Thursday, 29 May 2008

back to blogging...

I have been quite busy for a while, and now just starting to get a chance to look over and reassess my work and thoughts, -where and how things are going...

A lot of my previous posts were related to the INTERACT placement at PEALS in Newcastle, my work has moved on or rather, 'side-stepped' since then, although I still hope to do more work with PEALS in the future. Currently, I'm working on three main projects, all very much centered around the body, our relationship to it, and how to care - how to give - questions around the wealths of bad or damaging experiences - can they have/provide beauty, positive affirmation, or be truly positive/valuable? -If so, is it forever a tainted beauty, enveloped in niggling reminders of damage? Trauma gives a different perspective... don't know if this makes sense - ahhh! that'll be the brain dribble! Thinking about it already makes me feel like balancing on something high without a safety mat...

Anyway, the three projects are: Artist in Residence at Horticultural Healing, ran by Groundwork Devon and Cornwall. I have started a separate blog for this at horticulturalhealingresidency.blogspot.com

I am also Artist in Residence at Derriford hospital, in Plymouth. I have been commissioned to create a series of artworks for the histopathology lab there - which basically deals with all the parts of the body that are removed from surgery. The department also includes the cytology dept - which looks at cells, -it's where all the specimens are prepared and read. The department also includes the morgue and autopsy dept.

During my time at the hospital, I am hoping to return to ideas of visual pattern, structure and repetition. To create images that use aspects of the basic composition and forms of the human body, informed by the histories of Fine Art; particularly the aesthetics of Arts and Crafts Movement. I am looking particularly at William Morris patterns and wallpapers again, and attempting to make cellular reproductions or replications...


Here is one of the early images - this is using material from the cytology department, it is a microscopic image of a cervical smear - which is showing cell damage from an STD. I used the orginal material to create the symmetrical image - which begins to (for me!) relate to tile patterns, floral structures etc...
www.zestarts.org.uk



The third project I am working on is a collaborative performance project, with artist Paul Grimmer. The project is very much centered around caring and rehabilitation, and developed from a need to recover from Live Art Events!





The project is very influenced by health care environments and relationships. We are interested in attempting to provide a perceptual augmentation and sensory respite for individuals engaged in the appreciation of the arts. We aim to re-open or refresh the eyes of viewers through nurturing, care and self-affirmation.

Here is a little blurb and our logo - to give some idea...



Our collaboration began several years ago as artist-led group Piggyback (www.piggybackarts.org), based in the North East of England, offering support structures to students and recently graduated artists with digital and live art practices. We have recently come together again to work collaboratively on the Grimmer & Steele project, based around ideas of care and rehabilitation. Initially we had thought that this relationship would be more centred on digital works, however, we have found that our live art practices yielding and beneficial to our collaborative process. We are currently exploring through process ways to expand our collaborative language and ultimately create new works, which balance between our joint concerns and our individual autonomy – whilst still producing a cohesive and coherent ‘group’ identity.

Our joint concerns have largely been informed by our own personal experiences, which tie in with certain themes approached in the work. Our current aims for the project are based around certain personal and shared experiences of working in the live art sector - feelings that may be associated with participating in a live art event, either as a performer or an audience member: not (fully) understanding, not wanting to participate, feeling pressure to adhere to performative codes of conduct and etiquette and needing to regain perspective…

The work that we have been developing acts to remedy to these difficult, and potentially debilitating conditions. Operating on the borders of what could be understood as live art and what may also be seen as group therapy, meditation or rehab. Our aim is to create a series of situations where the viewer is led through the engagement of various exercises – this occurs within a framework of physically and psychologically modified environments, often employing sensory control as a tool; allowing one sense to rest, whilst another challenged. The work aims to operate somewhere on the border where genuine care, becomes a vulgar display, anaesthetising the viewer but also provoking feelings of disquiet.



There is a lot more to say about all of these projects...

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