SENSORY STORY: A SENSORY EXPERIENCE OF WALKING IN THE BRECON BEACONS

Linking my field work to my subject work, I have created a sensory story that gives the viewer a sensory experience of walking within the Brecon Beacons National Park through imagery, action, objects and sound. I have incorporated different elements of walking in the Brecon Beacons, like the crunching of frosty grass under your feet, the sound of leaves rustling and the sun peaking out from cloud and warming your face to build up a sensory experience where the viewer can be taken on a journey and feel as if they are experiencing all the different sensory stimulation from walking in this surrounding.

As in my subject work, John Piper and Neo-romantic painters are of influence to this piece. John Piper tries to capture an experience of place and natural surroundings within his paintings by painting landscapes with elements of abstraction and expression. He thinks nature has personality and tries to capture a sense of being among those personalities. He sends the viewer on a favourable romantic experience of place and landscape and takes someone on a journey. His work is highly influential to the ideas I have worked with in my Sensory Story.

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I wanted to use lots of experiences of being in the area to build up one total experience in the viewers mind. I didn’t put all the experiences together in this piece as I understood how easily people could be over-stimulated from the workshop with Becky Lydon about sensory processing. I am demonstrating synaesthesia by overlapping creative languages and the marks that I have made within my sensory story will be subconsciously influenced by my own experiences and memories of the Brecon Beacons.

I experimented with mark making for each experience before embarking on the final outcome to make sure my ideas were clear and to ensure that the marks I was making did suggest the experience I was portraying. I think the combination of drawing and sounds gives a richer and deeper sensory experience of the occurrences I am trying to convey and so I have paired my mark making with sounds of the experiences in question.  My use of sound and the making of drawings/art was highly inspired by the workshop I undertook as part of this field option where Bethan Frieze, Professional Violinist played music in response to artworks in the sensory object exhibition. I found I had a stronger sensory experience of the object when it was paired with sound and so knew I would be incorporating this into my sensory story.

I have learnt so many skills throughout the course of this module and I feel I have been building my own visual language step by step whilst trying to decipher how to use that language to convey a certain experience.  The most influential parts to my sensory story have been the practice of making marks to portray something and learning how to give a viewer an experience of something without drawing it accurately or realistically. The materiality of drawing really inspired my thought processes in the making of this sensory story, I wanted to link this work to the nature element of my subject work and so took influence from the use of unconventional drawing tools and drew with stones, twigs and leaves as well as being inspired by the idea of making my own drawing tools. I made a brush type tool out of dry rustling leaves and dragged it across the paper as if echoing trudging through foliage. Influenced by the psychogeography session I have incorporated pathways of walking and marks that signify footsteps. Drawing in response to the Opera I saw made me think less about outcome and more about documenting an experience. The drawings I produced from this definitely had musical quality and rhythym and so I tried to capture this energy and focus on process, less on outcome. Responding visually to artworks in the sensory sense exhibition helped me think more about how to represent something to an audience that hasn’t experienced it. I tried to put myself in the shoes of someone who has never been to the Brecon Beacons and formulate marks and sounds that could send them on a journey of experiencing small happenings sequentially in order to get a sense of a whole experience of being in the surroundings. 

I am confident that through this sensory story I have demonstrated that I understand how drawing, in its broadest sense can be used to evoke a sensory experience. I have sent someone on a journey by using drawing, film, action and sound to portray sensory elements of a whole experience of being within the Brecon Beacons national park. Sequential experiences, gradually build up to give the viewer an insight into being in the sensory story themselves.  Creating a video piece means I have been critically reflecting and evaluating my work as I am going along as I have been deciding what footage to keep and what not to keep. However, if I was to improve this piece, I may think about using a more subtle sound for sunbeams peering through the clouds. Also, It may be beneficial to have a drawing at the end combining all of the marks to give the viewer a physical image that gives a sense of the whole experience after they have been taken through the stages of it. I have taken the skills learnt in the workshop sessions and applied them to make for a successful piece of work. I would also like to cross some of these skills over into my subject work and bear in mind the experiences viewers will get from my artwork more significantly. Making natural tools to draw landscapes with in my project would definitely allow for a greater connection to place and nature, as materials have a language themselves and push my concept further. Drawing sensory walks around the landscape that I am trying to portray could help me get to know it better and make an interesting accompaniment to a more figurative piece. Lastly, in my subject work, I have been making drawings containing mark making influenced by the marks in John Piper’s work, but now I will make drawings that contain mark making portraying a sensory experience of being within the place again making my work stronger in its relationship to place and nature. 

