Monday, 19 November 2012

Andy Goldsworthy - Rivers and Tides

T sent me the link for this excellent film of Andy Goldsworthy at work, and I would recommend watching it.

I was particularly taken with his comments about the tides and time: 'The relentlessness of it; there's no getting away from the fact that the sea is going to be here.'  Made me think of my coastal erosion metaphor and that there's no getting away from it, change is inevitable.

Richard Misrach

Although P introduced me to Richard Misrach a few years ago he's been a slow burner for me, with some work I really liked (some images from the Desert Cantos, particularly those of Salton Sea) and ones I wasn't so keen on (Destroy This Memory).  However, I am really pleased to see that he has revisited the Cancer Alley images and has just released a book called Petrochemical America.

The book is being seen as a culmination and publication of the project which began over 10 years ago and highlights the environmental and ecological degradation of an area of the Mississippi river, between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, known as Cancer Alley.  The images are both beautiful and frightening at the same time:

Sunday, 18 November 2012

What Lies Beneath?

Over the past year, T and I have noticed that there's a strange parallel in our work and the themes behind it.  It's not that we're interested in the same things, and certainly not that our work is similar (it probably couldn't be more different!) but that when one of us finds something, there's usually a flip side for the other.  Recently she introduced me to the work of the art brut artist Judith Scott.

Born deaf and with Down Syndrome, Scott was encouraged to work creatively in a fibre art class while living in a group home in California and began to collect materials and wrap them in yarn. Constantly hoarding objects and often stealing things to add to her collection, Scott began to create sculptures that resembled distorted human figures or cocoons. Whilst I'm not as interested in the sculptures as T, I am drawn to the idea of things buried beneath layers, and the potential for release and transformation. 

untitled, Judith Scott, (1994)

I recently passed T a link for the sculptor Steve Dilworth (without much consideration on my part tbh!) that she found it very interesting.  It was only later that I realised how interesting he is from my view point too.  Based in one of my favourite places, Harris, many of his scupltures contain things that he has collected from the beaches around the island including sand, water, feathers and bird and fish carcasses. Again it made me think about what lies within; what has been hidden and has the potential at some point to be rediscovered.

Dune, Steve Dilworth, 1998.  Bronze containing sand from a dune.

It was actually a suggestion that P made that made me go back and look at Dilworth's work; that I think about burying the things I collect on my beach walks in the concrete objects I've been thinking of making.  Once again, the idea that once eroded by time and elements what was hidden will be revealed.

Since discussing my 'oh oh' moment with my mum (!) it makes me wonder if I'm the only person who couldn't work out what my work was about?!

More Concrete!

Despite my last post about my concrete fixation being heavy, I do really like this work by Youngsuk Suh:

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Ah ha, or is it oh oh?

Every term seems to have its 'ah ha' moment, but this time I'm not sure it shouldn't be more of an 'oh oh' one!

I've been really struggling over my work so far this term and trying to find a reason for being so interested in it.  I'm think I'm fairly environmental aware, but nothing special, not particularly interested in geography or geology etc, but have got a real bee in my bonnet about coastal erosion! Particularly the Holderness coastline in the East Riding of Yorkshire; I've been there are few times now, although I have no connection to the area.  I seem to have gotten bogged down in taking photos of the destruction it causes, and in a strange attraction to all things concrete - and I can't explain why.

The problem is that I've become increasingly frustrated by this not understanding which in turn means I can't articulate it in viewings or tutorials; a really important part of the process.  And also, pardon the pun, it's become incredibly heavy, all this concrete!  It's difficult to explain just how worried and panicky I've been about this.

So it came as a bit of a shock when, after a comment made at a recent artist lecture, T told my what she thought it might be about and just like that, I fell to bits!!!  She seemed to really hit a nerve when she suggested that this might be related to my 1st year project Another Layer of Loss.  Then it was about people and relationships, now it's perhaps more about how much I'm changing as a person and how difficult that is. My life is so different; I'm not the person I used to be and it's so hard to let go.  Even my home is something that seems to be slipping away from me so perhaps the coastal erosion is a metaphor for all of this. Maybe it's not, but given my reaction the whole loss thing it still seems like something I have to deal with.

Whatever it is, I definitely woke up lighter today and am hoping that I'll be able to move past this stuck phase and get rid of the concrete that's weighing me down.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Concrete and Stone

With a little bit of help, I've been looking at work by other artists working particularly with concrete or stone.  Some of them I find particularly interesting so will save them for separate posts, but here's a selection of the rest:

Vasko Lipovac, Perls (1997)

Mark Wallinger, 1000 Stones (2010)

Lenka Clayton, 7000 Stones (2008)

Sarah Lucas, Concrete Boots (2005)

Simon Starling, Mirrored Wall Head (2010)

Liz Glynn, Chair (2003)

Matias Faldbakken, Shoebox Sculpture (2011)

Mirko Tschauner, Captain (2007)

Vanessa Billy, Wait, Sit, Converse (2009)

Jose Rojas, Style Spiral (2009)

Peter Wehinger, Untitled (2008)