Assignment 3: A review of your studio progress, a decision about your research proposal and update o

Most of Assignment 3 has been subsumed into my Option and Personal Practice work.

However, I will include an overview of my studio progress; an idea about my research proposal – I don’t understand the Presentation and Evaluation section so will discuss this with my tutor; and a brief course plan for the next 50 hours of my Personal Practice.

Overview of my studio progress

Part Three feels like I have made several major steps forward in defining my Personal Practice.

  1. I have definitively moved into abstraction and am coming to some understanding of my position.

This has been greatly facilitated by my reading; Foster, H. et al. (2011) Art Since 1900: Modernism, Antimodernism, Postmodernism. (s.l.): Thames & Hudson charts (among many other things) the development of abstraction in Europe, and the birth of American gestural abstraction following the influx of the European avant garde in the 1930’s and the teaching of Albers and Moholy-Nagy following the uprooting, and replanting, of the Bauhaus from Europe to America.

The gestural abstractionists in America faced all the same problems that I am encountering on my own. It is as if somebody has done the journey for me and I can build on their solutions rather than inventing the wheel from scratch.

It’s like being back at drama school and going down the pub with a bunch of mates chatting about all the exciting things we’re doing.

My eventual solution will be different to the American abstract expressionists of the 1950’s because I am different, and society is different… but it’s great to have them around.

2. I see myself not as producing ‘finished’ works of art, with a repeatable skill. So not painting realistic representational works, changing the subject, but with the product staying the same. But rather as a scientist artist constantly engaged in research and development with my materials, and producing new products.

I like to think I’m more in the Albers camp (Bauhaus in a liberal arts context) than Maholy-Nagy (Bauhaus as design) camp but I suspect I’m a little of both.

The main point being that I now have an ideological position to support my painting process (not surrealist automatism which the abstract expressionists abandoned) but authorial painting unmediated by figuration. And that in expressing human vision my paintings connect to other human beings because we all share humanity.

3. A growing confidence in the value of abstraction.

The American abstract expressionists started off feeling in awe of the European avant garde and through the 30 and 40’s slowly gained confidence to their high point in the 1950’s.

Having spent most of my life accepting that art was high end gallery art, that art is judged by a representational skill, and that to be a painter is to have a specific figurative skill it’s difficult to stand tall as an abstract expressionist. So, to go through the American journey and listen to their arguments, and self doubts, has given me a much deeper understanding of what I am doing.

With understanding comes confidence and the ability to defend ones position, feel good about it, and know why you’re doing it.

Research proposal

I’m not very clear about the final 200 hours of this course so I hope to discuss it with my tutor.

I imagine I pick an area to research… say the Stripe Paintings of Patrick Heron, and produce a body of work based on that research. So perhaps, 50 hours research and 50 hours making.

The other 100 hours is on my Presentation and Evaluation.

Once I have a clearer idea of what’s involved I can firm up some ideas and run them past my tutor.

Personal Project – the next 50 hours

I hope to base this on a combination of the feedback from my tutor on Part 3, and on my work on Part 3 and 4 of Option 4.

So, I will take the insights from my 50 hours of research on my Option to structure my 50 hours Personal Practice and take it in new directions.

The structure, that I’ve used before and found works well, is to have about 10 hours research and 40 hours making (which could be 5 paintings of 8 hours)… however, I have found that I may well add extra canvases as practical research as one painting throws up some new ideas that I can explore in another painting.

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