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An Introduction to The Materiality of Drawing

Within this session, we were given the opportunity to explore drawing in different ways and were introduced into ways in which are few artists have explored the materiality of drawing in their own practice. The Lense is on the material and materiality exists everywhere.

Materiality – The state or quality of being physical or material/ Substance, Matter

The materiality of drawing focusses mostly on the touch sense – The material we are holding/focussing on the feeling of drawing with the material. “It is touch which informs the artist of the nature of the material and sight which completes the understanding” – Angela Eames

STUART CAIRNS – uses materials to make tools and spends a lot of his time collecting objects. Both the drawings and the tools are outcomes in their own right. He also draws the utensils themselves that he makes, an interesting creative process, hand making something and then hand drawing it. He draws with objects an unconventional art material and the outcomes are very suggestive and impressionate. When being introduced to this artist I was highly inspired by his work. He links his work to place by making tools from found objects and drawing with them, this is something that I could look into doing with natural materials in my subject work.

There is a relationship between tools, materials and 3D objects. There can be fluidity between them and they don’t have to be individual.

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SHARON BLAKELEY – an interesting ceramic artist who uses drawings that inform her ceramic outcomes. Most of the time she doesn’t actually draw in a sense of putting drawing tool to paper. Ink is put on the paper and then it is tipped up so it runs and makes lines and marks. Materials are used that directly link to ceramic materials. Opaque mediums. There is less control over the outcome which can lead to new developments. Drawing on paper is a “process” of convenience for her.  There is a real sense of the fluidity of the ink within the drawing but also the brittle edges are shown. The paper becomes part of the drawing in that it is being pierced and adapted.

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KYRA CANE – Works with Landscape, builds up many layers in drawing as well as in clay. She interacts with her drawing tools.

SUSAN HALLS – Draws with Sticks, something I have done within my subject work. The fact that she is unsure what kind of marks different sticks and twigs will make means that new and fresh things can appear.

The materiality of drawing for me, means really thinking about the materials that you use, becoming closer to my materials and thinking about the quality of them and what marks they make. It also means experimenting and using unconventional drawing materials to make untypical marks. I can imagine that this would make for highly interesting drawings and I look forward to experimenting with it.


Thoughts: Project Direction: NATURE

As I work through my project, I am becoming more interested in creating work that has a connection to nature, or that contains nature within it. Initially, I started with the influence of John Piper and after researching his work discovered a connection to place that he was trying to achieve. He wanted to capture the personality of the rocks and the feeling of the grass etc. After working under his influence, I have experimented with portraying a connection to place, as he has, which has led me to collecting organic material from the place and using it in my art work, drawing with it and painting onto it.

I now feel that my project is moving towards the concept of a connection to nature and using nature itself as a surface to work on as well as a medium to mix into paint etc. I feel that incorporating nature into landscape paintings makes them more significant because you can see the organic material that you would usually find within the landscape on the board or the canvas. You can imagine being amongst the leaves and twigs in the landscape and this could mean the individual viewing the work has a more sensory and immersive experience of the painting.


An Introduction to Painting Performance: Lecture by Andre Stitt

This purpose of this lecture was to give us an insight and introduction into painting performance and performance art as a whole.

