After the recent hand-in of the work from my first year as an NTU Fine Art student and the whole summer ahead of me, it would be incredibly easy to sit back, relax and allow the next three months to breeze by. However, I think it is important that I continue to develop the processes in which I work in order to construct a fluent language within my work across the next year. These past few months have been vital in discovering my own artistic language and this I consider this blog to be a place for me to begin to understand the ideas in my head by processing them through writing.
My final studio visit in May presented my most recent work to my tutor group, again focusing on the body as a landscape and the many shades of skin on a single body. IN THE SKIN AND AS THE SKIN (a working title) consists of three pieces of primed MDF presented together as one piece.
ABOVE: IN THE SKIN AND AS THE SKIN – Acrylic on primed MDF. Presented for May 2017 Studio Visit.
Each of the paintings are swatches of colour from three separate areas of my body that I consider to be ‘intimate’. From left to right: upper thigh/groin area; lower back and waist; ring finger.
The areas that I have painted from are either physically private areas or places that hold emotional or cultural connections to intimacy. Through the process of taking small and personal areas of my body that usually only a select few people would interact with and instead enlarging and making them accessible to everyone, I aim to explore the connotations of broadcasting privacy in a way that is no longer private. However, as I have focused only on the element of colour instead of replicating my body’s surface, I am also bringing to mind elements of ambiguity as the audience cannot see or know what area of the body these strokes of paint are from.
In terms of composition, I experimented for the first time in pushing the separate pieces of work together so that they were touching side by side. Not only does this question whether the work is one piece or three pieces, but it also clusters the paintings together in a way could create an uncomfortable or claustrophobic feeling of the different areas of the body – notably the areas that are usually reserved for select people – touching, when they usually would not. The uncomfortable feeling this might connote whilst still portraying a visually appealing piece of work is one I have not yet encountered in my practice.
I have been trying to develop a greater understanding of my fascination with intimacy, and how I tend to explore notions of portraying something but not completely revealing the deeper meaning. I have been working in similar ways to this since my Foundation work and I think it links to my personality of avoiding confrontation and personal experience of my background in finding it hard to communicate my true feelings in worry of creating further conflict, finding myself instead making ambiguous statements in hope that someone will read deeper into it. However, I want to use this to my strength and push the notions of intimacy to working with other individuals and bodies.
ABOVE: Work from Foundation Diploma in Art & Design, MSoA 2015-2016 Exploration with white on white to ambiguously reveal personal quotes or lyrics that I relate to. Other quotes included ‘The whole family has cancer too.’ Investigations into revealing personal aspects of my life whilst not uncovering them completely. The use of my bedroom wall to present the work also contributed to the personal aspect, as it is usually somewhere only shown to a select few, however I choose to broadcast images of my bedroom publicly. This bears similarity to my current work of presenting personal areas of the body on a large and public scale.
Further experimentation with taking colour swatches representing my emotions each day for a month. This was in turn a way of processing my mother’s experience and beating of cancer, helping me deal with my emotions and channel my energy into my work.
A contrast from the previous work posted on this page of working with specifically flat colour, I have realised that I find more excitement in including impasto paint as I always have. The experimentation with flat colour and a limited palette was important to finding what excites me more, but find it vital for me to find my own style rather than taking inspiration directly from the step-by-step work of other artists. I am interested in expanding this work by swatching from other people and the areas of the body that they find private (through my use of surveys to uncover the different areas of the body and diverse results of where other individuals consider to be intimate) presenting in a similar way to the piece for the studio visit. It might be interesting to swatch the parts of my own body that others consider intimate, but I don’t necessarily consider to be. Would this push the boundaries of intimacy and the ambiguity of what I am exactly portraying?
Over the next few months I aim to construct the basis of my personal artistic language and explore the notions of intimacy even further in preparation for the beginning of my second year.