Latest iteration of my {Artist’s Statement} April 2014

VH3T007 Art Practice: Self-Directed Project

Statement of Intent

Introduction

I am an artist who works in a variety of media. My artworks reference:

  • environmentalism,
  • politics of the everyday,
  • philosophy,
  • post-colonial theory
  • as well as the avant-garde or the post-modern and
  • the left-wing democratic movement as a form of resistance against the logic of the capitalist global market system.

I hope that my art opens up a series of questions about the nature of power or, more specifically, structural violence and the banality of everyday evils.
I have explained these terms more fully in my contextual studies essay and in my development journals.

I am interested in the use of visual language which urges the viewer to renegotiate art as being part of a reactive or – at times – autistic medium, commenting on oppressing themes in contemporary society.

By autistic, I mean the tendency to view the subject matter or theme through tunnel vision, focusing on singular needs and desires.

By rejecting an objective truth and global cultural narratives, I create with daily, recognizable elements, an unprecedented situation in which the viewer is confronted with the conditioning of his own perception and has to reconsider his biased position.

Aims

My aims are to produce artworks that convey my worldview based on extensive research of contemporary and historical themes. As a means to interrogate and represent my subject I aim to complete a body of work which explores:

  • the potential of photography,
  • drawing,
  • mixed media and
  • installations.

The narrative I wish to achieve comes from a desire to juxtapose elements of artworks, which can comment on how society and community has decayed. I aim to invert the image of society where commodities (technology) have replaced social and community relationships.

My contextual studies research dealt with the notion that the culture of advanced capitalism has resulted in society suffering from a collective mental illness, cognitive dissonance, or schizophrenia. I intend to use my research to influence my work using this theme of dissonance or dis-ease.

Symbolism (semiotics) will play a key part in my praxis, combining imagery and symbols to convey a message. As will the use of “polysemic imagery” i.e. having many possible meanings and obfuscation i.e. hiding intended meaning in communication, being confusing, willfully ambiguous.

Objectives

At the end of this project I want to achieve a series of works that coalesce to create a related set of meanings, which depicts the concept of my praxis.

I need to make sure that my research is in-depth and I have enough ideas in order to produce a final outcome. I want people to be able to relate to my work and to take something personal from it.

I will use props and materials that coincide with my visual practice.

I intend to briefly investigate the six most significant forms of collective notions of identity, which modern social psychologists have listed as: religion; gender; class; nation; race and civilization.

I intend to wrong foot the viewer by using images and text which are familiar, but in subversive and unfamiliar ways.

I intend to investigate the ‘Manichean’ notion, which divides the world into two poles; i.e. heaven or hell; of, or relating to, a dualistic world viewpoint. Dividing things into good or evil, light or dark, black or white involving no in between.

Whilst researching manifestations of modern “evil” I came across a survey of 4,000 UK residents across the demographic, by the charity The Joseph Rowntree Trust. Their Director of Poverty Alliance, Peter Kelley identified the top ten “social ills” and he identified interconnectedness between these “ills” in this list. I propose that one of my objectives is to use this comprehensive survey as a means of tying together the work that I have produced into a more structured narrative.

The final outcome will consist of two elements, the real and the abstract.

  • The real will express the strength and fragility, vulnerability and security found in communities of the past.
  • The abstract will express a façade, a staged environment, portraying the Marxist notion of commodity fetishism and corporatism.
Primary Sources

I will continue to use mixed media, found items (when possible) and continue to paint and I will definitely use photography. I feel use of mixed media is my specialized area so it’s inclusion will strengthen my resolved works but I would like to further my development towards something that I am unfamiliar with.

Photography will be one of the leading primary sources for my work; I will take pictures to use and to work from.

Development of ideas will be done mainly using Adobe Photoshop and using rudimentary sketches and collages from newsprint cuttings.

Secondary Sources

Secondary sources will include researching online, those objects, photographs, and other works of art that express and interpret similar themes and problems to my own and which I can use to support my own investigations and development.

It may also be graphic images, popular imagery, digital images, film and performance.

Essentially, the secondary source is a mediated response to the world, that I can make use of.

