Studio 606

New academic year, new white space. I spent a week last semester painting the walls and scrubbing the floor of 606, in preparation for the previous 4th years degree show, so it’s only fitting I should inherit the studio.

Here it is, my new canvas.

I’ve moved some stuff in now. The addition of some collected objects and a pot of coffee has it suddenly feeling more ‘Rachael’. Last week was a bit lacking in productivity on account of 21st birthday related excitement. It was a fantastic week otherwise though. And following that high I’m now ready to make a start with the semester.

I find it easier to think about my stuff when I isolate and arrange my objects into compositions. Things look better when they’re displayed more formally, objects begin to become artworks when they stop being used for their original purpose, so I spent today putting shelves up and playing.

This is what I do.

I’m not completely consumed by any one idea yet but I have that exciting feeling that I’m onto something.

Things I’m thinking about:

Empty jewellery boxes

Old spectacles

Collecting information

Bananas

Obsessive sentimentality

Hyper recording of data

 

Make of that what you will. There’s a lot of little ideas floating around, I just need to grab and develop them.

 

Capsules 4, 5 & 6

Some more boxes anyone?

I’ve had to go into uni before 9am every morning to switch on the little lights inside each capsule. Nothing like rolling out of bed at 8 in the morning and pounding down Perth Road to ‘Yellow Submarine’. It’s good, cause it gets me up early so I can spend today doing Undiscovered Landscape work… and watching The Big Bang Theory…

Number 4 was fun to make. It includes a piece of driftwood, some curled up leaves and three boxes of spent matches. Again this comments on the passage of time with the objects inside all having been used or changed over time. I sat in the studio and burned through the first box of matches, but they kicked me out to do the second and third, apparantly it caused some paranoia amongst tutors. In fairness, I am very clumsy, so there was probably a good chance of me setting the building alight.

It was a lot more difficult than I’d assumed, installing shelves and making things balance and hang in all of the capsules. Circles have proved to be relatively awkward shapes to work with.

 

  

Its actually a miracle that everything in Capsule 5 is secured and staying together. Theres hidden metal rods, masking tape, double sided tape and an extensive amount of glue. The spools are from a used typewriter ribbon. I threaded through a new ribbon of paper, with my own scribbled signature written continuosly throughout. This was a comment habit, rhythm and memory. Our hands instictively scrawl a signature without thinking about the words, it becomes its own image, a label.

Continuing the idea of text as image, and writing certain things out of habit, I have continued the use of ‘filler text’ this semester. This is text that is used in typing-excercises, usually nonsense but it always amuses me that it becomes rhythm and sticks in peoples heads. I also find that what is nonsense text in the context of a typing manual, becomes apparantly signifficant when used in an artwork. When seen within this box, one might read it with the fluidity of a poem, considering the meaning, when really the original intention was nothing to do with a narrative.

Another aspect of the uniformity between capsules is the little golden plaque on the door of each. The plaque shows a hyroglyphic symbol corresponding to the number of each box. This encourages the collaberation and layering of knowledge and multiple subject matter, that was seen in the old encyclopedias. The numbers provide another aspect of this and also emphasises the idea of documentation and presentation.

 

I kind of think of the final presentation of this piece as an installation with little assemblages throughout. The desk, the suitcases and the drawer are important aspects of this piece just as the capsules are.

Theres so much in this project. Little details, some that aren’t even seen. Scraps, images and tokens, that have been given signifficance. Hopefully the viewer can observe and appreciate this, constructing their own relationships from it and enjoying the aesthetics overall. You tell me…


 

 

Capsules 1, 2 & 3

So the studio module deadline has been met. I find myself a little bit lost and not knowing what to do with myself. The expansive module deadline is pending but we’re not allowed in the studio this week and I therefore seem to have achieved absolutely nothing today. Perhaps I’ll blog about what I have achieved this semester, to provoke a bit of self- motivation.

Some detail on Capsules One, Two and Three.

Capsule One was the last to be filled, and one of the most frustrating. When you can see the end so close, patience starts to wear thin.

The contents of Capsule One include a hanging envelope containing an old pair of  ‘Pince-nez’ spectacles, and on the right, eight envelopes each with a title but containing a blank page. This is meant to comment on the fading memory of events. We can remember an event happened, we know its title and perhaps its date, but in time the images and details of that occasion deteriorate.The content becomes unclear.

Capsule Two is my favourite and the one I had in my head from day one. It incorporates hanging baby teeth, shelves holding1940s pennies and shells washed up on the beach, still intact with both sides able to close. Creeped out yet? The teeth seem to have provoked some surprise.

