Painting of Venice

After my first small initial responses to Venice, I wanted to scale up and create a bigger piece inspired by it. Whilst in Venice I collected heaps paper and leaflets from all of the exhibitions I visited. Instead of throwing them away after I finished reading them I decided to incorporate them into my response, as they were Venice for me.

The background of my painting is collaged with the leaflets from different pavilions in the biennale. On top I have painted my own repeat pattern inspired by Venice, particularly the window architecture of many of the buildings. I painted two layers of this pattern over the collage in colours I associate with Venice. The yellow of many of the buildings and the green-blue of the canal.

I like the concept I was aiming for as I think it is a fairly personal response as there is nothing there that anyone else would directly associate with Venice. However I am not completely happy with the colours I have chosen. They are colours straight from a paint tube. I think my painting would be more personally elevated if I mixed my own colours inspired by Venice.

This painting is a good start point for the development of my work this year though, it has opened up this idea of repeat patterns and colour, and is free for wider development. My next idea is to take some of the photos I took in Venice and keep layering repeat patterns over the top until the image underneath is nearly completely lost.



Learning from Contemporary Art – Week 3

Who Is The Other?

  1. Otherness is sociological.
  2. Otherness is philosophical.
  3. Otherness is psychological.

1. Sociology 

  • Within society, the dominant groups set the norms. People who through biology or choice that don’t fit the norms are excluded from full membership of that society.
  • Mike Kelley’s ‘Deodorised Central Mass with Satellites’ is an example of how otherness is sociological. The sculpture consists of old hospital toys knitted together, grouped together by colour. This creates the concept of different groups. In one presentation of the work a single toy sits on the floor alone as it isn’t quite white. This individual creates the boundary for groups.
Mike Kelley ‘Deodorised Central Mass with Satellites’
  • Otherness may be present as a type of exclusion. Juan Muñoz’s ‘Towards the Corner’ is a sculpture of multiple people, slightly smaller than life size. This begins with us grouping them separately as we can’t relate to them. Additionally, from your first angle of view the sculptures have their back to you so you are unable to interact and are excluded. At another angle (front view) the people in the sculpture are laughing at you, you become the joke, another type of exclusion. Finally, on close inspection the people in the sculpture all have the same face, the repetition in their faces groups them together and leaves the viewer as the excluded member.


  • Minority groups are understood and represented primarily through their relation to the norm. This means even a ‘positive’ representation of a member of a minority may still confirm the norms. An example of such is Jitish Kallat’s ‘Carbon Milk 9’. Although it is a happy representation of an Indian street child smiling straight ahead, it came under heavy criticism. Although it is a positive image, it still plays a set of anxieties we as Westerners might have about people’s acceptance of their position in society. The boy is happy being poor. This is a very naive view to hold.
Jitish Kallat ‘Carbon Milk 9’

How does society handle the notion of difference? To what extent is a person’s ethnic identity a matter of choice?

  • Adrian Piper is of mixed race, having a white mother and black father. She felt she had no distinctions to fit her into either group. Therefore people felt that they could be racist around her as the was ‘no black person present’. Consequently in her self portrait she bean to exaggerate her features to make her look more black, fitting herself into the black group.
  • The Rachel Dolezal case. Rachel Dolezal was the president of the NAACP in Washington from 2014-15. She resigned when her parents outed her for lying about her ethnic identity. Dolezal was the daughter of two white parents however she justified categorising herself as black as she grew up with 3 adopted black siblings. This raises the question of whether she has the right to identify herself as black. Is black based solely on biology or is it something sociological?
  • Zhang Hongtu recreates traditional Chinese art in a European stye. What do these paintings do to our ideas of Chinese-ness and European-ness? Does it make a mockery of Chinese and European art? I think the transition between two completely different styles of art is fascinating. When recreated in the style of Van Gogh, or Cezanne, the traditional art does lose its authenticity and ethnicity, but at the same time it is exciting to see it recreated. Hongtu’s recreations are an example of cultural appropriation.

