Tutor Feedback: Assignment 4

Overall good- she was pleased with contextual reading and research. I do feel I am starting to find my feet with this. The critical theory learned during my English lit degree does really help as there is a lot of crossover between the two disciplines but there is still more to learn, especially as things have moved on since 1990s when I was at college.
Use of ephemeral items fits with theme of hauntology and simulcra. She recommended I revisit using a selection of feathers, which I intend to do.

Not clear why I chose the poster- to be honest neither am I. Upon reflection I think I was trying to reference protest posters as a way of justifying the use of text in my work but I agree it doesn’t necessarily fit the theme so well. My tutor has reassured me that I can use text in its own right within an artwork, something I am interested in pursuing.

4 prints on cartridge are seen as patchy. I sent these to her as a contrast to the others in the book- personally I quite liked the atmosphere from the patchiness, but I can now see that they look a bit weak as prints.

She liked my use of monotone but gave advice to be more confident with my choice of colour, something that I need to work on. I realise my issues lie in self doubt and lack of confidence. Going forward I feel I need to try a number of colour options out in my sketchbook then have the courage of my convictions to carry it out without second guessing myself all the time.

My tutor liked the artists’ book. She felt the decked edges and fragile nature of it suited the theme well. She recommended that I interleaf tissue the same size as each page throughout. I know I have sought more reassurances from her here and she gave good advice to ask myself the questions- how does this fit with my own theme? Keep thinking of techniques that connect and through doing this I will find my own answers. This is really useful feedback on how I can become more autonomous in my practice, something that I need to be able to be as I develop into level 2.

The complexities of Japanese stab binding were mentioned and the combination of fine tissue and thick printing paper would make it very difficult. She thought perhaps leaving the clip in place would be ok- I think I will do this because it fits with the ephemeral/ throw away theme anyway.

In regard to the book she also recommended I consider narrative more- thinking in terms of my previous research into Andy Warhol and Marilyn – the fading away. Something that I will look at.

Finally further advice to blend research with own practice as at the moment they are two very distinct separate entities- this should help everything flow together a lot better. This is something that was picked up on in feedback in the painting course. I really want to tackle this and get to grips with as I approach the end of this course. 

Suggested viewing

  • Mark Hearld- I had a look at his work earlier on in the course and can appreciate his images of the natural world.
  • WW1 postcards on display – West Yorkshire print workshop- I had a look at the website my tutor suggested and she was right- I have found this particularly inspirational and relevant. I keep being pulled back to ideas around the archive as well as the ephemeral and there are many links there that I would like to explore further in the remaining exercises. It has made me think about other items that are ephemeral and my mind is whirring with how I can bring this all together in my final pieces.

Final pointers:

Do not feel restricted by nature of assignment brief- push boundaries. – The above exhibition had given me some ideas on how I might do this.

Develop your theme further- a final push to identify your own voice.

Ensure that written theoretical research and notes about concept of brief connect together.

As an attempt to start thinking about the last point I put together this mind map as a starting point.

Assignment 4: Gallery / overview of submitted work

Below is a summary of the work that I have submitted for assignment 4 with links to the relevant pages in my blog.

Statement of Intent (update) link

Evaluation against assessment criterialink

Part 4 Research link

Part 4 Bibliographylink

Part 4 sketchbooklink

Overview

This part of the course has been a bit of a struggle and time has run away with me once again, this is because I have never done any collagraph or intaglio printmaking before so needed extra time on the technical areas. Also the critical reading that I undertook was very dense and so took time to read, digest and understand. I could have done with longer but I do not have that luxury and so need to send my prints as they are. After feedback from my tutor I have decided to push my assessment back til next year so at least I will have time to rework pieces where necessary prior to that.

Project 11- Test Prints (link here)

After a few false starts I finally managed to get some acceptable results.

Project 12

‘Field’ poster (link here)

Fields Poster Print

I feel this is reflective of the overriding theme and the references to Peter Doig’s movie posters and Anselm Kiefer’s paintings can be seen. From these I have drawn a sense of atmosphere and foreboding that represents the plight of the yellowhammer.

