On Friday someone mentioned in passing that we were one sixth of our way through our course. In between sorting house viewings for next year and settling back into university life, the thought of time going so fast has left me a little overwhelmed.
That said, although it flew by, the first semester was pretty successful. It had ups and downs; I suffered creative blocks and moments of doubt but I also became increasingly inspired and endured sleepless nights due to constant project plans. I spent time in the studio with like-minded people with whom I shared tea breaks, casual lunchtime 'crits' and even a mulled wine evening on the last night before Christmas break...
The first week back after Christmas before our big deadline felt like a bit of a mad rush. I installed my three large pieces from the series 'Places We Call Home' and also chose what other work and progression pieces I would hang up for my hand-in. In between hitting things with hammers I worked on my self-assessment form which turned out to be harder to write than I originally thought; almost like writing one long artist statement.
We also had our weekly Critical Studies lecture on Wednesday morning. From my critical studies lectures, I have been making notes regarding artists who have been explored and questioning how these artists or critical art movements inform my own practice. The most recent lecture, ‘A New Spirit in Painting’, really took my interest. We were told about the artists in the School of London, the name given by R.B. Kitaj to describe the London-based artists who were pursuing figurative painting in the face of avant-garde approaches in the 1970s such as Auerbach, Hockney and Freud. They all made art as an expression of their own experience of the world. Lucian Freud painted realist portraits of people in his life, including friends, family, fellow painters, lovers and children. He said “I paint people not because of what they are like, not exactly in spite of what they are like, but how they happen to be.” In relation to my own work, although not figurative, I am painting from my own experience of an ever-changing landscape and journey. Once I made this connection, I decided that I would start to make some work out of the studio, whilst walking around an area, to document exactly the forms that I am experiencing in front of me.
After my self-assessment form was filled in and printed ready for deadline day and my existing work was all up on the walls, I decided to start working on my future ideas rather than just wasting the last day before hand-in. I started work on some smaller pieces, A3 in size, on paper as opposed to large paintings on panel. I want these to take the form of a minimalistic side-series, taking elements from my larger paintings but translating them into a more contained form.
I also would like to start print-making this semester, taking the element of abstraction further, making use of the ‘paintings within [my] paintings’. I want to make photographic etchings of texture and details found in the larger paintings and print them using an etching plate I'll file down to mimic the geometric architectural shapes I'm currently making with masking tape.