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.
As a group, we delivered a final presentation of our journey as a collaborative, showing how well we believe we have collaborated together and the outcomes that have come out of us working with each other and learning from one another. We also watched the presentations of all the other groups and made notes. I found that our presentation was more about the journey we have all undertaken together rather than our outcomes and individual work. Most of the other groups were very focused on presenting their individual projects and research before getting to the collaboration half way through. We didn’t feel this was relevant and so started our presentation by stating that the one thing we all have in common is drawing and how we decided to build on that to make collaborative work. Below is a Link to our final presentation.
I have also included some screen shots from the presentation above:
We all felt creating this presentation really consolidated our collaborative journey and showed to us how much we had achieved and how well we have all got on. It has been a positive experience for all of us and we have each learnt from it and it has even informed our subject and individual work. We included all of our drawing sessions into the presentation and displayed the outcomes from these sessions to the audience. We mentioned all of the artists that have inspired our collaboration, both our drawings and animations and that our communication via facebook and in person has been incredibly important to our success. The book we made full of documentation was a centre piece of the presentation on a table in front of the projection for people to browse through, it is a highly personal document full of each of our handwriting, feedback, ideas and outcomes. We felt it deserved to be acknowledged. Playing our videos as part of the presentation was a definite success and showed the audience physical evidence of what we have produced. It was great that we were able to show both 2D and 4D work feeding into each other within our collaborative.
The delivery of our presentation went really well, we all got involved and spoke as a collaborative rather than individually. Everyone sounded really passionate about what they were talking about and it all ran very smoothly once we got going. Our presentation definitely showed that we had worked really well together but we felt we needed to express quite how much we had enjoyed it and that we had learnt so much for one another. We all agreed that we would definitely be meeting up in the future and if we ever needed any opinions about our work from the angle of another discipline we would be calling on the people we have worked with in this collaboration.
After we had successfully delivered the presentation, we celebrated our achievements and went for a drink as a group. It was quite an emotional end to a body of hard but highly enjoyable work and everyone appeared sort of sad that it was coming to a close. I would definitely work with these people again and as well as working successfully with these people, through this process I have also made new friends.
We met up as a group today and discussed our original timetable and how to progress over the next few weeks. The original plan was to work with creating a new animation using what we’ve learnt and make a large collaborative drawing, but we got all of the work we have produced together, and didn’t realise quite how much work we have already made. We were delighted to learn that we had been enjoying this collaboration so much that we hadn’t really stepped back and looked and reflected on what we had done. Today, we decided that we will put the two animations we have already made into one video as a final animation and instead of making a large drawing, we will display 3 of the best A1 pieces we have created.
We worked on our collaborative book today and brought it up to date with documentation.
After that we wrote some written reflection and formulated an action plan up to the assessment point on the 18th March. This included mashing together our animations, reflecting, finishing documenting and creating our book and then finally, working on our final presentation to be presented to all the other collaborative groups.
Finally, we decided it would be beneficial to consolidate and conclude our book by writing about how this collaboration has influenced our own individual practice.
We each wrote a small paragraph about what we had learnt and will take away from this experience and we were delighted that every one of us had written about a positive experience whilst working in a collaborative group. We have worked really hard and want to enjoy celebrating what we have made and portraying that in a presentation rather than stressing out about making new things. Our work has a lot of potential and direction and that is enough for us. We are proud of ourselves and each other for what we have managed to achieve in such a short space of time working around other commitments.
Today, in the Monday paint workshop I have been attending, we started thinking about creating a shaped painting. We looked at artists to influence our pieces and to gain an idea of what a shaped painting was and how it might look. We looked at the works of Anthony Green mainly, David Hockney and loosely touched upon the work of Patrick Hughes.
I was highly drawn to the work of Anthony Green. I find it highly interesting that he uses shaped paintings to play with perspectives. He inspired me to think about creating an irregular shaped piece rather than a generic one like a circle or oval. He inspired me to think of a scene to do with my city project and map out an interesting outline of how it looked to cut out of board to create the canvas for my shaped painting. His work is incredibly clever and really made me want to work with an irregular shaped painting as I wasn’t really able to visualize what I might achieve before.
David Hockney (Tea Painting)
We looked at David Hockney’s shaped painting – “Tea painting in an illusionist way” as an idea of a more geometric shaped piece. The picture employed a shaped canvas, the first work by a Royal College student in which the stretcher departed from the traditional rectangle. Hockney made the stretcher himself. His intention was that, if the blank canvas was already illusionistic, he ‘could ignore the concept of illusionistic space and paint merrily in a flat style – people were always talking about flatness in painting in those days’ (Stangos, p.64).
Patrick Hughes’ work looks simply rectangular but when you look at it from a side view, it is actually incredibly shaped and 3D, his work inspired me to think about creating a relief effect within a shaped painting and maybe building more shapes on top of a shaped piece to create dimension, this is something I could certainly look into in the future.
