Revision 16 May’18, additional work at end of original post.

Assignment 4        –    Installation : site-specific artwork

Find a place of significance to create a site-specific artwork. Responding to features of the site, add a drawn element or select a found drawn element which you’ll extend to express something you find interesting about the site.

Relate your art work to your research in your log and synthesise what you’ve learned about installative and environmental art with your own interests.

For this assignment, you may have to submit a photograph of your final piece.


A place of significance for me is my garden.  So, it is here where I will install a site specific installation as the piece for this assignment.

Designed by my wife and myself when we moved her 14 years ago, and the heavy lifting, excavation, planting and the building work it entailed.  It is not a big plot but we removed approx. 5 tonnes of soil and added about 10 tonnes of brick, compost, pavors plus hundreds of plants, 2500 litres of water and about twenty goldfish.

The Garden

The Garden, bamboo pen with black ink and watercolour on A3 cartridge paper.

The garden is approx. square measuring 12metres by 9 metres with a bite of this on one side for the garage.  Approximately half of this area is lawn and the remainder comprising of block paved paths, patio and shrub beds.  Around the perimeter of the garden there are shrub beds with a mix of deciduous and evergreen plants of various heights.  The evergreen plants providing the green presence at this time of the year include – bamboo, clematis, bay.  The garden is enclosed by a wooden panelled fence supported by posts.

At this time of the year, late winter – early spring the garden colours are muted with mature rather than fresh greens and earth colours from the ground, mulch in the shrub beds.  The brightest colours in the garden are provided by the occasional golden flash of the fish in the pond on a sunny day as they seek the heat of the sun.

For this assignment I returned to some of my earlier research and extended it further.  In particular Richard Long.


So, the place of significance is decided upon, MY GARDEN; from this initial seed I will develop several pieces and mediums to see where they go and from there I will hopefully arrive at a final assignment piece.

The first idea was to work on the colours that are relevant to the garden, for this I developed a piece from found sea glass.

Sea-glass

This garden piece reflects the elements found in or seen from the garden.  This piece is a nod to the work of Richard Long, (i.e. Wessex Flint Line).  In my garden the main elements are the greenery, the earth, the pond and the sky above.  Each of these has a range of shapes and colours as you look around you can see the shapes change with the movement of the clouds and the time of the day.  Features in shadow are revealed at different times of the day, and then sink back into obscurity as the light changes.  The main colours in the garden are represented by a subtle range in each: the greens range from dark to light, the blues range from near white to a pale azure, the browns from a dark ochre to a deep dark umber and the clear water of the pond has a range of clarity.  These elements change as they collect and gather the colours around them.

Whilst it has no relevance to this piece directly, the history of these glass pieces is another story in itself. Fragments of glass are identifiable from old scent bottles, old pharmacy bottles as well as net floats and old beverage bottles.

The main issue with this piece (Seaglass Garden) is that the work cannot be left in the elements for any length of time.  The canvas board will absorb water, swell and disintegrate over time.  I do like the way that the piece captures the garden colours in the glass selected as well as capturing and reflecting the colours of the garden whilst in situ.

Pond Mud

The other works by Richard Long that capture my imagination are those which use found mud from a location to represent it.  So, I decided to try my hand at an aspect of this type on Long’s art.  With a pond to hand and the most detested job of the year coming soon, I decided to harvest some mud from the pond.  The most detested job is taking the filter apparatus off line and cleaning the media and sponges.

So properly clothed I disconnect the pipework and retrieved the filter boxes etc.  from this I was able to harvest approx. one litre of high density mud.

By high density I mean not too liquid.  The mud is a dark near burnt umber in colour and some of it quite grainy.  If to be considered as a stand-in earth colour then it would require a bit of grinding but it’s useable!

Mud testing marks before painting (A4, white copier paper)

Unsavoury: The contents of the mud are most likely consisting of: decayed vegetation, decayed dead fish, frogs and other animal life as well as fish poo.  So best to avoid licking fingers and biting nails whilst working with it.

Using this base (and gross) material I did a painting of the pond and the life in it.  This is an A2 cartridge paper painted onto with the mud.  The mud can be brushed out to be quite thin and this stains the paper a dilute umber colour and the thicker areas are viewed as burnt umber.  The only utensils used to complete the drawing is a couple of wads of tissue to wipe the mud across the paper and a ropey bristle fan brush.

Again, the medium does not lend itself to be installed in-situ as the paper will quickly disintegrate and the mud wash off or as a minimum be sluiced down the page.  However, it does hint at a further avenue that can be explored, which I will follow-up in the next section.

 


Driftwood

So, onto another piece and one that can tolerate the elements.  For this I will use driftwood found whilst beachcombing.  The wood has not been found at this site but it is a found material.  Continuing with the theme of the ‘Garden’, I thought that I would depict the arch enemy of garden ponds, the Heron.

