Is there fear in her eyes?

I have decided to continue the theme of women’s rights and equality after the consolidation project because I think it is a very in dept subject and as a young female, I experience the still-present of male dominance and sexism. The situation is much better than is was through history because of the women, and men, who fought for equality and the right to vote. The problem is still evident especially in religion and countries in the Middle East. Women have only just been given the vote in Saudi Arabia and yet still can’t because of the control of men.

After some research into some amateur art on Pinterest and Google and the continuing desire to paint into a piece of art. I decided to focus on the eyes because I feel they show a lot of emotion and feeling. The eyes hold memory and experience too but is it visible in just the eyes or is it the whole face? Many of the images I found in my research were very emotional and showed the fear in the victims eyes so, I am experimented with the question of whether it is just in the eyes or not.

I am not a big painter and find it hard to mix tones and create fluency and wholeness to my work but I do enjoy developing those skills and learning new colours I can mix and ways of blending. The wooden board I used was a skin tone so I used this to my advantage and then used lighter and darker tones to create shadow and highlight. The eyes is very difficult to paint and draw because its very round and it needs a lot of shading and toning to produce the 3D realistic angle. I think my work is very expressive and not realistic but think shows some emotion and a feeling of fear.

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I am unsure whether to use this in my exhibition because I feel I can develop the idea more and have a stronger connection between the work I produce during the consolidation project and this independent piece.

Art Therapy

“Therapy is the treatment of a physical, emotion or mental disorder”. Art therapy is an up and coming form of the treatment to help individuals express their feelings and emotions. It is widely used for people with different types of mental illness including depression, anxiety and PTSD as well as behaviour and learning difficulties. Sitting down and talking about your feelings can be very difficult for some people because the questions can be very direct “Why do you think you feel this way?” “Where do you think the feelings originate from?” This can be very difficult for some people so, I believe using art to express those feelings can be very helpful because individuals can become more connected with their emotions which may help them to take control of their illness. Art therapy helps the person to use their right side of the brain more than the left side. The right side controls their creativity and art awareness and therefore the patient will learn to channel their emotions through this rather than overthinking and analysing the problems. The art may also help them to understand the cause and therefore learn to live with it and be in control.

Many artists today use art as therapy for themselves which you can see though their expression. Yayoi Kusama is a famous artist who had a trouble childhood with a “physically abusive” mother and father who had multiple lovers. She states she experienced hallucinations at a young age which is evident in her work. The poke-a-dot pattern originates from the hallucinations of talking flowers when she was a child.

Francisco Goya is another famous artist who is historically known for having mental issues. It is evident in his work because around 1819 they become very dark and disturbing. It is said that Goya experienced a nervous breakdown and question his own sanity which may be a reason for the torture paintings. They were found on the walls of his home – his personal space, the heart of his isolation – and I think must have given the founder and those who visited an insight into his mental breakdown. The paintings show only darkness which links to his mental state. There is no evidence that art therapy was used in this time but from his work I can take he used it in some sense.

As I have family serving in the military, I have strong emotions and connections with matter of depression and PTSD. After looking through much research and talking to Royal Marines I understand art therapy is becoming a bigger form of treatment in the military services. After my Fine Art degree I am hoping to get a work placement with a therapy clinic – the location is not yet decided – or with the Royal Navy, Royal Marines Charity who work with serviceman and their families to support in many ways. In order to do a Masters in Art Psychotherapy I am required to carry out at least one year of work placement in a relatable field or a significant mount of experience working with a range of ages and abilities. If I am able to work with the RNRMC I am hoping it will give me some great connections for my future career.

It really was a Discomfort Zone!

The Discomfort Zone exhibition was based in Three Doors Up, a space in the middle of Cardiff. A group of Level 5 students included objects and videos which made me really very uncomfortable and even cringe. As you entered the exhibition you were immediately hit by high pitch sounds and the disappointment that the so-called Buffett was in fact a piece of art – quite disturbing sandwiches and salads contained in jelly. The further you travelled into the exhibition the more uncomfortable it got because there were different features added for us to process. This made it difficult to focus on the work but develop a response from the audience which I think was an intension of theirs.

