The Final BA Fine Art Degree Post

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.

Reading up on curation and its importance

Curating an exhibition is harder than you think. The lighting, positioning, the relationship between the viewer and the artwork and the journey through the exhibition are just a number of the different judgements a curator needs to make. Before placing the work, if not the artist themselves, the curator needs to understand the artwork by reading up on it and talking it through with the artist. Curation has been a degree course since the 1990s where the students are taught the history of art and consequently, how to curate art itself. Curation is not always recognised especially by the generic public as an important part of the art world.

‘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 there work, the way the viewer engages with the artwork is just as importance as the exhibition being a way of viewing said art.

If Covid-19 did not happened what would my Exhibition look like?

What were my initial plans for the final show?

Initially, I had planned for white space with three walls creating a boxed in space. The reason for this was to have a sequence of three drawings one displayed on each wall. I wanted the walls to be box shape so when the audience standing in the space they are surrounding by the work. Having been to exhibitions were this has been the case, I feel it creates a very powerful effect in itself because the large drawings with be intimidating to the audience. Also, as the viewer steps into my work, they are engulfed by them and not having other artist’s work within the same view so the audience will focus only on my work in that moment. Before Covid-19 I had thought about having a film along with my drawings. This film was a recording of myself drawing the large charcoal hands. The idea behind these was to show the relationship between my hand movements and the gestures I was creating. Although, the positioning of the film was not quite clear because of the space I wanted for my drawings. I have used ArtSteps to position the drawings in a boxed space to visually curate the work.

Screenshot 2020-04-28 at 11.36.36
Boxed area

 

How have my exhibition plans have altered?

As times have changed along with the plans for my exhibition, I have decided to still have the sequence of three drawings because I feel they impose the emotions I am reflecting the best. Being able to curate a solo exhibition using ArtSteps, I am able to include my work in this exhibition. (See ArtSteps & How my exhibition plan has changed since Covid-19).

Covid-19 and a refreshed look on my art

The recent events and the shutting of University has forced me home. The initial outlook was a very negative one on the way I was to proceed with my work. After great thought and not taking and discussions with tutors and family members. I decided to not totally rethink my idea but plan ways I could develop it into something more virtual for my final exhibition.

After looking in Yvonne Rainer I was massively inspired by her Hand Video, 1996 because I felt it created a funny creative mood of a hand. I have been attempting to explore how a hand can be distorted and stressed through movement and how use certain materials would help to reflect this further but, I was ignoring the beautiful and sense of a hand as a whole. The hand can be described as the physical voice of the mind. Hands hold so more power and tranquility and yet hold anger. A person often expresses their feelings through hand gestures and yet in society they can go unnoticed. I decided to create my own hand video on a white background and nothing but the hand. By doing this, I feel I have more to explore within the subject and have been given the opportunity to explore more directions. Video editing to very new to me but I feel I can make something great with it.

The new location for my working is also refreshing because I now have different inspirations around in including social interactions and environment. Obviously, being isolated and not being able to go out into the environment though. I am fortunate enough to have a large garden and a work space for me to continue my art. Not only this but, the idea of a virtual degree show is unexpected and challenging but I feel something great could come from it. I have decided to produce my own virtual gallery space to show my work. I will also explore other places I could virtually display my work. I could edit my work onto the walls of the Saatchi Gallery or other Gallery for that. I think this time is an eye opener and has opened me to many opportunities to explore and experiment.

 

My exhibition and how I want to exhibit my work

The large scale drawings on the ripped paper will look better unframed because the framing will limit each piece. The sides if the frames will contain the work but I feel it will be too enclosed and ‘finished’ for my work. The torn paper creates an unfinished feeling but also reflects the emotions in the image itself and so by framing the work will diminish this. However, the problem with not framing the paper raises questions of how to exhibit the pieces. I don’t want to have large screws or forms of hanging showing because I feel it could disrupt the work. I have decided to hang it on white walls because I want the back drop to be neutral. The background does not have anything to do with the art and so white is a strong neutral shade to go with. The richness of the charcoal will also contrast with the white background and so the art will stand dominant on the wall.

The Cardiff National Museum held a photography exhibition which I visited in January to explore ways curators and artists exhibit work. Although photographs are very different to the way I work, it still helped to see how different types of art can be exhibited. The two separate rooms in the exhibition curated the work in different ways. In one exhibition the work was contained in small fitted frames which were screwed to the wall using small screws fixed behind each piece. The fixings were small and discrete and so they didn’t take any attention away from the art itself. However, in the other exhibition to photographs were unframed and pinned to the wall using circular flat screws. The unframed effect gave the work a more unfinished look and made the work look more to resemble propaganda and posters. The whole exhibition was unframed which worked however, I believe photographs should be framed or at least fixed to the wall in a neater, more organised manner. It was interesting to the different ways artists decided to display their photographs in their work depending on the concept. I feel with a more contemporary concept the work is displayed better unframed because it is not as though the work is vintage and necessarily needs to be preserved. By this, I need older more vintage photographs look better framed because it suits their time more. It was interesting to see the different ways the artists had curated their exhibition and wanted the audience to perceive their art.

Alison Lambert draws on paper and does not frame her work. It is unclear how exactly she exhibits her work but, there are no visible pins or screws so I think she has managed to find a way to secure the work from behind. I am inspired by this method because it means there is no attention taken away from the drawing its self. The almost ‘self hanging’ idea creates a sense that the work is simply there and is a presence in the exhibition. The lack of visible fixings gives the impression that the work can be easily moved and exhibited in a range of places.

