Modern Britain

I’m feeling very “in the zone” right now.

I have just finshed watching the entire series of The Perfect Home; a series on 4oD presented by Alain de Botton.  It has made me think about the way in which we view our homes in Britain and how we design them. We are scared of Modernism, in our new housing developments we resort back to Georgian designs. I think we feel we are honouring our culture and heritage but really we are just being nostalgic and we are scared of change. From watching the program I learnt that this fear has come from the terrible modernist designs that went into development in the 1960’s. I’m scared of Modernism. I won’t even get a touch screen phone, but Alain made a good point: we have all the choice in the world about what goes in our home or what type of music we like or what clothes we like but when it comes to our house, housing developments give us very similar options.

Modern architecture focuses on light, freedom, outside but inside, large rooms and open planning. Developments tend to be box rooms, boxing us in. We don’t talk to our neighbours and stay in our box within our house. With this in mind I want to use my casts first of all to represent the types of materials used in different eras for example plaster and resin. The clear resin will reflect the openness of modern housing and plaster with represent the ugly functionality of 60’s architecture. I then want to create a traditional style house made from cardboard with mini boxes within; showing what I previously mentioned about boxed in rooms.

What I also took from the program is the nostalgic way both Britain and me personally view homes. After seeing the There is a place… exhibition and now watching this series, I want my drawings and paintings to both record my life how it is now, using diary entries, dates, houses I’ve lived in and routes I have taken time and time again. But at the same time I want to create work that questions modern society and provokes peoples opinions on how we live our life in our homes today.


Collaging, Drawing and Painting.

Had such a nice day reminding myself that I can draw and paint! I’ve done some collage pieces mixing up parts of houses to create an impossible house structure. I then experimented with the collaged image using pencil, chalk, acrylic and a photocopier. I think I prefer the drawing on its own, before the paint. Especially when colour photocopied the chalk blurs and the yellow tinge of the paper is highlighted. I also like that the house can be mistaken as one when it is still in the drawing form. I want to carry on experimenting in this style becoming more precise with my drawing possibly like Laura Oldfield Road.

Pyschogeography and Urban Emptiness

I’ve had such an inspiring day! I’ve been on a road trip to Walsall and Birmingham, visiting THE NEW ART GALLERY,Walsall. A fantastic art space, exhibiting a show I couldn’t wait to see called THERE IS A PLACE… It definitely lived up to my expectations! If not more. I gasped as I walked in and saw two huge canvases of George Shaw’s. I’m beginning to be his number one fan. I adore his work. I love how down to earth he is about it too. Every piece of work in the exhibition complemented one another. I fell in love with Laura Oldfield Ford and Graham Chorlton’s work. I loved the way Oldfield Ford used text and quirky font in her pieces, especially her use of dates. They reminded me of diary entries. I enjoyed that her work seemed less precious due to its frayed edges of the cartridge paper she used. What I liked about Chorlton’s work was his painting style. He uses acrylic, washed down and dripped down the canvas in areas; a paint style I have been missing and need to get back into!

I’ve had so many ideas today and felt confident about my practice and what I want to do. Create a human presence without the figures, nostalgia, memories, places that have importance to me, use diary entries, and take film photographs, collage, and get painting!

One last quote from George Shaw: “I paint the paintings of all the times and all the thoughts I lack the language to describe.”

Some Photography After Work

Yesterday I had a really inspiring lecture from painter called J.A Nicholls then went to an inspiring photography exhibition at The Malt Cross Gallery called YOU ARE HERE.

I felt  some of the ideas really connected with my practice from the exhibition:

  • The housing cliché fills our streets with a monotonous aesthetic. The mass production of the suburban house refines our economy.  As a culture, individuality is often seen as essential, expressed through our homes to avoid this cliché. We yearn to be different.”
  • A house reveals how it has been shaped and lived in over the years; my images turn ‘the ordinary’ into a stage in which invites the audience to have an insight into another person’s life.

I wanted to get out there and take some photographs today. I’d been looking at some of my old work, including the painting I did of “The Velvet Lounge”, an abandoned strip club. With this in mind, after work today I set out taking photographs of any abandonment/deterioration I saw. Here is the pick of my favourite ones of the day.