I really liked the way the artists made the exhibition interactive; there were many activities for everyone to do including popping balloons between someone, hitting a piñata and revelling secrets and confessions. This made me think about how I could make my work more interactive using my common themes of politic and social issues. The thought of installations are our of my comfort zone but I think in some way I could produce something using my themes and this style of work. Tracey Emin is another artist who produces socially interactive art so I will be looking into her art in more detail.

This exhibition has made me think about how certain behaviour i.e. playing with particularly body parts, changing sandwich fillings and scaring others can cause such a disturbance in our feelings. I thought it was very interesting how they used very common disturbances which would affect everybody. When talking to others in the exhibition as we walked around there were some mixed views; some really enjoyed it, some couldn’t wait to leave and others didn’t really know what to think of it.

Out of the three exhibitions we visited throughout the day this was definitely my favourite because it provoke a strong response from myself and my fellow class mates. This is relevant to my practice because I to create work to give rise to a reaction from the audience. My work tends to be political, social and emotional related which provokes thoughts of my audiences on the matter at hand. However, I have no yet explore installation art making the visual presentation of the work very different to my own style. The interactiveness of the exhibition was very interesting and helped me to understand the concept behind it. My response to the exhibition was light-hearted and humorous and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

Creating the mould

After talking to my tutor I decided to edit the polystyrene mould more using the hot wire in the soft model studio. I started to experiment with the hot wire and the mould started to replicate an ant nest. There are many videos on social media of liquid metal being poured into dormant nests forming incredible casts. I wanted to combine this idea with the initial idea of my current mood and stress levels. I made holes and bumps in the mould to represent the unevenness of my emotions and the obstacles I have to overcome to finish my degree year successfully.

We needed to make a box to hold the sand and the mould. In order to use as little MDF as possible to prevent wastage, the tutor recommended to have a two-finger gap. This left enough space for the sand to surround the cast but to stop the overuse of sand and MDF.

The induction into the sand mixing and and packing it around the polystyrene mould. We used carbon dioxide to dry out and compact the sand into all of the holes in the polystyrene to get as much detail as possible. After filling and and compacting the sand using a wood hammer I was required to make holes through the sand using a metal wire. By turning the Carbon Dioxide extinguisher on through the holes would allow it to seep through the sand. The purpose of doing this is to speed up the drying and hardening process. Once this was completed it must be left for about a week to set properly.

Sand Casting

Sand casting is a process used for metal casting. It uses sand as the mould. Sand casting is made up of 4 basic steps:

  1. Assembling the sand mould
  2. Pouring in the liquid metal
  3. Allow the metal to cool
  4. Break away the sand mould and remove the castings

Green sand casting is a common method of casting which uses wet sand. It is classified as ‘green’ because the sand does not set when the molten metal is poured in.

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After the induction we were given a piece of polystyrene to create into any shape we wanted. The shape we make would be of what we want the final outcome to be made of because you use the polystyrene to mould the sand into the correct position. I tried out many different shapes using only one piece of polystyrene to experiment and develop my ideas as I work. This is something I haven’t really done before but as I didn’t have an initial idea I thought it would be a great way to finalise my mould. I formed a rough shape with many patterns and indents which sort of represent my life at the moment. I have a lot of university work and a social life to uphold which is causing some stress and making me feel a little crazy which has influence this piece.

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Pros and Cons of Sand Casting

Advantages:

  • Inexpensive
  • Easily recycled – can reuse the moulds
  • Withstand extreme high temperatures

Disadvantages:

  • Poor surface finish
  • Complex design
  • Long setting and drying process (before the pouring of the liquid metal)

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.

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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.

Linder Sterling

Linder Sterling is a contemporary radical feminist artist who produced a range of very controversial art from the 1970s onwards. Her collages during the 70s and 80s included pornographic imagery of women along with images taken from domestic and fashion magazines. She combines the images to form a montage as a political statement. The work shows some of the things men would find desirable and attractive but Sterling has put them together to take away the attractiveness of them. I think the work is grimy. I do however, like the way Sterling has formed the montage because it takes highlights that what could be seen as desirable and take this away.