Perhaps this is proof, if proof were needed, of the fact that contemporary art continues to reflect the times in which it is made.
Reflecting on your work underpins your entire practice; it is essential to be able to look objectively at your work and really review things such as- why you have done something, how does it work, is it a success or does it require more development/thought, how would it be improved, and the specifics of why it has worked/not worked.
At the recent assessment a large drawing caught the eye of the assessment team and I wanted to single out this piece as an example of what can happen when a student follows the logic of their research. I was lucky enough to be Gwenyth’s tutor for Drawing One and during a Google Hangout session for the third submission it was clear that one subject — a large rock near her home in Sweden — meant a lot to her.
Beginning my first Level Two course last year, I had confidence I would be just fine; happily settled after receiving a pleasing result at assessment for my previous course at Level One. I flew through L2 Developing Creative Textiles, sure I knew what my path and career specialisation would be. As far as I was concerned, I had developed my “style”… All I had to do was repeat it.
A stark shock came at assessment, when I got a much lower mark than expected. Why? I questioned; with my confidence in tatters.
Kaarina Kaikkonen studied at the Academy of Fine Arts between 1978 and 1983. She has become one of the leading artists of Finnish art thanks to her work in sculpture and installations using clothing. Her research is primarily distinguished by using old clothes, which are bearers of stories and anonymous memory.
Phyllida Barlow’s work has been seen throughout the UK recently — at the Hepworth as part of the inaugural sculpture prize, and filling Tate Britain’s Duveen Gallery and Edinburgh’s Fruitmarket. Her work is on show until late November in the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Much of the work on display in Venice speaks of migration, ethnicity, and post-colonialism — I’ll cover this in other posts — but Barlow has produced a work that is concerned with traditional sculptural concerns: space, weight, scale, and so on.
Truman Capote described Venice as ‘like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go’. That counts double when you’re trying to absorb a lot of art as well as admire the place. This is the third time I’ve visited the Biennale and the first time I’ve done so outside of Press Week. Frankly it was a relief to spend time looking at the work and not searching for free food and/or Prosecco.