Following Nicholls lecture I’m considering working with some of the images using collage to create an almost surreal image then creating a painting from this. I might also use other images of houses and warp them together in a similar way.

“the art isn’t bigger than the people”

It was the opening night at the BACKLIT gallery on Friday, presenting their exhibition “Hyper Real.” I was lucky enough to be involved volunteering there for the event. I had an absolutely wonderful time. There was such a fantastic atmosphere in the space, I was able to meet lots of the artists, talk to them about their work, meet their family and friends and all this with a glass of wine in hand!

It seemed as I mingled and handed out surveys to people it wasn’t just me who felt that the exhibition was a huge success. People remarked that “it’s different than anywhere else I’ve been.” To see the open studio spaces simultaneously to work on the show meant that you could see the artist’s influences and inspirations. Usually in exhibitions these spaces are kept hidden, but the spaces became part of the exhibition for me. I loved the collection of objects, from lava lamps to tea sets; it was fascinating to see the inspirations behind their work. I think it would have been nice to see more of the artist’s from the studio spaces exhibiting their work in the show.

The exhibition was the first event to be hosted at the new venue for BACKLIT, at Alfred house, onAshley Street. I never visited their old space, but many people I talked to commented on the new space being a fantastic improvement. The team have worked hard to get were they are and should be very proud. The space hosted the event excellently, walking into the main room seeing fantastic work by Garry Martin, Richard Fairgrieve, John Harris and the Virtual Gallery, then walking through the studio spaces to get to the installation piece by Thomas Woodcock and Diana Miguel.

Throughout the evening I couldn’t stop looking over at of Garry Martin’s piece “It’s a Bloomin Marble!” The way the imitation of the solid balloon was standing just did not seem possible. I’m still asking the question: how was it stood up like that? This notion of what is real and what’s not was something referred to in the exhibition’s title “Hyper Real.” The curators of the exhibition wanted the viewers to explore spaces that are real, virtual, and purely representational; I think they definitely succeeded with this. The performance by the 1623 Theatre Company only furthered these notions, engaging all those in the space moving around the entire gallery and demanding attention into their virtual world.

The exhibition is running for a further week if you haven’t seen it yet!

Layered Paintings

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, so with my “get up and go” attitude this week I decided to find some wood and get painting! I’ve used layers upon layers of paint and wallpaper repeated on top of one another. I have shown the layers forming by keeping at least one section of each layer on show. I am using emulsion paint, samples from wilkos that people use to paint the rooms in their house. The idea behind the layers is the layering of lives that occur on a wall in house. The layers of paint and wallpapers put on walls of houses again and again. As I was choosing my next colour, I was imagining the room that the colour provoked in my mind. I imagined the new people going into the home. I also thought about the decades of fashionable wall coverings; replacing each fashion over the next. I also imagined the life of child growing up, the changing wall coverings as they age; the baby room a yellow colour, a character wallpaper as they grow older, colours and styles representing their age. If I was to do a child’s room like this perhaps I could also include posters.

Whilst creating the piece I began to think about the names given to the paint colours. I’m considering using the name of one of the paint colours as a title for the piece. I am also considering/going to make another piece that will have different shades of green (or another colour) all in a row on a magnolia wall.  Showing the decisions made to create that perfect room. I also thought about creating a piece inspired my Jim Dine, but instead of drawing the paint brushes hanging them in the same way however using the actual paint brushes and having different colours still on the end of the brush. Need to wait till I’m finished using the brushes though!

Not to worry though

I’ve started some work today/yesterday! Got my act together and decided to get myself back in the college mode and get up early, and just get some work done and it’s been really good today. Faced some fears and went to check out some different areas. Started some casting today! Started with a little house then after putting Plasticine into all the nooks and cranies of the bigger one I made a mould for that one. Must remember for the silicone, work out 10%,then half that to get the 5% weight needed of the liquid. Really excited to see the casts i make  from this tomorrow hopefully! It would be amazing to see loads of the little ones!

I’ve also done some quick sketches which hopefully I can scan in, work with on photoshop and print out on acetate to create an image that looks like an x ray of a house.

Today has been good, been brainstorming about some ideas about starting some layered paintings too. Stop thinking and DO Rachel!