SHAGGY DOG DRAWING RESEARCH

PhD: long, rambling story or joke, typically one that is amusing only because it is absurdly inconsequential or pointless

Category: Studio Practice

Studio Diary M.A. : That’s all folks and a chapter on Moogee

Surprise of the week was news that Moogee had his own chapter in a new Loughborough/UAL/Teachers Columbia publication 🙂

TTDfront moogee

M.A. ASSESSMENT

This is the final entry in the studio diary section as I will be assessed on my M.A. this Wednesday afternoon. To prepare for this I have created the pdf below and uploaded to Scribd detailing the progress made throughout the M.A. and the final outcomes at this point.

Where I go from here is a good question and not one I can answer easily.

There are three separate yet overlapping areas I have become deeply interested in.

1. Drawing research ; phenomenology of drawing and in particular an interest in sense of place and notions of ‘signature’ in terms of preparatory drawings especially in Gorky,  Miro up to Motherwell and Twombly all developing out of the surrealism and dada influence on mid-century American painting.

2. Early film/photography and magazine culture of the 18th Century/early 19th century and its relation to current developments in web. I have a paper to present in Paris on Charles Dickens magazine illustration end of March and I will be concentrating on that alone from now until then.

3. The continuation of this research into artistic research theory/philosophy of aesthetics and its dissemination through fine art pedagogy.

All three are possible PhD subject matter and how my institution views my future will probably have a major bearing on where I go.

My heart though probably in number one…..my head in number three and my teaching future at present tied up somewhere in number  two whether I like it or not…….

Interesting times ahead 🙂

Meanwhile I’d like to thank Deborah Harty for her very good supervision and for stopping me going off-track all the time or as they like to say in academia develop ‘focus’. Focused I am right now but come Thursday who knows:-)
please note the backgrounds have distorted in this display.

 

Drawology: Bonington Gallery Show

Also a nice review in Nottingham Evening Post by Mark Patterson. November 21st 2013.

PEOPLE who can draw, and even those of us who can only manage stick figures, will tell you that drawing is the basis of all art.

The ability to make representational marks on some kind of surface, using some kind of tool, is one of the earliest forms of human expression and everything else, including all the artistic movements and isms, follows on. And today, Joe Public still values artworks which embody a degree of God-given raw skill, including the ability to draw well, more highly than installations, films and sculptures made of shopping trolleys.

What then, will the Man and Woman on the Nottingham Omnibus make of Drawology, the new exhibition of contemporary drawing which opened this week at Nottingham Trent University’s Bonington Gallery?

For sure, this is a show where traditional drawing is ably represented by artists such as Bill Prosser, whose fine black and white pencil drawings of domestic spaces – waste bins, staircase landings – force the eye to zoom in with strange fascination on the very texture of carpets, curtains and loose wires.

Yet this is also an exhibition which also aims to seek out different forms of drawing; to investigate, essentially, what drawing can be in a wider extent.

So, at the other end of the spectrum from Prosser, Deborah Harty’s take on drawing – defined in its essence as the representation of experiences – is an enclosed installation of film projections on a glass table.

Between Prosser’s and Harty’s two kinds of drawing we get a broad range of other forms including film such as Maryclare Foa’s ‘Line Down Manhattan’, which follows her as she walks down to the southern tip of Manhattan while trailing a large piece of chalk fastened to a piece of rope. The wobbly chalk line she leaves on crowded pavements and roads is her drawing of Manhattan.

Most of the artworks here, though, are traditional flat 2D images, albeit using a wide variety of tools, such as chalk, pastels and paints, on paper of varying thickness and textures.

You’ve got to be impressed by Patricia Cain’s huge three-piece, titled ‘Riverside Triptych III’, which recreates a cavernous interior with an overwhelmingly intricate arrangement of metallic struts, railings and platforms.

And you’ve got to like Andy Pepper’s iridescent coaster-size squares, which flash shimmering images of grass at you from the floor.

Shaun Belcher, who lectures at the university, as do several other artists here, displays a minimal, anti-art market ethic with his three flat framed squares, composed of squiggles and occasional autobiographical references, which bear titles such ‘P***ed Off Drawing’.

Sian Bowen, a former artist-in-residence at the Victoria & Albert Museum, is another artist here who plays with the rules.

Her three 3D lightboxes, titled ‘Refuge/Silver’ show patterns that are so faint they are almost not there.

On a bright sepia background they look more like the archaeological imprint of ancient organic forms left in the soil.

They serve to bring the exhibition full circle back to the very roots of drawing as humanity’s earliest artistic attempt to make sense of the world that exists beyond the caves of the eyes.

Drawology can be seen until December 6.

Read more: http://www.nottinghampost.com/Art-Drawology-Bonington-Gallery/story-20113695-detail/story.html#ixzz2myygvdEO

Abstract Comix – The Anatomy of Drawing?

