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.
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.
My practice examines the interrelationship and engagement between the materiality and structure of clay objects. The relationship of matter, texture and surface complement form and this act of making creates meaning. The objects cohere to the same universal similarities I find myself in, voicing the ‘primal’, which is what unites them. The sculptures create a language that comes together to create a bridge between the past and present to characterise an aesthetic distinctiveness. To some extent, the language of these sculptures creates a discourse which displaces and modify each other. They stand bold and ‘primal’. The sculptures are drawn from a subconscious instinct, a raw urge to withdraw oneself from mind to physical rendition and rendition to form. My approach is empirical in nature and draws on my experiences and observations, where I create and respond to the material intuitively. Each object has an individual presence, yet when they exist collectively the dialogue is more complex which in turn extends the narrative.
as an artist what I find particularly exciting is texture, natural pattern and brutalist form. How I recapture, consider and create. For me rocks are brutal and rough, the foundations of what we walk, live and breathe on. They command arbitrary presence and stand bold.
What I find interesting with the rock to the left is the man-made qualities or what I perceive to be ‘unnatural’ qualities.But why do I perceive this rock to be un-natural? what makes this it particularly different from the one below ? is it the pattern, material requisite or synthetics ?.
I feel this is both a combination of subliminal memory and experience, i feel i believe the first rock to be un-natural because it appears to be made or of two different materials; we are told that these materials are usually combined in an industrial manner, thus man-made. Secondly, it is unique, no other rock on the beach is like this specific rock, therefore, it must be ‘un-natural’ and conclusively why we assume, categorize and know or, at least, believe it to be true.
The first image within this post is two forms I constructed in response to my trip down to Penarth, responding to pattern and form. Why are my sculptures less primitive than the boulders down at Penarth ? is it age? structure ? pattern ? or is it because we know the earth rocks to be organic ? from the earth ?. Technically speaking both should be of equal ‘primitiveness’ because both my sculptures and rocks are made from the same substance ‘earth’ the only differentiate is ‘myself’ or intervention between myself, process and the material.
A question that has been over looming my head and have been repeatedly asked since beginning my Raku process/journey is that of ‘ why use raku ?’ ‘why not simply glaze ? or keep the bones unfired or, simply just keep them white from the first firing ?’. I find this particularly interesting due to the fact that I had my mind so set on raku firing the bones, due to concept, aesthetics and individuality that I didn’t even consider to question myself why it was so important? why am I doing this ? and why so many?
After dwelling on the matter for a few days and questioning and refining myself, I came to a few conclusions about materiality and the conceptuality of the raku firing. After contemplation, I realised the key difference between kiln firing and raku firing was that the raku firing was physical ‘fire’ turning clay, to molten rock and molten rock to ceramic object, opposed to kiln which is simply clay object transformed by ‘heat’. What is particularly important to the concept of my Prometheus bones is to retain the idea that the ‘fire’ – stolen transforms the bones (clay) – with experience to individually crafted raku bones, standing as a vestige of individuality +’ primal experience’ with relevance to bones and early beginnings and forms of humanity.
Above pictured is one of my completed sculptures, I decided to try and use black coloured slip to contrast against my forms but, unfortunately, the slip didn’t work according to plan. On the other hand, I am incredibly happy with the colour the sculpture came out, that of a light grey colour, a happy accident.
When considering the general aesthetics of my sculptures, I want to imitate similar effects to that of the artist ken price but subtle and more coherent to natural and organic scenery – instead of using bright yellows and pinks I would contrast and layer natural colours against white and white against blacks. I want to create aesthetics that are coherent and stand testament to both the skills I have learnt over the last three years at university and that of my ‘primal experience’. Imitating textures and patterns that I would associate with my past and past experiences of materiality through spray paint and modern materials. Using clay, sand and plaster to combine both man-made and organic substance. Using colour and texture to create a language between objectivity, materiality and together conceptuality.Below is two test sculptures of the spray paints I have used, a matt black and sanded spray paint.