly, with anxiety and pleasure, but if this continuous act is mistaken for a natural or linguistic given, power  is relinquished to expand the cultural field bodily through subversive performances of various kinds”. (Butler 2003)

But I remain sceptical about whether the gaze has now sucummed to becoming a more dominant female gaze as in the world of the internet and the incessant “selfies” loaded obsessively on-line. A recent article by Kate Maltby (2016) in the Times describes spending 30 days “winched into a “waist trainer”.

training corset

“It is not my naked body that feels like a false reflection in the mirror, but the new costumes I wear above it.   If I can’t wear my favourite wrap dresses again, I won’t be me.   Or at least I won’t have the right armour to take on the world“.

“I felt elegant too…I felt something far more darkly feminine: fragility…Pair it with that other engine of the beauty myth, high heals, and a gust of wind will blow you away.”

So in a way women have, if they allow themselves, come full circle back to the 1830s when women first saw representations of the “ideal woman” in advertisements and magazines. Difference, irregularity, disability, age, flaws, ……are all banished to another land, another stratosphere: is the parallel world of the lived experience of the majority of women.

Artists –

Portraying a Nation: German 1919 – 1933  August Sander & Otto Dix – Tate Liverpool

The most significant part of pairing these two artists/photographer was the way that the presentation of the exhibition’s contextualised the work.   Sander’s epic People of the 20th Century commanded most of his life and remained unfinished on his death.  He stated:-

” I cannot show (my work) in a single photo, nor in two or three..after all, they could as well be snapshots.   Photography is like a mosaic that becomes synthesis only when presented en masse”.

So of the 144 images presented we see a snapshot of a changing Germany between the wars.   This is augmented by a extensive timeline covering, historical, social, technological, and cultural events.    Not only is this useful for placing the Sander’s work but becomes an essential part of understanding when you move into the Otto Dix galleries.

However before leaving the Sander’s work I wanted to note how this sense of working in series and over time had begun to influence what I have been looking at in my own work.


Otto Dix – The Evil Eye

War Prints and Brothels

There seems to be a direct connection, particularly through theme, war and degenerate life, between the print works of Dix and Goya.   The same gritty realism extended towards the grotesque and absurdity of life. They are more “in your face” than Goya’s prints more explicit and raw.   Perhaps they echo the fact that people had more direct experience particularly of war in Europe and the ability of technology through photography to see more of the reality of the experience.

1924.039-HouseDestroyed-sm House Destroyed by Aerial Bombs 1924

In this print particularly, I see a pre-curser to Picasso’s Gernica some 20 years later. The composition, bodies, buildings and desolation built into a very dense and unremitting image. Body parts, garments what’s the difference? In war none.

DixKarsch101IIaSailorsAntw

Also I couldn’t pass up the chance to notice how much some of the prints resemble Paula Rego’s  figures and compositional relationships.

Moving onto a different material he manages to seize the grotesque and the delicate when working with watercolours and other drawing media – mostly ink.  some of the images are as brutal as the prints – mostly focusing on women, probably prostitutes but not all.

girl in fur Girl in Fur 1923 – watercolour and pencil

Many like the painting above are rendered very simply in technique but retain the edge of pastiche and mocking towards his subjects.

The interesting contrast are the fully rendered portraits on which he worked in oil and a very historical technique of tempera.   In many of these he creates an extremely refined surface quality full of detail and realistic features. However he also extenuates his subjects even when dealing with some of the major industrialists of the time.

th (5) anita berber

th (6)    th (7)

I am drawn to Dix’s work because of the way he seemed to excavate the different layers of society and experience using very particular artistic methods.   It is like the layers of experience of the nation built up and finely finished (although wholesomely extended) by the most particular of materials – tempera.

His work is the very epitome of his time – an evil eye – I don’t think so – an accurate eye.

Kathe Kollwitz – Ikon Gallery – Birmingham

Unemployed

Unemployment – late 1909

Etching, aquatint, sandpaper, soft ground with the imprint of Ziegler’s transfer paper, printed in brown on copperplate paper.

The above print was part of a series taken from drawings she had prepared for the satirical magazine Simplicissimus others of which included, alcoholism, unwanted pregnancy and suicide.   So this was part of the strong socially aware perspective of  which she wrote:-

“above all to be able to speak to a large audience is what always excites me and I can never get enough of it: the many silent and noisy tragedies of life in the big city”. 

She was responding to Berlin, a growing metropolis of some 2+million people.

I have chosen this image particularly because for me it articulates so much about Kollwitz the artist and printmaker.   Firstly the fascinating explanation of the process and materials used to create this one image.   She had little training but seemed to have built up enormous expertise bringing to life this complex scene. Everything from the subtle tones where almost no marks are apparent to the dense figure of the husband in the foreground.   The delicacy of the children’s faces and the spare linear marks elsewhere combine to form a complex story in the lives of poor urban workers.

kk 2 Raped 1907-9

From around a similar time this other dramatic and disturbing subject is both sensitively and brutally rendered – from the foreshortened body to the detail of the garden where the event too place.   And not noticed by me until pointed out a child looking at her mother over the garden fence.

There are of course the amazing meticulous self-portraits as well as the Goyaesque (Satanic series) “Death and the Mother” prints where using herself and her son as models she cast her unflinching eye on these subjects.  Not a very large exhibition there are a few examples of her raw woodcuts but no examples of her sculptural works which I have never seen.

What I have brought away from this experience is the appreciation of her skill of using print techniques in a range of different ways from the most subtle to angry aggressive depictions of the lives of the working poor. Although much of this work predates the Dix war prints her subjects speak in their quiet acceptance of  mostly women who wait and endure and mourn.

