Walking around seems a good way to re-cap the first Semester of my M.A. in Contemporary Fine Art. Perhaps ‘wandering’ would be better, inflected with a sense of aimlessness and or being lost. I will stick with walking around for now and try and elicit something more purposeful and well-oriented by way of a reflective device.
The semester began with a cultural walk around Carlisle.
Later came an art walk around Glasgow.
For some reason the visual responses, investigations and outcomes that these experiences were generating just did NOT – neither by wish, nor hope, nor prayer – seem to aid in articulating the work I had proposed at the start of the semester – very frustrating.
The Road Not Taken (a detour)
In the beginning, I was quite engaged with exploring some new materials, media and processes. (1.left top down) Tar, plaster, steel – all I think seated in the mentality of the ‘workshop induction phase’ of the course – inculcation into a new institution. But experimentation did not relate to my proposal questions – it stubbornly refused to go that way. I travelled down to Lancaster one Friday and enjoyed a spell in the Ruskin Library before attending a seminar by Franziska Schenk about irridescence (3) and mingling with tea and biscuits afterwards, I actually met Sarah Casey. Driving home, I felt quite despondent – the contrasting emotion of how enervating and exciting the day had been, pitted against frustration with my practice. I decided to depart from my proposal to follow a different path and indulge in a little print project (2 &4 )based upon the superstructure of the Civic Centre in Rickergate and taking a little inspiration from Bronwen Sleigh’s work at Glasgow Print Studio. Reflecting upon things, I was coming to realise what a huge ask it is to expect yourself to start a new course, orientate yourself in a new institution – different people, places and procedures- my art journal and sketchbook(5) were demonstrating this , filling up rapidly with nothing useful while also expecting yourself to advance your practice in a coherent way. It was enjoyable to work in the print studio doing a low-tech project but the reading was what was really capturing my enthusiasm … and what a lot of it there was! (6)
It looks like things have been quiet here, but that is not the case. Unfortunately ‘Shinrin’ isn’t through to the ‘Landscape prize exhibition’ but, in truth, it doesn’t really speak of ‘British’ landscape so I am not surprised. I think Hubby is more disappointed than I am. My main task in recent weeks, has been completing my M.A. application and producing a portfolio. I am working on updating the Lowforce website and …. just for a sense of completeness – now that Foundation assessment has been done – I have been mounting projects other than FMP on this blog. It has been an interesting reflective exercise but, I have tried to keep the posting true to the thoughts, experiences and feelings that prevailed at the time the work was done rather than to compose with an ‘editorial’ hindsight. Mainly, I have just posted images from sketchbooks and added extra bits here or there from my written journals and notes. I can now use this ‘back story’ to compile a blog index for my portfolio which, as soon as I got the prints back, I immediately wanted to do again ….. BETTER! I am happy with it as a first ‘edition’ though. I used ‘Newspaper Club’ …..
and was very happy with the service – REALLY QUICK- even though there have been mixed reviews from other people who have recent experience of using the platform ie doing ‘zines’ for FMP. Speak as you find! Anyway, I ordered bright and newsprint versions to compare (preferring the former, now that they have arrived). …. too expensive to amend and order new ‘brights’ right now so my second edition can evolve over time. (Polite way of remarking upon the fact Hubby is now (again!!!) 2 months behind in getting paid!) I chose this format – newspaper with a sort of journalistic thread throughout the text – as an alternative to a traditional A1/2 portfolio with work in, mainly because my practice has become a thing of three dimensional proportions and I think a book of pictures of those things looks, in itself, like an attempt at a photographic portfolio and that is not what I am trying to present – I am not a photographer! It is a really interesting expressive exercise I am finding. The newspaper format, I hope, suggests ‘this is about Christine’s practice’ rather than ‘this is Christine’s work’????
One improvement would be such an index as I mentioned above! While I am working out exactly how do make that a useful tool, I have made some category and blog tag suggestions about where to access posts relating to the portfolio spreads pictured below ……. it is a work in progress! The first edition can be downloaded/viewed from the link at the bottom NB it’s in a tabloid format.