Thursday, 21 October 2010

Rationalizing the expressive

Although this work is an attempt to trust my own hands and to allow them to do something undetermined – there is a social and cultural context surrounding it. For me this is where the light box comes in, behaving as an analytical frame, whether that be the science of the sociology, psychology or art criticism…

Paying more attention to 'art history', I had a realization - that of appropriation and my freedom to do this as an artist trained on Euro/American art school principles. That said I don't have to follow those principles to the letter, just borrow and cannibalise what I need...

Roni Horn 'Pink tons' 2008

And what of African or Caribbean sensibility or aesthetics one might ask? For me right now - it’s more about black abstracted from these routes, and further black constructed within a western context. It’s not an ideal just an existential project, which I know as my own truth - and thats it… Who knows how it will evolve or end?

Friday, 15 October 2010

Black on White

Untitled 2010

You must forgive my jumps between the past and present. This blog is like being in a time warp, for me it's important to identify these connections... So the current aesthetic has emerged through several elements converging...

  • The black and white palette of the Dandelion project
  • My continuing interest in reading sociological texts (an analytical lens for viewing social dynamics)
  • Centring on myself as an individual, while acknowledging my cultural and political identity within a larger social structure.

Some time ago I came across an essay by Robert Hobbs ‘Looking B(l)ack: Reflections Of White Racism’, which was part of a wider project called '30 Americans', at the Rubell family collection in Miami. Hobbs starts off with a quote from Frantz Fanon’s seminal text ‘Black Skin White Masks’. In this quote Fanon proposes the construction of ‘Black’ identity being determined by Western environmental conditions. My explanation is rather basic, but I've also been preoccupied by the same idea...

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

From the Generic to the Specific

Dandelion Dispenser 2008

Hopefully you've read previous entries and seen the ‘journey’ so far... There is a stark contrast visually from previous work - currently it all appears rather cool and remote. This is indicative of the retreat from a socially engaged process. In order to protect myself from a prevailing notion of accessible ascetics (from the generic,) I turned to drawing as a more immediate and specific activity.

Two Self-Portraits 2008

In 2008 I began to draw myself again, an activity I hadn't done since foundation years... 'Two self-portraits are an attempt to reconcile the graphic smoothed out line (the vector path) with the idiosyncrasies of the hand made mark. A permanent line is stencilled on to a chalkboard; marks are drawn with pastels and pencils and recorded digitally. The drawings were rubbed out, then drawn again in a constant process of erasure and renewal...'

The ambition was to make an index of the photographs as a video, a slow, close up look at each drawing over time. It all became too emotional though - I struggled to commit to the activity. But the one recurring element, that black blankness signaled new beginnings...

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Open Studios

I opened my studio last weekend… the whole process of putting the thing on (the group effort) took my mind off the work. Then finally - when I got back to it, I felt rather alienated. To remedy this I decided to make a bit of kit for the new drawings. Sometimes I find comfort in making something physical and immersing myself in process.

Having strangers in your studio a can be quite unnerving… many encounters are awkward as well as brief. That said in amongst those brief encounters, you meet a few friendly individuals unfazed by the privacy of the space. In this situation one gets practice telling the story of the work. When it’s all one big chain of events, it very hard to gauge where to begin. The story comes out in various versions over the weekend, but a few phrases remain in the aftermath as useful…