As we have had a few encounters locally with herons I did know a little about them but I expanded that knowledge by doing some research on the structure, size and habits of herons.

The sculpture piece installed alongside my pond is life size at a bit over 1 metre, (1100cm by 60cm).

As well as finding sea glass on my travels and beach combing adventures, I also salvage driftwood.  This is usually bleached a near white by the sun, salt and sea.  There is a great variety in the types, shapes and sizes of wood that can be found.

Dipping into a couple of boxes of driftwood I was able to select pieces that lent themselves to this task.  There were long straight pieces, for the legs, curved pieces of various thicknesses to simulate the body, wings and underlying ribs.  Sharply curved pieces to depict the neck, especially distinctive on the heron.

To some extent the scale of this piece was determined by the head pieces which I selected.  Using three appropriately shaped pieces of driftwood I was able to jam them together and hold with minimal glue.

The pace of constructing the driftwood heron was determined by the setting time of the glue.  Unable to work on a section after assembling and gluing I was forced over several days to put aside pieces for 24 hours.

To enable assembly I used approximately 5 -6 pegs along with the glue.

Site Specific Installation:   Driftwood Heron, Size 110cm x 60cm
Driftwood sculpture photo with background removed

 


Additional Work for this Assignment

4-4-A2            Additional Work for Assignment 4

[after tutor feedback]

After the tutor feedback on this section of the course and in particular referencing that for the assignment I returned to the assignment to do an additional piece which hopefully addresses the points raised.  Note these below regarding the assignment #4.

…….. “Leaving a drawing out in the elements can reference the place directly so try to be a little more relaxed about the work and become more experimental in order to move your work on.”                 ………..  “work feels a little disconnected from the sense of place”                   ..  “”The found driftwood feels a little too unconnected to the sense of place that you are referring”                       …. “using parts from the garden to really connect truly with the environment. Using unconnected parts is something very different conceptually.”

The theme I wished to base this assignment was my garden.  However, using found material not from the garden resulted in a disconnect between the piece and my concept and the aim of the assignment, i.e. a piece specific to a location.  Continuing on the same theme I wanted to tie together the concepts of my garden, found materials from the garden, nature and patterns in nature.

In a quick look back through the work for this section of the course I realised that the found drawings in nature I had picked were in many cases patterns produced in nature.  Some of these are a recurring pattern across different species of plant and even repeated in animals and plants.  The pattern I am referring to is the Fibonacci spiral.  This pattern can be found in pine cones, snail shells, sunflower seed arrangement on the flower head to note a few. See figures 7, 8 and 9 below.

This pattern was recognised at least as early as the Renaissance and ideals of art were determined based upon this spiral and the focal points of a painted were determined using this spiral. (Golden Mean). See figure 7 below.

 

Examining where I like to paint / draw, I conclude as follows – I like representative art, imposing order and pattern on a scene, hence I gravitate towards drawing the ruins of buildings in the landscape as an example.  Being an engineer, I can see the beauty in both the mathematics and the visual of the Fibonacci spiral and other patterns in nature.  So I had the beginnings of a concept and why I wanted to do it.

Returning again to the work of Andy Goldsworthy, and artist; I found that he often made patterns in his work, including spirals and sometimes using leaves to depict these patterns.  Using found materials from a site he was not concerned as to the life span of a work, (that had been a concern of mine hence I made a piece which had a certain robustness to be site specific.  In his work and the research, I had earlier done on Goldsworthy I realised he must make work which disintegrates as soon as the photo of it has been take, he does not seem concerned if its life is very limited.

Using the factors above to re-examine my earlier submitted Assignment 4.  So, I produced another work piece continuing on the theme of my garden, using material solely found in my garden and incorporating the Fibonacci Spiral and inspired by Andy Goldsworthy.  See figures 10, 11, 12 and 13.  There is also a reference to the research on and the work I looked at regarding Richard Long and his use of site specific mud in his work.  See figures 3 and 4.

The found materials I would use to produce this second attempt at Assignment #4 are: mud from the garden pond, bamboo leaves from the garden, these featured heavily in section 2 of this coursework.  Using these found materials I ‘installed’ a piece in the garden gazebo.  This provided a large flat surface at a convenient height as I can’t bend with a lower back double fusion.

The mud acts as a glue!  The mud is from the garden pond.