Paul Hurley – “I fall to pieces” – Experimentica, Cardiff Nov 2014

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Human form with some sort of substance on the body. Creating a context. Many contain a narrative. The material is paint. What do all these signifiers mean? Interested in abstract movement. We are drawn to what happens to the material on the body. Personal experience of grief. There is sound. Many things are being put togetether in a live situation that we would not get from looking at a photograph. The music playing Is Patsy Klein. Is it a strange abstract dance? It is not rehersed and it is taking place in actual time. His eyes are closed, so he cannot see the viewers. Inspired by the loss of a friend, past lossed and future ones.

In this module, we are looking at a history of engagement between material substances and the human body. A kind of painting performance.

What is painting?

The practice of applying colour to a surface. The use of this activity in combination with drawing. Used to represent, document and express.

Painting as evidence – a document of the performance of painting

Painting as Process – event, performance

The focus shifts from the self contained and autonomous art towards emphasis on process and motion in art, the inclusion of the environment, as part of the artwork. Thought becomes form.

Post WWII – Painting becomes action

Jackson Pollock – 1912 -1955

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When we look at pollock, we are drawn to the act of painting. The press document with photographs and reviews. A shift from painting as an object to a spectacle. Before, paintings had tended to conceal the fact that their works were the result of process. In the 1940s and 50s, it shifted to portraying a piece that embodies themselves into the work. It becomes about process more than the outcome.

Performance Art – An action, designed and executed by an artist that takes place in time and space with or without an audience.

Kristine Stiles, American academic – “Artists who began to use their bodies as material of visual art repreatedly expressed their goal to bring art practice closer to life”. “Process over product” – Experiencing the work immmediately in the moment, presenting the work in real time. “They sought to reengage the artist and spectator by reconnecting art to social and political events”

Ideas came out of action art and performance – Fluxus, Dadaism, Futurism etc.

The Gutai Group – Japan 1955

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Expressed aim: To create a new type of painting.

Saburo Murakami – Work being painted by throwing a ball dipped in paint – Draws out attention to process – using paint as a material.

Shozo Shimamoto – Throw painting 1958

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Kazou Shiraga – Feet painting 1956

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Using their body, testing the limits of the body. Painting is all about test and control. Here the body is being tested and controlled.

Georges Mathieu – demonstrating action painting in a department store. It is interesting to think about the locations that action art can be made. What does it mean to make art outside the gallery? Different spaces change the context.

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William Green – deomonstrating “action” painting at the royal college of art in 1958.

There was a humour around gestural painting, William Green, A british man had only 5 minutes of fame. His work was documented by the media. Challenging what art can be and what it means to make art.

Tony Hancock – The rebel 1961 – almost becomes a parody in the press. Mocking what action painting represents. Tony Hancock was a major comedian at this time. Action painting under ridicule but becoming entertainment for others to look at those “silly artists”.

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Afrons Schilling – Paris 1961 – What is original in performance art? Has it all been done? What can a material on the body actually mean? Nowadays. Damien hirst has done similar. These early works had as much to do with style as it does with embodiment.

Yves Klein – Anthropometry 1960 – Living Paintbrushes

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This performance could be looked at as containing the objectification of naked women. It involved a male participant controlling the body of a naked woman and using her as a paint brush to paint with Klein Blue paint. Here, paint possibly has a relationship with bodily fluids.

Lee Wen – Anthropometry revision 2008

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He is talking about skin, notion of paint as skin. Links between chinese and british, colonialism. Looking at chinese identity in singapore. How you display a metaphor for something without painting an image of it.

Carolee Schneeman – puts her body where her thoughts are. Woman working in the 1960s, questioning the notion of the female body. A relation to feminine fluids and objectification. Based on the male gaze, not female gaze. The master painter points at the female and controls how he wants to see her. She reacts against this.

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Gustav Metzger – auto–destructive art action – london 1961

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“a desperate last minute submersive political weapon” – an attack on a capatist system – “performance as anti-comodification” – I am making the work, it is not for sale, it is made and that is it. Idea of destruction within it.

