Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Clare Twomey

Clare Twomey's work is themed around the influence of observed human interaction and political behaviour with focus on space, architectural interventions and the gallery as destination.
'Heirlooms' (Site Specific Installation)

    Reviewing the 'Heirloom' exhibition in 2004, Nicholas Rena suggested that Clare Twomey's work creates the appearance of an absent entity, questioning whether the artistic subject itself is somehow missing.
    'This transfer of authority and power away from the aesthetic object and towards something increasingly purged does have meaning, and I believe that when an artist of Twomey's sensitivity finds herself offering such low-key and depleted things as other people's butter-dishes or another era's horseshoes, then we are dealing with a current artistic temper of almost excruciating honesty and reserve.' 
    Twomey exhibits her works on the ground to be broken underfoot, or alternatively suspended weightlessly from above contrasting Marcel Duchamp's placing of an object upon a plinth.  The objects are shy of asserting their significance as they have not been made nor chosen by the artist.  Found and collected from car boot sales even the residual poetry of these lost and lonely pieces of domestic history is lost. 
    'Not the real thing now, bartered for or unearthed, but its ghost-white simulacra, cast mechanically - a poor cousin of the real thing, de-coloured, and in a final twist in the story of its abjection, sunk into the wall or into a puddle of earth at our feet.'
    Rena goes on to describe how 'Heirlooms' is missing the limitations of art i.e. the institute of the gallery's 'white cube' whilst also retaining purpose.  In re-attuning our response to contact with something metaphysical, Twomey uses the visual language of simplified domestic things in order to communicate the fact that they are not devoid of all sacramental significance.  In other words voicing a controversial opinion that the speed of mass production and consumption has not devalued the sentimentality attached to domestic every-day objects.
    Papanek was famously quoted stating that:
    "The only important thing about design is how it relates to the people."
    In terms of possession and ownership, Twomey's work supports Papanek's statement removing the so called 'sexed up' elements of design such as desirable (fashionable) colour, in order to direct emphasis onto the history and life of the object.
    Rena wrote:  'It is a fact too that galleries and museums, so often called the cathedrals of our day, are the stages for types of experience that are altogether less shared and demonstrative than those of cathedrals. There are no visual rituals attached to the viewing of art or of most types of contemporary spectacle, and the absence of celebration in contemporary art reflects this. The apparent passivity of present art is - to rephrase - a reflection of a certain cultural passivity. Twomey, I think, understands this. When I asked her where she thought colour in art had gone, or glory for that matter, she replied that these were perhaps 'no longer necessary'. Her reaction is at one with present culture.'


Katie Holten 
Subversive Spaces (Manchester Whitworth Gallery 2009)
'Atlas of Memory' 

The repetition of stitch as a method of recording time, space and movement relates to my ideas of recording the individuality of a cup of tea and its consumers projections of meaning.  'Happenings' and encounters such as the social act of tea drinking have process and routine unique to the every-day circumstance of the individual.  Although the standard components are consistent, the map of the ritualised encounter varies tremendously between class and culture.  I like the idea that stitching by hand, could make record of projections of meaning in such a way that the repetitive act of making actually mirrors the repetition of the unique but repetitive act of ritual.

Presentation Crit

Today I presented my body of work (so far) for the 'Secret Life of Objects' brief.  I feel that at this point, the progression of my project is well grounded in the researched foundations of my ideas, and I am optimistically moving forward with my plans for producing visuals through casting and installation.  The tutors crit input was really helpful in reassuring me that my arty farty mind was making sense, and so my working practice will continue as planned.

My intention is to explore ways in which to visually communicate the individuals projections of meaning surrounding the act of drinking tea.  I am going to begin by taking the words that people contributed to my 'what's in your tea cup' mind map during my short film preparation.  I am interested in preserving these meaning in some way to identify with the individual and the collective group of tea drinkers in series.

Elizabeth Willow (Winner of the Liverpool Art Prize ' The Peoples choice' 2009)

The whole collection of delicately assembled installations by Elizabeth Willow was truly enchanting!  My favourite piece 'It's not all sweetness and light' (see bottom left), combined everything that I love about art and aesthetics.  Using light as the central component, Willow twined branches in a circular construction almost like a nesting light shade.  Draped from the branches were strings of white cotton thread encrusted with crystallised sugar resembling a spiders web jewelled with tiny rain drops.  The warm glow of the yellow naked bulb cast soft shadows and emitted a calming warmth.  
'It's not all sweetness and light'
but some of it is...
  Light and shadow have a subtle, transient beauty that I would love to transcend into my work. Though I'm not sure how these elements connect with my current practice, I don't know that I'm sure of how I even connect with my current practice and so perhaps the exploration of these elements could help to ground me as an artist.  The dappled sunlight flickering through the trees onto my teacup became a new definition for the object.  The tea cup as a surface for projection?
  After taking this photograph I immediately made the connection between the warmth of the glowing light in Elizabeth Willow's piece, the naturally occurring moving shadow from the trees and the same warmth and comfort we find in drinking tea.