Cultural Toursim:

  • Culture tourism is the idea that the other is re-packaged as exotic. Shigeyuki Kihara’s ‘Culture for Sale’ is the perfect example as a metaphor for today’s cultural tourism. We questioned whether the video mimics the structure of cultural tourism or whether it critiques it. The performance art consists of multiple native Hawaiians in traditional outfits on different podiums. In front of them is bowl and when a member of the audience puts money in the bowl, the natives perform a traditional action. At first the actors felt exploited and used, having their talent reduced to a couple of pennies in a bowl. It created this idea of buying the Hawaiian experience. There was something quite uncomfortable in watching the video. It felt like begging, as if there was something quite shameful in the transaction. I think it was quite an insulting way to exhibit someone’s culture, however it was highlighting how many people go on holidays now and want the traditional experience. But does that even exist? The performers eventually changed their opinions on the art however, saying that talent costs no money. The money no longer felt like they were being paid to perform, but instead the money becomes a cue for the action. This is a defence mechanism against exploitation. I would say the performance art is critiquing cultural tourism by mimicking it. It is point-blank showing the problem with cultural tourism.
Shigeyuki Kihara ‘
  • Kara Walker’s ‘A Subtlety’ consists of multiple sugar sculptures cited in an old sugar factory. The installation is full of contradictions, highlighting the history we want to forget, i.e slavery and the slave trade that traded sugar for bodies and bodies for sugar. The sculptures are of a sphinx that bares all and multiple child slaves that worked on sugar plantations. The slaves are made from the product that had put them in that situation to begin with. The work does a complete 180 and creates a never-ending cycle. The use of sugar also puts power behind the work as historically, royalty used to eat sugar sculptures between meals. The work as a whole raises the question though of whether it is okay for a black female artist to use racist and sexist imagery. Is it just promoting slavery and sexism again? For me the work is fairly ambiguous in the material it is made from, whether if this is just because I am only getting to see a photograph of it instead of seeing it in person. From just looking at a photo, I think the work definitely needs an explanation alongside it.


2. Philosophy

  • The other is understood to be everything that is not the self. In this sense otherness is crucial to the construction and maintenance of a sense of self. Without the other we aren’t real.
  • Self and other, while opposites, are bound together. The existence of each depends on the opposing term.
  • ‘Othering’ is used as a verb which describes the process of being tuned into an other. This is a form of alienation.
  • Santiago Sierra’s ‘Wall Enclosing a Space’ is an example of otherness as philosophical. The work was displayed in the Venice Biennale and only people with a Spanish  passport were allowed inside the pavilion. This created a group. Of course the people let into the pavilion gained nothing as the room was empty but it created this feeling of exclusion and othering.


3. Psychoanalysis 

  • The other describes: a) the internalised representation of other individuals b) a mental structure of self-surveillance
  • The argument is that desire is mimetic. “Desire is the desire of the other” Jacques Lacan – our desires are not our own.
  • We want things, not in themselves, but because other people want them (or so we think). If an other wants something, then it appears to me as something that must confer power and status. It’s the desire of the other that makes the object desirable. For example, you will often see toddlers fighting over a toy because another child wants it. It could sit on the floor all day but as soon as one toddler picks it up, everyone else wants it.
  • The other is internalised in us as an aspect of desire. The other becomes the one  who sees what we do, and often, for whom we do things.

How can the self also be the other?

  • At what point do babies realise that they are staring at themselves in a mirror and not someone else?
  • Mirroring occurs without mirrors.
  • We can’t be certain at this stage whether the baby distinguishes between itself and the environment.
  • Some form of mirroring occurs every time we engage with another individual. You might sit the same way, or mirror each other’s voice pitch.
  • Mirroring might be our schema for looking at artworks too – the artwork leads us and influences us. We behave how the artwork wants us to behave.

Who is the Other?

  1. We talked about Marc Quinn’s ‘Alison Lobber Pregnant’. I have come across this work before. Quinn creates marble sculptures of disabled people. In this example Alison Lobber is missing many of her limbs. We questioned whether it is more important that it’s of a working class disabled single mother, or that it was made by a man. Personally I don’t think who made it is important at all. The work is about challenging traditions by celebrating the disabled. Traditionally marble sculptures were of Greek Gods, the fittest people and pictures of health and beauty. Quinn flips this by creating marble sculptures of those that don’t fit into this category.
Marc Quinn ‘Alison Lobber Pregnant’
  • Finally we talked about Sarah Lucas’ ‘Fried Eggs’. I recognised this work as I have a postcard of it at home. We questioned whether it was masculine or feminine. For me it is quite an androgynous photo. The woman has no physical features that are typically attributed to being a woman. She is sat in a typical manly pose, her haircut is more a man’s haircut and she has an aggressive expression on her face. The only physical attribute that makes us realise she’s female is having two fried eggs on her boobs. The idea was brought up in constellation that maybe the fried eggs were placed there as a metaphor for a term that is offensive to women with small boobs, and is turning it into something good. I had never though of this before but I think that this could be the idea that the artist is trying to present.
Self Portrait with Fried Eggs 1996 by Sarah Lucas born 1962
Sarah Lucas ‘Fried Eggs’



Laughter, pain and shadow

London Trip

Jasper Johns – The Royal Academy of Arts

Jasper Johns’ work from various years showed similarities to some techniques and concepts I am using, and want to use in my own practice. What I liked about Johns’ work were the generic forms and use of repetition to create images, on top of drawing attention to things so familiar that they were ‘seen but not looked at, not examined’.