We started by drawing out the shapes that we had decided to cut and went down to the woodwork area to cut out the pieces using a band-saw. I decided to paint a city scene from Cardiff with a view to painting loneliness within it and silhouettes of figures. I chose St Mary’s street with the castle at the back as I felt the turrets would make for an interesting shaped painting to be cut out. Then, I just started cutting. I am very happy with the shape I created and look forward to painting it very much. I started priming the surface of the shape today also, ready to produce an underpainting on top.
I have never done this kind of thing before, and tend to always paint on rectangular or square shapes, so I feel I will be learning a lot when producing this work. I spent the evening in the studio, drawing out my piece ready to paint it. I am keen to get stuck in and start painting my shaped piece. I will be working in the studio this week creating a green underpainting just like I did when creating my still life piece ready for next monday’s session.
On reflection, painting on a variety of grounds has definitely aided my learning and expanded my knowledge as an artist. Below I have highlighted the successes and failures of working with six different grounds. I have also noted my thoughts and potential uses for the grounds that haven’t been successful for this project work.
Burnt Umber – Dark Brown
Dark Brown is definitely the one of the most successful grounds for this kind of painting. It was incredibly effortless to create shadows because I didn’t have to paint the dark areas, I just used the ground to guide me. It was easier to paint and focusing on the highlights allowed me to create a far more successful image than if I was simply working on white.
Mid Tone Ground
A mid-tone ground worked quite well, but it didn’t allow for a dark feeling painting. It is quite unsuccessful really and does not heighten the feeling of loneliness as much as a darker tone ground. Also, I found myself using the ground to guide the highlights in the image which I feel made the image look quite flat and I don’t feel there is enough contrast between the figures and the surrounding here. I am incredibly surprised by how much a ground beneath a painting actually affects the outcome in the end.
Red Textured Ground
This textured ground made it very difficult to paint the straight edges of the buildings and figures within the outcome. However, I feel quite an interesting effect has been created here. To me the red ground made the scene look almost apocalyptic which isn’t exactly the feeling I was trying to create, so in that respect it is unsuccessful, but using a textured ground was a valuable insight into effects that can be created with grounds and demonstrated to me what my tutor meant by making more work for yourself when painting on an uneven ground.
Cadmium Yellow Ground
The cadmium yellow ground did weird and wonderful things to my painting. I like the effect it created and the yellow highlights peaking through as if the sun is shining, but it does produce a positive feeling so is unsuccessful in aiding the portrayal of loneliness in the city. In the future, if I am thinking about light or painting sun light, I will consider using a cadmium yellow ground.
Dark Brown Textured Ground
Textured grounds could definitely be interesting to explore and would undoubtedly benefit an abstract piece of work, but in this painting, even though I like the effect created, it was difficult to paint any straight edges because of all the lumps and bumps. I kind of feel that the attention is detracted from the subject a little bit by the interesting textures and palette knife work highlighting the surface.
Black Emulsion Ground
The black emulsion ground is also incredibly successful. It is between this ground and the dark brown as to which one has worked best. Again, It was effortless to create shadows because I didn’t have to paint the dark areas, I just used the ground to guide me. I would say this is so successful because the highlights and white figures really stand out and the darkest areas are black so there is a lot of contrast within the work.
On reflection, painting on a variety of grounds has undoubtedly been a valuable exercise. I have learnt first hand, how the colour or texture of a ground can affect that final outcome. I have also learnt the importance of choosing the correct ground to work with and how some grounds can make the painting you are producing easier to paint or vice versa. It is important to consider how the ground that you choose could affect the mood of the piece as here some of the grounds have helped heighten a dark mood and loneliness and others haven’t. The textures grounds definitely made it more difficult to paint figuratively but could be incredibly useful and valid for abstract works. Now that I have experimented with grounds, I will produce a large piece on a dark ground to add to its success and highlight my findings from these explorations.
In the tutorial that I had this morning, I was glad to be told I was working well and to be given some direction. The tutor suggested that I looked at the works of William Hogarth’s series “A Rakes Progress” and a set of drawings by David Hockney produced in response to Hogarth’s series of works.
As I am producing a project that is very much out of my comfort zone and includes people, It is refreshing to see how others have represented figures within their work. Hogarth’s figures are timeless and very realistic. I think he influences me most compositionally, as all his pieces convey a story and narrative yet are very balanced in their composition.
I am not particularly drawn to these works by David Hockney, but it is interesting and influential to see such an expressive style of drawing. The figures within these works are incredibly inspiring to me, they are very loosely drawn and I will take influence from them in my drawings and paintings incorporating white figure shaped silhouettes.
My tutor also said that the tracing paper experiments and photo manipulations are something that I should continue to work with and so I will be experimenting with these techniques and materials further this week.
After producing a collaborative stop motion with my field group, I was inspired to create animation within my individual project. Here is a quick stop motion experiment drawn in my sketchbook portraying the hidden loneliness of the city, where the person is “surrounded by others but alone”. I hope to create more of these and maybe work with animating my photo manipulations or cut out photographs.