Having already done the part 3 exercises whilst working on part 2 I am now revisiting them all with hopefully a different level of insight.
I decided not to repeat making 20 quick ink self portraits. When I use ink it has an eerie, disturbing quality so I wanted a different approach. If I want to embody positivity and some kind of elevation of oneself I needed to question how I would do this.
What needed to be my focus this time?
colour – to use a palette that naturally evokes a sense of joy, positivity or at least an upward energy
methods of application – to think about the quality of the brush marks and how this could also engage the viewer with a positive energy
my approach to the subject – to find a way to produce the work to embody my ultimate aim.
My subject – I asked myself about what it is that helps me feel a connection to something greater than myself, to a feeling of contentment in my spiritual being – and the answer was the moments when I am emersed in listening to music. Music is incredibly important to me and this was a chance to continue my work on expressing something deep about that.
Rather than drawing myself listening to music I videoed myself dancing. I then took photographs of my laptop screen showing stills of the dance. There was a grainy distortion to the images (something I was hoping for) – there was blurring, abstraction and a move away from a literal interpretation of the figure.
I was thinking of the blurred images Tuymans and Richter have produced, about the 2 dimensional nature of how we now see the world with so much use of computer screens. My images are purposely 2-d – I feel we are losing touch with how to relate to and how to see the 3 dimensional form, and this project also considers my own inability to interpret images correctly.
I also purposely applied smeared makeup to challenge stereotyped female beauty, and especially to question status/invisibility/validity of the woman who stays home to look after children. The film is therefore, a response to that as I chose to be filmed in a kitchen domestic setting.
A sample of the images are as follows:-
I find that if I only have a limited time to work on something I end up rushing and over-working the pieces, putting down too many marks in an attempt to capture something in a hurry. I, therefore, gave myself between 2 and 10 minutes for each self portrait and tried out a variety of approaches to see which would be successful. I also chose to produce the work as a set of mono prints as I felt this had more continuity with the following exercises.
I tried to use loose ink, to use zest-it once the ink was on the plate to create interesting texture, to be sparing, to leave negative space, to think about my quality of mark making. As a set of quick prints I am really pleased with the variety and the possibilities within the group. Most of them have energy to them, there is a level of abstraction starting to show through and my use of different size brushes and marks also add to the energy.
I am intending to move forwards with the more abstract images – I have realised that evoking a feeling state is enhanced when the viewer is faced with ambiguity. If the colour and energy fits the intent then I feel the gestural images will be enough.
My preferred 5 are:-