The impression I get from D’s feedback is that generally I am working in the right direction. She has looked at the selection of work I intend to present in my exhibition and commented ‘the whole set of paintings are a good collection which work well together without one dominating the other’. This is reassuring, but she has also added prompts with regard to some of the pieces which has made me stand back and reconsider the plans I have made. This has been useful in making me just look again to reaffirm what my thoughts are about the overall scheme.
D has questioned with regard to the photo collages- looks quite busy, do you need two and will they communicate the process? I think these works are pieces that I have looked at and previously wondered about whether using both was appropriate- ‘the time of presence’ piece introduces colour to an otherwise monochromatic collection of work, and I can see may introduce an element of confusion about where it fits in, in relation to the other work. The other piece however is much more directly related to the process of charcoal making- so I have decided that I will only include the one, monochromatic collage and hope this will add to the overall coherence in the group of works.
In relation to the set of paintings- ‘That’s just how it is…’ D. has questioned the number of paintings and if I intend to include all of them. ‘There seem to be quite a lot’ and ‘is the space right for the curation of the work?’ There are 11 paintings and they were made to be part of a group with the intention of being hung as a grid that is at the same time incomplete- as I mentioned previously a reference to an order that has been broken. The work I made for Major project came about in tandem with my own personal negotiating of a path through the bereavement of my son- this is what I wrote in my major project blog post ‘planning towards a series of works’
In thinking about how to take my work forward in line with thinking about the idea of ‘absence’ I was sat looking at a previous work that I had done, and actually feeling quite despondent. Its like my journey through much of this course has been filled with uncertainties of one sort or another, which I think it is just reflective of what it is to live in the aftermath of a tragic loss, but still I keep making and doing. So as I looked at this work, I thought there’s something wrong, I thought about my plan to make a piece about each of the willow sculptures- initial ideas about bringing different elements into each work hadn’t really worked, I thought about the collage of photos I had made- shadows, traces, absences, my mind turned to all the photos of shadows of the 8 willows- an idea started forming.
I jotted in my sketchbook and wrote the words-
There was something about this that made me think I need to embrace the ‘wrongness’. How can you make something seem right, when nothing feels right?
So whilst I can see the validity in D’s questioning, this work as it is has an emotional investment that makes me want to see it hung in its complete-ness. I have already thought that if I can hang it at least once I would be happy then for all the pieces to go their individual ways.
I have considered their size in relation to the architecture and as you can see in the photo of my model (which was made to scale) it will pretty much fill the height of the wall, but there will be a big space either side.
So I will continue to include the whole group. There is scope to keep tweeking and changing, but I do see that in having this exhibition it is also an opportunity to try things out- I am quite interested to see what the reaction will be to this work and how it is hung.
The other thing I picked up from D’s comments- ‘with or without plants’ and ‘consider plants, which may be too much and invoke a confused concept to the viewer’, is that perhaps she has uncertainties about including the living willow sculptures. I do see them as integral to how my practice has developed and so they do relate to the work I will be showing and, also, as I wrote in my assignment-
‘Through my time of working with willow I have noticed how the idea of absence and presence can have an ambiguous nature, and alter according with ones focus or perceptive point of view. I have noticed that as the willow sculpture go into their growing phase, which you might consider a ‘presence’ through their sheer vitality, the sculpted form that has been achieved starts to disappear, and so equally there is an absence. This disappearance of form has started to happen to the willows I intend to show.’
And as with the other work I am keen to gauge the response from viewers. Living willow sculptures are referred to in my artist statement which I think will enable people to locate them in my practice. I also think they are an element that some people will notice as connected to the work, whilst others will only see a ‘potted plant’. I am intrigued to see the response they get.
Something else I have picked up from D’s response is the potential for confusion about how the work sits in the light of how I have labelled or referred to work- like ‘the group of eight’ with the 3 older willow sculptures. I think many of these titles have come about in the evolution of the work, but I can see, particularly in the light of having a new group of works relating to ‘Plantation’ and 18 varieties of willow, I perhaps need to think more carefully about how I label and refer to work as I go forward.
D has acknowledged that my contextual research is much more evident now and relevant, going beyond simple commentary by linking it to my own work, which is good. I shall continue with this, including the suggested viewing. D. has added a reminder about making sure I document the exhibition well and collecting feedback from various sources- this will be my focus over the coming weeks.