Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Bent Tent Peg…

Untitled Black (Flutter) sketch

I’ve identified characteristics in a lot of other peoples work in recent entries. It’s been an attempt to work out how to talk about the things I’m seeking, but (as changeable as England’s bloody weather) this fluctuates by the day. This is one of the reasons why I opt for black; it brings a consistency, which is important – to me. Black kinda functions like a brand – but unlike branding I feel there’s room for fluidity and change.

My little example last entry, was an attempt to make something with what I had to hand… there was a time when I found this very difficult and always had some excuse to go and buy more materials. Of course this was all on the credit card, when each show felt closer to paying it off… how wrong I was lol! Anyways… I’ve been making these circles/spots for some time and they’re all the same. This is reminding me of the last cul-de-sac - the egalitarian ideal of the mass-produced. I was caught in a modernist trap – it was kind of embarrassing - for a bit - and then I remembered an old adage my Jamaican friends relished telling me from time to time… ‘If yu caant hear yu mus feel’

Blob 2004-6 At Space Station Sixty-Five

So looking at this idea of multiplicity I decided to vary each spot – additionally the rhizome idea, across the surface of the circle also seemed to make sense; each component was individual but similar and complete in itself. Now I’ve also been thinking about how I can formally speak of my ongoing relationship with the white cube - since that is the situation I am currently dealing with. Last week a friend asked me if I liked I it, I do (again its changeable) but I also recognise where the white cube falls short. But you can also try to work with what you’ve got. My analogy is trying to pitch a tent on very dry and solid ground. You loose many pegs in the process and you might never get a secure foothold, but you make do and improvise how you can…

Untitled Slade Degree Show 2001

Wednesday, 18 May 2011


Things that happen again: for a here and a there 1988
Roni Horn

“Act of looking at an object any object, is transfigured by gender, race, social-economic class and sexual orientation’ Felix Gonzalez-Torres on Roni Horn’ The Gold Field’ 1990

I read an essay some time back by Dawoud Bey, focusing on black artists working abstractly. The essay went on to propose that many of these artists fell by the wayside due to a lack of political potency in the work. I don’t know really… but I don’t recall encountering many black abstract artist during my studies. There is particular trajectory for black and feminist art, which I accepted without question as my lineage and example. The politic and the theory competed with the art – perhaps in many cases preceded it. This made for extremely ‘grounded’ work; work that had a ‘rationale’ or an argument for being in this world. In some respects, this approach did little for my belief in the art object itself. I have more faith now, but I’ve always got to see some part of the world of relations around it.

This is why I keep mentioning influences… in the early days it was about identifying with the artists persona - now I try to find conditional parallels (if that make sense). For example one aspect of Roni Horn’s work is to do with her androgyny, the potential change in perception according to where, when and who encounters her. Her use of the double is an attempt at articulating this experience.

Initially the work appears incredibly formal, her sculptures continue the minimalist ideal, but she moves it on. In her glass works Horn takes Judd’s preoccupation with surface, but its not a fortress, she offers a solid, highly reflective but penetrable form. Her drawings totally blew me away when I saw them a couple of years ago, they begin as very simple lines, which she duplicates, on other pages tripled or quadrupled even. Then over time they are incorporated into one drawing, one multifaceted surface, lots of seams and joins – apparently she relates these to tectonics.

I am intrigued by Horn’s project, which (she admits) is heavily influenced by the time she spends in Iceland – where the Earths geothermic force is immanent. That experience has brought about a metaphor; the earth’s liquid core and living surface, with the mutable and sometimes volatile nature of subjectivity. I haven’t managed to walk around springs or up volcanoes, but I keep looking up at the wind through the trees...

Thursday, 12 May 2011

This Multiplicity business…

It’s been a while since I’ve logged in for various reasons – I also had some negative energy, which I wasn’t about to vent on’t internet. My tirades are more effective in person I don’t want people to be confused about my intent lol…

I made an attempt (half-hearted I admit) at reading ‘One Thousand Plateaus’, (which I recall as one of the trendy ones in the early naughties) trying to get a handle on Deleuze and Guattari’s rhizome and multiplicity theories.

I’m intrigued by postmodern-texts, really - but find reading them frustrating, it’s a reminder - I'm not academic... What if I did understand it all anyway? Would I have any more freedom to make my own interpretation? The authority of the ‘author’ can be so compelling – and at times can stifle ones own gestures. I think I’m better off understanding patches, like Tom Philips ‘A Humument’ - I’ll just take snatches and make my own constellations.

I’ve always been interested in making pieces, which have several components, at one point it evolved into a critical mass of an identical object. Although I’m not interested in going down that mass-produced route again, I’m still interested in making many - but in variation. In my head multiplicity works on both macro and micro levels. I especially like to think about this in relation to the individual, the variety of things (often conflicting), which make people who they are. I suppose this is how I approach the idea making unique artworks again.

This variation has much to do with conditions, and so context has always been an aspect of the enquiry. Even though I seem to have settled into a more conventional studio/gallery practice, my relationship with these spaces is unsettled. I’m finally coming to terms with the antagonism that exists between the gallery infrastructure and I. It might always be there, but things have moved on - I’ve stopped moving around it...

Untitled glove 1999

‘An artwork is not a unified whole, but rather an open-ended site of contestation where various cultural practices from different classes and ethnic groups are temporarily combined…’

Discrepant Abstraction Kobena Mercer MIT press