When I have been creating my own work on torn paper I have found a way to hide the wall fixings by placing more paper on top of them. I feel the wall bindings could take away any focus from the work and also eliminates any need for the work to be framed in order to hang it from the wall. When I was looking into ways I could display my work, I did not exclude ideas such as hanging from the ceiling or simply fitting the paper to the wall using pins. The issues which I encounter when looking at this ideas included: I did not want to fix the art completely to the wall; rather I have to gently resting against it the wall. Hanging the work from the ceiling could have been either against the wall so the work is only resting across it or hanging in the middle of the space. By hanging the work, problems such as the paper ripping could arise and ultimately ruin the piece. Hanging the work in the middle of the space would be interesting because the audience would be able to walk around the art and it could be seen as a journey, depending of the pieces I decide to use in my exhibition. I have decided this way of hanging would not suit the concept within my art. In conclusion, this discussion has allowed me to think through the different methods of curating the work and with that, I have decided to fix the work to the wall with invisible fixings which are covered by more paper around the edges. alison lambert copy

Alison Lambert, Portrait

Visiting a range of different exhibitions and shows to explore a wide range of ways to exhibit work has created a thought process for me and the way I want to present my work because the way it is curated affects mood and the sense of the work.

Researching techniques to exhibit my charcoal drawings

As my charcoal drawings are on torn paper which is part of the piece, framing the art would take away this part. Deciding how to exhibit them was quite difficult because I needed to find a way which would display the art without framing them.

Researching this, some artists on chatrooms have decided that fixing and framing your work is the best way to present it in a formal way. But, a charcoal artist, Emily Rae suggests on this site that it the work does not suit the framing method, hanging the work from a beam on a large mat board would suffice. This way I would be able to shape the board to fit the torn paper and not show around the edges. If I was to use this method, I would hang the work on a white wall so the board would be touches the wall but not fixed to it. Many exhibitions have included hanging art as a way to not damage and puncher the artwork itself. Hanging the art also gives it a presence in the room as it floats against the wall.

Exhibition Build

My work is going to be very simple to mount and exhibit because it is collages and a painting. The work will be mounted on the the wall simply so that it stands out is the focus. I will have two collages from the consolidation project and a painting on a piece of wood. I have a corner space so I want the two collages side by side because they are the strongest connection out of the three pieces of work and compliment each other the most. They will be hung against the wall and fastened to it by small metal plugs to keep them flat and smooth. The connecting wall is half the size of a standard wall so I will have my painting of the eye on it because although they work does relate, it is not directly connected and therefore I want to use the corner as a slight divide between the works.The walls will be white so the paintings stand out because the whiteness highlights the artwork. The top of each pieces of art will be level but the bottoms and widths won’t be the same because they are all different sizes. I think the different sizes will give the display movement and diversity. I want the tops of the artwork to be levels so it is square and neat.

However, when it came to the installation of the work. The layout and artworks I decided to use changed. I decided to only use the larger collage because it was the most detailed and the better one out of the two. I wasn’t entirely happy with the eye painting so I get home a produced a charcoal drawing. I was so much happy with the charcoal drawing because it is more my style. When I hung the drawing and the collage on the wall I felt there was a gap between the pieces so I tried out the painting in the middle. I think it work really well and brought all the work together.

 

Third year Exhibition build

As part of my first year experience I get the chance to help a third year degree student with the curation of their final exhibition. This included rearranging the studios to accommodate all of the students, fixing and painting walls and cleaning the floors, as wells as helping them mount their work. Although we were all assigned a third year individually there were times where we needed to help in groups with big and/or complex jobs i.e. fixing the gum tape and moving walls. I find the exhibition prep one of the most exciting and yet stressful times of year because you can see how people have developed and expressed themselves in their own unique way. This is the time where you present your work and development for the public to see. I find this is also a great time for everyone to come together and work as a team to help each other partake in a fantastic exhibition.

The first part of the build was quite slow and tedious because it just involved moving tables and chairs into an enclosed storage space. The large sum of furniture to be moved made this a huge job which took a few days to complete and a plan to fit everything together.

Once every third year we’re able to access their space the fixing and painting could commence! From the start there were many jobs for us to do so there was very little time to stand around. I really enjoy that fact that every third year would need help so you would end up helping many and not just the one you were assigned. It is surprising how long the build takes because you spend a lot of time waiting around for things to dry before you can sand or paint so it can be quite tedious ( messy too)! We were able to get stuck in with the progress which has helped my curation skills.

This time has given me the chance to socialise with students in my year as well as third years and gain some insight into their journey through the Fine Art course at Cardiff and the skills they have learned and developed. With the tutors insight and guidance I have developed my knowledge to a higher level from foundation and be more observant with any imperfections. The next stage of this build is to continue perfecting the walls and start mounting the work.

The exhibition prep is starting to come to an end and the walls and really started to look great. The walls needed a few more coats of paint especially where the tape was because you could still see the brownness of it. My third year and I spent the morning perfecting the wall and sanding down any lumps and bumps.

The last job before mounting the cleaning of the floor. It was definitely the worse job of them all and yet one of the most important for the exhibition.

img_0117

I wasn’t needed for the mounting of his work because that is more of an individual part. He can now decide how he wants the audience to see and experience the artwork but I am excited to see how it looks when I get the chance to experience it.