The new blog address has a new post! The change is to be more inclusive of artist’s in general. At present I am gathering studio images and/or sketches of others which lead to finished works- yes, work in progress, the in between state of the product. This is an ongoing area to look at the generating and formulation of ideas in to the work you make. Please share an image or two with us here at:
‘The Moment of Privacy Has Passed’: Sketchbooks by Artists, Architects and Designers’. (11 Dec 2010 – 20 March 2011). Usher Gallery, The Collection, Danes Terrace, Lincoln.
I am very pleased to present an exhibition featuring the SKETCHBOOKS of artists in progress. These items a fore-running motivation propelling the mentality of this blog.
There are over 200 sketchbooks in this show by contemporary artists, before I get the chance to see the show I naturally begin to imagine what these books may contain, what they might look like inside. The world of art is like this for me, I often imagine what I think of as ‘good’ before I see/experience it, and when I do, it is not as I imagined- thankfully. Then I must go with it, get into it, toil with it, reject or accept.
Intrigue is in the surprises: seeing the uber personal artists’ sketchbook turnout to be exact depersonalised plans for work, or to see the bleak conceptual artist turn out pages of emotion with tear and blood stains on the page… well, maybe. Intriguing to my viewing experience is to be able to find the connections from one place to the other within the work, this is where the sketchbook gets my interest, mixed with a little psychology towards understanding this way of thinking, doing and being. Lets not forget: “Art Saves Lives”. Yes, something without obvious practical problem solving attachments, saves lives..
I think it is curious that it hadn’t occurred to me, the numerous sketchbooks I was filling each year may turn to becoming a real personal exposure, not to mention a deepening what I’d say is my finished work [which I do not blog]. These have turned to being an influence-unexpected and my work at present is beginning to show a merging affinity. Redefining what I’d like to call finished work, and how this so called finished work should ultimately look when I have finished working on it. (Great art works -you could argue- never finish if its meaning is progressively being up-dated with each new generation or viewer).
More about the exhibition: HOLD ME! TOUCH ME! FEEL ME!
Visitors to the Usher Gallery in Lincoln will be able to select, take off the shelf and browse through over 200 sketchbooks on loan from contemporary artists, architects, designers and makers. The exhibition focuses on the ways in which we can engage with ‘the sketchbook’ in a gallery context. The sketchbooks have been contributed by artists from all over the UK, the USA and Europe. Curated by John Plowman and will be accompanied by a two-day international conference entitled Recto, Verso at The Collection on 10 & 11 February 2011.
Divided into four zones the exhibtion incorportates the conventional modes of display of the Cabinet and Wall, the cutting edge of the Digital and the innovative Library. These private and self-referential sketchbooks visible within a gallery context will offer up new insights and perspectives on this hitherto invisible aspect of the creative process.
The Cabinet, Wall and Digital zones will feature sketchbooks from contemporary artists including Grayson Perry and Simon Faithfull as well as historic sketchbooks from the Usher Gallery’s collections.
[Many thanks to those who got the chance to vote, my drawing has now been entered into the Birth Rites Collection! All the works in the growing collection relate to the potent topic dealt with by contemporary artists. http://birthritescollection.org.uk/#/gravid-uterus-twin/4543950025 to see all the works by fellow artists in various media].
The Gravid Uterus, as William Hunter might explain: is the state of the uterus in pregnancy, in this case nearing birth.
The drawing (below) is derived from historical and current anatomical imagery (namely, an illustration for William Hunter 1890), originally I intended eventually to paint into. Yet, my processes to deal with this sort of layering of drawing within painting suddenly seemed less interesting. In fact, the drawing took on a different tone because it had began it in a different mentality altogether. Subject wise, during the making of the image a lot thoughts crossed my mind about embryonic division, cell divisions to twin divisions. The drawing plays with the idea of the foetal developing ‘recipe’, whereas the ingredients is only one part of the individuals becoming, the other is how it is ‘cooked’ – so to speak. Meaning what actions are taking hold during its rapid development, what stages are happening when. Other elements of the drawing indicate the foetal stage which highlights in gestation our non-difference, not only to the mammal kingdom, but the animal kingdom.
All of the knowledge above is learned from various sources, at various times, in various passings, in a non-academic environment. It seems to me at least, that there is a very current theme today where a mass of knowledge information is being learned by the masses via very accessible documentaries and popular science literature. The rigour of scientific correctness at times seems to become a play of rhetoric; taken in parts, summaries and conclusions with varying degrees of human error (both presenter and watcher) and personal interpretation/explanation—
–to bring you images like this one no doubt.