Additionally I like Johns’ choice of encaustic. I’m very similar in the sense that I am impatient with my work and want the paint to dry straight away, that’s why I tend to stay away from oils. Johns’ use of encaustic (hot wax mixed with colour pigments) meant that he could continuously work and at the same time also meant he was able to build a textured surface to his work. Bringing texture into my work is something I want to experiment with.

Work that interested me:

Jasper Johns’ work with cross hatching interested me the most as it relates to my practice closely. For Johns, it creates a ‘hypnotic search for visual coherence’. For me, the idea of repeat patterns is a way of representing place and culture.


Iconoclasts – Saatchi Gallery 

The Iconoclasts exhibition was really inspiration for my subject work as it had a large collection of textiles art.

Josh Faught:

The first work I saw was by artist Josh Faught who combines different materials and scraps and for sale products (i.e. toilet paper) to create these huge collaged tapestries. I really like the collage aspect to his work which has given me the idea to collect scraps of whatever I come across and sew them all together to create my own collages of different places I visit.

Josh Fought ‘Untitled (1), from BE BOLD For What You Stand For, BE CAREFUL For What You Fall For’


Maurizio Anzeri:

Maurizio Anzeri’s consists of sewing into old, found photographs. Anzeri stitches abstract patterns over the top of the photographs in different colours, blurring the boundaries between abstraction and portraiture. The way he stitches creates a three dimensional effect and the person in the original photograph loses their identity behind all the thread. I like the idea of sewing into photographs and it may be something I further look into later in my practice.


Calder on Paper:

The Calder on Paper exhibition was also on, although I liked the work I didn’t find it particularly inspiring. However, what I did find inspiring was the wall sign for the exhibition. The wall was painted a deep blue with bright orange writing on top. I loved this colour combination and definitely want to work with it in the future.



Philip Colbert: New Paintings

Although his work doesn’t really relate to my own work, I really liked the paintings of Philip Colbert. They are quite literally the definition of collage paintings and art heavily influenced by Pop Art. They are really full-on paintings to look at and your eyes are constantly darting around the canvas, identifying different contemporary culture and art history references. I love the clash between the past, mass culture and technologies of now, my favourite being Shakespeare with The Big Issue. Colbert creates new definition on landscape and the modern world. I can’t pinpoint it exactly but the more I look at Colbert’s New Paintings the more I love them.


Victoria Villasana:

In the prints and originals gallery there were several pieces of work by Victoria Villasana that caught my eye. They used a similar technique to Maurizio Anzeri of using embroidery stitching across the face. I love the bright colours used and the incorporation of embroidery.


Tate Britain:

Whilst in Tate Britain I came across a sculpture by Barbara Hepworth. What attracted me was the use of colour. It used the same blue and orange I had seen in the Saatchi but this time it was applied to the art itself. It is definitely a sculpture I will refer to in my work as I love the colours, shape and use of thread.



Responses to Teresea Lanceta’s ‘Rosas Blancas’

Initial responses to Teresa Lanceta’s ‘Rosas Blancas’

These are some initial responses to ‘Rosas Blancas’ where I have played around with patterns, colour and material. I used the technique from the ideas lab and created quick simple responses directly from the artwork, focusing on specific areas and concepts. My initial responses have worked a lot with square patchwork, similar to ‘Rosas Blancas’ and the layering of different patterns next to each other. Initially I have also chosen to work with a similar colour palette. I have begun trialling with a variety of materials to get a grasp on what materials work well and which don’t work quite as well. The responses including embroidery, I think are the most successful and interesting.


Responses to Venice drawing inspiration from the work of Teresa Lanceta

I have started making some simple responses to Venice by taking some of the paper I collected from Venice and laying repeat patterns over the top inspired by Venice. In particular, the window shapes of many Venice buildings.

Function of the Studio

After visiting James’ studio and having a discussion on the studio space in our group I have come to realise how important the studio space is for generating work. For me, my current studio is separated from everyday life and is a generative hub fro my art.

My studio space within university gives me access to so many materials and techniques to further develop my work, and being around so many other art students, I find that our ideas can bounce off of each other. We have built up a strong sense of community within our year that I think should continue past the completion of our degree, as we may be able to support each other in the art world outside of university.

However, sometimes I do find that being around so many other art students, my work can be stunted for various reasons. Most of the time it’s because of too much conversation, but it can be overwhelming and intimidating to be around so much work. It can make me question my work and not always in a constructive way.

