Professional Practice – Applications, CV and Artist Statement

Applying for INC Space and the Woo Foundation Painting and Sculpture Prize 2018.
Producing artist Curriculum Vitae and creating my artist statement for 2 distinctive purposes. Gathering best images and information.


Artist statement for Fine Art competition, using the WHY, HOW, WHAT tip:


I believe all materials should be considered alive and vital. Through attentive human intervention, material can be cultivated into forms that are not dominated by pure human will, but are collaboratively shaped by the world and its forces too. Clay borders the organic and the inorganic. It is one of the most physically sympathetic materials, making it an ideal substrate to mutually grow.

Through my work I adopt the role of a ‘ceramic gardener’ tending to clay as a living medium. Employing the metaphor of a gardener is important to me because it enables me to forefront the unpredictable and vital dimensions of clay. This method of making allows me to strike a balance between organic and artificial, the real and imagined, outdoor and domestic, human and more-than-human.

During the process of hand building I press clay into my palm, transferring lines and folds which imply veins that seek to nourish the sculpture. The sculptures are adorned with tin glaze and colourful marks that explore the essence of growth in botanical illustrations. I also utilise specifically made gardening tools to extend the narrative of cultivation; cast in bronze, they refer to the beginnings of human agriculture, as well as the first cultivation of minerals and metals.

The final works explore ideas about our interaction with the world and our role within nature.

8 images needed for the Fine Art competition: 

 

 

Unfortunately, I was only able to provide images of work in progress, or tests and sketchbook pages. The quality of the photographs is not best either due to my lack of skills in studio photography. However, at least it is something.

Art Curriculum Vitae: including my artist statement, with lists showing my education, exhibitions and other projects I was part of, as well as part-time and volunteering jobs.
Can be seen at: About page

Continue reading Professional Practice – Applications, CV and Artist Statement

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Making gardening tools

Developing my gardening tools for a modern cultivation of clay.
Beginning the sand mould making process, as well as exploring the connotations of the chosen material for the tools.


The increasing importance of agricultural/gardening tools for the final exhibition prompted me to spend a bit more time on their polystyrene prototypes, which determine how the final metal version will look like after the cast.

I sketched and created larger and more detailed versions of the most commonly used gardening tools, which would be useful when working with clay. Either for cutting, making holes or mark making.

 

Instead of aluminium as I used last time, I’m opting to try pour with bronze. Historically it gives another level of context and positions the objects to the Bronz Age’s widespread adoption and development of agricultural methods.

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The production of bronze marks the start of a new kind of cultivation – cultivation of minerals (the inorganic). For the first time humans started to look for, dig, mine and refine minerals. By combining copper and tin (of around 12%), Bronze Age humans smelted bronze.
Bronze being stronger material than anything else used before (bone, wood or stone) enabled the refinement of tools such as axes and ploughs or daggers and swords. Pushing the development of agriculture and technology, as well as organisation of societies (more people had to specialise either in mining, smelting, crafting, etc.).

As the price of tin increased, due to political and ecological issues, the usage and development of iron became more widespread for everyday tools. Bronze started to be a more luxury commodity predominantly used to make coins, swords, jewellery, mirrors or coins or sculpture.


 

Some sources:
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/salop/vol4/pp20-26
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bronze
https://study.com/academy/lesson/bronze-age-farms-farming-tools.html
http://www.stedmundsburychronicle.co.uk/weststowgallery/wsgallerypage_02.htm

Chopping a clay log

A small experiment to see, how would a mass of hardened clay behave, when approached as if it was a log of wood.


I rolled number of slabs of sanded terracotta into a wood log shape and left it covered for few months. After finally acquiring a small axe from a very kind studio-cohabitant, I was afraid the mass of clay would harden too much.
But one beautiful spring evening, after good enough Formative assessment presentation, with great friend to help document it, it was the right time.

The axe entered the mass very smoothly, almost like chopping butter, only the dense and sticky inner core stopped the force. I was able to make a range of deep but soft incisions.
Encouraged to go further I contributed more force and rigour.

The clay log eventually came apart, beautifully revealing its inner materiality – smooth but ruggedly torn apart by the force. I had to gather multitude of small and bigger shavings scattered around the grass.

It would be good to try if a dried clay mass would split in half more readily, like usual wood.
Would chopping it on a plinth be easier? More gallery based?

 

Cultivation of the image

Image was so important in cultivation since beginning of agricultural practices. Sharing information about certain plants and their care, uses as well as symbolic properties, it helped develop our image of the natural world within our minds.


 

 


Illustrated books, such as ‘Flora Danica’ from 1753, became an influential force not only in the fields of science and medicine, but art and craft too, where the images ended up decorating porcelain dinner sets for the wealthiest.
Illustrations of plants from across ages, became great inspiration to me too for observing interesting forms of growth, as well as colour combination.

I should look at recording clay growth in similar illustrations, my sketchbook becoming a herbarium.

In a sense ceramic is another form of herbarium, with deep tradition especially in maiolica, to depict and record plants on the surface of ceramic objects. Particularly medicinal jars, containing powerful natural remedies, whose content was labelled by its in-glaze decoration with pictures or words.

I’m trying to reflect on this tradition in my own use of maiolica. Focusing more on the essence of growth, protrusions and patterns rather than the visual representation of nature. The brushstrokes, so essential and visible in in-glaze process will be a vital element in construction of the decoration.

Regarding colours I will not orthodoxy stick to the traditional strong cobalt blue, cloudy copper green, antimony and lead yellow (for which I was unsuccessful), manganese purple (also couldn’t achieve that) and others. Using simple stains proved as the most logical option, with great variety of shades available by mixing them with some oxides, especially Rutile.

 

 

Propagating in plaster

Multiplying found plant matter.


In theory plaster can provide perfect conditions for growth, at least when it’s setting, being so moist and warm in the process.

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I made simple 3 parts mould of a small stick to test my skills and the final result.
Surprisingly the dried yellow lichen rejuvenated and become bright green after the first part pour and leaving it be for a few days.

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It’s another bonus that the mould produces good casts with only little fettling needed and some lichen missing from some parts.

I’ll try to cast and hight fire it in porcelain if I can get delicate, almost translucent sticks, looking perhaps more artificial, less natural and organic than my terracotta sculpture.

Ideally I would like to cast much bigger stick, a whole log!