Final Exhibition

My final show is now installed. The culmination of two years of practical engagement and academic research. The work on the walls have been produced rapidly over the last 2 months but they are not end results they are exploratory experiments.

I discovered the most important elements to my practice and the media to express them very late on, there are many areas to develop. I aim to continue exploring my interests more intimately without the pressures and stresses of deadlines and learning outcomes.

Below me and my friend Harry are hanging the work, deciding on the best positioning, difficult with work this scale.

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The most stressful part of putting up the exhibition was revealing my work to everyone, it made me feel physically sick to be exposed so publicly (a sublime terror perhaps?). It is strange that I don’t feel that way about putting work on my blog which has a world-wide audience! Thankfully the people around me have been wonderfully supportive helping me feel more positive.

Hanging the work was gruelling, what I thought would take a couple of hours turned into a couple of days. I am not entirely satisfied with the results, the fabric does not hang straight due to the processes they have gone through and the different types of pigment applied (there were no right angles). ideally more space around each piece would enhance the aesthetic appeal. I am pleased with the scale I worked on but wish I had made all the pieces exactly the same size. This would have made it much easier to hang and given coherence to the overall look of the show.  The hanging system I devised was succesful as it gives the impression that the work is unsupported and floating.

I am very happy with how the digital drawings look displayed in a loop on a computer monitor. The vibrancy of the colours and luminosity of the back lighting make the images appear to pulsate and glow. An improvement here would have been to box the monitor in to hide the computer branding and heavy stand which detracted from focus on the artwork.

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I had an extra wall to display something on so I framed a couple of smaller, softer, quieter pieces as contrast; I think work well in the space.

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Here are the finished results. I hope that I get some positive feedback from the work. I am interested to know how the public react to it and what they read into the pieces.

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Final preparations……..

The last few days have been spent organising the housekeeping for the final exhibition and hand in.

The critical reflection is finally finished, I found this the most challenging part of the module.

A photographer friend took brilliant photographs of all my work and put files in different formats for publicity etc.

I selected five photographs of details of my work and took them to the printers, I have ordered 10 x A5 postcards of each image.

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The precise to Module 5 is in progress and I hope to have it finished by the weekend.

I have ironed all the fabrics so they are neat, I decided to fold over the edges so that the works look more like paintings than textile pieces.

I worked on one last piece this afternoon, after reviewing my work yesterday  I wanted to produce something even more extreme in colour, with real impact. It is inspired also by my digital drawings, the new larger phone I have makes the drawings so vibrant and is even more pleasurable to work on. I notice haw much my colour pallet has shifted from work produced only a few months ago. I have become much more confident with the media and my approach to application of dye. Here my chosen fabric was the silk/linen mix and I worked on wet fabric to assist the blurring of the colours.

last piece

I have devised a method of hanging my work that will be totally unobtrusive. I will roll and secure each end around hollow plastic piping. This will be cut exactly to the length of the fabric. I will then thread fishing wire through the tube. The fishing wire will be secured to tiny pins nailed to the top of the display board and as near to the floor as possible at the bottom. I hope that this will hold the fabrics taut and flat so they don’t flap around. I am worried about how they will look as a coherent selection of work and wonder of I will be disappointed. I would love to see them with fresh eyes.

All being well I will hang my work on Monday. I printed out photographs of all the final pieces so that I could see then all together without having to unroll and manhandle the large work. This helped me to see which pieces will work together for the exhibition and which I will reject. Below are some images taken when the whole MA group got together to review tha foyer space and discuss how it would best be used to accommodate everyone happily. I am holding a piece of work against my space to get an idea of scale and how many pieces I will be able to fit in it.

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I am having a slide show put together of all my digital drawings in a loop. This will be displayed on a computer screen near my fabric work.

My blog has been printed ready for hand in but I need to take all my written work to be bound first.

And finally I booked a holiday ………………………………………………. !

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Statement

I have produced a short statement to go into the M.A. exhibition catalogue and onto the group website

This briefly summarises my practice, concentrating on the latest developments involving fluorescent pigment.

