Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Materiality - Detritus and decay

Following on from the materiality of bark - exploring its nature and form - I began to think about it's natural decay. From here, I found detritus was the key to space and form for me, not the bark specifically. i began to investigate forms found in everyday settings that would become part of an 'urban decay' - fallen leaves, dropped papers, decaying natural and unnatural objects, hornets nests etc.

I also experimented with how they may be recepticles for space and time, or vice verse... movement, reflection, shadow... change... all actions decay takes on:

ambient decay - reflection/refraction
natural decay - organs disintegrating
element change - soaked, dried, discarded papers etc.

I added some of these 'actions' to my detritus objects (leaves, bark, hornets nest, papers), such as movement, lighting, burning, hanging, preserving etc.

Preservation of detritus seemed like such a contradictory action, that I would base my further explorations on this.

I took a fair few photos against a lightbox, and even took a few of myself on there, which became a new area of investigation in terms of decay, space and form.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Materiality - Initial Investigations II

Investigations into Bark - progression to decay - detritus...
This was an interesting journey... over 3 weeks, almost daily, I gathered pieces of bark that had fallen from the tree, and took them home. I preserved what I could and over time I photographed the bark.

Bark - connotations (material and immaterial) paper, nature, redevelopment, change, skin, removal etc. It smells like musk and wet and dry and ants... it feels dry and fragile. It can be pinned, sewn, glued, broken, etc. which I find very appealing.

My initial photography of decay was in the form of 'urban' situations - street, concrete, graffiti. I didn't want my final piece to be as directed as 'urban decay' - although this is one of my areas of interest. So the concept of taking Bark and moving away from reflections/light and urban decay was my solution to this.

Materiality - Initial Investigations I

What is Materiality?
"... The words material and materiality carry ambivalent meanings in vernacular English. On the one hand, material is defined as "things that are material," which emphasizes the physical aspect of things; on the other hand, it means "(in various non-physical applications) something which can be worked up or elaborated, or of which anything is composed." The second definition can be better understood through its relationship to the first definition that, again, can be differentiated into two major meanings: 1) something material is that which "pertains to a matter as opposed to form"; 2) that which "pertains to matter or body; formed or consisting of matter; corporeal." [1] Thus, although material designates physical matter, it also assumes potential from its association with non-physical matter." (

My first thoughts revolved around two concepts, 1. of being immaterial and 2. of the material.... I watched moths fly towards a light one night and decided this would be an interesting way to think about 'immaterial' - everchanging, intangible because it acts as a sort of 'verb' for the nound - material. The second was something more corporeal - a bark tree I passed every day. The bark changed each day, and although I couldn't figure out how to use this concept without it being an obvious 'material', I investigated the concept of 'materiality in decay' surrounding the everchanging nature of well, nature....

Investigations into Light/Shadow, Reflection
The corporeal that is 'elusive' - light/shadow, reflections, and decay, whereas bark was a 'quantifiable' matter, so it was beneficial to explore.

What lead me to investigate light as a medium - an exhibition (Lumia - art light in motion) I'd seen and then how light and shadow exists as a reflection across a surface, or movement or shadow could alter the meaning of a light...

Photos - the 'everyday'.... urban investigations

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sculpture: Material and Conceptual Investigation

READY-MADES III - Time and Space

So, as a final experiment I set myself a few rules for the Time and Space concept. I knew the final photos had to represent the idea of elevation, space and how time reacts with/out motion (try both).

I chose to use six materials only - I chose perspex (transparency), feathers (light and weight), balls of various sizes and weights (sinker, polystyrene), tape and black paint.

Artists worth looking into, in terms of how they represent texture, colour and space (in the form ready mades or other)....

Man Ray - avantgarde photography and wonderful ready-mades
Marcel Duchamp - exploration of ready-mades
Nike Savvas - contemporary, great representation of space (including sound - it's a complete sensory experience)
Portia Munson - colour collection, creative use of ready-mades to tell a story and incredibly space exporation

I found researching a particular artist often lead me to a larger group of interest. I felt it was difficult to state with this project that any one artist influenced a singular piece. For example, Alexander Calder, Marcel Duchamp, as well as Nike Savvas and others influenced my thoughts on how I wanted to represent Time and Space on most of the pieces....

Duchamp's use of glass and Savvas/Calder's use of kinetics their works often come up in the pieces I've made. Transparent perspex in (this exercise), was an idea from Duchamp's 'Bride Stripped Bare'. The incorporation of 'happenstance' and spontaneity (as seen with Jessica Stockholder's work) affected the creating of most of my pieces, for this section.

The photographs were influenced by Man Ray, I've tried not to manipulate them, instead experimenting with filters on the camera and reflections from the perspex, along with natural light and limited exposures.

I'm not sure how successful the outcome is, but the experimentation was very beneficial, in terms of how I can use the camera to experiment with black and white, to find depth (time&space) as well as being a good investigation of weight and how colour influences that. Example the balls - black painted ball, is actually the lightest in terms of weight, but when painted black, 'visual weight' is added. And the feathers - various tones of grey - don't seem to enforce the idea of 'as light as a feather'... many investigations were done here.... documented in my visual diary.

Sculpture: Material and Conceptual Investigation

Again, taking a household object and finding 5-6 fairly obscure things to do with it, changing it's conceptual reality...

Sculpture: Material and Conceptual Investigation

The concept of the Ready-Made isn't a very new one. In fact, if you look around you today, absolutely everything seems to be a copy of a copy, or a remake of a previous idea or taking an existing idea or object/s and 'reorganising' them to change their materiality and meaning.

"...The term found art—more commonly found object (French: objet trouvĂ©) or readymade—describes art created from undisguised, but often modified, objects that are not normally considered art, often because they already have a non-art function. Marcel Duchamp was the originator of this in the early 20th century" (

There's a great history of found art and readymades, so the investigation really should start with Duchamp, in the sculpture realm. But this doesn't stop there: anti-art, found art, found poetry, altered books - it's all a great big mix up of materials giving you a new sense of the 'objects' being.

So, in this exercise, I took a few items found around the house, and 'verbed' them - did something to them - that alters their material state.... so it's a bit of a journey really. Some examples take more thought. The egg box - it was painted, fed to the birds, driven over by a car, punched, and then hung....

Monday, June 20, 2011

Material and Conceptual Investigation - Colour and Context

'Bleed your Colours'

Materiality and Context - resolved colour

White -

So, I thought I'd put my resolved piece up.
I found this particularly challenging, because I had set myself a few rules to a. move away from
colours and 'choices' I would usually make and b. I had fixated on a site I wanted my piece to be
hanging, so I hoped even as 'white' it would stand out and represent time and space (influences Alexander Calders kinetic sculptures).
The thing I found most challenging about white, was the portrayal of motion, along with texture and form... Texture that complimented the cement/industrial surroundings I saw the white piece in.
The other thing that I realised was how 'bride' like or 'timeless' the introduction of white and transparency was when I photographed the piece. I had added a few bars of music in the original dress, and they fell down during the photographing of the piece, so I decided to cut the 'dress' off the mobile, and I suppose I found myself quoting 'Bride Stripped Bare' by Marcel Duchamp, which has
got to be one of my favourite pieces of all time. There is a sort of 'happenstance' about this piece which I have always battled to achieve, so with 'White', I attempted something similar.