I Want Your Baking Trays

That’s pretty much it. I want a collection of old and tarnished baking trays and cake tins. I want to arrange them and stack them, and make a sculpture out of them.

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I like to look at them. And they’re old, some dating back to the 60’s. Fascinating.

If you have any you would like to donate to my cause, please let me know.

Thank You.

 

A Problem I’ve Been Having

I’ve become so intertwined with my work.

I guess this is good. The stuff is just me. The problem is its so me that I’m protective of it. I don’t want anyone to know.

Perhaps, however, if they did know the stories of the work, it would help them to appreciate said work. A title provides context, but is it enough? Do my titles need to be more revealing? Do my descriptions need to be more in-depth?

Or can I provide a hint and a little bit of context and rely on you to enjoy it anyway?

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Everything I Know About Him

(2013)

spent matches, collected circles, text on trace, war used binoculars, rusted soap dish.

 

Do I have to tell you who ‘him’ is and what it is I know?

This is what I’m struggling with right now.

 

Betrayal of a Typewriter

 VS.

Technology is making a strong argument against my manual Imperial typewriter at the moment.

I’ve had the idea in my head for a while to make a shirt out of typed text. The problem with this is that with a typewriter having set margins, I’ve been having to make the pattern in panels. This obstructs the look of the piece a little.

Yesterday I had a crit. My tutor suggested, “why don’t you just print out multiples?”.

“Well because… because I want to stay true to my materials… and well… because… oh that sounds difficult… and because…”

the dream‘the dream’

I muttered nothings for a few moments and then realised as lovely as the idea of me hand typing the whole shirt is, I’d be so much more productive if i sped up the process with more advanced technology. And technically I’ve still typed the original text that got copied. That counts, right? …Right?

It counts. I’ve come to terms with it now. By scanning in one printed panel and multiplying it on photoshop then printing it on the large scale art school printers, I can do 3 weeks worth of typing in an hour. So I can make more art. I believe this is what they call a ‘win-win situation’.

the reality‘the reality’

 

20 Bananas Laid to Rest

 

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The end of the banana project, and my submission into Relics of Attachment Part II.

“20 Bananas Put To Rest

Rachael Disbury’s work surrounds the themes of obsessive sentimentality. The artist has spent four months trying to preserve a banana peel. This piece shows the end of the project. It is up to the viewer if the artist was successful in her attempt. “

 

Memories I No Longer Need – A Conversation Between Jonathon Baxter & Pete Kinnear

I met Jonathan Baxter a few weeks ago during his ‘Post-Mortem’ residency at Generator. I cannot begin to describe the exhibition space he inhabited. A collectors haven, would be a start. A life size archive of… well as far as I could see, everything. Including the nothings we often disregard. There were boxes of broken eggshells and drawers of used packaging, assemblages of bone parts and discarded tea bags. I found it fascinating.

Jonathan and I got talking and while rummaging through his space we came across a box the artist had acquired some years ago. Jonathan passed this box onto me and so it was that ‘Memories I No Longer Need’ came to be an artwork included in the current exhibition I am curating, ‘Relics of Attachment Part II’.
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This chance meeting led to another string to the Relics bow. Jonathan and I arranged for Pete Kinnear and himself to conduct a discussion to accompany the exhibition.

This took the form of a conversation and unpacking of the box between Jonathon Baxter and the original owner of the box and its contents,
talk3Pete Kinnear.

The title the box was given when it became an artwork was ‘Memories I No Longer Need’ with the description attached, “an exchange of archives from Pete Kinnear to Jonathan Baxter, from Jonathan Baxter to Rachael Disbury, from Rachael Disbury to Relics of Attachment.”

The conversation was attended by 23 artists. It became a very animated hour or so. A particularly fond moment involved Pete unpacking a ball of twine from the box. Jonathan attached this to his coffee mug and threw it into the audience. Within 5 minutes the entire audience was intertwined.

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Huge thanks are due to Jonathan and Pete for providing a very enjoyable afternoon. I am very proud of all the time and energy invested in the Relics of Attachment project.

 

Relics of Attachment Part II Preview

Thursday evening saw the opening of Relics Of Attachment Part II. Yes, it was Valentines Day, and oh how romantic it was. We couldn’t have asked for a better turn out. The event was a huge success and we are very grateful to the 28 artists that took part and everyone else that was involved in this project.relics7

Cooper Gallery Project Space

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The preview ran from 5 til 7 and was heavily attended. We have received very positive feedback about the exhibition which runs until the 2nd of March.