Nikki Saint Phalle – Shoot paintings – paris 1961

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Filled things within an assemblage with paint in pots and shoot them to make the paint drip and create the final outcome. Slightly ephemeral – early feminist artist.

Anish Kapoor – shooting in the corner London 2009

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Performative installation, canon like weapon shotting peletts of paint. In relation to the present day, this is far more accepted.

Shigeko Kubota – Vagina painting – Flux Fest

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Paint brush is loosely related to a male falice. It looks like the brush is inserted into the vagina and then being used to paint with.

Action Art – “It is rather, far more, the desire to delve deeper into the enigma of painting in order to experience it ever more richly”

How do you use paint , a material substance as a metaphor?

Gunter Brus 1964 – Viennese Aktionist – Artist placed in a vulnerable position and drawing attention to that.

Herman Nitsch – Painting installation – Jerusalem 1995 – conflict, relations to blood

Stuart Brisley – Performance, Poland 1975 – After the performance, he created a more traditional painting illustrating elements of the process. All of the rags used to clean the body are painted realistically.

Paint as a substance that becomes a mediator to channel ideas and concepts.

Robert Smithson – Asphalt ran down, Italy 1969 – work is more spectacular in the process to create it. It is about environmental issues.

Ian Mckeever – Painting for a hole in the ground

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The gestures and marks on the painting have a correlation with the landscape.

Richard Jackson – from a series of 100 drawings 1978

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Imagery of a clock spreading paint, and windscreen wipers spreading paintbrushes. In 2003, he drove a moped through paint on canvas

Paul McCarthy – Face Painting – Floor White Line. Architectural Surfaces and the human changing the space. Whipping a wall and a window with paint 1972. People would just happen upon this piece. How do you control a blanket. Is it about human control or not being able to control it?

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Paul McCarthy – Red Penis Painting 1972 – If we didn’t know It was painted with a penis, would it be as interesting?

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Paul McCarthy – Painter (Film) – reference to William Dekuning – What does it mean to make art? Is it an illusion? Can it be both serious and humourous?

Janine Antoni – “Loving Care” 1992-96 – strong relation to hair dye. Using her hair to paint with. A context with women’s cosmetics.

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Keith Boadwee – Inserting paint into his anus an squirting it out. Paint Enema’s. Making asshole abstractions.

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Performance artist – John Court 2006 – Had buckets of paint poured on him and lay there still until it dried. It took 8 hours to performance. Text as gesture is evident here, it is about communication. He is incredibly dyslexic. Writing Art forwards and backwards. Writing with left hand. Making the work more difficult to make. Disability/Inhability to communicate, so he is doing it through action. In terms of documentation, he creates time lapses, condensing a six hour performance into 10 mins.

There is a relationship between performance and contemporary drawing. 

Painting Performance – Belfast 1977 – Andre Stitt Himself put black plastic down and flung paint around, for him it was about anger and using paint to embody the anger at civil war. He didn’t have a knowledge of a history of performance, he just thought about the relationship between the body and paintings.

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Andre Stitt – Burning Paintings Performance 1978. It is important for us to think about why we make art.

MODERNISM – intervention in art.  With its avant garde advances, and the development of gesture as a performative intervention in art, in the form of an autonomous construct – achieved.

Making a performance is a precious thing. Freedom, Childs play, imancipation, being in a moment. An awareness that we will break the idea of self-conciousness creating performance painting.

 Cy Twombley: Untitled No.10 – textural mark making 2004

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Anastasia Ax – Paint Performance, Oslo 2010 – Space, Architectural concerns, self contained worlds in which we as observers experience the live act and the material artefact, whats left.

Alexis Harding – paint falling off the canvas onto the floor – pulmonary 2006

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How do Artists use materials to create contemporary performance and bring it into the art world?

