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Organic Chaos

I thought I would share with you the piece of writing I presented to go alongside my final exhibition at the end of my Foundation at Falmouth University. I chose to present this in the form of a hand-stitched book which I made. (This was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be, but I really enjoyed the whole process.) There are some images of my work that were on display throughout this post! I hope that this post gives to an insight into the way I work and think.

The concept organising chaos was where my inspiration for this project began. This would also accurately describe my working method.  

I have found that the skill and focus required to make marks and translate them into prints is what has driven my work.  Representational drawing presented limitations and has not allowed me to explore freely the emotional value of simple mark making.  I have always been interested in depicting texture through repetitive mark making.  I have chosen to explore this further at this stage of the course through the working with shape, mark and observing the texture and structure within organic and man-made forms.  I began by contrasting man made and organic, contrasting modern architecture such as cranes and pylons with leaf structures, recurring lines in the rocks and the outlines of trees against the sky.  I then looked for some common ground. In my project I have attempted to explore the juxtaposition and similarities between these opposing forms. I expressed this through spontaneous mark making versus the deliberate and considered.

The practicality and physicality of printmaking fits in with the way I think and enables me to be methodical and process driven. This organises my thoughts and slows down my decisions enabling me to take time and plan the best way forward.  I find the whole process meditative and methodical because I am working through a multi layered process of many steps. Before studying on this foundation course I always enjoyed combining different mediums and textures and have found that printmaking enables me to use one medium with a range of variations to create exciting outcomes.  Another part of printmaking that I have enjoyed has been the spontaneous nature of marks achieved inadvertently through printmaking. This approach has certainly influenced my final body of work.

On this course I have learnt about different forms of drawing and mark making and this has opened my eyes to alternative ways of working and seeing. I have used line and mark to describe the natural world and I have focussed on aspects of nature and abstracted them to engage the viewer. As my project developed I focussed on the reason why particular shapes are a recurring feature of my work. The conflict of man-made versus nature became resolved within a circle that represented the conflict of my thoughts becoming shaped and contained.

Minimalism is my way of trying to organise my chaotic mind. I have found that containing the chaos within shape which for me is symbolic of the core of life and the idea of completion and resolution I find the idea of repetition allows me to be methodical and meditative and I am able to express this through mark making. I strive to communicate a sense of familiarity and calmness for the viewer using shape. I also have a real interest in geometric shape as it provides a sense of structure and these spontaneous marks within my work which represent the idea of chaos and the unknown.

The medium of printmaking translates these ideas well and I incorporate a happy accident into my work when it adds to the effect. The idea of repeating a mark gives me a sense of certainty but the way in which a piece develops is organic which is indicative of the way I work and think.

In these etchings I explored the spontaneity of nature and how nature could be documented. I was very much in control of what I chose to take a press from but parts of organic structures that I let draw on the plate meant the marks were spontaneous and random. It is from here that I wanted to develop the idea of contrasting the deliberate mark with the organic. I often use being outside as a way of gaining perspective It is here that I am able to document different elements of nature through mark making as a starting point for my work  

Artists like Sol Lewitt have been a huge inspiration for my project as his process is methodical and he gives meaning to mark by exploring the very core of shape and mark. It is through his system drawings that I have really taken inspiration because repetition to build up an image is at the very core of his practice. His art can be described as minimalist but I think the reason I relate it so much because of the use of recurring mark which for me as a viewer give me a sense of certainty. The artist says “You shouldn't be a prisoner of your own ideas.” (Soloman Lewitt, Date Unknown)  This evokes the chaos in the mind and I have often been hindered by my chaotic thought processes and how the ideas spiral around. However the process of printmaking has meant I am able to gain more control and refinement with these ideas. This has been shown in my work where I translated one of my collage studies into an etching.  I had to think more about the process and how the spontaneous and deliberate marks could be manipulated and represented on a plate. I chose to combine range of print making processes: sugarlift, chine Colle and aquatint which meant I was working more methodically but learning new skills.

Other artists who have been of influence are Gabriel Orozco. I first saw his work at the Edinburgh Fruitmarket Gallery. Straight away I felt a connection to the work. The use of line and introduction of shapes like the circle present a composition that challenges the mind and viewer to look beyond the recurring shapes and use of colour. Orozco has shown me that the introduction of circular structures to work can change a composition. He has also made me think about what the circle can represent to the viewer. Ultimately for me this is a sense of resolution and completion that I can associate with and I find calming. I was fortunate to see his work again at the Whitechapel Gallery in London in the adventures of the abstract square exhibition. I was also exposed to other artists whose use of line, simplicity of colour and abstraction I took great inspiration from when creating work. Orozco’s use f circles inspired me to further develop my printing in the terms of the shape of the plate. I cut the plates into triangles and circles but felt more satisfied with the circles as it was pushing my drawings into print and working with different plates presented new challenges which have been a learning curve but satisfying because I have been pushing the boundaries of print.

In an article from Bomb magazine, Bollousa said “His work is a continuous exploration” (Bollousa 2007) this is relevant to me as I think that this project is something that has flux because of the nature of what I am exploring. I like the idea that it won’t have a complete resolve. He’s aesthetically the opposite of Duchamp or of the Surrealist project: Orozco finds hidden meanings, he leaves his own mark. (Bollousa 2007)” I am very inspired by his way of thinking and how he incorporates exciting thought provoking ideas into his work through shape and composition.
Next year I am continuing onto my degree at Falmouth University where I will study BA Drawing. I chose to do this course as I have found a passion for printmaking, I wanted a degree that would push me technically but will also enhance my printmaking skills to a new level. I am excited to be continuing onto a course with great facilities and tutors where I know I will be supported. I am looking forward to being taught new ways to visually communicate my ideas and continue to learn about printmaking.”



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