 

‘Silence .is’ Artists Book (link here)

Silence.is BookConceptually I am really pleased with this set of prints, I believe it brings together many strands of my practice – links with poetry & text, representative of the theme of absence and presence and also relates to the critical ideas of ‘Hauntology’  – the yellowhammer’s past life but also ghosts of it’s lost futures; and also the ideas surrounding ‘Deep Ecology’ and the broader environmental issues therein.

Technically, however I ran out of time and did not have enough good quality printmaking paper to produce many editions, so this may need more work.

My intention is to bind it via the Japanese stab binding method when I have satisfactorily completed the prints.

Demonstration against Assessment Criteria (Assignment 4)

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

Technical

  •  The lack of experience with collagraph / intaglio printmaking methods meant that this part of the course was a steep learning curve. I needed to do lots of reading online, and in books taken from the library into the practical processes required. This all took time to produce acceptable results which was a difficulty considering the constraints I am under.
  • As I do not have a press I borrowed a friend’s embossing machine. This took time and practice to work out how much padding to use in order to create the necessary pressure.
  • There were many issues that could potentially affect the final result: pressure, right consistency of ink, using correct paper, dampened sufficiently – initially I found this very overwhelming and again took time to get reasonable results but did gradually improve.

Visual

  • I enjoyed the process of working from life initially. I produced some quite expressive sketches initially but unfortunately was not able to retain this quality through the printing process.
  • My design and composition skills are OK but the plates are all relatively simple in terms of the pictorial elements. I felt that it was better to produce simple plates initially as I am just learning; perhaps I will be able to produce more complex ones in the future.

Quality of Outcome

  • The overall theme and subject matter helps to give some coherency and a sense of narrative to the work.
  • I feel that continuing to use text into my work is working and is something that I plan to use – perhaps it is part of my ‘voice’ as an artist.
  • The final results are not as refined as I would have liked but hopefully that will come with practice.

Demonstration of Creativity

  • I feel the detailed research process (contextual and visual) at the start of this section of the course has fed into my practice in interesting ways which I think is reflective of me as an artist.
  • I enjoy experimenting with materials and processes and like to take risks. However, as this was such a new medium and my time was spent with learning how to do it I feel that there is more to be done here. Hopefully with time after the course has finished I will be able to build my confidence and come up with more imaginative outcomes.

Context

  • I have enjoyed researching into the critical theory of hauntology and deep ecology. Derrida’s writing is very difficult to understand initially so took me many times of rereading before I could grasp his concepts. Hopefully I managed to articulate my learning in the statement of intent update at the beginning of this part of the course.
  • I feel that reflecting on my own performance is becoming second nature now and it is a useful discipline to get into.
  • The research into contemporary artists is becoming much more integrated into my working approach now which I have documented in my blog pages as I have been progressing through the projects.

Questions for Tutor: Assignment 4

Questions for Tutor

Specific Assignment

  • I would be really grateful for feedback on the intaglio printed booklet in particular as I have no experience of this at all and am in the dark as to what is good work.
  • I have included 4 extra prints that were printed on cartridge paper – because the paper was slightly drier there are different results – I quite like the atmosphere, possible reflecting the ghostly apparitions of the dead bird shape in them but they could be seen as patchy – I would value your thoughts on this.
  • I chose to use monochrome only for these prints as I felt it added more drama – do you agree with this choice?
  • Do you think the book idea is a good one? Or should I separate the prints out as a selection? My intention is to bind the book with the Japanese binding method – it would be a very thin pamphlet style book do you think this would be O.K.?
  • I quite liked the deckled edge of the paper so went with that – I am wondering whether that would look a bit messy as a book. What do you think – should I trim them instead?

General

  • Do you feel that I am at a standard where I can go in for assessment? I have taken your advice and have decided to push it back to March next year

Part Four: Sketchbook

Statement of Intent (update)

My aim is to re-use the same premise of Loss, absence and presence as a basis for this part of the course.

