Stage 3: Sample making

It is with such excitement and relief that I can share…I’ve found my line of enquiry for the Final Piece of Part 5. Its genesis is owed to the astute wisdom and questioning of Inger and the support and understanding of my Clan. I cannot thank you all enough. To learn that others can know you and it’s safe… that others can know you and it is good…this is Significant.

Three things were pointed out to me and I considered them. I played with them, rolled them around in my head, then walked round to the village shop to get some milk. There were leaves on the floor. Ping. Leaves are the way a tree gets rid of the stuff it no longer needs, its form of excretion. Then I considered the 7 characteristics of living things. Is my art living? Does it breathe? Does it reproduce? Do I nurture it? Does it show sensitivity (which brought me to look at my tutor’s points from a different and very much critical and necessary angle).

Sensitivity…how do we receive the world… through our skin, through our hands. Then I investigated every saying I knew on hands: pushing for depth here. Many many ideas but none that sparked. I weighed up making plaster cast hands, finding lost gloves, staining silk gloves… all possible lines of enquiry but all feeling somewhat over-thought. I went back to those leaves. Turning over a new leaf. The leaf being stained with all the colours of the chemical that would poison the tree if they were left in situ.

I considered resin capturing the gloves stained with the poison of hurt. But there was still no click. I knew the bloodiness could not be abandoned. I just had to make it more subtle, more of a surprise, more selected, more sensitive. Then it came to me in a flash. People don’t want to see hurt. People don’t want to know that if harm can happen to me it can happen to you, or next door or your family. None of us want that to be a reality. Even if it is. It’s not my harm, the projection of my hurt, the realisation of my pain that was too explicit in my work with the bloodied clothing, it is that it is too ‘in your face’. None of us really want to see it. And then Bam! Blind. Blinding, Venetian blinds to shut out the sun. Blinds concertina, they shrink down and expand. I had unnecessarily worried that I was being asked to condense myself on the blog. I was afraid I was being silenced. That is my hang up. My issue. I’m willing to take the risk, even though my tutor must see the brick wall I’m hurtling towards… I have to speak, I have to write, I have to say what I need to as I will never be silenced again.

The needing to be blind made me consider how blinds are made and work, made me reconsider what the pleating and folding of part 1 said. I looked at it again through my hands.

There is twice as much under as there is over with this type of pleat. Another ping! I love this, that the surface that is seen is half the size of what lies beneath. So, the surface seen has to be girlish (like Emin according to my tutor) and reading my feedback the lace print had these qualities. I brought out the gelliplate again and tried various medium and papers including yupo paper. The top surface will be a beautiful ‘handmade’ traditionally feminine textile printed surface, the underside will be the bloodied surface. Then I’ve got to work out how to engineer the expanding (the breathing out) and the condensing (the breathing in)… drawstring holds a fascination at the moment.

I cannot show Sample 1 that is so deserving of its title here as the blog will not allow me to upload the video, but Instagram does the honours:

The relief to have found my line of enquiry is second to none.


Part 5 – Artist Research

As I consider the impact of my feedback for part 4, I continue to spiral round again to Imran Qureshi. In my feedback the bloody pieces of part 4 have created a dilemma that I’m not sure I yet comprehend, but will come clear to me as I discuss matters with my tutor in due course.

I am still taken with giving voice to these silenced utterances. So I looked again at Qureshi. And Bourgeois. And Emin. And my feedback. And ponder. Qureshi concerns himself with life and death, violence and beauty. He enjoys these dualities. Yet he consistently claims that his art concerns what is going on around him – within him, in his local environment, in the World. I am concerned at giving sound or shape to those invisible wounds that people won’t tolerate to be seen or heard.

I’m typing this and I don’t know how to write clearly. I’ve reflected on my feedback but respect my tutor’s request not to put the report online. It has been suggested that I need to develop more subtlety and sensitivity. Qureshi ‘wanted an element of attraction and repulsions at the same time…Something that invites you in and then repels you. Or repels you at first, then invites you in later – working in both ways.’ There needs to be surprise and questions. Thus my current exploration as to what pain looks like and how it would take on form in a particular space. But there’s a concern as to what my pieces say without story to support them. Then I found this on Qureshi (from The Guardian):

‘But the meaning is not immediately apparent without the installation’s title – And They Still Seek the Traces of Blood, a quotation from the Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, writing about those whose suspicious deaths have never been solved.’

Qureshi works at these extremes of scale: the Roof Garden installation at the Metropolitan Musuem of Art in New York., his miniatures drawing on the Mughal tradition he is trained in – e.g. the works for the Barbican ‘Where the Shadows are so Deep, the 3d works, the giant canvases such as ‘Give and Take’…

…why is ‘scale’ so contemporary a concern or proof of artistic intention? I think the Egyptians had this one covered  from pyramids to hieroglyphs to mummified crocodiles. Why is it still seen as demonstration of skill/talent/prowess? What is it about scale that has us so enthralled?

I think there’s also a certain arrogance – look how much space I can fill with my work, look how much room I need, look how many resources I can devour…hmm…think there’s more to consider here.


‘Imran Qureshi: The Roof Garden Comission’ The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY 2013