I have started another large scale drawing of a pair of arms folded. My interests of where inside and outside cross over by showing a barrier to the inside interests me here. Are these boundaries an illusion is there no real difference between our inside and outside?
Working larger in pencil has me thinking of how much I enjoy drawing and how important the immediacy of it’s process is for me. I go back to work in a week and have loved having uninterrupted time to focus on my art practice. I realise that working through stuck feelings helps to move me on. I want to continue working like this focussing on enlarged sections of the body.
I have been looking at Francesca Woodman’s photographs a lot. This self portrait really struck me and I decided to make a drawing from it. From her mouth glass letters emerge. This image makes me think about how when we speak our thoughts become externalised and sometimes hang frozen in the air. Sometimes we want to take those words back but we can’t.
Woodman’s imagery fascinates me; partly because of her clever use of found objects placed next to, in front of or behind the body. Her use of her own body and the resources she has to hand are images that I find I want to stay with and study. To create this in my own practice in terms of creating work that allows people to stay with it and want to study is important to me.
Drawing at the moment seems to be what I want to explore further. Possibly looking at my own face as a whole with my mouth open.
Writing in this way immediately in an almost stream of consciousness is going to be important for this year and the future. It is not a diary so what do I leave out? Yesterday I was diagnosed with an auto immune thyroid disease which I will need to take medication for and have blood tests every two month. This is going to take a bit of getting used to. I don’t want it to be self absorbing or distracting from my work. I will just have to see how it goes.
Merleau Ponty’s conception of the trace is something that is experienced by the body that can be externalised by the artist, an ‘ inner form’ that is the result of an complex interlacing of body and world.
The trace is something like a hinge between inner and outer experience; the play between subject and object , or the ‘ intertwining” of the two. Both subject and object are active forces in this interplay : external experiences awaken an echo in our bodies.
When I consider what I am researching I am wanting to convey a logic of flow between inside and outside. I saw these glass heads at Dartington glass factory and their transparency reminded me of the resin that I used to cast my hand. The quality of openness and dualism is important in conveying these spaces. It is the body that allows us to be physically situated in the world and to combine internal and external resources effortlessly and fluidly.
How I evolve my work through using different materials to show the layers between inside and outside the body by positioning and placement of different materials next to each other is a possible way of developing my thinking.
Spatial metaphors for showing inside/ outside space overlaps are seen in empty spaces, cupboards, corners,, holes and openings. When looking at creases and folds of the body and their ambiguity I am seeing these spatial metaphors.
I am in Devon for a week and on our way down we stopped at Dartington glass where I saw these glass heads. I am hoping that being away will give me fresh perspectives on where I am in my practice. I have started to read ” The Cambridge Companion To The Body in literature” by David Hillman and Ulrika Maude. This is giving me plenty of references and links to research further.
Hillman,D and Maude, U, The Cambridge Companion To The Body In Literature. Cambridge University Press, 2015.
I realise that I feel stuck at the moment. I am reading range of writers and feel like I am looking for something that I am unable to verbalise. I was reading ” The Visible and the Invisible” by Maurice Merleau Ponty; in particular his chapter called ” The Intertwining – The Chiasm. He asks the question ” Where are we to put the limit between the body and the world, since the world is flesh? Where in the body are we to put the seer , since evidently there is in the body only ” shadows stuffed with organs”, that is, more of the visible? The world seen is not ” in” my body, and my body is not “in” the visible world ultimately: as flesh applied to a flesh, the world neither surrounds it nor is surrounded by it.”
How to convey this through art? ” Shadows stuffed with organs” creates images for me. Perhaps I need to explore working from words?
Merleau-Ponty , M ” The Visible and the invisible ” Northwestern University Press, 1968
Working outside and on a larger scale is helping me to generate ideas. I am realising that feeling stuck is the only way we move forward to new thoughts. Drawing is essential and working like this is pushing me out of my comfort space. By really looking at my own body as a starting point I am still grappling with what my work is about. I understand that there is a really strong desire in me to make art and that I need to stop worrying about end results at present. This is the same with blogging I am writing every morning before I get up and this is helping.
Yesterday was spent working outside and I started a new drawing working from a photograph by Francesca Woodman. I focused on her face and am not sure that I am going to continue with it as I felt like I was making a copy of her work.
Yesterday morning I continued on my large drawing outside and started to add old house paints to it. This was mainly because I had run out of white chalk but I also wanted to see if I could create a diffferent surface quality to the work. My thoughts went to Anselm Kiefer’s large black and white photographs onto which he draws and adds materials like sand and straw.
In the afternoon I read a new book that I have brought on Francesca Woodman. I am drawn to the way she shows the human body merging with their surroundings. Perhaps I will make a large scale study from one of her photographs to help me consolidate my thoughts on her work. The more I read and see of her work the more I want to study it.
I was also reading about the term The Trace relating to the transition between inside and outside. This is what I feel Francesca Woodman is showing in her work. How can I convey this? Drawing may be a solution.
Writing my blog first thing as soon as I wake is the time whilst I am on holiday is helping. When I am working the evenings are better. I seem to still write mainly in my sketchbook and I think this is because I prefer the immediacy of writing than typing.
Yesterday I took my drawing outside as I needed more space. Working in this way on such a large scale is something I haven’t done with drawing. I intend to continue working larger as it is giving me confidence in myself. As I worked I became bolder with my marks and more experimental; less worried about producing a finished piece. I am going to carry on today working on it.