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Our friends and fellow artists have been a great help in this process. Harriette baked brownies for the occasion, and a group of my old friends made a surprise appearance. The middle image below shows Liam Dunn performing a reading from his ‘Fuckist Manifesto’, which was also a great success and brought another dimension to the evening.

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We were able to exhibit a wide selection of work in varying mediums. A lot of work went into this project, from the small details of what wine to serve to the larger tasks of making the accompanying publication. The five of us on the Relics team have had a hectic few months.

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 Perhaps we can sleep now… oh wait, there’s that Degree Show thing coming up…

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Everything I’m Thinking Right Now

We were required to do a presentation of our work this week, complete with slides and talking within a lecture theatre. As nerve wracking as this was, it got me to think about the keys points of my work. I want to write these down and have them there to reflect on if ever I get lost in it. So I have.

 

 

My work surrounds ideas of ‘Obsessive Sentimentality’. To give context to this, a personal anecdote is required. Two years ago I took a trip to Paris and indulged in all the wonderful cliches of the place, running around with a beret for a week (go on, judge me). When I came back from Paris it was time to ditch my monthly contact lenses and change them for a fresh pair. I couldn’t. It’s this irrational attachment to a useless object that fascinates me. By disposing of those contact lenses, I’d have felt like I was losing something.

I’ve gone even further back this year, focusing on a collection of old specs. I’ve worn glasses since the age of six, so this is seven years worth.

 

Although the objects are personal objects, and I myself have these notions of nostalgia I’m discussing, the work is not intended as confessional. An idea is what I’m trying to express. The glasses have become something new. Their intended purpose is void. With the repeated image on the backboard in this glasses piece, a postcard picture meaning nothing to me but repeated hundreds of times, I am communicating that these glasses no longer see anything new, they are irrelevant in this respect. Their new purpose is simply to be kept. Someone has preserved these and given them importance. They are shells, and quite useless.

A good artist to reference at this point would be Sophie Calle.   http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/art-now-sophie-calle

With every passing year, Calle throws a birthday party inviting a number of guests, as customary they bring gifts for her. Instead of using these gifts for their individual conventional purposes, she would box them up and keep them, eventually displaying them in a cabinet. Calle made the decision that the purpose or use of these gifts was not important, it was the attachment and the idea of the ‘gift’ that was important to her. She assigned nostalgic feelings of appreciation and gratitude in each and by displaying them was able to look at them as such, rather than using them.

The presentation is key in this example and in my own work. There is a permanence in encapsulating something. When an object is preserved and framed in the confines of a box, it becomes important and provokes observation and interest. I am constantly framing, making box structures and displaying pieces while continually trying to keep the look clean and uncluttered. The stage of the frame assists the objects, emphasising the idea that they have been assigned a significant not originally intended for them.

 

Similarly, text is a necessary component in my work. The use of titles, explanatory paragraphs and longer spiels of writing is an enjoyable aspect of my practise. I find myself getting obsessed with phrases, the same way I become attached to an object, I get attached to words and repeat them over and over. I sit on my studio floor and typetypetype, annoying studio mates with the pounding of my sentences. This gives a more active representation of the obsessive nature of this sentimentality. A phrase that has been in my head for a while is ‘Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party.’ I love this because the words mean nothing. However it is an old typing exercise and so is remembered and has a significant purpose for so many people, and yet the content of the sentence itself is irrelevant. This echoes the idea of the object becoming a shell for ones own ideas to be projected on, rather than used for its original intention.

Often the work is quite ambiguous in appearance. I find titling helps provide more of a context. For example in my previous work with contact lenses, I had a cabinet of 84 bottles, some with lenses in them, and the title at the bottom read Everything I’ve Ever Seen, 2006 – 2011. This allows for a more interactive experience with the viewer. They see the piece and consider its meaning, they read the text and connect the ideas of sight with the bottles of lenses. They consider it for themselves. I strive for simplicity in the work while trying to maintain the ability to communicate ideas without being overbearing.

