Semester 1 : Week 12 ~ Thoughts


We are getting ready for assessment in just over a weeks time. I don’t feel I have reached any particular conclusions though the impulse is to round it all up nicely, impose a narrative on it and make like I have moved forward in a linear fashion. I have moved alright but possibly in a more (erratic) back and forth fashion, which is OK too. I think. I feel, sometimes anyway I may be approaching the core of my practice in this way, that I can settle on it and then start working back out. Then sometimes I just feel I am all over the place, that I chop up time in a different way to everyone else, sideways instead of back and forth.

The difficulty, for me anyway, is that my practice springs from who I am and though most people’s does, both my start and end point is me, or my energy, how I do things, so deconstructing my practice is like deconstructing myself which makes its nearly impossible to keep personal observations of my process in the other areas of my life out of it. Not that getting personal is an issue for me but I feel there are boundaries that should be adhered to else the unfortunate teachers becomes more like therapists and end up swimming around in everyones emotional upchuck.

For instance sometimes I feel in life and in the studio I am completely overshooting what I am supposed to be doing though in what way I can’t grasp. Like I am striving so hard that I miss everything. I could say its like being in the Matrix, with me being Keanu, moving at the speed of light but that would make me seem like I have a hero complex and that ain’t what this is. At all. It is like being on a different wavelength, not better or worse (well maybe worse in terms of getting along) or in a different dimension and that I am missing things, big things. Part of this is my hearing impairment but not all of it. I think of my sailor friend Keith who had a stroke after getting the bends when diving. He ended up in a wheelchair. He taught himself to walk again, to move again, even to tie knots again though he had train himself in two rather than three dimensions. That’s what I feel like I am doing sometimes, trying to work across dimensions.

Then again maybe I am a superhero…

So sometimes I feel I should slow slow slow down in order to observe my practice. But then if I slow down it’s not my practice. Or I should back off and not make things, just think about things but my best way of thinking is making. Maybe I’ll have a stroke before the assessment and be forced to slow down…

Anyhoo, I have parsed about a few, different, aspects of my practice which I will jot down here with the with the intention of possibly doing a couple of small scale exercises.

  1. My work is a map of my energy in space.
  2. My work is a response to a space.
  3. My work is about interrupting-a space, an object, an idea.
  4. My work is about adapting to an interruption.

In this I detect two distinct strands, as if I am approaching the same thing from different angles.

The first strand is about energy or process, mapping its path, its response to space and any interruptions and adaptations in it. Though this is physical it is dominated by the conceptual, or at least by the attempt trying to embody the process.

The second strand is about the effect of the process on something-a person, an object-a more figurative expression of the process that I am trying to embody.

Confusingly, both could include the same elements. The idea of a shed could be the starting point to show a process of building that reflects ideas about interruption and adaptation over time. A shed could also be interfered with…

..maybe there aren’t two strands…(are you still with me?) here have a break…

In both strands materials might figure, might combine with the the overarching theme. In the first, the material may be of one type of may be subjected to the same force, perhaps painted the same colour. Its attributes are muted.

In the second the attributes of the material may be more to the forefront, aspects of it providng a counterpoint for a second material, for instance hard/soft, rough/smooth, well made/jerry-built.

A starting point which is one of the things we have been looking at this semester. Initially I thought the starting point was for my whole practice… (theres an example of my too-muchness right there, my misunderstanding of time, of not seeing a beginning or end)… but I think I can bring it down to individual starting points for individual projects. The starting point can be an object e.g. the aforementioned shed, a chair, a person or an idea e.g. the idea of a chair or the human figure. In this way interfering with the object or the idea of an object can serve as a display for my process or for ideas I want to convey.

Of course as we discussed in a previous post the object might carry too much of its own personality and divert theintention of the artwork. Furniture, while creating a powerful connection to the viewer, is particularly guilt of waylaying any deep concernss. A chest of drawers meant to reflect mental breakdown (argh) may come across as cute, a chair used to convey the horror of the human condition may end up looking like a funky designer piece. There is a line to be trodden.

The human body is a starting point a lot of artists used. It is a shape and volume we all identify with, which is why a coatstand in a dark hall can scare the bejeebers out of you, but it is never something I have considered much. It seems too easy maybe (and easy is too much for the Irish psyche). Still, I started a piece this week, more for thinking purposes (and to tidy up my space) than anything. It based on the human body once removed. It sprang from the Situations project I installed in the stairwell. When I took it down I decided to make a bust on a plinth out of it, or my version of one. Which was fun. I think I will end up not using any of the foil molds of the bust in the end…I also may throw it out. But I feel though its a little bit of a hazy or cliched starting point it is at least a starting point.

For contrast here is a photo of my increasingly ramshackled ‘egg’ which I screwed onto on top of a small bedside chest I had bought in (so cute) in order to interfere with, and called it ‘The Princess had Already Arrived’. But thats just a 3D doodle really  (though I love that egg). Though it uses a chest the chest is not really the starting point.

See you all in the next cartoon, which is doubtless just around the corner…



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