stretched horizons / photography and sculpture / tutorial summary & Rachel Garrard

On Monday morning I had a tutorial with Virginia. We spoke about how last week's exhibition went and how I was feeling about it. She was really positive about the 'stretched' canvas pieces, particularly the element of the hand stitched seam - alluding to a horizon or longitude line. 

I also re-worked two pieces from last term, with more stitched elements, so they could also be stretched over canvas supports. Virginia and I both agreed that the stretched works have a greater authority in comparison to the works in their raw linen form. They are elevated from pieces of linen to pieces of art simply due to being presented in more of a clean-cut, finished way. 

We also spoke about my photography inductions and my ideas for the work that I will make over the summer and in third year when I have more knowledge in the field - plus once I have had my darkroom induction.

Talking about my new mediums led me to tell Virginia about my ceramic plans, too - that I want to at least have some sort of prototype in place for hand-in. This way, I can make evident in my portfolio for hand-in that for both ceramics and photography, I have been spending a lot of studio time researching and preparing for future work to come.

I also spoke about my plans to return to making my own pigments with both the previously explored process of natural dye and the new process of using a pestle + mortar to grind rock and earth and minerals and ash - making colour directly from the landscape. 

I wish to challenge myself, not to make the same work twice, and to keep my process evolving so as to not become stagnant.

The seams throughout these latest works act not only as a horizon line but also make a distinction between the two parts of the work. I have written before about my wish to make work that explores the relationship between dualities in landscape - the two panels in the work aim to address that.

In my next piece I want to take that further, using two separate panels of fabric to create a raised seam with linen frottage and naturally dyed linen.

Another thing to think about is paper. Making paper by hand. Mixing pulp that contains earth, grains of sand and other traces of the landscape, trapped within the fibres. Paper made from place. 

Over the past couple of days I have been researching the work of artist Rachel Garrard. Her process involves the use of natural materials. She also places a heavy emphasis on the process element of her work and often documents the act of making work in beautiful ways - such as video or a series of photographs - that could exist as artworks in their own right.


Rachel Garrard

  256 . 2016. chamomile, green buckthorn and purple cabbage on cotton. 44x48 inches.

256. 2016. chamomile, green buckthorn and purple cabbage on cotton. 44x48 inches.

"There is a sense in Rachel Garrard’s work that is internal and external, dark and light, feminine and masculine, organic and simulated, personal and universal, invisible and omnipresent."

There is a dance of dualities in the work.  

What is, perhaps, even more important than the element of dualities in the 'natural paintings' is the in-between: the process, the medium, the diversity behind the making of each work. Her art is topographical, a simple but equally complex analysis of the world. 

In her practice Garrard travels, collecting rocks and grinding them to a powder that then becomes pigment when mixed with a binder once back in the studio. The work is imbued with process: the travel, the collection of minerals, the grinding, the watering down, painting, washing, drying.  

The result could refer to landscape - work made directly from the earth - but also could be seen as the opposite of landscape. It could be argued that it cannot be seen truly as a direct representation of landscape, as the pigments and hues require a certain level of human interaction. 

  320 . 2016. turmeric, chamomile and green buckthorn on cotton. 44x48 Inches.

320. 2016. turmeric, chamomile and green buckthorn on cotton. 44x48 Inches.

  PInacle . 2015. Rock powder pigment on linen. 22x24 Inches.

PInacle. 2015. Rock powder pigment on linen. 22x24 Inches.

The series of works Condensations use quartz and powdered ash to recreate light and shadow. There is a reference to an inward and deliberate process, a searching for materials, a drawing out of their utilisable states. 

  Influx . 2014. Powdered Quartz and Ash on Linen. 33x36 Inches.

Influx. 2014. Powdered Quartz and Ash on Linen. 33x36 Inches.

Garrard uses these materials in a performative painting practice through a reduction of elements— wood into ash, stone into powder, fire into smoke.

The colours are not manufactured, they are not are simply chosen, bought in a tube and applied with a brush. The colours themselves have a life and a history, that has been brought to attention at the hand of Garrard and her practice. 

The works are all performance in that they enact a transformation, beginning in one state and transformed to another. As Garrard does, in my own practice I like to document the process of my making - due to the fact that it is the moment, a sense of being in place and the act of making that interests me.

The work that remains is a residue of that process.

  Stream . 2015. Rock-powder-pigment-on-linen. 22x24 Inches.

Stream. 2015. Rock-powder-pigment-on-linen. 22x24 Inches.

  Beyond . 2016. Rock Powder Pigment on Linen. 22x24 Inches.

Beyond. 2016. Rock Powder Pigment on Linen. 22x24 Inches.