The artists and movements that inform my praxis will include; Post-modernism movements such as –

Dada / Surrealism;

Marcel Duchamp; Rene Magritte; Kurt Schwitters; Man Ray; Louise Nevelson; Paul McCarthy;

Guy Debord’s Situationist International art movement. Mark McGowan – The Artist Taxi Driver. Agitprop; http://agitpropspace.org (http://agitpropspace.org/2012/07/07/prole-drift-jean-lowe-and-the-great-recession/ )

Combines / Assemblage / Readymades:

Arman Pierre Fernandez – ARMAN; Robert Rauschenberg; Marcel Duchamp; Terry Setch; Jason Mecier;

Artists who utilize TEXT and Typography in their works including:

  • Mel Bochner,
  • Grayson Perry,
  • Danielle Buetti,
  • Bob & Roberta Smith,
  • Mike Kelly;
  • Jasper Johns;
  • Keith Herring;
  • Jamie Reid;
  • Marcus Harvey;
  • Banksy;
  • Peter Kennard and Cat Phillipps;
  • Raoul Hausmann;

Social anthropologist David Graeber; Social documentary photographers such as but not limited to; Bill Brandt; David Hurn; Roger Tiley’s 1984 Welsh Miner’s Strike project and current retrospective thirty years on.

Further influences are Theodor Adorno and Jean Baudrillard. Further reading I’ve been studying; Marxist dialectics of Marshall Berman, Walter Benjamin’s “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” and philosophy by Foucault; Chaosophy by Deluze and Guattari, One Dimenional Man by Herbert Marcuse, Terence McKenna, Habitus by French sociologist Bourdieu and others. “The Philosophical Enterprise and the images of Humanity in the World” by Wilfrid Stalker Sellars (1982), George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty Four”.

Context

The context of my work, sits within the genre of contemporary practice, which questions historical ‘truths’ and proposes alternative viewpoints.

For this project I am interested in installation art, I would like to develop my practice towards this method.

The context will be along the lines of: Agitprop; street art; “art as my weapon”; reactionary cultural movements, activism  and protest.

Research Strategies

For this project I feel that it is very important to plan out the research strategies, therefore I shall research as many artists as possible by using online sources and books from my library.

Photographs will be another source of research because I can develop work from my images; I can create duplicates and most of all I can paint from them creating my own interpretation.

I will visit galleries when possible to gain an insight to the type of work that interests me. However there aren’t a great many contemporary exhibitions in South Wales, as a result, I have also travelled to Venice to attend the Biennale and from there I have over 900 photographs of artworks which I found of interest which I have uploaded online to my Picasa photograph account.

Technical Approaches

It is important to plan the process and this includes my choice of media, size and dimensions, materials etc.

I specialize in digital media and mixed media using found items; I definitely intend to use photography as a primary source; a series of experimental studio photographs may help develop my ideas. I intend to trawl through newspapers and magazines.

My praxis has generally led me toward installation. I intend to develop my ideas towards an installation using found objects (using different objects and materials as a metaphor to convey meaning).

I would like to experiment on a large scale to gain more understanding of how that might affect my work.

Use of scale will, in part, be determined by the inherent qualities of those found materials I chose to employ.

Action Plan

Step 1 through Step 4:

The start of the project therefore research is absolute priority. Begin research including searching through websites / news media / research books; also developing Drawings / Photography / experimenting with materials / other source material. I will research artists, writers, philosophers and psychologists relating to my theme and analyse my sources to understand what direction to take with my own work.

Step 3 & 4: as above, I shall be focusing on developing my own ideas.

Photographs and images I’ve generated will help me.

Various materials I’ve collected and researched will be incorporated.

Step 5: Development of concept.

Further develop and experiment with different materials and media.

Step 6: Experiment with visual ideas.

Now I need to start putting my ideas together and begin to think of what I am going to produce for a final outcome.

Step 7: Initiate final project work.

Finalizing ideas for my final piece(s) what message do I want to convey?

What is the purpose of my work?

How does it relate to me as a developing artist?

What are my final pieces?

Will it be a series of mixed media works, canvases or photographs?

How will I display my final piece?

Step 8: Complete final project work. Now I have to start my final piece therefore I need to make sure that I plan my time carefully. I need to make sure that I discuss my ideas with tutors and negotiate ideas and plans for the project.

Step 9: Evaluation

Step 10 – 12: Finish final pieces and make sure that my journal is up to date, including my journey through the project.

Now that the project is coming to an end I need to make sure that my final piece is finished, all my journal work is complete, and I have written a structured evaluation about the project.

Step 13: final pieces have to be displayed Work needs to be exhibited in professional manner within gallery context.