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Thursday, 24 January 2013

Practice Methodology: Part One

Over the past few months, I have been developing my own arts practice beside my academic art history studies, and I'd like to record the visual methodology here now.

Last year, I was part of a module at Leeds uni called 'Old Mistresses' run by the one, the only Griselda Pollock (amazing teacher). Part of the course was developing a visual diary of learning, which I decided to create digitally - the reason I made this blog page was in order to provide a platform for my issuu online visual diary. The very first post on gear talk is that project, which you can have a look at here
During my research for this module, I came across WACK! (of course). Whilst its literary content fueled my research, I took note of its fantastic visual in order to create something just as eye catching and relevant for my own project.

The covering of the book is a complete collage of the seductive nude woman. Its intensity is maximized by the layering of the images, ultimately creating one collective gaze that stands to represent the subjectivity of women, especially when presented in this way.
For the front cover of the page of my project, I needed a similarly intense layering of distinctly feminine imagery, preferably taken from a source in which 'the feminine' is objectified (so as to continue the theme of the module and investigation of the visual diary). I looked around me and saw piles of magazines and suddenly thought of the perfect 'thing': hair.

I made a hair collage, and really liked the result.

A few weeks later, I started looking into geodes and geometric form, particularly as a result of finding an amazing project called A Common Name (blog post here). The project focused on geometric forms and crystals - themes which had always quite simply visually interested me. I figured that the interlocking shapes evident in my hair collage weren't particularly dissimilar to that of a basic crystal formation (an area I plan to research in more depth in the future).

Simple repetition and layering began to really interest me, as did the building up of many geometric shapes. On top of this, I had been pursuing (and continue to do so) my love for collage with my gear talk banners; this practice also included the careful consideration of the building up of separate layers, paying particular attention to colour and composition. The photographic nature of my People Banner creations excited me: the coming together of separate textures and colours to create one single image as a collective of many was a very basic concept that I loved.

One of the responsibilities I have as part of my internship at Trinity Leeds is to make a visual diary to document my experience, and again, I turned to collage. After having developed the ideas mentioned above, as well as the consideration of work of Yayoi Kusama, Paige Smith, Mark Whiteman, Jeffrey Docherty, Darrel Viner and other repetitious work (research for a curation essay, noted below), I started working in the geometric imagery.

For this visual diary, I created an introductory page made up of two of my fragment collages, including a photo of myself:

After having made these images, I realized that this methodology of practice had a lot of potential in terms of creating actual meaning and developing theme. As a final year History of Art student, my dissertation research was beginning to infiltrate itself into many aspects of my interests, and it only seemed right to develop my research visually in sync with this collage practice. I've begun a series of works which I will post once I've got my head around them and finished them. They're looking really good, and I'm thrilled to be able to present the practical understanding behind the making here now.