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I have given up with wordpress as I can no longer access it on my rather ancient Mac! It is so frustrating when you have a computer that works perfectly well and then you can no longer use it for certain actions – in the last few months I have been unable to use Skype, Dropbox and update Adobe Flash – now WordPress is added to the list. I suppose at some point I need to get a new computer but quite honestly while this one is working I don't feel much inclined to spend money (at the moment just for these few things!). It was going to be my final post on WordPress anyway as I have now finished my MA in Contemporary Art Practice and I was only using it to post about my MA practice.

So I am back to using good old reliable blogger and this post is just to show some photos from my MA show in July at Royal William Yard, Plymouth

A busy PV
A Circular Walk 2014 Artist Book, Collagraph
A Simple Method is adapted from the original by Karen Howse
 
 
A Long Walk 2014/5 60 collagraph prints
A Long Walk detail
A Long Walk detail
A Long Walk detail
Way Markers 2015 series of 6 collagraph prints

Way Marker 2015, Collagraph with blind embossing
Prints-on-the-go 2014/5 Monoprints
Prints-on-the-go detail

It was a brilliant opening and I really enjoyed myself – after all the hard work it was finally time to relax
I'd like to finish this post with some words sent to me after the show – it was so kind of Richard to take the time to give this review.

‘The challenge of usingthe space and creating, installing was brilliantly done. Your walkinstallations transformed the space, watching people interact with your work,walking the line or circling the light added to their energy’

‘A Long Walk’ installation.

People were studying individual prints but in doing sobowed in reference to the qualities of each individual (print). There was aspiritual space, about a metre from the work where they stooped to look, aprayer wall, thought wall, feeling wall, or simply a diary or record of momentsin time with nature. Lots of individual elements, but looking down the line,seeing the beginning of the journey and the distant end, the perspectiveplaying with the angled prints and the linear repeating patterns of decalededges of pristine paper, the whole and the sum of the individual parts onlyadded to the spatial dimension of the work and the space it was within. Theidentity of one print was added to by the relationship with its neighboursometimes close sometimes farther apart, the vertical prints vibrated, had apattern, a signature, a beat. It is an infinite horizon line which if walkedwill continue to adapt and change to the responses to time and place’.

 

Richard Sunderland

Artist

http://www.richardsunderlandart.com

 

 

I have been making a very long book during the summer months so far it has 45 leaves/plates which I have joined using a long running stitch top and bottom with bookbinding thread. I might have to strengthen some of the leaves with an extra stitch every so often. I like the idea that they can be seperated very easily and made up into any number of leaves/plates rather than one long one I will present this book when I return to the MA next week for some feedback (my final year which feels rather daunting!). Each leaf/plate is approx 30 x 10 cms.

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Even though I haven’t posted much on the blog I have been working away during January trying to resolve some of the issues in the work I am creating for this module. I would like to try and integrate the 2 identified strands of my walking – collecting and embodiment (the tiny etching plates). And I also want to include text in the form of letterpress.  I have made some collagraph plates and used some pressed plant material with polyfilla to create these prints – they are only 14cms square and are practice pieces for a larger work 

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Collagraph – heather

 

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Collagraph – ghost print

 

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Collagraph – ghost print

 

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Collagraph – seaweed ghost print

 

the seaweed plate has been developed into a much larger plate and is more successful. I am now using a brown ink on either cream German etching paper or Fabriano Rosapina – they each give different results. I much prefer the ghost prints as they further abstract the image and only give a minimal impression of the plant material. 

I’m continuing with the etching plates and when I was in Dublin before Christmas I carried these little plates around with me in my bag and pockets for 3 days 

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3 days in Dublin – etching

 

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3 days in Dubling – etching

 

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Detail – etching

 

I have spent some time in the letterpress room this week using  6pt font – it was a real pain to do – very fiddly but I felt the font needed the same delicacy and scale as the etching plates. 

I have a group critique in 10 days so hopefully I will now have enough work to present that demonstrates my development – it will be useful to have feedback on what is working!

After the Hamish Fulton weekend it took a little while to settle my thoughts and reflect on the experience back in the studio. Some of the images below indicate what I have been doing, drawing, reviewing previously collected material from September walks and most recently making handmade paper.

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Found material, matted hair  – here and in the image below  I am thinking about documenting a walk back in the studio by drawing  a found object  that seemed significant of the walk

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Found tree bark, drawing

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Found material, chestnut pods

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Found materials – pine needles

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Pine needle cairn – here I was thinking about the small masses of stones etc that you come across while walking that ‘mark the way’ 

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Handmade paper from found path material and paper pulp

Not sure where any of this is taking me at the moment but I am enjoying ‘making’ again. I’m also reading several related books to support my practice. I gave a presentation to my MA peer group a couple of weeks ago based on this years module proposal following on from work I made on walking last year. Last week I had a tutorial which gave me the opportunity to further discuss the direction to take this year. Talking to Karen, my tutor made me realise how crucial the walking weekend with HF had been to my own walking practice.  How much my walking is about ‘being in the world’ and finding a poetic way of engaging with the landscape.  In view of this, Karen has suggested looking at the writings of Jane Rendell, professor at the Bartlett School of Architecture. I feel there are 2 distinctive paths to my practice, the making of structures that relate to the walk (use and limitations of materials) and the  documentation (including making artist books). It has left me wondering about how much of my work is about walking and how much is about ‘bsing’ in the world, a sensory engagement – being present? Is it really about the walking? If it is about walking then where are the walks going to be and how does that matter? What are the logistics? Is it about duration?