Statement

Repetitive visits to record my response to the minimal view across the River Humber motivate this series of work. My obsession for this place induces a strong sense of the sublime. The subject remains the same, but the light and atmosphere are changing constantly and so too my visual reactions to it.

My aim is to communicate these intense feelings by providing an emotional incident for the viewer. Attempting to capture the ethereal qualities of luminosity and light sustain my engagement with fluorescent pigment. Edmund Burke defined the sublime as an internal discord of the mind and the senses inability to comprehend a phenomenon. Chaotic visual experiences are challenging for the brain as beta brainwaves throw the mind into a state of anxiety and stress. I intend the use of fluorescence and pulsating colour contrasts in my work to induce sublime experiences for the onlooker.

“Nobody can paint the sun or sunlight. He can only paint the tricks that shadows play with it, or what it does to forms. He cannot even paint those relations of light and shade – he can only paint some emotion they give him, some man-made arrangement of them that happens to give him personal delight” Willa Cather 1925

 

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The Sublime, Fluorescence and Complementary Ratios

Thinking about why the dramatic skies appeal so much to me, I consider it to be down to the contrasting complementary colours seen during certain meteorological events or times of day, particularly sunset.

I came across this very insightful website explaining ratios of colour. Although the information on the website is for photography (so concerning light not pigment), I immediately identified with these proportions of colour as they have already appeared naturally in the compositions of my latest work.

Complementary Ratios

Showing the relative intensities of complementary colours.

While Red and Green are roughly equal in their effect on each other Orange and Blue need about a 3:1 ratio for the same balance. With Yellow and Violet it’s about 5:1. 

I know from my teaching of colour theory that this balance is very pleasing to the eye because it occurs naturally in nature.

Getting these proportions right in a piece of work can enhance the appeal to the viewer.

I wonder how much these ratios will be effected, if at all, when fluorescent colour is thrown into the equation?

Fluorescent compounds convert incoming light of one wavelength into (visible) light of another wavelength, so the material seems to “glow” with a colour corresponding to the wavelengths being emitted. This glow is the major appeal of the dye I am using as it is achieving the intensity of the light I see in the atmospher of the landscape I am trying to capture.

Harmony of colour engages the viewer creating balance to the visual experience. If the visual experience is very bland the brain will be under-stimulated and so not engage with the image. However if it is really chaotic with no logical structure it becomes too difficult to translate and so the visual experience is challenging. So balance of harmony is vital to the viewers enjoyment of visual stimuli. 

Could this suggest that the use of fluorescent colours will be too extreme to create an engaging visual experience?

I intend the work to be an assalt and demand attention so hope that the visual confusion to the brain will produce a sense of the sublime  from the viewer.

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Day-Glo Claude Mirror

My research has led to an interest in the Claude mirror.

‘A pre-photographic, landscape-viewing device, used by romantic artists and connected with the Picturesque Movement. The artists stood with their back to the scene looking at it through the small black convex mirror. The reflection framed and transformed the view, distorting perspective, altering colour saturation and compressing tonal values. This resulted in a loss of detail but gave an overall unification of form and line.’

The seeming absurdity of refracting and reflecting nature in this fashion is balanced by the beauty and seductiveness of the mirror’s optical effects.

The Claude mirror references the relationship between desire and the fabrication of place, between the body and the environment. Linking the mirror with contemporary popular culture, tourism, snapshots, web-based security and surveillance technology, exposes the ongoing mediation of nature through technologies of vision.

It reveals the layered, culturally determined nature of the gaze. It draws attention to the complex mediation between looking and mark-marking, framing and representation, as well as the many interventions that occur between apprehending and understanding landscape. (Extract from here an interesting project to revive this device)

Claude Mirror

Claude Mirror

I discovered this website describing how to make your own Claude glass from a convex lens. This made me consider a way subvert this process and what effect would be attained by  painting the lens with fluorescent colour instead of black.

Today I acquired a lens from an old OHP projector and painted it with the flourescent orange. Here is the result.

