studio summary / stretched horizons

This week was the second exhibition of the second year show at The Poly. I was showing two photographic prints of my site-specific sculpture project, alongside two framed up linen pieces. 

Work wise, I have been in the studio trialling new ideas of taking my frottage further, into pieces that feel more 'finished' and final. I have been hand stitching a seam into fabric - the linen landscape bearing a frottage trace of the coastline's topography.

The idea was that when opened out, the seam would create a shadow to the panel; adding texture, alluding to a horizon line, breaking up the two distinctive parts.

In terms of research and reading, I have been dipping into a lot of Lucy Lippard's writing. In 'The Lure of the Local', Lippard weaves together the themes of geography, photography and contemporary art to explore how these things can elicit sense of place. She discusses land use, perceptions of nature, how we produce landscape and how the landscape affects our lives.

In terms of her relation to my practice, Lippard raises concerns regarding the role of art in environmental catastrophes. I realise that my practice, which is linked to the genre of land art, must begin to make deeper contextual connections in order for the work to continue to be critically relevant. It is all well and good to 'map' landscape with my work and my academic explorations into the theme of sense of place and the horizon line help me with this - but I want to take these conceptual suggestions further. I am consistently thinking about ways to ask questions about what I'm doing and why I'm doing it.

Texts like Lippard's will hopefully drive me to make work under the genre of Land Art that maps landscape but also addresses contemporary environmental concerns. I use natural dyes and wish to explore other environmentally friendly processes, but there are still many more ways in which I can present my work against a backdrop of environmental issues, raising the importance of such topics in the contemporary art world.

Yesterday morning I had a photography developing and processing workshop. We learnt how to load the film into the developing canister, the quantity of chemicals to use and how to wash and dry the negatives. After the Easter break I'll have my final session, in the darkroom.

The workshop got me really enthused about using photography as a key part of my creative process. I spoke to Lee, the technician running the workshop, about various different avenues I could pursue with the facilities available on campus. I'll finally have the opportunity to explore caffenol developing, make some chemigrams and exploring the process of making cyanotype negatives.

The best part about getting inducted into the photography department now is that after the fast-approaching hand in date on April 7th, I won't have a studio space to make work in. It will be a key time to focus on my dissertation project, but I can also then use the photography workshops up until they close in summer to perfect my processes and decide on what elements I would like to take forward into my third year practice. 

After the photography workshop I went back to the studio to finish the sewing of the seam into the linen and try my hand at stretching it over supports I had put together earlier in the week. I stretched the horizon line slightly off centre, so it'll need to be re-stretched before hand-in - but I love how the frottage continues right over and around the edges of the piece.

I'm looking forward to getting back to the coast to do more field-work on Monday, to collect recourses for making and to do some more frottage drawings for further works in this collection of 'stretched horizons'.