A recent highlight has been visiting the Whitechapel Gallery and not only seeing but touching the Guiseppe Penone installation ‘Spazio de luce’. I was completely knocked out by the exquisiteness of it! One of the attendants explained how it had been made which only added to it’s wonder. I was allowed to touch the outside (not the inside – the gold leaf is extemely fragile). It was a whole new ‘tree hugging’ (more, a gentle embrace) experience!  There is a video of him in his studio in Italy talking about the work HERE. Well worth a listen.

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My next post will be about my paper making.

Best foot forward

Best foot forward

I realise it’s a while since I posted here – I was very dejected at not getting a place on The Cornwall Workshop and didn’t have the heart to write about anything to do with art – I have had a few rejections this year and it has not only undermined my confidence  but really make me question my practice.  I felt quite disheartened for a while.  So the weekend with Hamish Fulton a week ago was something to look forward to. I thought highly of his exhibition at Tate Britain, which I saw several years ago. I bought the catalogue (an honor because I don’t buy many!)  and included him in an essay I wrote on walking for my MA last year. I have now had time to reflect on a weekend full of mixed feelings. It began with a talk at Falmouth University, part of the MA lecture programme there, on the Friday evening. I was hugely disappointed because it was more of a travelogue than anything and I didn’t think it was aimed at postgraduate level. There was no criticality and he was lacking in enthusiasm and ‘passion’ in his work.  If truth be told I just didn’t take to Hamish at all! I found him opinionated and not particularly good at talking about his work.  I don’t want a lot of ‘art speak’ but I do want an artist to to contextualise their practice and to answer the audience questions and not steer around them.  One of the things he said was that art critics constantly got his work wrong and didn’t know what they were taliking about  (and frankly I’m not surprised as he’s not very good at explaining it)  he (quote)  ‘is not part of ‘land art’ and  land artists are gardeners’ – well I’m not sure what Christo would say to that!! HF also walks on roads and is rather fixated with pavements, another revelation!  I  was left wondering what he was doing and why. What makes a walk an art work? Why is his walking any different from other walkers? What constitutes site specificity?  Apparently it’s all about intention and if he sets out with the intention that the ‘walk is art’ then it is (this differentiates it from a walk to the corner shop apparently). All this of course has made me question my own practice.

Following the talk on the next morning, Saturday, 104 people gathered outside Penzanze Station – the only prior information was arrival time, to wear dark clothes and walk in silence so I did not know if I was committing myself to a full days walking or a few hours – it turned out to be 1 hour on the promenade. 50 rows of people facing each other about 30ft apart walking towards and away from the sea, at their own pace, following a line of paving slabs.

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You can read more about it HERE.

This was repeated the next day on the beach with approximately 200 participants in 2 lines an arms distance apart, everyone walking extremely slowly towards each other until the lines were parallel – this took exactly an hour. It was VERY SLOW and pretty cold – but at least the rain stopped!

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It would have been more impressive if the timing had been achieved without HF checking his watch constantly! I was at the back of one of the lines and didn’t start moving for 20 minutes – it was rather like when traffic slows down on the motorway and eventually comes to a halt even though nothing is holding it up except the speed of the cars ahead.  I thought that the walks would answer some of my questions but I still have no idea as to the rational behind it all, choice of location, silence, timing etc. (yet we could take photographs!).  It felt like a formula that he just repeated in different places – the only participatory walk he’s done that made any sense to me was the one in support of Ai Wei Wei – this took place in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern in April 2011. I wanted to know the rationale behind why he was doing what he was doing………….and where was I in this? My feelings are that participants need to know FULLY what is going to happen and the rules of engagement otherwise it creates anxiety. We were not given the crucial element of time restraints and endurance levels until we arrived (when there was the option to withdraw – but if you’d come a long way as I had then it was not really an option).  The experience left me feeling confused…….. What I am clear about is that I really don’t want to engage with walking in this way  – It would take away all the joy of walking and ‘being’. It has offered me a useful counterpart in which to frame my own practice

My second year on the MA has got off to a much stronger start this year in spite of the questioning about walking as an art practice –  It’s really got me thinking! And I am sure I will be posting more about this subject.

Just posted on my other blog about the 4 day Design School run by L.I.E. at Plymouth Arts Centre
http://ruminations-and-rambles.blogspot.co.uk/

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