Friday, 25 June 2010

Show time!

I love this time of year as it means I can look around the different degree shows! The highlight for me this year was visiting the MMU BA Embroidery degree show; not only was the work really exiting but also because my sister Corinne had her work exhibited and it looked freakin AMAZING!!! I am so so proud of her : ) She created a collection of books, which explored storytelling and narrative based on fantasy and the sinister inspired by Greek myths and mythical creatures. The books include layers and layers of text and drawings where vintage fabric and old books are collaged and embroidered together.

There were also two large books which were made from fabrics and had been both hand and machine embroidered, even all of the text had been hand sewn!!  They were so beautiful and really nice to touch as you go through the pages and read the text.

There was also a lot of other Embroidery work that I loved ...


Jenny O'Donnell



BA Illustration and Animation work above ... not sure who the work is by though!

I also had a look around the BIAD BA Fine Art show at Margaret Street, which is where I am currently studying for my PhD. The buidling is an amazing listed Venetian Gothic building that was built in the 1880s. It is so beautiful and unusual that it is always nice to see work displayed in there ... there are turrets and spiral steps so you always seem to stumble across more work. I like the fact as well, being from a Fine Art background myself that there is so much Fine Art work all located in the one building! Two of the highlights for me were Lauren Chase's paintings and also an paint-installation by Lucy Hingley which as well as looking really interesting, explored the performativity of paint itself where the paint was constantly dripping to create random compositions of paint that were constantly changing and evolving.

Lucy Hingley

Although I've been teaching at Stafford College for three years now, this academic year was the first year that I've been teaching on the Foundation Art & Design course. I loved the Foundation work and thought it was a real highlight of the College show this year. As I hadn't been at the college in the last couple of weeks to see the show being installed it was really nice to see it in an exhibition context.  Although there are loads of pieces of work that I loved, I have included some particular faves below (sorry for not including more!!) ...
Rebecca Bubalo - going on to do BA Fine Art at BIAD

Samantha Lippett- going on to do BA Illustration at Brighton

Eve Cotteril

Emily Gwynne

Rosie Millar - going on to do BA Embroidery at MMU

What seems to be really intersting as well is that all of the images that I've chosen to put up are by females ... I don't know if that's a coincidence or if they have a sense of femaleness/non-phallocentricness that I seem to have engaged with. Hmmm. 

I had a great surprise yesterday morning when the post arrived ... I've been sent a copy of the Interrogation: Walsall publication that has been written by Anna Francis!
I took part in Interrogation:Walsall last September at the New Art Gallery Walsall where I did a project for the Interrogation:Callaboration strand with Rachel Marsden and it is really ace to see ourselves and our intervention documented in the book! I thought it really contextualised what a great experience we had and also brings together all the different elements that made up the project as a whole. It really made my day to receive it : )

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Always remember to smile (and in-between-ness)!

There's something really satisfying about photographying something that tickles you or touches you on the spur of the moment, particularly food! I don't know if it's a bit of a primitive thing because, after, we need food to survive or just something that says a little bit about who we are or how we like to indulge.
I decided to make the most of the bbq weather last weekend (who knows how long it will last?!) when my parents-in-law-to-be were away and indulged in a top notch bbq in their beautiful garden and spent the evening writing outside. Part of me felt bad and even a little unpatriotic as my HTB was watching England play their first World Cup game against the USA for the first part of the night ... but I had an intense desire to write.

This happens sometimes, particularly when I am relaxed and inspired and over time I have learnt that I need to make the most of this feeling; whether I am on a train journey or it is 2 o'clock in the morning. It often feels quite cathartic and seems to be a way of organising and de-jumbling my thoughts as well as something I just have the need and the urge to do; to keep me going. It was when I was sitting outside in front of the crackling fire burning in the chimenea outside accompanied by a glass of rose
and my bbq desert (bananas with chocolate inside melted wrapped in foil and melted - I wonder what that says about me?!) that I sat with my thoughts and smiled. A subtle smile to myself and at the same time a big content smile at the world from ear to ear. A smile at myself for smiling. And a smile at myself for forgetting to smile most of the time ... and I thought to myself ... I quite like this ... I really must remember to smile more often and make other people smile!

I recently came across  the work of the artist Flore Gardner in my research and her exploration into "in-between-ness". I find that it is only occasionally that I stumble across someone that is related closely to some of the ideas that I am exploring so this was a hidden treasure!
(Chiasmus, left and an image from the "Doodles" series, right)
Gardner looks at the link between thought and practice and in particular what she calls 'drawing=thinking' as an inbetween form that has its own language. She has written a great essay accompanying her recent show 'In-between-ness; Embroidering on History' at Derby Museum & Art Gallery where she talks about the process of how she adds extra layers of meaning to found photographs which she sees as fragments of the past where embroidery is used as a 3D version of doodling.

What I thought was really interesting - and also physically quite beautiful was how she uses continuously uses notebooks as a primary research space which is similar to how I use my research diary. She uses them to reflect her own nomadicness between France and Britain and uses a hybrid inbetween language which she calls 'Franglais' through the quasi-simulatenous presence of both languages and crossing over of double thought processes where the exact same thing cannot be said in two different languages. I was particularly interested in how she creates a sense of interconnectedness, crossing boundaries and spilling out onto the boundaries of the photos which relates greatly to Derrida and my own research of alternative spaces inbetween the masculine and feminine. These fragmentary interconnections also link to my notions of intertextuality and intermateriality; where a hybrid painting//writing practice could be a new type of language.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Reflections and (re)reflections

I have been writing in a research diary since I started my PhD in 2008 which started out as a way of subjectively reflecting and (re)reflecting on my research. I have always written a diary or journal, so this way of writing came quite naturally to me. Initially, it was to record my responses to my research, map out ideas and to create an ongoing dialogue with my own reflections and my research. Doing my PhD part-time, the research diary was also a really useful way of organising my thoughts and disseminating ideas.
Although I knew that it would be an important part of the research process, it has become something much much more, which I had not anticipated! My research explores ideas of hybridity and the interrelation between intertextuality and intermateriality; although I started off documenting ideas textually, the entries have developed into drawings, collage and paintings, in turn becoming hybrid. The research diary itself has become quite sculptural, embodying the concept of ideas evolving and emerging through processes of writing and making themselves and reflecting notions of l’√©criture f√©minine and the in-between which provides a framework for my research.

I've also received some scary and exciting news ... I have been selected to deliver a paper at Space: the Real and the Abstract conference at The Centre for Art, Design, Research and Experimentation (CADRE) at the School of Art and Design, Wolverhampton University in July ... EEK! This will be my first paper delivered at a conference so I am looking forward to it and hoping this will open new doors for me! Better get writing then ...