Thursday, February 25, 2010

Collections_Artist Research

Portia Munson

Portia Munson is a painter, sculptor and installation artist, whose works are based on her own practice of collecting. Her most famous work the Pink Project was created out of her endless collection of discarded objects, all of which are varying shades of pink – she continues this theme of gender and societal representation, in the Green Project and Garden Project. “Munson is drawn to color and the cultural connotations it brings: pink for girls, blue for boys, green for anything having to do with nature, etc.” (

Her paintings are of still life set-ups of these collected plastic items, but does not use painting alone to express her ideas. Through installations and sculptures her ideas are enlarged, arranged, and built up over time. Munson uses the imagery of her installation in a completely different way to Noble and Webster, but her message is still very clear – our culture has an obsession with consumption.

Her brightly coloured prints of collections of flowers in a mandala fashion, again, have varied levels of appeal. From the choice of flower to the choice of bright arrangement and photography, we are reminded of a different era...

In her words: “I see beauty in ordinary things and I think what I'm always trying to do is I feel like my work is a success when it is beautiful, but I'm always trying to get at the deeper meaning of objects and look at the underside. It's successful for me when it's beautiful but also disturbing in a constructive sense -- revealing.
Finding items of (visual) interest and then thinking about how they best lend themselves to her desire to portray feminist and environmental issues...

Pink Project, 1994, detail,
Installation of found
pink objects,
Courtesy of the artist.
Downloaded from
at 7:00 pm on 17/02/2010

“Green Piece; Lawn” excerpt, Historical Materialism
2003-ongoing; size variable Downloaded from at 7:00 pm on 17/02/2010

Collections_Artist Research

Tim Noble and Sue Webster

Noble and Webster have collected rubbish: people's discarded containers, junk food wrappers, metal cans of crushed coke cans and mummified animals, to produce works of art, which at first glance, seem as they are – heaps of trash. However, the use of a lamp to project the trash’s ‘reflection’ presents the viewer with the notion of rubbish as beauty: “...skilfully skirt the boundaries between beauty and the ‘shadier’ aspects of humanity, playing with our perceptions as well as our notions of taste. Many of their most notable pieces are made from piles of rubbish, with light projected against them to create a shadow image entirely different to that seen when looking directly at the deliberately disguised pile” (

They use a mixture of irony and parody to present a conflict of ideas that art should be an ‘all-over’ beautiful, and in Noble and Webster’s case, the outcome is 'beautiful', so is the idea. But the overall reality of the situation of their installations, is that they have made attractive, human waste – quite literally, as we see in their piece HE/SHE, 1998, which has trash skilfully arranged in the shadow form of a man standing and a woman squatting urinating. These are publically offending to the notion of what is ‘proper’ or ‘civilized’, however they tease the viewer, making them look closer at the technical beauty of the shadows.
Their titles are challenging, such as their piece Real Life is Rubbish (2002), where they’re presenting the viewer with the obvious – we are our own rubbish – but doing it in such a way, that the audience almost wants to accept it as beauty, whilst feeling disgust and disappointment at their own environmental apathy at the same time.

The trash, the space, the shadow outcome, create, for me, a sense of involvement. The titles and the objects used, such as the use of dead animals in Dark Stuff of 2008, force the viewer’s desire to be repulsed at their desire to take a ‘closer look’.

<1> Dirty White Trash (With Gulls), 1998
Downloaded from at 7:00 pm on 17/02/2010
<2> Real Life is Rubbish, 2002
Downloaded from at 7:00 pm on 17/02/2010

Conceptual Art Ideas_Intersection & Earthworks

EARTH WORKS: I documented road signs around the area which represented the word INTERSECTION, and looked at natural items in the park I could use to make up these sym-bols as part of the park environment. Many images required little to no intervention, whilst some was a case of moving objects around the site to achieve the meaning I required.

Many images captured the intersection between three items, without having to manipulate the environment. Many of these ‘found’ objects naturally made up the park, such as cement tiling, intersecting on pathways, the sundial creation etc.

For 'Urban Intersection', I experimented in Photoshop, using ‘human intervention’ to create meaningful artwork. Digitally, significant changes, but used to stress the meaning of ‘intersection’, representing park and not the use of digital manipulation.

<1> Urban Intersection
<2> Natural/Manmade Intersection

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Conceptual Art Ideas_Map

Map as Ground

Discovery has been a major part of this excercise. About people, and how art is perceived. I left installations over a week in the park to see how they would be treated, and after a week, the only changes made to the pieces were by the natural elements....

Conceptual Art Ideas_Map

Main Pieces

<1> Intersection - Directions
<2> Lunchtime Reader
<3> The Traveller Rests
<4> Getting to Work

Conceptual Art Ideas_Map

Preliminary Investigation

mapping my site - sketched and photographed at different times of day and night.

Conceptual Art Ideas_Map

The Use of Urban Spaces

I researched urban and environmental artists, like Robert Smithson, Andy Goldsworthy, Christo and Jean-Claude. Although I found their work inspiring, the real inspiration came from urban artists, and collectives: sketching groups and urban artists collectives... I'll list at a later stage...
Centenary Park.... used by people walking to and from work, and lunching in the park. Travellers who are visiting BNE and just need a place to rest, and of course, the drinkers in the park... what park would be complete without the obligatory drinkers.