A Short Reflective Account Outlining my Experience of this Assignment
This assignment has pushed me not just out of my comfort zone but to the other side of the road. Normally, my practise is to outline an idea in a small series of sketches, adding and discarding ideas as these develop. After a few sketches I will have a much firmer idea of how I wish to proceed and I would then develop a couple of pieces working further on one to make it the main assignment piece.
However, for this assignment the main piece would not be developed in the studio or the like but in a specific site. Due to the nature of the weather, in the grip of a very cold, snowy winter, I did not wish to venture too far afield without being able to get warmed-up quickly. After some thought I choose my garden, which is also a site with specific meaning to me.
This section of the course has really opened my eyes into what art is, not just a painting or drawing etc on a gallery wall but also something which can be placed in any setting. The work of several artists especially that of Richard Long and Andy Goldsworthy has also resonated particularly with me. In addition to the research done on the suggestion of my tutor as a steer to this section and to the research noted in the course notes I extended the research for this section, in particular for Richard Long.
Long’s works are made in the environment and left, they may still exist after he has left site but he doesn’t care as he makes his pieces so that they are absorbed back into the environment. I was fascinated to see what I could achieve with mud painting and this is an area that I can develop further but sadly for this exercise I would not have been able to leave outside for too long before it dissolved, much like Long’s works but I wanted to achieve a piece that would have some longevity.
This longevity was also a concern for the earliest piece of work I did for this assignment. Having looked at the work of Goldsworthy I was inspired to make an arrangement of found glass using colour to depict and mirror the colour found in the garden. But again, this piece would not stand the test of time. However, using found driftwood I would be able to make a site-specific piece that would stand for some time before falling to the elements.
Rather than arrange these wood pieces into an abstract piece, I wanted to give it a bit of presence in its environment. I choose to depict a heron and to site it alongside my garden pond the home of approximately twenty goldfish. Heron’s and goldfish generally mean that you have no goldfish but avoided on this site due to the depth of the water. They do contemplate it though. After siting the driftwood sculpture, I realised there is a second purpose to placing it alongside the pond. Herons will avoid fishing where there is another heron as they are territorial, so, my wood heron may drive off any heron intent on scavenging the fish in the pond.
Once the installation was in place I did drop back to my comfort zone a bit and do a couple of sketches of it. However, overall, I am please with the work done for this assignment as I have done work I would never have contemplated without the brief of this assignment. This section overall has pushed me to doing work and using methods I would never countenance normally.
Reflection against Assessment criteria
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills
Materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills
As well as using traditional materials, such as pen and ink, watercolour, graphite I was able to introduce mud, leaves, glass and wood. In each of these I have been able to improve my skill set in their use. Additionally, the continued use of sketchbooks when travelling in the last few months has honed my eye for subject matter and decision making in what to include and eliminate from the subject. This continues to improve my observational, visual awareness, design and compositional skills.
As in previous sections of the course I was pushed quite firmly out of my comfort zone being pushed to work in ways I would never contemplate but were nevertheless very personally enlightening, informative and instructive
Quality of Outcome
Content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, with discernment. Conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas.
This section is an area of art that I had never much contemplated previously. This resulted in the undertaking of extensive research, much more than previously, in order to both understand and develop my work. I was particularly drawn to two artists (Goldsworthy and Long) whom previously I would have dismissed but now both understand and am inspired to develop similar pieces.
Working on such pieces for this section has at times been difficult to decide if they work or not being so far from my previous understanding but with continued research and reading I was realised that I was presenting the concepts and thoughts behind the pieces in my work
Demonstration of Creativity
Imagination, experimentation, invention, Development
Again this section essentially was all about imagination, invention, experimentation and creativity. I am sure some of my family though I was a bit unhinged doing some of the pieces for this section. Going out for a walk with a garden rake to arrange leaves and pine needles was not just out of my comfort zone but also my wife’s as she watched and wondered if we would be seen!
All the pieces in this section were in essence experimentation for me as I had never done such work or study or even understood previously. Starting from a low knowledge base I was able to imagine and develop pieces and invent ideas where without the research I would have drawn a blank.
Reflection, research (evidenced in learning logs). Critical thinking
In this section I have researched several artists extensively including:
- Emily Kame Kngwarreye – Andy Goldsworthy
- Richard Long – Ian Hamilton Finlay
- Robert Rauschenberg, – Cy Twombly,
- Ellsworth Kelly, – Karel Malich,
- Edward Krasinski – Pierrette Bloch
- Kurt Wenner – Edgar Mueller
- Louise Bourgeois – Vincent van Gogh
- Hans Holbein the Younger – Edward Collier
- István Orosz – Alfred Wallis
- John (Jack) Butler Yeats – Linda Gordon
- H. Mompó – Hanna Tuulikki
- Eduardo Chillida – Joanna Hedrick
As already noted this section has resulted in more research than I have previously done. The reason for this was two-fold, I was starting from a low knowledge base and eventually I was inspired to find out more about a form of art I had just discovered. Trawling through the internet has resulted in several articles and videos on these artists, some of which are indicated in the research points noted and also at the end of Assignment 4 write-up.