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Week five- So much to say yet so hard to say it.

To begin this week I want to reflect on how I am progressing this semester based on my tutorials, my set intentions for this semester in week one and my general feelings/approach. Firstly I feel I am becoming more involved with a wider range of research, for example this week I had decided to attain more knowledge about Tracy Emin’s work and in the process I found myself really invested in my chosen book. Secondly I dubbed an important part of my practice this semester as ‘conversations with myself’ ,meaning that I am fully honest about the works impact on me and if its what I really want to be achieving. I feel that I have certainly improved this skill, I have become more fluid with my work, not bogging down on faithless pieces and taking strides to keep moving forwards. I do feel that I could improve this skill further, I haven’t been formally documenting the way I have been feeling and I feel that there is a disconnect between the work and my concept, hopefully through my experimentation I will have found a better way to translate my emotions to the paintings. Finally my third intention of the semester was to proactively create, I have almost stuck to my quota of painting every day since the term started, I have been creating a eclectic portfolio of works which a varied yet share the central theme of still life.


Expanding on my research of Tracey Emin’s installation of ‘Exorcism of the last painting I ever made’ 1996, I have indulged in reading ‘ The Art of Tracey Emin’. Edited by Mandy Merck and Chris Townsend this book holds a collection of essays responding to the life and works of Tracy Emin, as one whole piece the book covers a diverse and strong understanding into why Emin is a notorious public figure.

Despite no obvious connection to my project I was fascinated by Chapter 5 “The Effect of intimacy’ written by Jennifer Doyle, in which the author dissects the conceptual layers of Emins work, the role of women in art and what she has dubbed as ‘Bad sex, as an academic exercise’. This chapter discusses the role sex has in outlives and how women have reclaimed their bodies in the art world through authorship of their own sexual identities, Emin is a key example as she spotlights this part of herself. The essay continues to acknowledge the pitfalls of womanhood and how the combination of text and figures in Emins work is agreeable to many people, though this mustn’t be mistaken for be comfortable when confronted with Emins work. The audience has a set consensus of who Emin is, her life experiences, the wonderfully crude pieces often suggest a full truthful depiction of selfhood and confession.However, despite the appearance of raw emotion, Emin’s work is carefully curated as a response to issues in our culture and society, does this mean the work is any less genuine or does the act of engaging the audience to speak on such issues display the successfulness of Emin’s goals. Personally I find it difficult to simply peel back the layers of this essay and reflect on the ideas without going on a tangent, possibly due to my own connection to the text or as it would suggest narcism. As I said previously there might not be a clear connection to this essay and my work however, I have asked myself these questions many times and have always wondered how personal I could be with my own work? In hindsight Im a reasonably private person, so I wonder how an audience may perceive me, what would they think of my work and would it have any value in our culture.

Painting- continued

In response to last weeks feedback I agree that creating a copy of the object before me is not my goal, my goal is to enjoy painting and to gain better insight into myself as an artist. Therefor I have continued to paint and draw as I feel right. To further develop my project I have been thinking further as to what my final outcome will be, despite the purpose of my project to be my journey and the experience of the painting, its important I consider how this would work in the gallery art centre setting. Ideally I would of wanted to move my studio into a ‘gallery’ type space, in many ways I feel this experiment is a development from my previous semesters work in which i curated the ‘gallery’ space to reflect my home. However due to have a flu once again I had to experiment in my home, in the photos below you can see that I used a blank wall in my studio and after cutting and closing different paintings I made a collage/ mind map of my work. One issue I faced that I had not previously considered was that as I was working in my sketchbook I was using both sides of the paper, therefor when placing the pieces on the wall I had to chose which side to present. I know that by doing this I am in ways ignoring my concept and very literally hiding works im not as proud of behind others. Maybe I will have to think about hanging some pieces?

Furthermore the writing element of this exercise had me unintentionally asking questions, for example ” If I could see myself through your eyes would I look away” , I feel this is a direct influence of the research I have conducted into Emin’s work in that I wonder what the audience would assume about me. Would they see a confused and narcissistic young person who’s work is nothing compared to her peers? or would they see a talent and passion that they could relate to? I don’t know if either of these statements fit me as an artist, or if I would feel strongly about them.

In Reflection I can see how displaying my work in this manner could be very successful, in regards to the art centre as a site and situation it could even invoke an interactive element. I think only time and further experimentation and development will tell me what direction I am heading in. Hopefully next week I will have a larger variety of support surfaces, it will be interesting to see the status of canvas vs the paper in how I paint.

1 thought on “Week five- So much to say yet so hard to say it.”

  1. Gosh what a powerful question – Would they see a confused and narcissistic young person who’s work is nothing compared to her peers? or would they see a talent and passion that they could relate to? what a brilliant question to work with, a good question to ask yourself everyday before you paint, how would the reflection on this question change the painting? maybe that is enough..that is a concept in itself, painting after asking a question that fundamentally shifts your sense of self and so the output. I wonder about the gendered pronoun in the question, if it is was neutral it would be more relatable, more accessible, or is it important that you are a woman asking the question? Difficult to sense where the paintings are going without there being more, but the arrangement has moved them forward as has the accompanying text, an interesting and challenging addition, keep going this is definitely going somewhere, but more importantly you are growing. Have a look at What is Painting by Julian Bell, this might give you some new perspectives, and also borrow the book ‘New Perspectives in Painting’ by Phaidon from the library for diversity of approaches, techniques, concepts..

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