The last three years have been quite a journey. I have developed as an artist and as a person. I have experimented with so many different ideas and media which has built my portfolio and shaped my personality. Using so many different media including wood, metal, painting and ceramics but, I am so glad to have come back to the materials I have always loved, charcoal. My work has come back to the body in someway of another in most of my projects but, this last one has been the best. I have been able to express so much through it. Especially the last few months with such disruption in the world, I have focused so hard.
I couldn’t even suggest the most enjoyable part of my degree. It has been quite a rollercoaster with so many ups and a few downs. I cannot express the emotions and pride I am feeling for myself. Thank you to my tutors for your support and guidance.
I am so excited to start my next journey into Art Therapy and continue my practice as an artist.
In my current work, I am exploring gesture and body language, in particular I am interested in hands. I feel they are not always recognised as a powerful expression of emotion however, they have such a strong ability to do so. Hands can be a physical communicator of thoughts and emotions despite what the mouth might be saying. They are able to reflect conscious and subconscious thought through both intentionally expressed and automatic responses.
What is it about hands that make them so expressive? They move freely with the voice and the rest of the body; they are at the forefront in conversation. Hands can convey anger, can be pacifying, questioning, conciliatory and much, much more. The gestures illustrated in my drawings are powerful enough to convey emotion without verbal explanation. The monochrome effect of charcoal on white paper is dramatic and intense, and focuses the eye on the structure and pose of each hand.
My body work consists of charcoal drawing and video. These media combine contemporary technology with traditional materials to explore a genre that has been relevant in Western Art Canon and Cultural art practice throughout history. They are an ideal medium to explore the variety and versatility of gestures that reflect body language and emotion.
I have researched a range of different artists and platforms in reference to how I should curate my work. ArtSteps has provided me with ideas of how to use the platform and how other artists have used it. Some of the exhibitions have used the template layout and others have created their own space to place their work. It is clear from this platform that artists have used it for a long time but, it has been more active during isolation. Some student artists have used it as a method of showing their work but assessments. These different styles of exhibition have provided me with an array of examples to work from.
Blog talking about ArtStep exhibitions I have researched into
The artists I have looked at include Yvonne Rainer and Pablo Picasso as reference because they use similar media to create and display their art to what I am hoping to do. Rainer uses a projector to display her work on the wall in the Raven Down Gallery, London. The work is not displayed in a cinematic but on white walls in a boxed area. I felt this curation was very clever and suited the exhibition because by closing it off from the rest of the work, this piece becomes isolated and different from the rest.
Picasso and Paper Exhibition, Pablo Picasso, Royal Academy of Arts, 2020, Film Art
Yvonne Rainer Exhibition, Raven Row Gallery, London, Film Art
‘How to make a great exhibition’ by Paula Marincola references different arguments as to the importance of curation. Some suggest curation becomes part of the artwork and that the relationship between the viewer and the art itself is a key part of the display. Others talk about the importance of exhibitions simply having a purpose of display art and artefacts for viewers to see. These factors, I believe are both important in curation because as an artist who displays their work, the way the viewer engages with the artwork is just as importance as the exhibition being a way of viewing said art.
The drawings I am exhibiting in my work will not be framed because the torn edges are part of the pieces. I have researched into the way Alison Lambert and Williams Kentridge, two charcoal artists I have been using in reference to my art. These artists although not part of the exposure module and the inspiration, they still have a reference to how I should exhibit my work because of the media they use. Referencing these charcoal artists through how they exhibit their work has helped me with mine as a young artist.
As well as these artists, I have researched how hanging art which cannot be framed is the best way to display it. Many small artists have suggested on chatrooms and Pinterest that hanging the art from the ceiling or a beam is a great alternative to fixing it to the wall. Many exhibitions including the ‘Boys at Home’ by Girls Exhibition in the Library Space at Battersea Park is a great example of this. The art would hang just touching the wall or could be hanging in the middle of the space. By hanging art, you are giving the art a floating presence in the room rather than it being fixed to the wall which could give it a stiff harsh feel.
You can see on individual blogs the full details of each artist and one on the ArtStep exhibitions and their relevance to my work and exhibition.
