The colours within my cable figures yield colours, which I see in metal everywhere. If I am drawn to colour, I realise this does not have to mean painting with pigment: I find it everywhere.
20-inch Copper (FedEx® Medium Kraft Box ©2004 FEDEX 155143 REV), Standard Overnight, Los Angeles-New York trk#798399701913, May 15-16, 2012
Polished copper, accrued FedEx shipping and tracking labels
20 x 20 x 12 in. (50.8 x 50.8 x 30.5 cm)
Alarmingly similar to my postcards, but coming at it from a different angle so all is not lost. I like his ideas. So much is coming out of the time spent this week talking to each other and sharing work, it’s so rich.
Working from old postcards and a German decimal weights and measures brass can. It’s taken me nearly 5 days to ‘arrive’ here. Not used to so much space to think. Good to know for next time, wonder if there is a way to prepare for unplugging like this. The residency in Joya was quieter in some ways but still relatively structured. Being autonomous here is great, it just took a long time to remember what it feels like. Almost child-like with all this thinking space.
2 quotes. HOW Can I not have researched Simon Starling earlier? His work is amazing, like he’s made all my work already- what on earth more is there to do??
Need to remind myself what I always say when the cry of ‘They made my work already’ rings out in the studio: At least they saved you the trouble, and now you can build on it. Remember.
‘ I’ve always tried to find ways to use, you know, very outmoded, outdated kinds of technologies and conversations and ideas and try to give them some new life in relation to a contemporary understanding.’
‘To me alchemy is particularly interesting when understood in terms of process and not product. It’s not really about attaining gold from base metals but rather the mental space that that process allows – that utopia, if you like. Process over product, that’s the key.’
At first it was terrifying and very odd to be showing work to our peers (and tutors) which we had never tried before, but as the evening kicked off it was actually exhilarating. It was more fun than I’ve had a lot of the other shows I’ve been involved in.
Firstly, looking around at the work it was clear to see who had made what, based on what you knew about their main practice. It was fascinating to see it filtered through into something else.
Secondly, it was really liberating, not being so attached to the work, not allowing yourself to take it too seriously – if it was slated, you could easily say to yourself that it didn’t count as it wasn’t really your work. What I never expected was the positive reception, the not-slating.
So as the evening wore on, I finally began to get it. The whole point of the exercise. The rocket up the arse.
It was extremely liberating to try something new. Having been encouraged at the beginning of the course to focus, I realised that this could just as easily mean to focus the ideas as the medium. The practice itself can be varied. This seems so blindingly obvious now I’m almost embarrassed to not have thought of it before.
Another thing which occurred to me was the role I play in the institution of an art school. At the very beginning Brian Chalkley reminded us that we are actually artists, not students. This suddenly flattened the pitch, effectively making us all peers. So why remain so beholden to tutors as figures to seek approval from, rather than relating to them and their critique as with all the other people in the same room.
My terrifying painting was likened to an early Ben Nicholson. My copper work so far was described as worthy. Those descriptions feel like huge compliments and damning condemnation at the same time. I’m quite proud of myself as I watch myself rise to the challenge they lay down.