I think this is a good example of the nature of assemblage. I’m not just ‘shoving things in boxes’. This is a process where composition must be considered as well as colour and placement of shape and form. Just like painting or photography, it is simply another medium to create an image and a reaction.

Capsule Three allowed me to continue the use of bones, as well as layered acetates, and typewriter text. Each box has a border of a page from ‘the Book of Knowledge’ in it. The boxes were originally motivated by the jumble of subject matter found in those old encyclopedias I acquitred back in Summer.

The small glass contains some preserved, pressed fuchsias. They are so fragile. Everytime I dropped one and tried to pick it up it would just tear in my hands. The old bones, small glass and dried fuchsias continue this representation of the fragility of memory.

As well as each having the border of encyclopedia pages, each is also uniform in the addition of a small light at the top of each capsule. This is to strengthen the concept of these being display cases, they are lit to present the objects more formally. I like the uniformity of the exterior of these boxes, and the consistencies throughout. They are tied together as a series, thus the random objects used have been associated together to create a new context. Hurrah.

 

Artist’s Statement

A wee bit of official stuff for you! This week there’s a Recorded Tutorial. Basically we’ve to present the current state of our studio work and talk about our progress complete with a written report on what we’re doing and intend to do. Its a bit wordy and maybe a bit too ‘arty’ for some, but thats art school…

This semester my work has taken the form of Assemblage Art. Having scavenged and collected a store of objects from human teeth to a pair of 1919 binoculars, I was drawn to the overall concept of ‘free association’, an unconscious associating of seemingly unrelated objects. In the summer of this year I began collecting old encyclopaedias’. These books fascinated me with the apparent jumble of issues; academic tutorials on physics would be followed by an article on ‘How to Bake a Chicken Pie’. I am interested in the idea of seemingly unrelated issues being channeled together and therefore being assigned a common theme. Although the issues in these books did not flow by subject matter, their common factor was simply that they had been bound together in this book for others to observe. This excited my interest in documenting and presentation, I have always been fascinated by the ability to simply change a setting and thereby completely alter a context; one of the most famous examples of this would be Duchamp’s ‘Fountain’.


When something is put into a gallery space, and even more so when it is put into an isolated framework, the level of significance and the way in which it is viewed is completely changed. In my artwork I have a great interest in framing and documenting smaller works, I enjoy the importance this isolation can bring a found object.  I have previously worked in photo frames and large boxes, I wanted to advance my study in third year by moving onto more solid capsules. The construction and form of these capsules is of great importance to the overall aesthetic of the piece and therefore a significant amount of time has been dedicated to making six circular wooden boxes. The technical structure of these capsules has so far been the biggest challenge this semester. I have been making good use of the advice and resources offered in the Fine Art Workshop and my technical skills have progressed greatly. Making the capsules for this project has been time consuming and challenging. However, I am happy with the final form these have taken and am now eager to arrange and assemble scenes within them.                                                                There is an intricacy to encasing logically unconstructed ideas within a solid structure. With the objects being seemingly unrelated in any other context, the viewer is given a freedom and opportunity to perceive their own relationships as well as enjoying the spontaneity of the visual itself.                                                                                                  I have found inspiration when creating this project from the works of Christian Boltanski and Arman (who’s work I was able to view at the Pompidou) with their ability to assign emotion to regular objects such as biscuit boxes and lightbulbs. Also, the work of Will MacClean was brought to my attention when visiting the City Art Centre earlier this year, out of the many assemblage artists I have researched his subtle compositions are some of the most affecting.


Having collected objects, text, photographs, printed images and produced drawings and mini assemblages over the course of the semester I feel my work is now at the more experimental stage of seeing what ‘works’ in my final capsules. The piece is centered on the action of storing and keeping fragments of objects and text, I feel memory is always a theme therefore that emerges in the overall concept. This idea of maintaining images and layering fragments is reminiscent of the mind and its ability to recall and retain. So, in their visual representation of free association, my assemblages are commenting on the unconscious mind as a collector.                                                                                             I have made plans of each box, each with its own identity, however, I prefer a more physical approach when it comes to this stage of the assemblage. When making the capsule structures, rigid plans were necessary for the success of the construction, but in the installation of the content within the boxes, I feel a ‘trial and error’ approach is more efficient.                                                                                                                                     I feel the concept itself allows for context to emerge and grow as the work does. When placing objects together, narratives and relationships are formed in a more natural way. I am on schedule with the development of this project, there is still a lot to be done, but I am confident and enthusiastic about the final outcome.