15 June 2012

Wilson's Road show and crit

Camberwell MA printmakers and book arts - this "interim" show is on till 21 June, 1-5 pm weekdays. It takes place on two floors, along the corridors, with some work in vitrines or on tables. These photos, a selection of the work, were taken during the setting-up - some show the temporary labels and work still not unwrapped ...

My "Memory Overload" is at the very end of the lower floor corridor, facing the doors. It amused me to find that the glass case was missing the glass on that side. It takes a while to realise this (we get used to editing out the reflections when looking at work behind glass) - but makes it possible to pull out an inky book for handling. It also made it possible for someone to leave their cup of tea in there while putting their piece up on the wall; fortunately the cup didn't leave a ring...
The private view passed in a haze. In the afternoon, Paul Coldwell had been round with small groups to do crits - this was the highlight of the whole experience for me. It was so interesting to hear what people had to say about their own work, and what aspects he focused on. One strategy he mentioned was for printmakers to exchange plates and ink up someone else's plate, so that you can see whether "it" is there in your plate - a way to get clear about what you want in your work. Another is to get together with other people interested in the same theme - the interchange will lead to a kind of competitiveness that raises the standard for everyone. And another strategy: to do lots of drawings (of the same subject) as a warm-up - this develops a muscle memory - and the drawing to choose to work from is the one that doesn't work as it is...

Also from my notes:
- keep it open and don't get too aesthetic
-wondering DOING seeing
-being minimal = when everything in the work is crucial
-setting out to do something and being clear what that is
-engage with the whole picture - understand why the central image is important

Importantly: thinking about how something will be presented from the outset; then everything is fixed when you come to the conclusion of making of the work. (And you'll know it's really finished - and be able to "take it to the end" rather than abandonning it.)

As for my own piece - right up until I started speaking, I wasn't sure what to say about it, and was so distracted I couldn't focus on making sure I said "the one thing I want people to know about it" - nor can I remember what I said, and what they said!

Now that the dust has settled a bit, I think that what I want the piece to "say" or show is the tension between our memories filling up with the things we need to know or want to remember and the kind of "cultural memory" that is (or was) carried in books. With digital information sources, there's so much "information" - of all levels of "importance" - that we no longer need to keep it in our memory ... it's immediately burnt away. So the little books are a reduction of the possibilities of individual memory, as well as the negation of (previously) important knowledge. The bound-together pages make them separate and individual; their tumbled arrangement is a reflection of chaos at any level you like...

That idea of cultural memory vs individual experience/memory doesn't really fit in with The MA Project - I have to keep reminding myself of The Project, the need to focus on the theme - "everyday journeys; everyone's everyday journey of ageing, especially memory loss" - and the Memory Overload piece did start with the idea of erasure of specific facts/information - especially words, language. It simply evolved into something a bit different. What it now "says" isn't particularly clear, I agree - it's not minimal enough, too many variables are at work, leading to too many possible "meanings". Sure, the viewer takes what they want - they make their own meaning - I think the ideal is when the viewer can make a meaning but then starts to question that, so that their interpretation of the work evolves. Which leads us to the question - what will keep the viewer looking and thinking?

1 comment:

Cate Rose said...

Simply awesome work, yours and the others'. Very impressive.