Monthly Archives: March 2010

19 March 2010

Just a thought…

I have heard the creating of art compared with giving birth.  A comparison that sounds good at first glance but that really does not stand up to scrutiny.  As far as I know, no woman, after going through pregnancy and child birth has ever heard a midwife say

‘nope, that doesn’t work for me, Maybe you should start again?’

or

‘Why don’t you try adding an extra leg?’.

…and I do this because?

11 March 2010

I can’t sleep tonight, despite being so tired that my eyes keep closing without consulting me first.  Yet although my body wants to close down for the night, my mind has other ideas.  If it is not doing re-runs of todays events its off gathering random thoughts from dark places.

'It's not a bit like the Waltons', 2010, mixed media (size variable)

'It's not a bit like the Waltons', 2010, mixed media (size variable)

Meanwhile a small voice is whispering doubts into my ear.

Why am I putting myself through this?  Is it worth it?  Whatever made me think I could do this?

They are, or course, rhetorical questions that I will have forgotten about next week or perhaps even tomorrow.  But for tonight, after a bad day, they keep me awake and wondering why I didn’t chose to study something that has clear cut answers and does not rely on the subjective  judgements of others.  If there is such a thing. (Only this evening someone told me that 2 +2 is not necessarily 4 as I had always belived, but can sometimes be 3.)

I am still stressing about the ‘It’s not a bit like the Waltons’ piece.  Or rather I have returned to stressing about it after a brief delusion that I had reached a resolution and produced something I was pleased with.  Having previously suffered from this particular delusion, I should have known better.

This week has been our Interim exhibition and there has been some very interesting work shown.  I have really enjoyed seeing the various directions taken by my colleagues and speculating on the possible shape of our final exhibition.  Today was my groups seminar.  Although I was nervous about showing the latest incarnation of the ‘Walthons’, I was also convinced that I had ‘cracked it’ so to speak.

It received, what I can only describe as a ‘mixed reception’.  The comments from my peers were generally positive .  Sometimes in the past I have had a problem with ‘activting’ my work.  It has needed me to explain or to give some kind of background information.  This was not the case today.  I was pleased with the responses and interested in the new or extrapolated readings, possibilities that I had not been aware of.  Especially as at least two of the audience had no previous knowledge of my work so were looking at it with fresh eyes.

So far so good.  Just as I began to relax…

'It's not a bit like the Waltons' detail

'It's not a bit like the Waltons' detail

I can’t remember either of the two tutors present saying even one positive thing.  Every comment was about completely changing what I had done.  One of them has previously been interested in my use of text and especially lists.  Today one of them dismissed the text completely and wanted it got rid of entirely.  Gone was all the previous discussions of ‘integration’ and the talk was all of ‘sculptural form’.  I feel untterly demoralised.

‘Every fairy tale has an epilogue’ – an installation

9 March 2010
Installation - 3 - detail

Installation - 3 - detail

‘Every fairy tale has an epilogue’ – an installation

9 March 2010
Installation 3

Installation 3

‘Every fairy tale has an epilogue’ – an installation

9 March 2010
Installation 2

Installation 2

The work has been installed in several different ways depending on the venue and the space available.

‘Every fairy tale has an epilogue’, an installation

9 March 2010

The work has been installed in several different ways depending on the venue and the space available.

Installation 1 - detail

Installation 1 - detail

‘Every fairy tale has an epilogue’ – an installation

9 March 2010

The work has been installed in several different ways depending on the venue and the space available.

Installation 1 - detail

Installation 1 - detail

‘Every fairy tale has an epilogue’ – a record of a performance

9 March 2010

Record of a performance,2009

Record of a performance,2009

A record of a performance

Performance-3Performance-4

Performance-5Performance-6

Performance-7

Performance-8Performance-9

(Photographer – Jo Clewes)

‘Looking for Mother’

9 March 2010
'Looking for mother', 2009, mixed media (size variable)

'Looking for mother', 2009, mixed media (size variable)

Looking for Mother (2009) is the privileging of the ordinary sewing box by placing it on a plinth in a gallery setting.  The sewing box once belonged to my mother. I was originally attracted to it because of the way it looked; there is something sculpturally attractive about.  Then I began to think about what an unlikely object it was to remind me of my mother, since she wasn’t the most domesticated of women. This contradiction led to me thinking about the significance of the sewing box and its contents in a wider context.

I began to see it as representative of the cultural meaning of ‘mother’. Yet how many women now darn socks and patch jeans, or indeed do any kind of sewing? Mothers are also daughters and sisters, friends and lovers, individuals with multifaceted personalities, but ‘mother’ swamps everything else, it is all encompassing.  More than a title, it too easily becomes an identity. You don’t even have a name once you become a mother, you are ‘mum’.  With this in mind, I became curious about the way I was trying to make my memories of my mother fit in to a social construction of who she was supposed to have been, rather than who she actually was.

I have used the sewing box both to illustrate this sort of traditional notion of ‘mother’  and at the same time to subvert it by introducing other things in to the content of the box such as newspaper clippings covering stories of mothers who don’t fit the accepted profile. I also listed the contents, adding events from my mother’s life from illnesses to holidays.  I hope that the viewer will initially have their own memories stirred and be tempted to look closer and perhaps think of mothers in a different way. The mother in the title refers to the idea of mother both inside and outside of ourselves.   The one I am as well as the one that I had.

looking for mother-2

A list of everything contained within the sewing box with the addition of illnesses and events from her life.

Untitled Installation

9 March 2010
Untitled installation, 2009, mixed media, (size variable)

Untitled installation, 2009, mixed media, (size variable)

In Untitled (2008) a small table is covered with an old hand embroidered cloth and loaded with empty photograph frames.  A chair is close by and the wall behind the table has photographs of cluttered shelves and piles of personal possessions. Possessions have become photographs mounted onto a gallery wall. There is a sense of loss, of absence. An evocation of the passing of time and of the part memories play in our sense of place and identity.  The viewer is reminded of similar collections that they may own themselves or are familiar with from the homes of family and friends. But these frames are empty.  A reminder of all those people and events that are not recorded.  The forgotten.  So much of our lives exist as memories confined by the borders of a photograph. Even more so now with the popularity of camera phones.  The un-photographed seems to fade away.

Next Page »