ArtStep is the platform I have used instead for a final show. If I was to have a final show I would have had the three charcoal drawings in a boxed area with white walls (shown below) which is want I chose in my exhibition proposal. I felt this layout meant the audience would stand inside the area and would be surrounded by the drawings. Each drawing imposes a different emotion, anger. irritation and calm. By being surrounded by these emotions would force more power from each drawing and allow the audience to ‘feel’ the work more. As I played around with the layout on ArtSteps, I realised having the drawings on a long wall would create a more imposing effect on the viewer.
In a boxed area within an exhibition space
In a boxed area
Drawings on a long wall
The charcoal drawings are a key part of the exhibition and the original pieces of work I would have exhibited in the end of year show so I felt they should be a dominant part of this virtual exhibition. As I have had the opportunity to create a solo exhibition, I wanted to include more work which reflects the theme. In order, this create the idea of the different parts of the exhibition, I needed to think about the layout, so for the photographs I have create a bay where for them to be displayed. I came across a few other issues once using the platform. When I mounted the drawings onto the wall, they looked as though they were on a canvas. Even after using Photoshop to delete any background I still ended up with a back drop. The torn edges of the paper are part of the artwork and they the mounted effect it didn’t quite give the effect. By enlarging the images I was able to reduce the canvas effect. I played around with frames but it didn’t work for the art. I didn’t want the work to look contained because the torn paper is part of the idea behind the pieces.
The photographs run in an order from the front of the exhibition to the image facing the door which makes the work flow in an orderly manner and for the viewer to understand their reference.
ArtSteps allows me to increase the scale of the images so I can fill the wall from top to bottom. By increase the size of the photographs makes them more impactful. The power of the hands is so strong and relevant in life and so my photographs should reflect this.
The videos on the back wall are a grid of separate screen each with a 20s video of a hand. Originally, I wanted one large screen with a 5 minute film of the movements. However, I was restricted to 4MB per clip. This made me think side ways to breakdown the film however, this worked out for the best because I now have this moving wall of clips which has a bigger impact on the audience because the visual experience is more stimulating and impactful. This is a response I wanted to illicit from my audience. Also, having the videos on small screens, breaks up the work and differentiates it from the large scale drawings and photographs.
After changing the film from a time lapse of myself drawing to a film of hand gestures and researching into different ways artists and curators have exhibited film. I decided to have a sectioned part of the exhibition holding the film. This film would be displayed in a white area on a projector with some seating for the viewers. I attempted to add the film into the program but it was too big so, I have had to play around with the size to bring it down. Even after changing the resolution and quality of the film it still didn’t work. I felt quite disheartened by this job because the film may have been displayed but not to the best quality.
After thinking about this problem and discussing it with family, I decided to break the film down into 12 separate films. In a real exhibition, all of the films would be played on a loop at the same time creating a ‘moving’ wall effect. The image below (left) has had a shot from each short film photoshopped onto the grid to show how the exhibition would look if I was able to play all of the films at the same time. After discovering this curation technique, I found it worked better as it breaks up the exhibition with large and small scale pieces. I have also include an edited film created on Adobe Premiere Pro to visualise how the moving wall would look in the exhibition. (Link below). I found this to be a huge setback on my exhibition because the moving wall of hands is more impactful than just being able to play one film at a time on ArtSteps.
Film Grid (with shots of each film)
I did experience setbacks during this curation but I feel I have dealt with it well and produced a strong exhibition. This problem has allowed me to think outside the box and rethink how I could change and adapt my work to fit the space.
Yvonne Rainer is an artist who I have referenced in my work because of her relevance to my theme and method. Rainer made a hand film which she has exhibited as part of her projects throughout her career.
As a film artist, I wanted to explore how this artist exhibit her film work. I researched her work and came across the Raven Row Gallery in London which has exhibited her work. The website shows her film in the exhibition space played from a projector, on a white table with white walls. Why so much white? The film is in black and white with little contrast. Exhibiting like this gives the film a presence in the space but does not force a strong awareness of the film to the audience. By doing this the audience does not walk into a cinematic viewing for the film and so it is almost as though it is part of daily life. This also means the film is not obvious within the exhibition and yet still a part of it. There are actually two films in this exhibition both within a white back drop. By changing the colour of the walls around the film also changes the concept away from the rest of the work in the gallery so by keeping it the same, keeps the concept in the mind of the audience the same.