As a subject I intend to use a found dead yellowhammer as the starting point.

Context

 Critical Theory

 Hauntology

Further reading around the subject led me to Derrida’s essay “What Is Ideology” from Spectres of Marx.

In this particular work he is discussing the ghosts that Marx continually refers to within his work ‘Capital’, i.e. the cultural and historical references that are part of the objects / art forms that we are surrounded by in everyday life. Within this text Derrida uses the word ‘hauntology’ for the first time. The side table to which Derrida refers to here is a reference to Marx’s use of that object as a metaphor within his earlier work:

“The commodity-form, to be sure, is not use-value, we must grant this to Marx and take account of the analytic power this distinction gives us. But if the commodity-form is not, presently, use-value, and even if it is not actually present, it affects in advance the use-value of the wooden table. It affects and bereaves in advance, like the ghost it will become, but this is precisely where haunting begins. And its time, and the untimeliness of its present, of its being “out of joint”. To haunt does not mean to be present, and it is necessary to introduce haunting into the very construction of a concept. Of every concept, beginning with the concepts of being and time. That is what we would be calling here hauntology. Ontology opposes it only in a movement of exorcism. Ontology is a conjuration. (Derrida, 1994.12)

Here, Derrida is questioning Marx’s (and other philosophers) approach to time as a rigid, linear spectrum. He is stating that we / an object / an artwork can be haunted by a future yet to pass as much as by our past. Later on in his writing he clarifies this point further, in regard with the virtual worlds that exist within contemporary life:

“It obliges us more than ever to think the virtualisation of space and time, the possibility of virtual events whose movement and speed prohibit us more and more than ever (more and otherwise than ever, for this is not absolutely and thoroughly new) from opposing presence to its representation, “real time” to “deferred time”, effectivity to its simulacrum, the living to the non-living, in short, the living-dead of its ghosts” (Derrida, 1994.20)

We currently live in a world where it is hard to fathom what is real or unreal- a ghost; this ephemerality is very much a part of our existence today…even more-so in the twenty-first century twenty year after Derrida wrote these words originally.

In his closing words, Derrida concludes that hauntology is pretty much a given, an inescapable truth and ghosts permeate all aspects of our world and times:

“they are always there, spectres, even if they do not exist, even if they are no longer, even if they are not yet. They give us to rethink the “there” as soon as we open our mouths, even at a colloquium and especially when one speaks there in a foreign language” (Derrida, 1994.26)

Deep Ecology

Considering the yellowhammer which has recently been in decline as a species within the UK, I am also interested in the wider environmental issues relating to the natural world and how mankind can impact upon it.

Research into this area has led to the idea around ‘Deep Ecology’ which was pioneered by the Norweigen philosopher Arne Naess, who believed that the world is in ecological crisis. He developed a theory asking for a fundamental shift in thinking within human civilisation, as the rapid growth of human population and excessive consumption within the western world is unsustainable and negatively affecting other life forms, which we should learn to repect and understand how vital they are for the world to function as a whole. The outlook is bleak:

“Without changes in basic values and practices, we will destroy the diversity and beauty in the world and its ability to support diverse human cultures.” (Drengson s.d.)

Techniques & processes

  •  Collagraph methods as per course instructions
  • Limited subtle / monochrome palette in an attempt to convey a mood and atmosphere of loss / melancholy/ fading.
  • Blind embossing – which can be used to demonstrate the idea of absence and material presence.
  • Explore use of negative space.
  • Continue using text within the work as an important element – linking with literary sources.
  • Try using carborundum – which can provide very strong darks and leave a very physical embossed mark on the paper.

References

Derida, J (1994) What is Ideology from Spectres of Marx [online] At: www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/works/fr/derrida-what-is-ideology.html Accessed on 20th June 2016.

Drengson, A (s.d.) Some Thought on the Deep Ecology Movement [online] At: www.deepecology.org/deepecology.html Accessed on 20th June 2016.