This oil sketch on transparency is a small area traced from my painting being produced throughout this November. This sketch was to try out a straight forward order-of-colour, for this particular technique. Learning that any white used in the paint bleaches out my marker pen under drawing, where as diluting a colour more lightens the colours as the pure colour and darker colour washes strengthen the line drawing.
Do they still use blackboards in schools? Possibly, they won’t be around forever.
Regardless of the ‘ground’, these temporary images are a epicentre for densely packed information and imprecise fast moving illustrations. To me they externally visualise a thinking out-loud, create multiple arrangements on the 2d surface that can be an aid spanning age gaps, knowledge gaps and many ‘communication’ gaps. For some reason, this speeded up pace of creation can pull the work out of the clichés over analysis can achieve. Especially, if you are the type to finalise an art work (in your minds-eye, for example) before the visual try outs. The vast array of imagery we have on the internet (in blogs) creates an image repetition in society which can be riddled with ideas which start to very simply assume it is an ‘artistic’ image.
As Siri Hustvedt writes in The Mysteries of the Rectangle, the cliché: is not that its necessarily a bad idea, the cliché is a good idea poorly done..*
*This exists as a misquoted for now as the book has no index! (do I attack the publishers?), after two scans and rereads of the book, it will have to wait til post-blog publication; I know the world will hold its breath for the correction].
Joseph Beuys (1921-1986), extremely influential artist, whose artistic endeavours spanned political boundaries and worked with social idealist tendencies, a feeling for that I think remains in these blackboards. These were real teachings, of a different nature, not yet on the curriculum, though I am sure the government have plans (ignoring his teaching position dismissal for wanting to except ANY student into the arts courses). Beuys’ teachings inspired idealistic thoughts that anyone can be an artist and advocated art for all. These statements are perfectly debatable or ambiguous in their meaning: pointing out that through the idealistic statement he highlighted the actual difficulty and real rigour it takes to be called an ‘artist’.
Seems it is lovable and just to call a child an artist, but something wholly different for the adult world. Looking again at the blackboards and sketchbook images posted (and to be posted) we sense the thirst for knowledge, the need for real communication with the audience and the expulsion of human energy not yet in any precise form neatly articulated or packaged.
Now to find some chalk and blackboard spray fixative.
Response to a book review of: ‘Sketchbooks, The Hidden Art of Designers, Illustrators and Creatives’.
This article has best intentions. Clearly graphic artists may be influenced by art in its purist sense, while contemporary artist’s (in their purist sense?) may be influenced directly from miscellaneous commercial art. It is interesting that halfway through this article he argues these images are more like “fine art”. Although, maybe in this sense he means skilled art as historically documented, as opposed to the fine art of a young artist in art school studying ‘fine art’ for example. In this sense this would be very far the case, merely because a few of these images are “loose” and has not got a consumer goal clearly defined as graphic art usually does, does not necessarily mean its fine art. Fine art imagery has its own sense of criteria, for example may at times produce what may seem like nonsensical random output proving itself only through a view of its oeuvre or vice versa. Strangely it may be at odds with a singular message, and may not be simply working out the best method to find the image graphically strong, approachable and succinct. Art which is ambiguous or aloof even from its creator, doesn’t cohere with the work of the graphic artist.
It is an interesting point which sometimes crops up in society -from a layman’s point of view- that at times an image which is ‘messy’ is instantly deemed art, and the clean image deemed graphic illustration. This may explain why a large array of the arts have in appearance crossed paths convincingly. An awareness or even intuition into the content and context help to distinguish what is happening (as with any language). This does make the images richer to the intellect, yet muddy an instantaneous reading -unbearable to so many! If this world of art and its distinctions is so deep and murky who would blame the one who speaks too soon? Maybe just ask them to look again, more closely, for longer, without instantly opening their mouth.
Crows in print with the cultural magazine I AM ONE. I have been lucky enough to feature work for the last two (quarterly) editions. Here is the winter issue using the crow images some of which are featured drawings in this blog.
2009: The Year of ONE the fastest growing international project based in Scotland for new and known artists, musicians, writers and people of all types. Scotland – Glasgow, Edinburgh & Nationwide.
International – Amsterdam, London, New York, Paris, Prague/Czech Republic, Stockholm, Valcaea/Romania, Selangor/Malaysia. Edited by Martin Belk.