A house you can’t see into.

I really got into this chipping away process at the plaster house. I began to chip away at the windows and doors creating this “house you can’t see into.” It stemmed from Alex Lowery’s paintings I spotted the other day. https://rachelfenwick.co.uk/2013/10/23/alex-lowery/

What I see in this piece is the privacy of our homes. When I unintentionally didn’t complete a painting back in 1st year I created a house without windows. With this plaster piece I’m commenting on the same notions I was touching on then- that when your house goes up for sale images become available on the internet of our private home- everyone can have a peak through your curtains! You can’t peak through any curtains here!

The Fictitious: Re-Present

Also wanted to share my excitement, to say that my piece World Wide Web was accepted and has recently featured in the Crocus Gallery Exhibition 16th January – 26th February: The Fictitious curated by Re-Present.


The link above is a review of the show by fellow Backliteer, in which she is very complimentary to my piece:

“Perhaps I missed the meanings behind quite a few of the visual works, but I was frequently at a loss as to how they connected with the concept of the fictitious. In my opinion, the three strongest works of the exhibition were World Wide Web by Rachel Fenwick, I Hate Writing by Lucy Orbell and Untitled by Kerry Burns.”

World Wide Web by Rachel Fenwick is a photo album containing the private photos of a stranger who chose to make her photo album publicly available on Facebook. The story told is not one that belongs to the teller. The arrangement of photos, and the inclusion of a few that weren’t, in fact, part of the original digital album, presents a partially fictionalised life sequence. The work also raises questions about the public and the private; whether by printing and pasting these photos into an album, the artist has somehow “stolen” privacy, even though the digital album was made publicly available. At what point does the truth of someone else’s life become fair game for the creative energies of a stranger? Can privacy be challenged when it’s being fictionalised? To what extent is it required to be altered before it’s no longer an invasion of privacy?”

I can’t say more than that really? Bryony summed it up pretty well for me there! I have to say it was a lovely feeling seeing people pick up the album and question it’s content. I got some fantastic comments on the night as well as a lovely Amaretto Hot chocolate!

Nothing Like the Privacy of Your Own Home

I’m annoyed at myself for not writing sooner about the exhibition piece that developed from the box I began making in Maurice’s Barn. Following from the last post, I was unsure about the image inside. I had hoped to include a photograph of a private image, one that you would never upload onto the internet; a naked image perhaps or of someone particularly sad; maybe crying. By displaying a photograph using these most intimate moments I had hoped to show that the internet world is mostly just a mask, a representation of real life, no matter how many smiley images we put online there are always some things we keep hidden inside the home; behind that keyhole.

I found it difficult to decide how I wanted the viewer to react towards the image. I found that an image of someone crying was hard to come by- given the reason I wanted the image- no one puts an image of themselves online crying. Therefore I have limited myself- an image I could create myself I know would be too staged. A naked image I reflected would result in an attitude towards a “dirty box.” Therefore I began to think about the concept of the mundane home, the unexciting life we wouldn’t publicize, the ordinary behind the keyhole- our private life that only the select few see.

An artist I want to mention here is Manfredi Beninati. He was a great influence in the making of this piece. I saw his piece “To Think of Something” years ago whilst at 6th form at the Liverpool Biennial. http://liverpoolbiennial.co.uk/artists/all/85/manfredi-beninati/  The piece was housed secretly behind a billboard. It had glass in the bottom corner for the viewer to look through. Me as the viewer peered in to see the installation of a home setup. With my piece Nothing Like the Privacy of your Own Home I wanted the viewer to feel how I felt, that they were being allowed to look into something secret, feel that childlike guilt that you were looking into something you weren’t supposed to. When I saw people peering in at the Private View I felt had achieved the interactive role of spying!

However after receiving some feedback, I’m not sure I fulfilled everything I had set out to with this piece. My tutor felt that the photograph did not fulfill its role as an actively spying feature, perhaps he is right that the image is too stagnant to feel like you’re a trespassing on someone’s personal life. The keyhole aspect could also be greatly improved. A whole door or room is needed to play out the part out.

Moment of Clarity

Note from my journal when I had a moment earlier today:

Just having a think about my practice, how I’m feeling, I’m trying to think of ways to define it. Human activity? The spaces we inhabit? Trying to find links. Privacy is a key issue. I feel painting v photography was an important question to ask in my practice. I needed to ask it to further my making process. I don’t even feel like I fully resolved it but it felt right to ask it. The home is still very much at the forefront of of my thoughts. I am linking the role of Facebook into the privacy we no longer have, or have given away maybe. Layering of lives is very important to me which links to the vintage photographs and albums, they are ways of showing our existence. Facebook is a way of showing our existence. Records and archives do this too. Searching for people has always been possible it is just easier and more accessible now. 

Would also like to note the book i’m reading right now which is amazing, called Home by Julie Myerson. It tells the story of the all the people who ever lived in her 130 year old house in Clapham, London. All the personal stories which went on there and her voyage in finding them. Another great source is the BBC’s documentary Supersize World. What a program!  It makes you think about the 7 billion people that now live in the world and how we are all clustered together in such small areas.