exhibition prep / studio update

The past two weeks I have been focusing on the writing of my dissertation proposal and gathering together the odds and ends of my work to submit for next week's exhibition.

As such, I have let my journalling pratice slip. I have still been reading extensively and thinking a great deal about what's next to come post-exhibition - but I haven't sat and gathered my thoughts for a little while. 

Now that my proposal is handed in and I have decided on pieces of work to submit on Monday, I have been making progress with my journal practice again this weekend - getting up to date with the thoughts in my head and putting them down on paper.

On Thursday morning I went to a 35mm photography induction, the first of the series I will be attending over the next few weeks. This week I am to shoot a roll of film, which I'll learn how to develop and process on Thursday. I'm looking forward to learning more about film photography, with professional guidance as opposed to watching YouTube tutorials online. I feel that, with these new skills under my belt, I can look to make photography a more prominent part of my practice.

Something I have been debating about a lot in my head recently is my reasoning for encompassing this multi-faceted making process that includes photography, drawing and field work. The idea was that I would combine all of the mediums together to form final pieces. However, as much as I have tried in the studio these last couple of weeks, I can't seem to get the elements to sit well with one another. 

I have been thinking more about why I should feel the need to combine my mediums in order to make cohesive works. I think that my trials have resulted in pieces that can look messy, or too much like the elements have been forced together. So many of my favourite artists work under different mediums - but don't feel obliged to collate them for authenticity. I think part of this stems from my insecurity about having a specific 'genre' to make work under - do I want to be known as a multi-disciplinary artist or should I commit myself to one genre?

Something I read in a book of selected statements and interviews by Richard Long changed my viewpoint on this. He writes that he sees his work as having the freedom to 'be' in the world in many 'different ways'. That his art may be "a stone or a photograph or a word or a map" - that he sees himself as "working always in the same direction...it's just that I happen to use different forms"

I am working in the same direction. All of the mediums I am exploring and working in aim to achieve my goal of mapping landscape, charting place, eliciting a sense of being in the landscape through the genre of Land Art.

For example, I am really enjoying working in the new (to me) sculpture genre. As my ideas regarding sculpture have progressed, after photographing them in various compositions, I have been drawn to the idea of creating hanging sculptures, like mobiles. I remember reading something Tania Kovats said - that she does not feel any sort of drive to make work that specifically looks like it is 'hers'. I need to take a note from Long and Kovats - to let go of my fears and focus on making work that answers my questions, rather than feeling the need to make work that fits into my existing oeuvre. 

To come to some sort of conclusion about this, I am interested in being an artist working under a multi-faceted practice. I will work particularly but not exclusively under the genres of drawing, photography, frottage, field-work making, writing, natural dying and sculpture, to create pieces that are strong enough to exist as stand-alone works. 

Thinking beyond the exhibition next week, I want to continue to trial photographic works - both digital and film. I want to be at a point where I feel confident enough in them to say that the photographs can exist as works themselves. That does not necessarily make me a photographer; it makes me an artist who uses photography as method.

I will also continue making my series of frottage drawings on linen, but pursue my earlier desire to stretch them over canvas supports. I will continue to make drawings from the field, both from life and from photographs when back in my studio. I wish to get 'better' at drawing and train my eye to see more of the intricate details when I'm doing so.

I would like to refocus on the process of natural dying, which lost it's way a little when I started looking at other genres to make work under. Alongside this, I will be making and collating another printed book, similar to the book I made in first semester, but with less writing and a greater focus on photographic documentation of process, sketchbook drawings and my day to day studio practice.