Painting week Four – Culture and Identity

Lecture:

Howard Arkley – colourful outlined work with a lot of the content being suburbia and the everyday.  Referencing both the everyday and art history.  –  made me think of my work with everyday objects and details and attempts to present them in an art context. Not particularly about culture/identity for me though. Howard Arkley.JPG

Triple fronted , 1987       https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/1.2014/  Viewed 6 Aug 2020

Lindy Lee –Lindy Lee.jpg

https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/219.2004.a-t/      Viewed 6 Aug 2020

These two included photos are the same photo but one is darker than the other.  It’s interesting how different it makes them look. Repetition with variation. This sort of configuration suits my work but I’m not sure what it says. To me it looks haunting and suggestive of loss. As though a lot of what might have been there in red has been covered up by black.

Kara Walker – 

Kara Walker

The keys to the coop   1997

In the tate article associated with this it mentioned the simplicity of silhouettes resonating with the simplicity of racial stereotypes.

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/walker-the-keys-to-the-coop-p78211     Viewed 6 August 2020

I’m more interested in the potential of silhouettes as a process given that they work well with my solar fast imagery. There is a lot of detail in the image above but it has a kind of cartoon quality which I’m not looking to use.

Sometimes I think that the stencils yield up interesting shapes and a certain reduction in the distraction away from form that lots of internal detail can give. Having said that, I like to create internal markings that don’t necessarily reflect the exact detail of what is present but more create a certain mood.

In my dog work I was happy that the man had some degraded sort of marking within his silhouette to resonate with the idea that he was being lost.

 

 

 

 

Painting 2B Black dog

First experiment using solar fast to paint with and exposure as I went. Wasn’t very happy with the image itself although the composition was ok. Don’t like the soft edges and painterly quality. Too flat and uninteresting.

This is a composition of stencils with each stencil exposed to different colour solarfast individually. It is better than the painting but I’m still not sure it’s cohesive with the separate pure colours. It has a bit of texture from the prints but not as much as I would like. And I did really want the dog sitting on the man’s chest but I have placed it wrongly.

This third experiment was printed on silk/wool compared to cotton sateen for the one above and it hasn’t taken the colour as well as I would have liked. It appears very muted and I’m not happy with the beige appearance of the background.

I have moved on to dyeing with orange landscape to unify the background and I am reprinting some of the stencils on top to see if I can demarcate them better and strengthen their colour which was someone lost with the orange dye. Likely I will end up with a painting of brown shadows on orange. Not sure what I think about that yet. If its not as good I am going to stop and just use the second version because for me this is about experimentation. The experiment of using stencils has worked in my opinion but I haven’t quite worked out the best way of applying background colour. I may try just painting colour on the back and exposing it through the front after I have already applied the stencils. That may be less invasive than dyeing. Or maybe just expose the back in colour and enough may show through to the front to tint the front without altering the colour in the stencilled area.

Black dog final.jpg

Ok this is the final one. Not perfect but I am moving on. Fabric gives it a muted matte feel which is more noticeable on the silk wool weave than on cotton sateen. This one looked a bit muddy with more loss of colour than I wanted, and I didn’t feel that the planes were well defined so I added the stitching to try and define picture planes better.

I would definitely have liked to have more control over the background colour so that the front colours are not so muddied. I don’t might dulling the colours from the primaries but here I feel like I lost control of the process.

Good thing is that I am pleased with the sewing. Doesn’t interfere with the pleasurable sharp edges of the image but still serves a purpose to better define areas of the work.

Photography Week three- Survey and Story

Stephen Shore video – How to see

Take away from that for me was that with your normal vision the subject is always in the centre. Your fovea is a very small central area on the retina which is what sees colour and is the only area of vision that is sharp when you look at something. The idea of a bigger form is built up from lots of tiny central snippets put together in your brain.

A bit like cubism where all the snippets are assembled from different viewpoints, and then your brain is asked to put that together to suggest a form.