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Fluorescent Claude Mirror

I consider the object to be a beautiful thing in its own right reflecting the light in the glass roof in a compelling manner.

P&O ferry viewing car park Hull

P&O ferry viewing car park Hull

I visited the ferry viewing car park this evening to try out the mirror and see how the view looked through it. The results were not too strong and quite hard to see from certain angles.

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I think this might have been because the sunset was so bright, I believe I will get better results with more even lighting conditions. I can see possibilities for development here and so will continue to explore.

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Making Progress

I am continuing to work on my silk pieces. I work on two at a time so that I am not idle during the drying time. I have noticed that I have two distinctly different ways of working. The first is to approach the fabric in the same way as a painting so apply the dye directly with a brush, sponge or roller as in this piece. I also use water to soften some of the harsh edges.

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This method seems to work best on the thicker silk/linen fabric. The other way I work is more about manipulating the fabric, dipping, folding, bleeding, shibori and discharge. This is a more organic approach with softer but much less predictable outcomes.

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As I gain momentum I become much more confident with the fabric and daring in the application of techniques and processes. As I go along I am also learning how to handle the flourescent dyes and how they react to the fabric being wet or dry and how they change when layer are applied on top. I find this new media extreamly engaging and inspiring which motivates me in the production of these pieces.

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Exhibition: Planning and Making

The area allocated for the MA cohort to exhibit is the entrance foyer of Hull School of Art and Design and there will be eight graduates showing in this space. As it is a working environment it is rather different to the white cube which was the perfect space I had envisioned to show my final pieces to best advantage. Having said that I am still very happy with the area given to me.

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DSC06499Although the area looks large, because of the scale of my work, I will only be able to fit about six pieces in it. I aim to produce at least twelve final pieces and from these select the ones that work best together as a series and fit in the space well. My space is next to the main reception area so very prominent, my work will be the first thing people see when they walk into the building. The pressure is on to achieve the eye-popping effects I am hoping will create a reaction from the viewers. Another advantage is the directional lighting available which I hope will enhance the intensity of colour and reflect the lustre of the silk.

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I am continuing to produce large pieces approx 160cm in length. I am working on three different types of fabric, my initial choice of 100% Habotai silk and two new surfaces; 100% twill silk and Dakota silk linen mix. The twill silk, above, is pure white so the colours appear bright and vibrant it also has a high sheen that reflects the light beautifully. The fineness of the fabric is perfect for folding and manipulating to achieve interesting variations in tone and texture. The dye is harder to control on this fabric as it bleeds a lot but this produces the soft transient effects an am striving for.

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Initially I was not keen on the silk linen mix when making samples. It has a creamy colour, the surface is dull lacking the sheen of the 100% silk and there is a blue line woven into the selvedge down both sides. However the more I worked with it the more I appreciated its qualities. The creamy background gave a subtle and rich tone to the deeper hues whilst maintaining the brightness required for the neon colours. The blue lines softened with the application of dye and in some cases practically disappeared. The extra weight and density of the fabric, although too thick to manipulate satisfactorily, bled less than the silk so application was easier to control. This fabric was also much wider so offering more scope for compositional arrangements.

DSC06507I continue to be immensely inspired by the fluorescent dyes. I am totally enamoured by the luminosity of light they project, I find pleasure in how they apply to the fabric and love the resist when dye is applied on top of it.

Although still interrupted by lecturing duties it feels goo to have more time to become immersed in the development and processes as the work evolves.

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I am applying the dye quickly and spontaneously, letting the processes lead. For guidance I am directed by my rapid sketches and channelling the memory of being in the landscape. I have to wash the pieces in-between layers which is always nerve-wracking but I am usually pleasantly surprised by the results. From here I can re-work on areas that need more depth or use discharge on areas that need taking away. When I get to a satisfactory point I stop work and put the piece away to start on the next. When I have completed as many as I can I want to lay them all out to look at them with fresh eyes. I hope I will then know which ones need development to make them work.

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