What am I doing?

A presentation on my contextual studies that I gave earlier this week, along with a studio-visit led to me investigating what influences my practice within art, culture, music, and the general everyday world around me. Behind this presentation, my research tended to revolve around the meaning of an artist’s practice: why are they doing what they do? I began to realise that in most cases I find this far more interesting than their final or “finished” outcome, and made me realise the extent to which I really am interested in the processes beneath other artist’s work.

The fundamental reason behind this page is for myself to attempt to articulate the concepts behind my practice as a Fine Artist. But I myself more than anyone have been asking myself: what does this mean?

When visiting a gallery or exhibition space, I like to see how the artist has come about deciding their processes. This is why I find it so important to read the pieces of explanation provided. The average time spent viewing a painting is 15-30 seconds[1], and even less when it comes to reading the text offered. In such a technology-saturated era of instant-gratification, it is believed to be a lot more efficient for one to just take a picture to save for later. But how likely is it that one really does revisit that text? And whilst some prefer to see a piece of work without context and in their own opinion entirely, I want to see the art through the artist’s eyes and see why the marks that are shown before me have been made. Understandably, to a certain extent the art has to be able to stand alone and speak for itself, and in various cases it is in the artist’s every intention for it to be purely independent in communicating its message (for example pieces shown without contextual explanation) but I myself see it as part of the artwork to be able to contemplate the reasoning behind the marks that have been made upon a certain canvas, aided by the contextual script.

This recent uncovering of interest has made me really think about my own practice. In short, I have been focusing on identity and individuality between people through aspects of the body that are often missed. Through things like skin tones, fingerprints and parts of the body (such as navals) I have aimed to highlight the diversity of the human race and specifically the diversity across each individual in themselves.

Within my own work, the context behind my own outcomes are the aspects of privacy: Focusing on the colour of someone’s skin and how this is an aspect of identity. Taking swatches of the range of tones onto a canvas, then pairing with line drawings of their naked body. But which is more intrusive? The swatches of skin tone from live interaction with the body itself, or the line drawings from photographs that they can send to me themselves without me seeing physically and of angles that they choose to show?



Due to the concepts behind my own work where I believe it is semi-vital to know the questions I have asked within my processes I have begun to understand my interest in the questions others are asking within their own practises. I have developed a fascination with the contextual writing about an artist, namely Robert Ryman and James Turrell, along with my longstanding interest in On Kawara’s obsessive nature. I will most likely be discussing these artists in the near future, as the reasoning behind these artists’ work (specifically Ryman) bear many similarities to my own.



[1] The Art of Slowing Down in a Museum – Stephanie Rosenbloom, Oct 2014 https://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/12/travel/the-art-of-slowing-down-in-a-museum.html?_r=0


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