I was in conversation with Andrei Molotiu the author of the book Abstract Comics (http://abstractcomics.blogspot.co.uk ) and he basically challenged me to go beyond the film derived sequential drawings of earlier in the year and attempt a full abstract comic approach which I duly did yesterday. The result below.

comic

This is based on two symbols that were constant companions in my first period of intensive abstract drawing from 1981-1989. The two objects are based on a barn door and a sheave of barley both distant childhood memory derivations. At this time I was working off an abstract expressionist base where Arshile Gorky and Miro were very important in terms of memory symbols. Here I have used the two objects to tell an abstract sequential story which has abstract speech bubbles. I jokingly called it my autobiography hence the grave symbol at end. The story is subconscious there no direct narrative. I drew the structure of the comic based on memories of similar page structures in comics.

The interesting thing is that it seems to relate directly back to a ‘graphic novel’ I attempted in 1992 (below the front cover). I will try and get rest of sequence scanned which although cartoon based is more conventional cartoon figuration rather than abstract and contains quite a lot of text. For this I thank Simon Lewty ( http://www.artfirst.co.uk/simon_lewty ) who has been a constant source of inspiration in his blend of the narrative, abstract and annotated.

Andrew has asked me for a better quality photo of the work for his blog (see above) so I will update the picture above with a high quality image tomorrow.

App0002

I also just realised that it structurally hints at the kind of emblematic work Alasdair Gray parodied in his ‘Leviathan’ drawing for the front cover of his book Lanark. My memory was obviously remembering the front cover of Richard Burton’s ‘Anatomy of Melancholy’.

 

Studio Reading: Practice related- Klee and Kandinsky

Studio library and most recent reading related to drawing practice.

Studio Photos May 2013

Studio Diary: 7th May – Burolandschaft?

A very hot day and studio a little cooler than expected which good. Still managed to create three drawings despite also reading photo related items specifically about early photography ( Lady Elizabeth Eastlake’s Review from London Quarterly Review).

Had a fascinating message from an architect doing a PhD at the University of Tasmania who picked up on the recent drawings. He said they reminded him of the German ‘Burolandschaft’ workplace drawings of the Quickborner Team of 1960’s.

history_burolandschaft_planarts_council_workspace_C-pr

I did some hasty research (Googled it) and came up with drawings he referring to which were fascinating (see below). The connection is not entirely strange as I have been regarding these drawings a s cumulative ‘memory’ maps of my hometown/landscape. I am coming at it from a fine art viewpoint which more influenced by artists like Simon Lewty (http://www.artfirst.co.uk/simon_lewty/) and Aboriginal Bark Painting (signifiers of place) as much as maps and graphic diagrams. The idea of linking this further to architectural diagrams/theory fascinating. I shall be delving deeper. Especially as the drawings above show Caruso St John plans for the new Arts Council offices…ironically 🙂

http://www.carusostjohn.com/media/artscouncil/new_national_office/introduction/index.html

lewty

For one of the drawings I sectioned the page into ‘staves’ or ‘cartoon strips’ to try out some sequential abstract narrative notions I have. This could lead to some large painted/drawn canvases for final show.

Studio Diary Day 1: Practice based research?

Ok so here I am back in the studio at the beginning of the second year of my M.A. by registered project and after a summer of drawing related ‘research’ I am standing in front of a very old work on paper (c.1988) and two new canvases done over the summer in the time not spent researching Frayling’s Categories (which wasn’t much). So what do the canvases have to do with research if anything?

I am struggling already to codify or analyse the works from any kind of methodological perspective. The ideas ’embedded’ in the paintings are intuitive, visceral (acrylic paint applied to canvas) and come from a half-formed naive idea of ‘comic’ forms from looking at various comic and graphic novels and studying Philip Guston’s work in some depth especially his drawings. I did read the book ‘Night Studio’ by Musa Meyer which I remember was quite a harrowing account of how his depressions and rages affected his family ( Musa is his daughter). It did however convince in describing the sheer effort that went into his work.

I suppose if I mined back into other works on him I would find material relating to his genesis of the comic forms that replaced his earlier ‘abstract expressionist’ period. I also own the book ‘Sweeper up after artists’ by Irving Sandler which I was half way through and which is very telling in its depiction of the fraught nature of post Abstract Expressionist careerism in New York in the early 1960’s. But is this research…it is art historical research for sure but unless it impacts on my physical creation of an object could it be said to describe anything but ‘contextual knowledge’. To impact on the creation of an art object surely it has to be more profound than that?

I am just asking questions here as at the start of a difficult journey. Turning ‘intuitions, feelings and observations’ into theoretical research is a hard task. I am not convinced as I start this ‘Studio Diary’ that it at all possible but I may learn something else in the process.

I am standing looking at the works. Day One. I photograph them so as to show the similarity in pieces created nearly twenty years apart and in very different locations and circumstances. Maybe that affects how I create images. Maybe the context is more important than I thought.

I am also awed by the quotation from Dickens that I discover Guston had on his wall, which he held to, about complete devotion to the cause. I have never liked ‘Sunday painting’ but never had the means to devote my life to painting and this the reason I have stopped painting for long periods. I found an interesting article online by chance detailing Guston in the studio by Dore Ashton.

http://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=ft4x0nb2f0;chunk.id=d0e2683;doc.view=print

This appears to be completely available online at:

http://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=ft4x0nb2f0&brand=ucpress

Now here’s some art history to get my teeth into.

Quite a start…..but is it research?