This week we had a workshop with Tim, where we produced a lot of ideas relating to the theme of time through multiple different activities. We watched some music related videos that played with sound and time. We then chose prompt statements relating to time, such as ‘wasting time’ or ‘time to go’, and had to brainstorm based off of those. This was fun as we could be as imaginative as we wanted and it was fun to see what other people in the class had come up with. We then had to choose one of these as a pair and work together to come up with a project proposal based on that statement. Jennifer and I chose ‘Hell of a Time’. We developed a project that investigated time constraints and restrictions within society, as well as ‘free time’ and how different people choose to spend theirs. We considered the artists Fischli and Weiss’s ‘Suddenly This Overview'(1981), where they recreated entire fictional ‘everyday’ scenes using clay. We wanted to adapt this idea to suit our concept, showing ‘free time’ activities and scenes, but within a dollhouse. Each room would show a different scene, from a living room where someone is watching tv, to a beach where a family are building sandcastles. This project idea would aim to show the variety of ways different people ‘use’ their time without constraints, work or much stress.
This week I had a tutorial with Tim. We discussed my project from last semester and some of the goals I have set for myself for this semester, such as stay more up-to-date on my project development and include more contextualization in my research. We talked about my ideas for this project- Life, Death, Rebirth and Metamorphosis- and brainstormed some more ideas to help get my project moving. One really useful thing I gained from this tutorial is that I need to do more experimentation. I have been finding it hard to know what to do next to move my projects forwards and begin to develop an idea for my final creation, so I will be working on more experimental ideas to try and fuel more ideas.
Maria Sibylla Merian
Maria Sibylla Merian was born 2nd April 1647 and died 13th January 1717. She was a German entomologist and naturalist and was one of the first European naturalists to study and observe insects directly. In her earlier life, Merian had developed her artistic skills whilst receiving training from her step-father, Jacob Marrel, who was a student of the still-life painter Georg Flegel. Merian’s first book of natural illustrations was published in 1675. She then published volume 1 of a 2-volume series of illustrations based on caterpillars; each volume containing 50 plates that she engraved and etched. Merian documented evidence of the process of Metamorphosis and the plant hosts of 186 European species of insect. Her detailed work documented new discoveries, as before her recordings insects were thought to have been ‘born of mud’ through ‘Spontaneous Generation’.
This artist was one of the first sources of inspiration I found for my project ideas. The tentative style of Merian’s etching and paintings reflects the delicacy of the insects she was portraying. I find her studies of metamorphosis, although very old in comparison to present day scientific knowledge, to be really beautiful and enlightening, as you can see so many details that you may not be able to see in real life. The artworks are almost photorealistic in quality, showing the attention to detail, time and passion she put into each. Despite Merian’s studies being of a scientific nature, I feel as a present-day audience we can understand the significance of these artworks as original and enlightening records of the natural world. They were something completely new and undiscovered at the time of their creation, and I can imagine how many people have looked at these studies and learnt about metamorphosis, and maybe even reconsidered their understanding of life as a whole after seeing evidence of physical transformation within our world. I hope to follow on from this research by making some detailed studies of different stages within the butterfly metamorphosis process in order to better understand it and the structure of the insects themselves.
Experimentation and Brainstorming…
This week, taking on the advice I received from Tim during my tutorial, I chose to do some work on large pieces of paper. I laid the paper out on the kitchen floor, watched videos on YouTube relating to time and listened to a few of the relevant songs that were suggested. I also discussed the ideas with my boyfriend, and he had many interesting suggestions and related things to say on the subject, which helped me add to my ideas further. I attached the paper to the kitchen wall so that I can revisit it throughout the week and hopefully develop my ideas.
Following on from my research this week, I made these drawings in white pencil on black paper. I used this medium as I felt it would allow me to focus on the anatomy of the insect at two of the stages during it’s metamorphosis. I am pleased with the accuracy of the studies, as I managed to capture the decorative appearance of each well. I think to further this aspect of my project I may make some detailed wing studies from primary photographs I took at the Magic of Life Butterfly House in Aberystwyth last November. I am also going to be making a painting of Cherry in relation to this project as her death is what fueled my idea for this semester in the first place.