Module 11 ‘Convergence’
Student Proposal: ‘Self and Landscape’
The purpose of this new module, ‘convergence’, is to gives students the freedom to cross the invisible barriers that separate each discipline from each of the others so that a project conceived in, for instance, painting might now end up perhaps as a video of a land-intervention. The barriers in question frequently appear arbitrary to the practising artist, even imaginary, a good example of their putative nature is the practice of Drawing which, in reality, is used in all the other practices with the possible exception of photography. Drawing has, so far and from the viewpoint of this course, been the sole exception to the practice of segregating the various media being studied but this new module, Convergence, provides for further experimentation outside of this artistic apartheid.
It is Drawing, however, although relatively free already, that I wish on this occasion, to unfetter in as much as that I would like to take a main theme from my Drawing module and develop it outside of that module. The original idea was a pictorial narrative on the theme of ‘myself and my landscape’ which took the form of a scroll with a continuous drawing in black ink. Later for reasons which I will not go into here I decided to add coloured ink washes which were intended to be a reference to oriental block-printing. In all likelyhood this would have worked out alright had I been working on a more suitable paper, as it turned out it was not a great success.
The drawing was entirely spontaneous [as explained in the project notes] and as a result lacks somewhat in form despite containing, I think, some nice passages, so that in any case it is probably more suitable as a preliminary drawing. The central idea did spill over into a Photoshop project where it worked very well and I think Photoshop will play a large part in making the final arrangements. However I intend to realise the project as a painting or series of paintings.
I might as well admit that this is at least partly due to a lecture/workshop that we were lucky enough to have presented by Tony Carroll earlier this semester. I would say that we were all profoundly moved by the sight of his collection of pure pigments, oils and gums and enjoyed very much the opportunity to make some paints using them. Indeed I personally was moved to search out and purchase a copy of Proffessor Max Doerner’s book ‘The Materials of the Artist and their Use in Painting’ that Tony recommended. I have also assembled a small collection of some of the materials mentioned in the book and am naturally keen to make use of them.
The Drawing project, as I have mentioned, was conceived of originally as a scroll orientated horizontally and representing a sort of timeline albeit one which had the appearance of moving back and forth simultaneously. A river running the length of the scroll reinforces the idea of movement and at some point near the end I started to introduce rectangular frames reminiscent perhaps of block-prints but also of cartoons [in the modern sense] or the frames of a celluloid movie or animation which I then carried backwards to the beginning of the scroll.
I have the scroll on the wall of my studio and looking at it I can see that the composition particularly the relation between the drawing and the frames, could well be improved upon. I also notice that it has become divided more or less spontaneously into three equal sections, rather like an early alterpiece such as the ‘Adoration of the Lamb’ which I find appealing, so I will stick with that layout and my first move will be to prepare three identical panels. A piece of light canvass will be glued to the board according to Prof. Doerner’s recipe with rabbit skin glue and after sizing, a coat of gesso grosso made with the same glue will be applied so as to fill completely the weave of the duck. I will then scrape the boards and rub them down with a fine grit to arrive at a perfectly smooth, flat surface, if necessary applying a coat or two of a thinner gesso.
I am reminded somewhat of the work of Keith Haring which often contains sequences of more or less rectangular cells, his work is very exuberant however and where his cells tend to be crammed and busy I would like mine to have a more serene feel although that would not necessarily preclude the inclusion of atmospheric elements other than exuberance. Perhaps Gilbert and George would be a more profitable line of inquiry although I am not attracted to their work. Harry Clarke, although somewhat dated, also springs to mind but although stained glass is by necessity cellular it is his illustrative work that I am thinking of and it is in this work particularly as also in the illustrations of Aubrey Beardsley that one comes upon a strong oriental influence, such as was discovered in the work of Bonnard in the original Drawing project.
I am no stranger to putting paint onto canvass although what I have learned as a result of Tony Carroll’s visit makes me realise what a superficial understanding of the process I possess. But aside from that, although I may have completed quite a large number of paintings of different sizes and with various stylistic characteristics and so forth I have never even contemplated painting anything remotely like this and but for this course, never would have. I have also never painted onto a surface such as this which in itself is exciting if a little daunting at the same time, so I can only hope that the experiment will work in some way or other. If nothing else it is certain to broaden my experience.
Edwin Cridland, Semester 2, 2012