Seeing James’ studio and having a discussion with my group about the studio space, it has made me think of where I want my studio space to be after university. I think I want to stay in Cardiff as I think it has so many more opportunities for emerging artists than Worcester has. If I moved back home I think it is likely that my art would end up becoming second to my everyday life and I would slowly stop making it. Instead I think I’m interested in doing a similar thing to James and having my studio in my house, with a couple of other art students.

Key Concept: Participation

The line between art and life should be kept as fluid and perhaps as indistinct as possible.

Participation is not interactive art. Interactive art is pushing a button and something happening. Participation is the audience actively getting involved.

In George Maciunas’ Fluxus performance, the artist connects himself to the audience in the room with string. This participation art blurs the boundaries between artist and audience.

I think this is the key idea in participation art, this blurring of boundaries between artist and audience.

Andy Warhol does something similar with his ‘Do it Yourself Flowers’, only partially completing the painting and getting the buyer of the work to finish it off with colour by numbers.

Yoko Ono’s cut piece requires complete audience participation. This performance art requires the audience to come up one by one and cut a section of Ono’s clothes off.

Ben Vautier’s ‘Le Magasin (The Shop)’ was an artist led space in the middle of a high street. The audience being the shoppers walking into the shop. This participation art was completely lost when the Pompidou reconstructed it in the gallery. It was a victory for the artist but the vital function of participation in the art was killed off when it became an untouchable piece in a gallery space.

A similar thing happened with Robert Morris’ ‘Neo Classic’, participation art that was basically a big playground for adults was shut down when reconstructed in the Tate due to health and safety issues.

Finally, Clare Bishop’s ‘Artificial Hells’ was unknowing participation art for the audience in which a policeman comes into the gallery space on a horse, and was only successful with the audience’s unawareness.

Made In Roath

Made in Roath was on in Cardiff for this past week. There were a multitude of different events going on and some of the work I saw was fairly inspirational for my own practice.

32. Knitiation

One of the first events I visited was called Knitiation. It was participation art as I was asked to knit a 20 by 20 square of plain knit. Visiting this event I learned a new skill, how to knit, and I think that knitting could be a good way of portraying across patterns in my own practice, however it’s going to take a lot of practice to get good enough. We were also asked to participate in some video art where we had to knit in silence in an empty room for 8 minutes, then scream (at our frustration in the world), then carry on knitting for another minute. 8 minutes sounds like nothing but when you are just sitting there waiting for the signal to scream it feels like a lifetime. Additionally I found myself really over-analysing how i was going to scream which was quite a funny concept and I still don’t know why I was so worried about it.


55. Molly Rooke solo exhibition

There was an exhibition of Molly Rooke’s work going on in her own house. The fact that so many exhibitions were taking place in people’s houses was so interesting to me as you are taking work out of the gallery setting, and in my opinion gives the work more identity and a sense of place. Rooke had transformed her home into a sort of makeshift gallery with white-washed walls and floors. I connected most with the digital prints partially covered with block colours. This was an effect I was going to use in my own practice after seeing the work of Elad Lassry in Vancouver. I like the idea of covering a crucial part of an image to create confusion and curiosity in the public.

In Molly Rooke’s exhibition there were also a couple of small paintings by Catrin Llwyd Evans. What I liked about these paintings was the clear build of of layers of colour. In one painting Llwyd Evans uses a neon pink behind which links back to my summer work. Overall her style of painting really ties to my own summer work therefore she may be an artist I further look into.


43. Open Studio Jane Nicholls

Above Oriel Makers Gallery just off Albany Road Jane Nicholls was weaving fabrics in a variety of patterns and colours. This was especially significant for my work as I want to work with textiles, and I’ve already been working in a similar way, weaving different threads together to create patterns.


35. 15 Minute Portraits at Adnan Continental Store

In one of the Made in Roath exhibitions, artist Ellie Young was painting 15 minute portraits of the public. I sat down for my portrait and instantly felt uncomfortable. I had never sat for a portrait before so having someone constantly look at me for a period of time made me quite uncomfortable. As well as this, the portraits were taking place right in the front of a continental store so the general public coming into to buy their groceries had to walk past me and were staring at the whole process. I really liked the idea of a 15 minute portrait though. In classical portrait paintings the detail is immaculate and as accurate as possible. The portrait I ended up with had a quirky look to it and consisted of fairly bold strokes due to the time pressure. Although not the most flattering painting, I like that the perspective and details of my face aren’t perfect. The portrait’s style almost reminds me of the work of Lucien Freud. This whole 15 minute process interests me and is a good way of pumping a lot of work out fast, it is a technique I want to incorporate into my practice.