Summer Term Reflective Statement:
Identity in itself is an extremely broad term and so I wanted my work to focus on the aspects of identity that interested me the most. For me my work on identity plays on the dissonance between inward and outward expression; the way we perceive ourselves and the way we are perceived by others.
Inspiration for my digital pieces from this year came from Roseanna Jones and Jake Stollery who also seek to explore aspects of identity by creating digital manipulations. By creating digital manipulations in Photoshop, I was able to push the boundaries of what I could achieve with traditional methods such as painting and by combining the two, I was able to create bold, colourful and striking images.
Given that one of my preferred artistic mediums is painting, I wanted to incorporate the use of paint within my work for this term. My earlier work from this year explored painting onto a surface other than the conventional canvas and, as this was something I felt to be successful, I decided to continue on with it. I looked at body painting and in particular the artist Trina Merry, whose work has greatly informed my own. Her work challenges traditional media, transcending over performance, photography and painting to create optical illusions within her pieces and this was an aesthetic I felt resonated within my own artwork. Merry herself uses ultraviolet paint in some of her pieces and in particular, this caught my attention. I find the psychedelic nature of UV paint fascinating, along with its ability to alter appearance dependent on light source and by painting directly onto the body, the nature of the paint could be manipulated further.
Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn’s work concerns itself with the idea of losing yourself within an artwork, or even an artefact such as a crystal or mirror. Similarly, we go to places such as raves or clubs to lose ourselves and lose all sense of time and this notion was something I wanted to evoke within my work. Ultraviolet or glow-in-the-dark lights are often associated with events such as raves and by shooting my artwork in the dark, this sense of losing all sense of time came naturally.
The set of UV photographs I created for the interim exhibition played upon the idea of identity and a hidden sense of self. Within these images I looked at the notions of visibility and invisibility, creating an illusionistic sense to the works whereby anyone at first glance would just notice abstract shapes instead of the body they are painted on. I found that by playing with the black lighting I could directly manipulate how much you saw of the body and the face; how much of the self is actually revealed. Having attended a photography workshop, the work of Helena Almeida was brought to my attention. What struck me about her work was the isolation of colour in her black and white photographs. Within my ultraviolet photography, I used similar gestures of colour; simple and bold strokes to create striking images.
For my final piece for this term, I chose to develop my work further by creating an ultraviolet film. I set about creating a piece that evoked the aforementioned aspects of identity, and a sense of visibility/invisibility. The piece portrays the idea of a hidden sense of self through the use of colour to convey a sense of individualism, and a heartbeat soundtrack which directly relates to the personal self.
Autumn Term Reflective Statement
I find the notion of perception particularly interesting. Perception itself has an objective definition, but in practise is a subjective notion. Everyone perceives things differently and the eye is easily tricked by illusion. I wanted my work this term to explore this idea by creating pieces that contradicted or challenged what you would normally expect to see when presented with the current subject in front of you and I found Photoshop to be highly useful in my practice.
One of the main aspects of Photoshop that I enjoy and find particularly useful is the ability to erase errors. This allows me to experiment with my work and thus stretch my ideas beyond the limitations of conventional art mediums. I have always been attracted to eye-catching, graphic art and I found that Photoshop allows me to create pieces that evoke this. My work this term has allowed me to expand my skills within this practice, as I have learnt how to animate and create GIFS as well as learn new Photoshop techniques to improve my pieces of work. This meant that many of my ideas came from the developing of my work as I was making it as I was using a platform that meant I could completely switch up my idea and create something entirely different from that originally intended.
I looked first at the work of John Heartfield who used photomontages to create graphic and shocking political images. The use of photomontage and collage was one that I felt would work well for me and so I explored the idea of illusion, layering hundreds of images over each other in order to create one final piece. From far away the piece would form an everyday image such as a tree, whereas up close you would see how that image had been created by tiny insects.
The creation of my first set of digital images lead me to want to further explore the unintentional horror aspect that had been evoked from my work. I liked the idea that my images are for some, uncomfortable to look at. Many people have a phobia of spiders and so my midterm exhibition piece sought to play upon that horror-esque vibe. I was inspired by Rafael Gomezbarros who created works whereby insects are invading a huge space and I created my piece by merging both painting and digital work to create the idea of insects escaping the original photomontage and crawling onto the wall.
My decision to use paint in my work was inspired and strengthened by a painting seminar by Simon Williams that I attended whereby I was exposed to several artists I had not yet come across. It inspired me to think of ways in which I could use paint and also that a canvas was not my only option in terms of a surface. In addition to this I visited the Beware Wet Paint exhibition at the ICA where I saw works of art that drew upon contemporary and unexpected uses of paint.
I decided that although my digital works had been successful I wanted to find a new way of portraying my work in a gallery space without the use of a printer. I still wanted to incorporate the horror theme though, and so for my final piece I shall be painting spiders onto mirrors and then smashing them. Drawing upon my original notion of perception, once having practiced my idea I was able to see that where the glass was smashed it created a cobwebbed effect which was perfect for what I wanted to achieve. By using a mirror, it would almost look as if the spiders were on the person that was viewing the piece.