Throughout my project, I have been sketching and drawing the Brecon Beacons Landscape incorporating the abstract mark making from within John Piper’s art work – The Rocky Valley. I think it is important to draw as a base to a body of work, something you can constantly refer to. In tutorials, tutors and peers have favoured my stylized drawings and experimentation and so I thought it would be worth while to sketch a long side creating my body of work inspired by John Piper. Also, when I have a mind blank about my work, it means I am not sitting there doing nothing, I can do a quick sketch to get me back into it.
I have experimented with a variety of different materials including pencil, chalk pencil, ink, paint, water colour, pen, fine liner’s, coloured pencils, brown paper, leaves, twigs, soil, glue etc. I have also employed a variety of drawing techniques throughout my sketchbook like continuous line, drawing with my left hand, making up drawings with twigs, drawing onto leaves etc. A sketchbook is a good way of documenting try outs, drawings, process, experiments without worrying what the outcome looks like to much. I will continue to use my sketchbook to draw in and document research throughout my subject work.
After undertaking the Collage workshop, I decided it would be useless if I didn’t put what I had learn’t into practice and try and make a collage referring to the notes I had made and the new techniques I had been introduced to in the session.
I decided to integrate my subject work in with what I had learnt during this workshop and attempt to produce a collaged Landscape with an element of abstraction to it.
In terms of process, to create my collage I used imagery from newspapers and 1960s magazines to construct it. Older printed papers are easier to scratch into and manipulate than newer print. I used both sandpaper and wire wool to scratch into the surface of my collage. Drawing on top of the paper was another technique used. I also included tracing paper and printed text within the work, as well as using various imagery to produce a textured affect.
Above, are a few close ups of my collage. You can see that the scratched surface both adds texture to the piece and helps the paper that the image is printed on to come through. I think this makes my collage more exciting and appear less flat.
I think I managed to successfully create a collage encompassing all the new ideas, artists work and imagery that I had been exposed to in this workshop. It was enjoyable to create and I will definitely be revisiting these techniques in my artistic life. Here, The imagery was supplied in the workshop and so I was restricted as to what I could use to make the piece. Visually, this fits in with my subject work but also my idea of documenting a journey through found objects is at play here. If I was to make another collage, I think I would work on creating more perspective within the work and more of a distinct foreground.
After having a talk about my work late one evening with David Fitzjohn in my studio space, he mentioned to me that going on a walk and picking up found objects and putting them all together, creates a sense of the place they were found. He encouraged me to not be afraid to make work that is completely abstract because in terms of experimentation it is very relevant to my work and could inform more final outcomes. He also got me thinking about materials themselves having symbolic meanings and connotations.
Under the influence of John Piper and at the moment: his concepts, I am working with the influence of creating artwork that shows a connection to a place. I decided that I would experiment with making abstract pieces that even though I call them mixed media work,could also be sculptural. I went on two walks and collected objects from the floor as I went. I have used all of these objects and arranged them together onto boards to create balanced compositions that capture a sense of a place or journey and a connection to it.
Firstly, I took a walk around a natural environment, with trees and grass etc. I wandered around Bute Park in Cardiff and collected objects from the floor, they are mostly natural but there were a few items of litter that people had left.
This piece is Bute Park on a board. It documents the place. In john Piper’s work, he aims to capture a connection to the place through the marks he uses to represent it, the textures he paints and the colour palette and elements of expression. I have taken this concept on board and portrayed it through found objects alone.
Next, I walked through part of the City from Richmond Road to The Museum and collected objects that I found. As expected, the park piece is full of more natural forms.
To me, this piece illustrates the amount of litter that us as a human race drop on the floor. It also reminded me of an abstract appropriation of Jason Mecier’s work. He produces portraits of celebrities from objects that relate to the person. In terms of the tactility of them and the 3D objects on a flat surface, I feel like these works that I have created relate. Also, we have both used the same means of applying the objects, a glue gun.
The pieces I have created are completely different to the work I have made so far and I do believe that they give you a sense of the place that the objects have come from. I feel like my work is getting stronger in terms of concept now as well because I was started to feel like I was producing abstract Landscape imagery for the sake of it.
Many of Terry Setch’s works are themed around the coast near Penarth in Wales, where Setch is based. These works act as a witness to his surroundings, in the literal sense via the materials he uses and the layers he creates within them, but also in the wider issues his art works often raise.
“Setch is well-known for utilizing varying materials in his analysis and interpretation of the conflict between nature and society. His huge painted canvases are often augmented with materials and debris found on the beach, a combination of both man-made and natural matter. This contrast in itself creates a tension, raising questions on pollution, mankind’s apathy, the forces of nature in the weathered objects, inadvertently representative of demise. This juxtaposes the notion that there is new life in the objects used to create such histrionic representations of the world around us.”
Setch’s work is highly relevant to the ideas that I am looking at within my own work at the moment. His concepts include an approach to nature and he uses found objects within his work like Debris from the beach and natural matter. I have experimented with including natural matter within paint and I am going to embark on producing an abstracted Landscape painting containing natural elements within the paint and on the surface. Terry Setch’s work will be an interesting reference to refer to when producing work within the areas I am currently interested in.
Setch’s subject matter enables the onlooker to fully experience the world created within it, via the use of textured materials; such as encaustic wax, melted plastic and polypropylene, however it is not through realism, as his works require the viewer to suspend disbelief in order to fully experience what each piece evokes for them.
Similar to the work of John Piper, Setch’s Landscapes capture a sense of the place. They are highly interesting in texture and evoke the mood and atmosphere of the surroundings, to the point where you could imagine yourself being there. It is interesting to come across an artist where their abstract and less abstract works are relevant to the ideas I am working with and I am sure his work will influence my project highly.