PLEASE NOTE MY RESPONSES ARE IN BOLD ITALIC
NB: This assignment was submitted online only.
I’ve written this feedback in the order it appeared on the learning log. I have highlighted in bold the key aspects I’d like you to reflect on.
Research continue to be thoughtfully discussed with personality and humour. Your discussion of the shared themes between the artists highlights how well you’re analysing ideas. Continue to compare and contrast the artists you study, commenting on the concepts, the aesthetic, the success of the communication. Start to comment more on context (contemporary art, craft, design; who the audience is – gallery visitors, shoppers..).
Context is something I am aware I have struggled with and need to be both more aware of and comment on particularly with regards to the audience etc.
The work of the three artists you chose to explore was much more literal in their use of found materials (compared to the three given in the assignment), which I found interesting. Lindsay Taylor’s narrative, for example, is “tragic and thought provoking” but it’s also very obvious – you can’t avoid understanding it. The work of e.g. Leighton Boyce was much more nuanced and made you think deeper and more critically about the nature of the message and how it was communicated.
Seek research and inspiration from beyond the textile craft context more regularly, particularly from textiles artists who exhibit in the contemporary art world (rather than small art and craft galleries). Work designed to be viewed rather than bought in a craft galleyr. The new Vitamin T: Threads & Textiles in Contemporary Art book would be a great starting point. (This doesn’t mean your work needs to move away from textile crafts but given the nature of the concept you want to work with, it’s important to look at contemporary gallery-based art, as these artists develop work with weightier concepts.)
I understand how this new research could be beneficial to me particularly taking into account the point immediately below.
It is great that you’ve made a note to consider site-specific installations for your own work. Moving beyond the aesthetic of depilated buildings to consider ways to work with the spatial and atmospheric qualities of a place would be ambitious and exciting.
Projects 3 and 4:
From the sketchbook pages shown, you seem to have used drawing well to visualise your ideas. Use drawing more to propose alternative ideas too – not just the one you intend to make.
This is a valid remark as I was aware my drawing was a weaker area on this assignment. I think I am still slightly intimidated with proposal drawings as I have struggled to communicate potential concepts in previous courses but now understand how useful they can be so will ensure that I take the time to include and work on this aspect.
Try to be more specific in describing actions: “work in both a design led and process led way in order to fully explore and investigate these materials.” What do these terms mean to you? How does this alter your approach in practice? What would you do / not do by taking this approach?
Try to be more explicit about what aspects of an image / sample are communicating the metaphor. Is it the frenetic, juddering qualities of the marks made? The inconsistency? E.g. I wanted more information about this comment: “As standalone pieces of work I find these sketches incredibly evocative – the acorn print on the left for me could be read as the chaos of chronic illness if used as a metaphor and the pine cone print I feel could be perceived as being the physical day to day variations that are experienced.”
Question the methods you employ. “I also considered using lino cut as an additional technique or printing with corn husks or pieces of bark.” Why? How would this help explore / communicate your narrative?
I understand the above points fully and they are incredibly helpful as they give me a foundation for how to improve both my critique and my communication regarding my materials, narrative, and proposals in particular.
Understand the material context. Your sampling has an organic, heavily textural quality. Without knowing the theme, I might think the samples were about nature – bark and autumn. The metaphor of dilapidation and chronic illness perhaps needs to harness the inherent nature of the chosen materials and the power of those visuals to better understand the context created by each of the materials.
For example, consider the following: §
- What are the visual characteristics of dilapidation? In fabric, this could be fraying, holes, thinning. In buildings this could be peeling paint, rotting wood, dust and debris in corners. In felt, degrading could be teasing, unpicking or pulling the fibres apart to distress it, whereas a woven fabric could have threads drawn from it to create holes (or more threads woven into it to communicate swelling and distention). §
- What colours communicate dilapidation? Colour is context-specific but general qualities might be fading, or piling or thinning affecting the consistency of the colour. A pale fabric might need to be stained whereas a heavily saturated fabric might need to be bleached.
This is a valid point and one I can now see I have missed communicating succinctly and understanding. My samples I think are reflective of nature due to my personal feeling that urban decay means that nature is reclaiming and I need to consider how to communicate this more effectively. I also need to consider the points mentioned and how I can combine them with my specific metaphor and in particular consider the colour if I continue to work with tyvek and lutradur as my base or foundation or fabrics which may be combined with other found or recycled fabrics of varying natures.
Create a visual context for the viewer: Creating a sense of chaos or dilapidation is tricky because how is the viewer to know if a sample is chaotic / dilapidated by design or just badly made? A sense of order or structure provides a counterpoint for the chaos. We know something is dilapidated because we know what it is supposed to look like, whether it is a building or body etc. A sense of unraveling or deconstructing might be better understood within the context of a structured starting point (e.g. a beautifully stitched pattern degrading into tumbling threads; a patchwork quilt with the patches getting increasingly far apart etc).
You do this much more successfully in part 4 when working with images, because you are able to mimic the aesthetic and then degrade it. Consider how you could more successfully do this in future with materials and techniques where there isn’t a given aesthetic to guide you.
The first paragraph makes logical sense – by creating a sense of order in part of the samples allows me to create the impression of dilapidation potentially and this has created ideas that I feel I can forward. Working with the imagery I found created a logical and ordered starting point but I do need to consider how I can create this without the imagery so understand fully the second paragraph too.
As you move forward, reflect how the concept can manifest in the materials and techniques you use. You clearly have a broad range of skills, so the focus in on considering why and how you use them and how they relate to your concept. Your analysis of the artists suggested in the research point is so thoughtful and nuanced, that I want to encourage the same level of sophistication and eloquent communication in the sampling.
This is a useful paragraph and one that is highly encouraging.
Pointers for the next assignment
• Reflect on this feedback in your learning log and state more often how you will act on my feedback.
• At the end of each assignment, reflect on how well you applied my previous feedback. E.g., in response to assignment 1 feedback you wrote: “I understand the points made and need to make notes on my thought processes in my sketchbook in order to help with the critiquing and evaluation.” Do you feel you did this better in assignment 2?
• Continue to reflect and build on my feedback from part 1, particularly about the breadth and quantity of early sampling.