Performance > Interaction > Painterly Mobility

Painting Performance Key Words – Surface, Tension, Skin, Pigment, Viscera, Fluid, Emotional Expulsion, Pushing/Pulling, Dipping, Dripping, Spilling, Flinging, Layering, Coating, Spraying, Dragging and Sloshing

These are all ways of experimenting that could be applied to any practice, whether it is painting or sculpture or performance etc.

Many Ideas about performance art have arisen to me from this Lecture. I gained Ideas from both the tutors own work and the work of other artists.

I have learnt about:
The Gravity of the body and How the Body Works
The use of unconventional materials
Getting art made quickly and the speed of documenting performance
Photography capturing action, paint in mid air etc
Using your experience in performance to create art on canvas
When to make work, the time of day
Weather conditions controlling outdoor performance
To think about how a performance can portray concepts and people can make their own interpretation to the work just as they would when viewing a painting.

Lynda Benglis: Studio, New York 1968
Concerned with conceptualism
Painters started thinking of new ways to apply paint and incorporated unconventional materials.

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There are many interesting ideas as work in performance art and paint performance – to unpack thinking about the human body, materiality, paint as a material, how the paint is applied, movement, etc.


Anselm Kiefer: The Use of Nature in his Work

After seeing Kiefer’s work in Person in an exhibition in the Royal Academy I was highly inspired. There are so many different textures and surfaces within his work and seeing it in person has really inspired me to be more experimental with mixed media and to maybe play with mixing unconventional materials into my work. I am highly inspired by the confidence of his work and I am hopeful that one day people could view my work and think it was bold and confident. Also, I am looking at nature and a connection to place and landscape surroundings and nature is a recurring theme in Kiefer’s work. He mixes natural materials into paint and includes them on the surface of the work, something I would like to consider. I will definitely be revisiting Kiefer’s work in relation to my own.

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Anselm Kiefer’s mixed media work is highly inspiring and In terms of my project work, I can see a strong connection. He incorporates both natural imagery into his pieces as well as nature itself in the form of soil or rock or tree branches etc. This is highly relevant as I have been experimenting with adding natural forms to paint myself, admittedly inspired by the exhibition of his that I went to see.

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As well as adding unconventional material into paint, he also applies it to the surface of whatever he is working on. He really inspires me to want to experiment and play around with untypical ways of working and mediums. I have been experimenting with twigs in my work, but on a much smaller scale, Anselm inspires me to work on a larger scale (not quite as large as his work though).

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Combining the work of Anselm Kiefer, his use of nature and John Pipers work I think will make for a highly successful outcome. I intend to capture a connection to nature that John Piper talks about so much through actually including nature in the work. I also intend to include abstract shapes and mark making and influences from the colour palette of his work. For me, art is about experimentation and I am looking forward to playing with these ideas.


A Connection to the Surrounding: Mixing Elements from Nature Into Paint

After attending the exhibition of Anselm Kiefer’s work in the Royal Academy, London: I thought about how he mixes things like lead or rock into paint to create a textured surface and a sense of place. In my work I have been experimenting with sticking nature to the surface of the board I have been working on which does create a sense of the surrounding but I feel that by mixing objects in with the paint, there is a sense of place in every brushstroke, area of the board and mark.

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Here are some experiments that I have produced by mixing nature in with Acrylic paint. I have created these experiments with a view to making pieces with these elements and textures.

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Items mixed into paint in order of image: bits of twig, sycamore seeds, cut up yellow leaves, small hedge leaves, soil/mud and lastly, rocks and pebbles.

Many interested textures are being created from combining natural objects with acrylic paint. This is an incredibly valuable experiment as I feel that I could make a highly successful piece using the knowledge I have gained here. I want to and have been advised to work on a larger scale. I would like to make a large landscape painting including these textures, with nature mixed into the paint and added to the surface. I could also incorporate elements into it that I have played with so far in my work like scratching into surfaces and abstracted shapes and marks.

This experimentation has also encourages me to think about how found objects from a place can be an art piece in their own right and document a surrounding or journey.