My current project continue these values and take them further. Rather than replying on the use of old object, which if overdone can definitely start to look kitsch, I have stripped back my concept to focus on the raw idea of this need to maintain something that has become useless. I am preserving banana peels

 

The bananas themselves are not important, it is the physical process and experimentation I am undertaking, the actions of maintaining an object that naturally has to decay. And I am liking the results. I am left with a collection of these funny shrivelled objects. And like the glasses project I am showing how they have changed and lost purpose. The difference with the bananas to the other objects I have worked with is that the change in then is physically apparent. They are no longer yellow, they are physically completely different to their starting point. This allows the concept to be clearer and more easily communicated than in my previous works.

Taking this further still, this semester I have been continuously collecting data. I have been recording my daily basic functions, and plan to develop this over the Christmas break (providing the dissertation doesn’t kill me). Although I still feel strongly about the work being 3 Dimensional and installation based, I won’t rule out the use of sound in this piece. Stay tuned for that one.

A Question

Can I preserve a banana peel?

I’m trying to. It’s an experiment. The banana itself is not overly significant. For the purposes of the task it works well though. A banana is an everyday consumable object, the peal is the trace. I want to hang onto the trace and see if it is in my power to keep something that naturally decays and fades. I want to make note of the measures I have to go to to hang onto this thing that wants to age.

I have the question. And the answer will be a process.

It’s becoming a custom for my friends/tutors/studiomates to gift my desk with their peels. It’s nice, sort of like getting mail.

 

Artrant

I’m so much better at writing, than I am at talking. Especially about my work. Give me a pen and we’ll have a wonderful conversation. Ask me to stand and explain my art to you and you’ll get a mumble and a red face. Something to work on.

Here’s some shots of how I work. That middle picture is cringey because my desk is a mess. I’m so obsessive about everything being in place. Every morning I like to go in and just arrange my collections. Those bags bellow aren’t even a piece, I just needed them to be together. Odd…

The glasses thing is still in progress but getting somewhere.

          

So yeah, there’s a Recorded Tutorial tomorrow and I’m currently trying to write a statement of my progress and intentions. Writing really helps untangle my thoughts. So far:

My work is very based around the notion of ‘obsessive sentimentality’. I enjoy taking discarded or no longer used objects and bringing them into focus, questioning why they’ve been kept and what they’re new purpose is. I find the idea of becoming attached to an object emotionally, so irational, it’s fascinating.

In previous works I have preserved used contact lenses, presented second hand dress-shirts and made multiples of a pair of binoculars from 1918. The preservation of memory and the assignation of nostalgic value to an ordinary object is a key focus. This semester I am stripping the idea back, exposing the raw process. ‘Can I preserve something that was never intended to remain intact?’

I am working with banana peels. I intend to conduct experiments to find out if/how I can keep a banana peel without it completely decaying. The question is simple, and the answer will be a process. I feel this project embodies the act of trying to hold onto something that naturally fades, like a memory, and the desperate attempts to keep a remnant.

Alongside this project, I am also doing the daily recordings of my personal basic functions; eating, sleeping, etc. This is to direct the preservation of information to data rather than objects. Recording the ordinary and mundane runnings of my life. For now this is very two-dimensional but I feel with progress it has the potential to develop into something with more form that could interact more with a viewer.

Currently I have a lot of loose objects and beginnings of concepts, I enjoy having a body of ideas to explore and a collection of artefacts surrounding me. I feel being tied to one method is stifling, yet my concepts are all somewhat connected.

I have made most progress with the piece I have been working on in the past two weeks,  with the use of my old spectacles. Again it embodies this idea of irationally maintaining something that is now of no practical use to me.

And then I ran out of steam. The rest of the night will be finishing and polishing that. Then an early start for studio fun, a nervous tutorial and an overdue return to the recycling centre. Nacht.

Liverpool Biennial

It was Reading Week last week. I didn’t read. I went to Liverpool though. The Liverpool Biennial is currently on, basically a huge art festival including the works of 242 artists spanning over 27 locations. It was packed. As well as the vast selection of art I was able to view, I also found time to visit the Cavern Club, do a bit of vintage shopping, drink questionable cocktails, and generally have a nice break with some good people.

It was very refreshing seeing artworks from lesser-known artists that I’d never seen before, while still getting to visit the Tate and be impressed by works I’d only previously seen pictures of in books. There was a lot of good art. Vague statement I know… Art that makes you think, that provokes a reaction, in a variety of mediums too. I want to do this sort of thing more often. Getting out of Dundee for a couple of days was bliss, sometimes the studio can just get a bit stifling. Again, this has just reinforced that I need to get going somewhere, keep seeing things.