Monday, 8 February 2010

Marking Time

I have been thinking a lot about the interpretation of the work going up in Derby Museum and Gallery. There are so many aspects to the work I would like to be read from it but what will the actual viewer take away from it? A constant bugbear of mine is also niggling. Can this installation work without its neat little accompanying text? Have I managed to weave into its language the discussions I'm raising; about drawing; about our mark; about space. Can it talk without words?
The piece in its objective of expressing an encounter with time and place also specifically relates to the gallery. It's use of the tally (a mark traditionally used to record the footfall) will mean a lot to those experienced in the world of exhibiting. We have discussed an expansion of the work into an interactive experience and there will be areas for the public to 'make their mark'. This excites me and feeds back into the theory so neatly. The viewers are recording their own visit. But are they aware of what is essentially an 'in joke'.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

I have been pondering Christopher Thomas' item in Debate from A-N (Feb). He questions the current obsession with success, with finished, marketable objects of art and describes MA programmes as finishing schools. Something I value dearly is the space and time to experiment and I am fortunate enough to have tutors on my own MA who advocate research, experimentation and expansive thinking. This is an old debate but it's obviously still alive. Thomas turns to the blog on A-N, Projects Unedited, as a place where art making is being described daily in transparent warts and all detail. Where failure is reflected on not dismissed. I liked this article. It confirms my belief in process art and also my choice of MA.
The drawing I have posted is a rubbing/trace of the studio wall I was in at the time. It brought a whole question of authorship to the work. The space virtually drew itself but my mark (print, residue) was still evident. I am investigating how far I need to go to eliminate the artist as author. My mark is informed. No matter how random and undirected I make it I cannot divorce from some aesthetic choice. I need to automate a standard mark or add some element of chance (John Cage revisited, no thank you). A conversation with one of my cohort led us to decide that even if a piece of work was handed over to a public interaction, inviting people to make their own marks, for example, the artist would still have the responsibility/accountability and ultimate accreditation of that work. How to take this further is keeping me awake at the moment.......

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

I gave a little talk yesterday to the Year Zero students at Derby. It was a good exercise in reflection. I'm used to talking to my MA cohort but I present current work and they all know my practice. Delving deep into the past to give a history of how I arrived 'here' is like double-digging. It's fertile down there.... but the surface has been broken and it doesn't feel so solid anymore.
Current work (under the title DRAW) is begging to be pared down. The interpretation of the engagement with space has included a physical reading of surrounding space and wider drawing propositions but how far can this go without just substituting each space for a new one when I move on to a new piece. The uniqueness of each site dictates the content, obviously, and by definition makes a different subject but historically I have been notorious for this repetitious model of working and it is something I am constantly trying to break out of.
All this before 8am ....... :)

Monday, 1 February 2010


This photograph is from the research for my most recent work. The studies contribute to a proposed installation at Derby City Gallery and Museum. I will be drawing live throughout the show, One Step Beyond, which opens on the 3rd April 2010.
The work at present is exploring space and time as a vehicle for a discourse concerning drawing.