Monday, 29 November 2010

I'm an explorer not a tea cup.

Two tea cups are always better than one.  They should be sold in pairs really.  Lonely tea drinking can only lead to too much thinking and quite frankly I'd rather get my headaches from caffeine withdrawal thank you.

Nesting In Higher Places.
Fueling Industry.
Tea Makes The World Go Around.

In a man made cup from a man made bag, I am yours.

 Ever Flowing.
 Addiction:  Too Much Too Fast!
Tea Doesn't Grow On Trees You Know!


Gallery Space. 

Hang Me Up To Dry.
Grab a cheeky brew in a dark corner, no-one will suspect a thing ;)



Found Object Contributed By Alice Eagle (Dartington College of Art 2nd year degree student)

'Amélie' by Jean-Pierre Jeunet 2001

'Amélie' is one of my favourite films and seems like an appropriate reference in the exploration of the manipulation objects in unusual context, location or situation (see above, Amélie's father's missing gnome traveling the world and appearing to him in postcard Polaroids hehehe).  
  I have recently spent my reading week down in Falmouth staying with a friend in a shared student house full of artists and musicians, just transferred to Falmouth uni after the closure of Dartington College of Art.  There seemed to be a strong common interest in sound, choreography and performance art between the creative students that I met; which I found to be a fresh perspective on expression and exploration of new territory.  I decided from this point that my object would become an extension of myself playing a significant roll in exploring space and surroundings.  The following series of photographs subject the tea cup as it explores 'Kennal Vale' gunpowder mills and nature reserve in Ponsanooth (Cornwall).

Tea and Sandwiches With the Wife:
(Social ritual and interaction)
The objects function and identity was expanded rather than challenged.  It performed as a tea cup, a vessel and well...I won't spoil the rest, see for yourself...

Subverting Objects workshop

"The work of art is always based on the two poles of the onlooker and the maker."

Duchamp's work raises doubts about aesthetic judgments questioning audience perception of art itself. I too am interested in perception and receipt of the visual language of objects, with an alternative focus on the social ritual attached to my object (the tea cup).  Duchamp originally drew inspiration from the cubist idea of simultaneous different perspectives, which i think ties into my exploration of the meaning of a cup of tea to individuals, cultures and social groups/families. The coding of the object simultaneously describes the function, form and symbolism.
'Duchamp kept the focal point of meaning of his work deliberately vague, and invited the beholder/reader to take part in what are ultimately inconcludable reflections on the meaning of the work.' 
Taking the words that i spelled out inside my tea cup in 'You're My Cup Of Tea', from the spider diagram contributed to by a number of anonymous volunteers; I have invited my audience to reflect upon the meaning of the object thus exploring the meaning of the work before it was even created. This theme of interactive art and audience participation is consistent throughout the short film.  Whilst being recorded, my volunteers experience my object from their individual perspective and reflect upon it by writing their chosen word into the tea leaves (also adding the experience of a foreign perspective of the physicality of the tea as a material).

The art is the ideas and perceptions drawn from the receipt of the object.  When it comes to objects, our perceptions are the understanding of a preconceived coding subject to the experience of the individual...and so I ask myself: Is this artwork mine? It has my name on it, but consists of an exploration of other peoples reflections.  It only makes sense that Duchamp signed his most famous work 'Fountain': R.Mutt.

Marcel Duchamp's 'Fountain' lead me to consider the status of an object in its own right.  Duchamp described the use of inanimate objects as:
'the simple idea of interrupting the use-flow of everyday things.'

Does a Tea Cup carry the same connotations as it does on a coffee table when in an altered context or environment? 
What if the tea cup was no longer a tea cup? 
Altered form and functionality = altered meaning.
"It's the viewers which make the pictures." 
(Marcel Duchamp)

Marzona, D. (2006) Conceptual Art.USA-Los Angeles:Taschen.
beautiful objects post.