4-4-A2-07a
Fig. 17 a, Before the installation
4-4-A2-06 B
Fig. 17 b, After the installation
4-4-A2-02
Fig. 18 The Installation – Fibonacci Bamboo Leaf Spiral in Garden Gazebo #1
4-4-A2-01
Fig. 19 The Installation – Fibonacci Bamboo Leaf Spiral in Garden Gazebo #2
4-4-A2-08
Fig. 20 Drawing of Installation- Bamboo Leaf Spiral

List of Illustrations   

Fig 1. Long, Richard (1987). Wessex Flint Line [online] At: http://thisrocked.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/richard-long-on-iow.html (Accessed on 25th Feb 2018)

Fig 2. Long, Richard (1987). Wessex Flint Line – detail  [online] At: http://thisrocked.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/richard-long-on-iow.html (Accessed on 25th Feb 2018)

Fig 3. Long, Richard (2017). Medina Mud Line [online] At: http://thisrocked.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/richard-long-on-iow.html (Accessed on 25th Feb 2018)

Fig 4. Long, Richard (2017). Medina Mud Line – detail. [online] At: http://thisrocked.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/richard-long-on-iow.html (Accessed on 25th Feb 2018)

Fig 5. Blue Heron (1987). [online] At: https://www.redbubble.com/people/eyalna/works/315016-blue-heron  (Accessed on 25th Feb 2018)

Fig 6. Tucker, Eddie (2018), Photo by author

Fig 7. Awakeningteam.com. (2018).Pine Cone – Golden Ratio, Fibonacci Sequence & Sacred Geometry – AWAKENING TEAM. [online] Available at: http://www.awakeningteam.com/algorithm-of-life/golden-ratio-fibonacci-sequence-sacred-geometry/ [Accessed 24 Apr. 2018].

Fig 8. Barclay, O. (2018). Cactus – Design in Nature, Part 1. [online] BioLogos. Available at: https://biologos.org/blogs/archive/design-in-nature-part-1 [Accessed 24 Apr. 2018].

Fig 9. MNN – Mother Nature Network. (2018).Spiral Aloe – How the golden ratio manifests in nature. [online] Available at: https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/blogs/how-golden-ratio-manifests-nature [Accessed 24 Apr. 2018].

Fig 10. Goldsworthy, (nd). Andy. Leaf Sunset [photograph] At http://www.morning-earth.org/artistnaturalists/an_Goldsworthy.html (Accessed on 24th Jan 2018)

Fig 11.. Goldsworthy, (nd). Andy. Leaf Sunset [photograph] At http://www.morning-earth.org/artistnaturalists/an_Goldsworthy.html (Accessed on 24th Jan 2018)

Fig 12. My-art.com. (2018).This Artist Illuminates Nature With Magnificent Ephemeral Works, . [Online] Available At: Http://Www.my-art.com/blog/cet-artiste-illumine-la-nature-avec-de-magnifiques-oeuvres-ephemeres [Accessed 24 Apr. 2018].

Fig 13. Pinterest. (2018). Andy Goldsworthy. [online] Available at: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/463659724112549245/ [Accessed 24 Apr. 2018].


Bibliography

Artsy.net. (2018). Richard Long – 67 Artworks, Bio & Shows on Artsy. [online] Available at: https://www.artsy.net/artist/richard-long . (Accessed on 1 Mar 2018)

BBC. (2018). Artist Richard Long, Stella Duffy chooses her Queer Icon, Daljit Nagra on Liu Xiaobo, Front Row – BBC Radio 4. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08xxdq9 (Accessed on 26th Feb 2018)

BBC. (2018). Forest, Field & Sky: Art out of Nature – BBC Four. [online] Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b079ckkf/forest-field-sky-art-out-of-nature# [Accessed 21 March 2018].

Evans, P. (2018). County diary: lines made by walking. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/dec/27/county-diary-artists-lines-made-walking-wenlock-edge-. (Accessed on 1 Mar 2018)

Hagan, S. (2018). Sculptor Richard Long talks about magic circles and the art of walking with Sean O’Hagan. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2009/may/10/art-richard-long (Accessed on 1 Mar 2018)

IOW, >. (2018). > RICHARD LONG ON THE IOW. [online] Thisrocked.blogspot.co.uk. Available at: http://thisrocked.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/richard-long-on-iow.html (Accessed on 24th Feb 2018)

Jamescohan.com. (2018). Richard Long – Artists – James Cohan. [online] Available at: http://www.jamescohan.com/artists/richard-long (Accessed on 1 Mar 2018)

Richardlong.org. (2018). RICHARD LONG OFFICIAL. [online] Available at: http://www.richardlong.org/ (Accessed on 1 Mar 2018)

The Art Story. (2018). Richard Long Biography, Art, and Analysis of Works. [online] Available at: http://www.theartstory.org/artist-long-richard.htm (Accessed on 1 Mar 2018)

the Guardian. (2018). Walk the line: The photography of Richard Long. [online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2009/may/23/richard-long-photography-tate-britain (Accessed on 1 Mar 2018)

Ww2.rspb.org.uk. (2018). 21 Facts about Grey Herons – All creatures…. – Wildlife – The RSPB Community. [online] Available at: https://ww2.rspb.org.uk/community/wildlife/f/13609/t/9449.aspx (Accessed on 26th Feb 2018)


 

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