Critical Evaluation for Group Tutorial: Future-Focused

Critical Evaluation (Future-Focused) – text prepared for group tutorial session Thursday 13th June 2019:

The MA Summer Show preparation has allowed me to consolidate an idea that was embedded in my work from the outset: the painting plus its video as a single module of installation. I intend to continue this trajectory already having further oil paintings on aluminium in progress in the studio.

The inbuilt modularity offers flexibility with respect to exhibition spaces in developing proposals to show work. Whether showing a single unit in a small space or multiple units in larger spaces, each unit can exist independently or as part of a greater number, sharing the same architecture and related points of origin.

Material is important to me. I have documented the reason I use oil as a medium in the recent Second Symposium. I intend to create a new series of smaller works in oil on copper. I have used this metal support before and know of its potential to offer different qualities to those of aluminium and look forward to discovering how this might affect my methodology.

I have come to realise that a painting possesses a memory-narrative which is hidden in its final state. This narrative is unveiled through the video animations I have developed bringing together poetic narrative and poietic work. The continual documentation of all the phases of a work in progress to compile the videos is vital to my practice and I intend to further hone my camera and digital editing skills and improve my studio set-up. Taking as a model William Kentridge’s studio set-up, this would include an arrangement for fixing the camera for perfect registration of the images.

Importantly, the MA has paved the way for further research. I am currently formulating a specific concept which builds on my research statement, focusing on aesthetic considerations from painting. I will bring this to a point where I can initiate a conversation with a potential academic supervisor with a view to undertaking a practice-based doctorate building on ideas and concepts I have been developing throughout the MA.

During the MA I have created a number of texts, some of which form the basis for audio tracks for the videos presented in the Summer show. These poetic narratives have enriched both my methodology and work and have the potential for publication. I have found that I actually enjoy voicing the texts, which was unexpected at the outset. This opens up a new possibility for performance, to experiment with and develop further. Other audio tracks have been created using sounds uttered by me which are then orchestrated, creating audiovisual umwelts that with headphones on offer an immersive experience to the viewer/listener.

I intend to develop the body of work shown at the Summer show as a touring show building on previous experience and that gained during the past two MA years.


Technical limitations

Having captured all the images of the paintings in progress, the processing of the hundreds of individual high-resolution image files is even more  laborious; each file has to go through numerous edits including in Lightroom, Photoshop, Da Vinci Resolve (for creating the video). Though it was all done meticulously throughout it is impossible to get an exact registering of the images as the camera  (though used as accurately as possible) was not fixed in its place. That would have meant having to create an extensive set up in the studio at the outset of this MA – setting up something akin to William Kentridge’s set up for his image capture. That would have been beyond my possibilities at the time but it is something definitely to bear in mind for the future.

For now, I am very happy with the huge improvement in visual quality that using the high res. image files permits.


About the oil


Writing the script for my 2nd symposium caused me to mention the significance that the oil medium has for me. The image above shows a very special oil source obtained about 30 years ago. It is cold pressed linseed oil as supplied by Zecchi of Florence – Zecchi being the artists’ materials shop right in the historic centre, very near the Duomo.

I think of this oil with reverence, always have done but especially now that it has acquired the age that it has. The oil, once living maintains an inner glow, now even more golden, as if somehow still alive. It also has a sensual fragrance – one that is characteristic of a historical painting studio.

To exalt this precious oil, I created a while ago a significant number of works on paper. These are generally smaller works relative to the larger paintings in oil on aluminium. I wanted to muse technically on the notion of the oil as a living thing.

The oil’s behaviour on paper is as if has its own source of motion, moving of its own accord, eventually drying. I see this as a living property – it is as if it goes through a life cycle of growth and development and aging, transforming throughout. This has correspondence with the transmutation of the larger paintings on aluminium too – the material embodies the idea. I see oil paint as much more than just paint – an end in itself more than just a means to an end.

These works are now as much as three years old some more, some less and have been altering themselves in the meantime – I find revisiting them fascinating.

Some of them are shown below and now I am also thinking of taking a portfolio of them to The Summer show. Perhaps I shall also take the oil itself, so people can experience the fragrance mentioned above.