The theme for this semester is Time, which I find in many way to be ironic, considering how my time hear as a undergrad is nearly over. In this week’s post I am deeply reflecting on my work last semester, how I have begun this journey, and my new goals moving forwards.
The class and reflection.
As this is the beginning of Time our first class served as a refresher (what to expect from the module ect), however it was our group tutorial later in the week which has inspired me to push my boundaries and self-expectations. This is because as a group we discussed our feedback from last semester, though daunting at first, allowed a sense unity and comfort in our shared struggle to express our creativity academically. I know that one of my strength as an artist is my constant stream of evaluation, I always want to absorb as much information as I can in order accomplish growth.
Last semester I really got to grips with ‘thinking through making’ and the act of painting everyday triggered a tidal wave of research and emotion. The projects aim was to remove the barriers between myself and the material, becoming vulnerable and enjoying the experience that was to be creative over the results itself. This reconstructed my view of my discipline and myself as an artist, this is a breakthrough and I will continue to expand my understand of the concepts (self-expression, narcissism, objectification, status etc.) while considering our new themes influence.I feel like I am circling a concept, every time I think I’ve grasped it slips away again, so I continue to circle it. It is important that I acknowledge this repetitive exploration as it shows my growth and solidifies the elements which make my work mine.
Another thing that worked well for me last semester was setting 3 goals, this helped propel my project further and allowed me to check in with my progress. Last semester these were to read more, maintain a practice consistently and to be vulnerable and honest. This semester my first goal is to continue my enjoyment of reading, expanding my language and use the research to fuel my project. Secondly I will create a sense of status in my work while continuing to be true to practice yet pushing me further. Finally I want to continue my journey into vulnerability and honesty, I made large steps last semester yet I feel there is so much I left unsaid and I still fear judgment.
I am revisiting one of the most influential pieces of research on my project from last semester, ‘ The Art of Tracey Emin’ edited by Mandy Merck and Chris Townsend. I was fascinated by Chapter 5 “The Effect of intimacy’ written by Jennifer Doyle, in what I had previously described to be a dissection of Emin’s work through the exploration in to woman as a concept in art, as well as what the author dubbed ‘Bad sex, as an academic exercise’. It is difficult to not repeat myself in my findings, however I feel that rereading the text is necessary as it has solidified my understanding as well as sparking my conceptual interest once again. The key theme I am drawn to throughout this chapter is self-authorship, I’ve asked myself repeatedly since my first read through “Am I truly the writer of my experiences and identity?”. In all honesty I’m usure, especially in relation to my time and my history. In some ways yes, I am as I take liberties and I’ve always been driven by my own sense of independence (or more realistically stubbornness) so surely, I’m in control. Nevertheless, it has been gut-wrenching inevitable that I haven’t always been in control, and that my story and identity has been shaped by the actions and choices of others.
I am not the feminist powerhouse I strive to be; I recognise my privileges and entitlement that comes with living in a western ethnocentric society. However, there’s a feeling that leaks out when I research or listen to the stories of the people around me, and I can only describe it a shared instinctive rage. I agree with Doyle’s idea that the ‘crude’ nature of Emin’s work is much like a shared consensus that the depictions of selfhood and confessions are curated to trigger our narcissistic tendencies and make the audience want revel in our sense of understanding. I asked myself last semester how I might be perceived by others as a private person, now I want to take this further by exploring how I curate myself.
As it’s the first week my experiments are serving as a warmup into my project for example this seemingly insignificant doodle of a ‘sexy desk’ was nothing more than something silly that I will through away. But it had weirdly inspired me to think about my all my research and project over the last 3 years and I’ve found a key pattern, I like to think about myself and my relationship with objects. Especially after my re-reading of ‘ The Art of Tracey Emin’ I weirdly see myself as the desk, I am objectified as woman even when I am simply just existing, I am still doing inside a patriarchal society.
In a more traditional sense of experimentation, I have revisited my work from last semester, I had a mixture of feedback about my project but I think it’s safe to say that it was underwhelming. I understand the choices I had made in relation to the collage/ community feel idea however, I need to play with status and think about how I can elevate my work.
To do this I worked with my partners mum on her personal project, she wanted to create minimalistic, texture based works on canvas. What I learnt from this experience wasn’t that the choice of support medium is really important, though minimal, I love her paintings and they stand out brilliantly in our house. On another note I was shown how to make the wooden frames on the edges on the canvas, I think they are really beautiful and bring the canvas together nicely, maybe in the future I will try something similar with my project.
Great reflection, I love the sexy desk, have a look at Sylvia Plath she was perhaps the first to write confessional poetry and prose, she was radical and boundary breaking in her time, also look at Cindy Sherman and her playing with identity.