Using Puff Medium

After the success of my initial experimentation with puff medium, I have decided to continue it on within my work and use it within my screen prints for my final pieces.

I have started this process today by stretching multiple sheets of paper, and prepping my screen with Steve, ready to begin printing tomorrow.



Artist Research: Anish Kapoor

Anish Kapoor’s sculptures explore biomorphic forms with a particular interest in the negative space. Kapoor is not interested in presenting a singular idea, but instead aims to create an environment within which people can consider meaning. Kapoor asks the audience to consider how they as the viewer exist throughout the space.

“Thats’s what I am interested in: the void, the moment when it isn’t a hole,” he explained. “It is a space full of what isn’t there.”

Kapoor explores how the human presence impacts upon the natural environment, and the relationship between the two. This focus on the natural environment particularly is influential for me as due to my exploration of Southerndown’s landscape. Like Kapoor, I too make use of bold colours within my own work.  It is really his use of simple materials, organic forms and bold use of colour that really is of interest to me within Kapoor’s work.



Artist Research: Ron Nagle

Ron Nagle’s ceramics are of particular interest to me. Nagle makes small objects, that throughout his career, have morphed. In the beginning, Nagle’s objects showed reference to ceramic vessels into work which is much less referential; yet they still maintain much of the elements associated with ceramics.

Of most interest to me and my practice, is Nagle’s merging of form and colour, in which he considers his objects to be 3D paintings. But his use of inventive shapes, vibrant colours and contrasting textures will relate the most to my own practice. The colour draws the eye to the edges, and this vibration spreads across the textured surface.

Technically, Nagle’s objects are constructed of hand sculpted elements that are slip cast, carved and fitted to each other, gaining their deep beds of color from multiple firings that are finished with chinapaint.



Artist Research: Betty Woodman

Betty Woodman’s use of baroque forms and vivid colour show similarities and are highly influential towards my developing work, especially the use of colour. Woodman’s work explores the relationship between structure, surface and colour within abstracted, hybrid objects and installations, inspired by the work of Matisse, Picasso and Bonnard.

For Woodman, the vessel was an object to be dissected, to be deconstructed, expressed in strong sensual lines and glazes. Her reinvention of the form evolved from the pattern and decoration movement of the 70/80s, which utilised wallpapers, fabrics and quilts.

As well as her bold use of colour, I am also incredibly interested in Woodman’s expressive use of clay, which is something I want to further explore within my practice:

“With clay, you make parts, you make a vase. If you want handles, you make them and stick them to the vase. So instead of putting handles on the vase, I put them on the wall,” she explained to Purple.



Dissertation Proposal PDP

My proposed question for my dissertation is, ‘Has contemporary art liberated colour from its traditional role of filling out form? What are the new functions of colour in contemporary art?’

The interest in colour was sparked both from my own practice, but also from the Learning from Contemporary Art lectures. I decided that I wanted to explore the topic of colour within my dissertation due to colours being a topic that I am currently exploring in my own work, and having gained theoretical knowledge on colour and contemporary art that has helped to inform my practice, from the Learning from Contemporary Art lectures. Writing my dissertation on a topic that has covered all aspects of my work this year will tie it all together and help me to specialise in this specific area. I especially wanted to explore this divide between the function of colour in its traditional role versus that of the shift of its purpose into the contemporary, as I have noticed a similar shift within my own work. My practice has shifted from pictorial representation, into a more abstract and expressive style. Attending the Learning from Contemporary Art lectures has been really useful in allowing me to develop my art, as well as develop a theoretical and contextual knowledge, with a strong basis of colour and contemporary art knowledge that has allowed me exploration. Without attending these lectures, I think I would have found it much more difficult to know where to begin research into contemporary art and consequently the role of colour. 

I think my interest in abstraction came initially from my essay last year on indexical drawing, a philosophical concept that explores alternative and abstract ways to draw something. An example of indexical drawing involves wrapping a piece of paper around a door handle to create a ‘drawing’ of the door handle. Artist Olafur Eliasson’s, ‘Untitled (black boat drawing)’, is a prime example of an indexical drawing. The drawing is created from dipping a ball into black ink and allowing it to roll across the paper with the waves and the movements of the ocean, for a set amount of time. Thus the drawing represents that journey and motion of the boat. This is an incredibly abstract concept, that pushed me to think outside the normal boundaries of my artistic practice, and this abstraction is something that can be heavily linked to contemporary art. However, my level 5 constellation Learning from Contemporary Art has been far more useful in sparking this interest, as through it I was able to grasp a much stronger meaning on what contemporary art actually is, and how it can be defined. I was given the tools to understand that it does not have just one definition, but has several meanings and functions. It can be used as shock-value, it can be the vehicle for political, social and cultural views, or it can discuss a current contemporary issue. Contemporary art is the idea that anything can be art, the idea that it is contemporary art is enough to make it contemporary. This is a concept that will form a strong background within my dissertation. 

