Moving forward, separating and understanding the differences between nostalgia and sentimentality another element within my work I have been interested in is the site of memory, or ‘ sensuous geography’ – the idea that ‘the senses mediate the apprehension of space and in so doing contribute to our sense of place’. Yi-Fu Tuan (1972) was the first to call attention to the spatiality of the senses and their role in shaping the affective relation of people to their habitat. “What begins as undifferentiated space becomes place as we get to know it better [through our senses] and endow it with value”’.
Fundamentally it’s the idea that if you were stood on top of a mountain for example, then the sound, feel, and temperature of the atmosphere around you would ultimately denote you to your sense of place and thus your brain would register the fact you are on top of a mountain. What becomes interesting in terms of memory is say for example you visited this location under a second set of circumstances and similar environmental conditions endured then your brain may ultimately remember the preceding set of events, thus upon the second time you visit you may register a greater sense of space as you are adding new memories to a preceding one. You stand on top of the mountain, think back, take a huge breath, breathe out and feel good.
With the objects featured in the images, i am attempting to be slightly more obscure. You could almost look at the objects featured as miniature excavations pulled from my dried out slurry buckets with the site of memory being the buckets themselves. What I do to these excavations or ‘uncovered’ objects is completely controlled. I like the idea of looking at these objects as a series of memories from the past that has been mashed and distorted into the present, much like how I personally view ‘nostalgia’. How I glaze these objects, in terms of aestheticism is purely representational and subjective of my immaterial, material memories and nostalgia, that of early 2000s aesthetics or ‘YTK aesthetics’ – the glad, tacky, wacky space colors and transparent inflatable sofas that dominate my subconscious. These objects are ‘fractured’ representations of my memories and further myself.
After testing, gathering and creating a body of work I decided to take a number of the objects down to the photography studio to play with composition and ultimately develop some form of language between the forms I have manufactured. with the idea of memory very much at mind, what narrative where these objects beginning to speak? and by pairing them in compositions how did they bounce off and work with each other?
I like the idea of looking upon these series of objects as an alphabet, a physical, sensorial language that challenges semiotical ways of viewing sculpture.
Although I really enjoy the images that I have taken of the objects I have made so far I am unsure at this point in time that the actual objects themselves are representational of the concepts that I hold to my project ( that of personal memory and ideas surrounding sentimentality and nostalgia). Although These objects are highly subjective to my own personal experiences and are thus abstracted as a representation of myself, to some degree I want the experience of my objects to be understood by a collective, to be interpreted in a certain way or to make people feel a certain ‘vibe’ you could say.
I am at a turning point. Where I have created a series of objects in response to my intuition and intuitively/contemporarily glazed. Ideas of nostalgia and ‘the child at play’ dominate my theoretical standpoint and to some extent, I do believe my objects represent that, although I do believe these objects are also disjointed.
Personally, these objects subjectively are based on early childhood memories – where as a child because both of my parents were busy working I was usually dumped on a construction site with my dad. In that moment I was incredibly bored, twiddling my thumbs and finding ways to play and keep myself busy. Not until looking back now as an adult do I firstly see how easy things were back then and now really reside and reminisce over the events that took place, where the world of working and childhood play intermingled. It is interesting now from really studying these events do I realize how relevant it is within my studio practice.
After coming across Carwyn Evans installation down in the foyer space at CSAD and attending his in conversation I was fascinated by his ideas surrounding his personal memories of farm life and welsh identity. As an artist similarly interested in personal memory, identity and how these ideas are reappropriated into physical tactile form, it was fascinating listening to an artist with a similar background to myself. Coming from a rural village in the middle of Gloucestershire, working on a farm within the local area I could connect and understand ‘PADER’ on a subjective level and analyse the ‘details’ of the sculptural composition. It is funny that these objects have been reappropriated in such a manner as for myself there is a running joke amongst the farming communities that farmers hoard ‘anything and everything’ as everything even junk has some form of use at some point in the future, perhaps it seems even for contemporary art/sculpture.
when up close and personal with the composition you begin to dissect the objects from one another, we begin to unassemble the reappropriated. For example, the way the wood is joint together or the folded trefoil sheet that is laid underneath. When up close and personal even the most minimal of details such as the wax on the sheet echo an ulterior autobiographical message – that of the artist himself, his identity and his farming background.We as the viewer begin to try and build a picture of the artist, who is he? what is he trying to say? – The site of memory seems to be incredibly important to the artist.
when approaching the light at the back, kneeling down and taking a closer look I noticed mud splashes on the right-hand side. This could have easily been removed, yet it is interesting how the artist decided to leave these marks; not lazily but purposely left I believe. the mud splashes appear to have been splashed there by a tractor or quad bike wheel that could have been struggling in the mud. The artist re-appropriates personal memory from objects he connects with from day to day, tackling memory as formless matter in which he denotes meaning to material and further form.
For myself what I find particularly interesting with regards to Nagle’s work is the use of striking colour, unique form and how ultimately the sculpture comes together to create an interesting yet obscure composition, a story between texture and miniature structure.
Many of the colours Nagle uses are incredibly artificial. There seems to be a stark element to them, they seem earthly yet familiar. Below the outer structure looks representative of corroded limestone, the black glaze looks like oozing hot tar. Nagle’s sculptures are so familiar because they are so representative of materials that we see in the everyday.
Although Nagle’s sculptures are strikingly small they command space and stand bold.
What is immediately fascinating for myself is the relationship between Kapoor’s mirrored exteriors and giant mounds of clay. How the two materials work together to tell a story and create a material symbology.
Coming up to finally putting together my exhibition What is important for myself is how the language of these objects together speak, how in the gallery format they fit and by these objects being together what as a viewer does it mean to yourself ?. Kapoor has done this incredibly well. The surface of these sculptures contrast the polished mirrored works, they function as explorations of depth and interiority, they indeterminate our sense of dimension.
From visiting the museum today I stumbled across one of Richard Deacons giant ceramic sculptures and couldn’t help admire and study the piece. As one of my favourite artists I couldn’t help but consider why the ceramic object was beneath these set of stairs ? was there a specific reason for this ? or was it simply for aesthetic and decorative purpose ?.
It made me consider that sometimes the most obscure of places for sculpture can work the best with relation to surroundings and hidden curiosity.
Either way, this is the first time I have witnessed the artist’s ceramic work up close in person and find the work both amazing and structurally powerful. the sheer scale of the object and the beautiful multi-colourful glaze that the swirling construct is consumed by are brilliant. The work stands bold and strong and works effectively within its museum surroundings.
Last year I visited Londons design festival at the V&A and came across some of the beautiful furniture developed and produced by designers Fredrikson Stallard. As an aesthetic and conceptual artist, I feel it is just as important to admire singularity within furniture as it is important to admire within painting, sculpture or performance – within its own right the sofa is sculpture.
The designers have captured the tactile nature of brutalist organic form perfectly emulating materiality ‘ molten rock’ and inviting and challenging the element of touch with the regards to unconventional furniture and form.The Forms individually are a celebration of experimentation and rigorous design.