Paula Rego – Jerwood Gallery – Hastings

Going to the Jerwood is always a joy because of its location almost on the beach and the interrelationship between the gallery and the view: the beach, fishing boats and sea.   I was looking forward to viewing this Paula Rego exhibition of some of her newer works based on The boy Who Loved The Sea.   Unfortunately I was disappointed in the drawings/paintings related to this particular theme.  The works are large and mostly drawn with pastels, ink, coloured pencils and I think watercolour.    With deference to her age – now well over 80 – I found that they have lost the vigour of her previous work – although the themes and compositions were her usual bold forms the work was flatter and lacks the dimensions of her earlier work.

I am glad to say that there was also a selection of her Jane Eyre prints which are magnificent  and earlier – 2003.

They appeal because of their depiction of strong and physical women which is interpreted with deep tones, exquisite drawing translated into the printed form.   The weight of her figures draw me in with the texture and movement of their garments.

Equally fascinating are a series of drawings done quite recently after she suffered a fall and had a wound on her forehead.

These are strong insightful, honest drawings.   I enjoy their raw, angry, self deprecating quality.

Then finally there is a series called “Depressed” drawn during a period in 2007 when she literally drew herself out of her depression.   Again the honesty, stark quality beautifully and simply rendered in pastel, crayon and pencil.

N.B. Pallant House in Chichester currently have an exhibition of Paula Rego sketchbooks which I will go to see but probably not before this Part 5 is assessed.

Francesca Woodman

Somewhere in the back of my mind as I was working on my images I remembered work by Francesca Woodman. This influential but tragically short lived photographer working in the 70s I believe had a huge impact on more recent photographers.  In Francesca Woodman reconsidered (2003) a discussion which included Laura Larson commenting that “Woodman’s work is useful for feminism precisely because it breaks the male gaze stranglehold by articulating a different set of terms”.  But unlike the narrative aspect that Mulvey (1974) was referring to with film Woodman works engages with “seriality and repetition”. 

Also she notes that “I was reminded of Woodman’s work when I saw the Hans Bellmer show….not only for the use of seriality and repetition but also its performative aspect”.

The connection and their conversation in the article about surrealism brings my thinking full circle back to my doll parts and the perception of women in parts.  Margaret Sundell notes in the article how she tries to understand woodman’s two poles – fetishization and space.“The interest in space is very much about a bodily experience, which engages phenomenology and its limitations, and the interest in fetishization is very much about the disembodiment involved in producing oneself as a two-dimensional image – even if the body remains the subject of the image.”

Their discussion ends with a question which I am left with and my own questions about where I would like to go with my work.

Moving Forward

Whether I get a chance to do/have these photographs taken or not before I submit this part of the course I don’t know.   But throughout the development of my ideas I have been eager to create a series of photographs of myself naked in relation to a particular row of trees in my local park.

This would be a very Woodman/Mendieta performative experience.   I have in mind various poses that literally truncate my body by the low branches and trunks of the trees which my the way are very resonant with the original Redon drawing which we were asked to consider at the beginning of the course.

two-trees-1875

 All these months on my relationship to this drawing has changed and deepened and follows the experience of my journey through the course. I now see very a very physical phenomenological relationship to these trees which I see most days.

Did a very fast reveal today but did not have long but wanted to post something in the genre of what I have been thinking about in relation to my body, space, performance, series, ageing, skin etc.

trees 7

Afterwards we did a few clothed “ideas” for the future.   However in some cases I think that they capture their own relationship of me in the space.

trees 3

Unfortunately the lack of time/opportunity and experience meant that I was not able to capture yet that quality of my ageing skin and self that I want to see in relation to these trees and their natural form.    I think I definitely need to be bolder and raw and not try to pose in the “accepted” way.

Moving on with the Different Approaches

  1. Building the Belly

Built 2 versions of the collapsing belly – see sketchbook for details – using as few layers of imitation Japanese paper as possible.   First wast 3 layers with paint on outside and the second one below with just 2 layers with some pre-marking of paper with oil pastel impressions.

belly 2 layers plus oil pastel imprint

In terms of texture and flexibility prefer the second example above but the marks plus the red ink are too brutal I think for this “skin”.   The collapse quality is good and could try to build one with just one layer to see if that would be sustainable.

Outcome

  • structurally successful
  • surface quality needs work an deeper consideration
  • mark making should be more specific and thought through

2. Theatre of Skin

Built the theatre with slots at the side and above in order to introduce the different layers – using the similar layers to the 3D version in the sketchbook.

 

workboard 30 October

View of the work-board at the beginning of this week (30 October)

3. Impressions of Surface

frottage on tracing paper

Frottage on Tracing Paper using some of the images/silhouettes from building the theatre.

4. Enlarging/Scaling/Layering

Just as I was about to embark on looking at the 4th part of this developing series I had a life-class last night.   Had prepared the ground with inks and was determined to follow my own path rather than do a nice drawing.    Something shifted in my willingness to experiment and “find the drawings” – the longest pose was 20 minutes but maybe that is good as I don’t get to overwork the pieces which I have a tendency to do.

Following the class I had a nagging memory of a particular artist/photographer Francesca Woodman whose evocative images have a quality of memory/decay/disturbance/layering that I want to capture through my layers.

(Additional piece worked on ink dyed upholstery linen with linen thread)

stitched crouched figure

THIS WHOLE SECTION NEEDS DEVELOPING

Realise I have a current list in my head of interesting artists/photographers who include Kiki Smith, Sally Mann and Cathie Pilkington.

Kiki Smith – drawings visceral and working from the inside out.

Sally Mann

Cathie Pilkington