This sort of assembly of image suits well with my way of working in regard to a quilting background and wanting to work with fabric.

Berndt and Hilla Becker 

Lots of series of water towers and other industrial structures photographed in a way that seemed to isolate them from the environment with white sky and flat light and no people.

Nan Goldin

The Ballad of sexual dependency

Lots of photographs taken of her friends and people she lived with in interior environments. Nan Goldin took photos with many different cameras and believed ‘Content is important rather than quality of photographs’. They have the feel of old polaroid photos with the focus not completely sharp and the colours not necessarily true. This adds to the feeling of nostalgia, something lost or in the past.

Sally Mann

Series based on photos of her husband who was slowly dying of MS. That knowledge adds to the emotive quality of the photographs and the bare flesh adds to intimacy.

 

Continuing with Covid Toes Triptych:

 

covid toes progress.jpg

Nearly completed. All that remains is to turn in the edges with the same material as the central dividers. I don’t really like the wrinkles although they fit with the tired and worn nature of the subject.

 

Need to move on to Diptych. Wasn’t sure that I had to do both but seems we do.

Bricks and Mortar

This will be my subject for the diptych. Our house is brick built by a person who took a lot of pride in making things neat and strong and right. It is the proverbial brick shit house. In this covid time our home has become even more important than before. We have been finding new things to appreciate about it and are very grateful that we have this well built sanctuary.

I’m thinking I want to try photograms for this. Probably layered photograms.

For bricks I can use two bricks and work with photograms showing multiple differents angles of the bricks. Will start with the bricks covering most of the plate and then gradually overlay the smaller sides into the photogram.

Mortar poses more of a problem but I think I will first cast the mortar between bricks out of plaster. Then make similar photograms out of the sheet of “mortar”.

Initial testing of process

Trying to sort out a process for using photographic film or paper in photograms or pinhole camera or both. I want to use the darkroom because I can and to learn new skills but I also want to get a good quality negative to use to reproduce photograms.

So far 4×5 film creates the best negative or doubled over transparency fused with laminating.

Very best result is direct object on fabric but that eliminates darkroom and photographic editing.

Cyanotype and solar fast together are allowing me to create more colour and so far working on silk also allows the addition of landscape dye. Silk doesn’t give as good an image though so another option is to rely wholly on cyanotype for blue and Solar Fast

Thinking of ‘Ghosts of Childhood’ as topic to explore and using old toys found around the house or downstairs in my youngest son’s room after he moved out.

Photograms

https://www.tate.org.uk/tate-etc/issue-33-spring-2015/out-light-shadows

Viewed 22 Feb 2020

Link to a Tate article about photograms

SAM FALLS

Artist who sort of uses photograms- fabric is laid out covered with natural material and then sprinkled with pigment and left out in the weather.

https://www.biennaleofsydney.art/artists/sam-falls/ Viewed 22 Feb 2020

I think his pigment could be as simple as fabric dye. If the fabric was primed with soda ash first this would work.

I think I’m more looking at developing photograms with cyanotype or solar fast but I do love the serendipity of these sort of works that harness the weather and time.

Melissa Zexter

Thinking of the photography unit coming up and I saw this. Melissa Zexter embroiders on photographs. Looks like most of the photos are black and white and then the colour is added through embroidery.

I’m thinking of photograms or pinhole photographs transferred to fabric and then potential addition of colour with ink or embroidery.

http://www.melissazexter.com/embroidered-photographs-2018#1

Viewed 20 Feb 2020

Maggie Dillon

For 20 year I’ve thought about using fabric as paint in an impressionist style. This is what Maggie Dillon does.

When I zoom in I can see that she is holding irregular shaped pieces down with zig zag and that the thread is part of the design from a distance. It’s impressive but I guess it’s not what I’m doing now. Although I’m a bit confused about what I am doing.

http://www.maggiedillondesigns.com/

Viewed 1 Feb 2020