Within the Subject module that I have been undertaking, I have been looking at two elements of food decay: The growth of Decay and its Documentation over time and producing fake mould that captures a frozen moment within the decay process. I have worked with the juxtaposition of the pretend and reality and tried to portray something that people consider to be horrible as more beautiful and accepted.
For this Final Piece, I have worked with the idea of capturing a frozen moment, after perfecting the look of producing fake mould through the use of sugar, paint, cotton wool, modelling paste etc. I have decided to use that skill to consolidate my findings and produce a 3D sculptural outcome.
The Initial Inspiration for this projects subject matter was a video piece called “Still Life” by Sam Taylor Wood. This piece documents the decay of a fruit bowl and in detail portrays how it decays over a period of time. Without coming across this time-lapse, I don’t think I would have embarked on this project and so it seemed fitting that as a final piece, I make a response to this video piece. In Sam’s work, She has captured how the fruit bowl changes over time, I have juxtaposed my work with this by almost producing a still of mould and decay overtaking a fruit bowl.
There is interesting ideas at work within this piece, there is a strange juxtaposition between the perfectly formed fruit and the replica mould that appears to be incredibly far in the decay process. I believe that this piece consolidates the findings of this project and brings together what I have been experimenting with and learning both conceptually and practically. In terms of concept and what I have learnt in my investigation into food decay, this piece highlights the fact that in the right setting, even mould and decay and be appealing and can be a piece of art. It makes people consider it as a piece of art and I think in doing so would and could make some of the public more open-minded about the art world.
In think this piece is successful in portraying the beauty of things that typically we would overlook. It makes you want to look at the colours and textures that I have created to replicate mould and from talking to my peers at first it initially makes the viewer wonder what they are looking at and confuses the mind. In my opinion, the piece is quite visually beautiful. I also think it is successful in creating a strong juxtaposition between the perfectly formed fruit and the mouldy exterior. Furthermore, this is a still life, capturing a still of decay and replicating something that would in nature change over time. I think this piece is highly successful in showing what I have learnt, How I have acquired this knowledge and what it has been inspired by. It is almost a homage to Sam Taylor Wood’s work and there is a direct opposition between our concepts. This piece brings an end to my subject module. As well as documenting decay, making people question reality and consider mould as art, I believe it is a visually appealing sculptural piece that encourages people to consider mould as an art medium. Even though it is not created from real mould and decay, for a moment it makes people wonder whether it is and broadens their horizons. I think it shows people how much beauty you can miss and makes you consider that things as simple as some mould on a yoghurt in the fridge can be attractive and how much we miss out on and take for granted.
Undertaking this project has opened my mind into what I take for granted in nature and has given me the opportunity to document and notice changes undergone during Food Decay myself and to produce art in response to what I see and think about visually.
Because this is a final piece, I wanted it to look polished and finalized. I decided to photograph is professionally with lighting and a grey gradient background to achieve shadows and to show the details of the piece on camera.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this project, The work I have created within it is not typically the kind of work I would usually create and so it has been incredibly interesting to work out of my comfort zone and I have learnt a lot about myself as an artist and as a person.
We were asked to bring our Green tone underpaintings along to this session with a view to working on top of them with more realistic colours. The idea was to see how the underpainting informed the painting produced on top. The tutor showed us an example of a green underpainting that he has been working on and showed us a few techniques to think about when painting on top of our pieces. He asked us to think about pattern, and how using pattern in painting can be effective. He used the example of wood grain within our still lifes and delicately showed us how to apply thin brush strokes using a small brush. Next, he showed us a technique known as “dry-brushing”, which is when you almost scuff the surface with paint. It is best to use an old brush for this and it was a valid way of applying paint for us in this workshop, because the highlights, lowlights and green tones of our underpaintings could show through the new thin layer of paint being applied.
We were then left to experiment with these techniques and start building up a more realistic image of our still lifes using more accurate colours. I started my piece by observing the texture of the surface that it was on, this week there were no tables left and I had placed my items on an orangey brown canvas chair which worked out really well for adding colour to my painting. I used a dotting effect and spotted pattern to render the chair and then used the dry brushing technique to add a scuffed orange colour over the top, allowing the green to show through slightly. Dry brushing over the pattern also gave emphasis to the dots themselves and it started to look highly textured and effective.
I continued employing these techniques and built up a substantial amount of colour within my work. It was really interesting how I found myself being informed by the shadows and highlights that I had thought about when producing the underpainting in the first place. The green tones showing through also seemed to give my painting a lot more texture made it look more three-dimensional. The green underpainting definitely effected the colours that I painted on top. For example, The photograph that is laying on the book was painted in dark greys but when applied on top of green, pink tones were emerging, which was highly interesting.
I have learnt a lot from these sessions and underpainting and dry brushing are definitely techniques I will be using in my painting in the future. I will now continue working and finish this piece in my own time ready for the next session on Monday.
Whilst exploring decay as an art from across the internet, I came across an article (link below) entitled “ARTIST USES MOULD TO CREATE DECAYED ARCHITECTURAL MODELS” and was obviously instantly interested.
Artist Daniele Del Nero creates architectural scale models of buildings and then dampens the exterior of the structure and applies a thin dusting of flour. The model is then placed into a transparent case, which relates to my moulding perspex boxes. Mould starts to grow after a couple of days and dies within two weeks, leaving behind what the artist has described as “a dusty spider-web which covers the model like a rambler plant“.
Like me with my actual moulding artwork , He avoids having direct contact with the mould, removing the cover over the models only to photograph them. He has also related Food Decay to the Decay of the world in a way like I have. This is highly related to me using mould to show pollution and climate change in my factory piece. I have mentioned in my reflective journal a few times about how mould and decay can relate to the end of the world or its breakdown, I appear to have found an artist that feels the same way. He states “We are used to imagining our cities as permanent and definitive, but it’s amazing how little time it takes for nature to reclaim its spaces.”
These works are AMAZING, they are definitely my favourite works out of all the other artists I’ve come across that use mould to create art. The photographs are beautiful as well as the pieces themselves. His work encourages me experiment with getting a more professional photo of my perspex boxes and other moulding objects as I don’t feel these would look as successful without the high level of photography and dark background. There is something very eery about these pieces, but I absolutely love them. Daniele Del Nero’s work is without a doubt a success. He wanted to “reproduce in small-scale the particular sensation of being in a lonely, abandoned place” and I feel he has without a doubt achieved this. He is a massive inspiration to me right now and his work definitely makes me want to experiment with creating 3D works and to use mould to create a certain feeling or atmosphere.
After undertaking the body casting workshop, I was highly inspired to use alginate and plaster to cast a decaying food. The apple was the obvious choice because of its hard and dry outer layer as it would hold its shape and be easier to get out of the mould.
Shown above are the plaster casts of the apples and the actual decaying food itself. The apples were really hard and wrinkled rather than decaying and going soft because I used the fruit I used to print with weeks ago and I believe the ink must have clogged up the pores which made the apples perfect to cast. It was completely accidental that I was able to cast them at all really. As with the body casting I did, the alginate has picked up even the tiniest details making an incredibly realistic cast.
You can see in the images above just how much detail you can pick up when replicating an object using this method. These are just experiments and the result of me playing with a new material but if i wanted to take this further, I would make many more casts and dip them in yoghurt. I found out that plaster goes mouldy if you cover it in yogurt and leave it out in the open so that could be a very interesting idea to work with.