In addition to this, I was introduced to colourist artists that have ended up being key in my research, that have given me a deeper understanding of the role of colour in contemporary art. For example, we explored the work of contemporary artist Karen Davie, whose work is about gesture, form, and colour relation. Davie works by layering up different contrasting colours in different gestures. The background colours should appear very much behind, but through Davie’s choice in bold, neon colour, the colours appear on the same plane, creating a flat expressive painting, focused solely on the use and manipulation of colour. There are a lot of similarities between Davie’s and my own work. Davie is now an important artist for contextual reference into my own practice, as of her sole use of colour and mark making. 

Another key concept, vital to the development on my contextual knowledge, and a key feature I plan to discuss within my dissertation is the idea of what counts as realistic representation in the 21st century. In the lecture we discussed Jakobson’s theory of representation and how the realisms of yesterday become the unrealistic conventions of today. This is supported by visual technology, like the development of cinematic experience, from 2D, to 3D, to IMAX and 4D. This idea of the true standard of visual representation is constantly improving with the vast technological developments. This led me to discuss within my dissertation proposal, the development of the camera, and how it resulted in the decrease on mimesis within art, as of the ‘technological development’ to replace the previous form of realistic representation. The concept of whether visual technologies allow us to get closer to an object’s truth or whether they give us a different viewpoint which we perceive as realistic, was also discussed within these lectures. This is a key concept I will go on to discuss within my dissertation, as it is an important idea on colour’s close relationship with representation, and will be vital element into my exploration into colour’s role.

The combination of an interest within my practical work and contextualisation from constellation made me want to continue looking at the use and role of colour in art, how this role has changed and the causes and reasons for such. Attending constellation has made me realise just how important it is to have strong contextualisation behind my practice, and understanding theories in relation to my chosen topic of study. Before this, my practice was mainly involved with the physicality of making my artwork, without much or any theoretical contextualisation. This was all true within my previous constellation essays. I tended to promote my idea without much theoretical support; up until the point where I started attending these contemporary art lectures. But having been given the opportunity to explore a topic of great interest to me, has meant that I have been able to contextualise my practice and ideas a lot more, through artistic theories and supporting artists. Additionally, having the opportunity to have one-on-one tutorials in which I was able to discuss relevant information I had gathered, in order to filter out the bad sources from the good, has really helped me to write an essay that has strong support, and is well-researched. It has given me the tools to be able to decipher valid sources in order for me to write strong, well-supported arguments, that will hopefully help me achieve the grade I desire. 

Formative Assessment Feedback

  • Keep researching wider cultural context of zillij.
  • Also look at the Nazga people of Peru and how they incorporated patterns and figures into their textiles and tapestries.
  • Screen prints have more potential: think about the quality of line, in some places the lines are thick and thin with different tight bends, curls and curves – think about whether the thin/thickness may be used to represent something (i.e. the depth of the water held by the rock pools, or the age of the rockpool shown by its indents etc.)
  • For my ceramic press moulds capturing the textures of the rocks and landscape, I could use oxides instead of glazes in order to keep the texture.
  • I have used my site venue work to further explore concepts within my practice, play around with scale and explore scale for what I want to achieve in the future.
  • Artists to look at: Richard Deacon (particularly his use of patterns, ceramics and drawings), Betty Woodman (ceramics), Donald Judd (writing one colour), Ron Nagle (ceramics), and Nao Matsunaga (ceramics).


From this feedback, I am definitely going to look further into some of the artists recommended to me to see what effect they will have on my practice and contextualisation, especially the work of Richard Deacon, Betty Woodman and Ron Nagle.

If I get time this term, I would also really like to apply oxides and glazes onto my press moulds, but this is very dependent on time restraints and whether I will be able to get assistance from one of the ceramics technicians, to assure I’m doing it right.

Finally, this concept of using lines to convey a sense of depth and time is really interesting and is a concept I hope to continue on with.



Developed Concept for Sculptures

The sculptures I am currently making are inspired from a trip to Southerndown, in particular, the textures and shapes created within the rock pools from the changed weather and tides.

The shapes of my sculptures are organic and natural, but I have tied them with the use of very unnatural colours and paints, to create this contrast between natural and synthetic, and to some extent, to remind people of their inauthenticity as natural objects. Either way, there is a clear contrast between natural and synthetic.

After visiting Oxford last term, and the Natural History Museum, I became very inspired by the museum’s vast geological collection of rocks, and the different textures and colours each possessed.

From this visit, I have recently developed the idea of having my own collection of “rocks” and displaying them in a similar way to the museum, with “information” cards, as a pastiche and play off of the museum. I think it would be really interesting to create names for my sculptures and display them as if they have been dug up from Southerndown.