April – June has panned out rather differently for all of us than anticipated. I should have been undertaking a short residency at Elysium studios which was to feed into an exhibition at the gallery. It was to focus on the short journey from station to studio in much the same way as I had in Osaka last August, casting the ground with latex skins.
Given the Lockdown restrictions in place during these Covid times, I’ve been exploring the ‘Underfoot’ project as a ‘home residency’ using latex to record what is underfoot in territory deemed ‘safe’ : the boundary of my home.
I’ve taken this opportunity (where public safety is not an issue) to try casting large skins, to learn about the process and material properties at this scale. Physically, it’s much more demanding and the jury’s out as to what and how I might use such large sheets.
I’m mindful of the associations that have been forming and shifting for me whilst here. I find myself thinking of my house as an island, sometimes I feel marrooned, closed off. I sometimes see the space around the house as turbulent water; an ocean which protects me and simultaneously keeps me prisoner.
Over the past few months I’ve continued to stitch into my pocket tissues and I’ve taken some time to test out another way of engaging with them. I’ve been investing time in making stalks without really knowing where it will lead. Having stitched tissue to stem, I’m pretty excited about the possibilities.
I’ve been thinking about making some films from object scans. One idea that’s been in my head for some time is based on recording all the tissues I’ve ever collected; piling them up, layering them. A more recent idea is more is connected to the re – reading of ‘Vibrant Matter: a Political Ecology of Things, returning to thoughts about vitality in inanimate objects. I inadvertently nudged this cluster of suspended tissues and that has set off a chain reaction of thoughts. I’ve posted a very short filmclip on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CBDQOerFWyA/
I’m continuing to try out options for Short Walk Osaka. Today that involved making a black box and thinking about how I would attach it to a wall. Still a long way to go with the material and the fixing system. I ended the day with an unboxed version following the same rhythm. I think I liked it much more.
Previously I’ve strung this continuous latex thread of a journey from studio to station in Osaka in various configurations. The latest idea being tested is for a forthcoming exhibition. I’ve planned the show as a collaboration of artists from Wales and Japan whose work involves Objects and ‘The Everyday’. One key aspect of the show is the need to post artwork to the gallery, hence the title: ‘Lifting the Lid’. The second is the limited available space in the gallery, so my short journey is made even shorter, compressed and shifting from shoe box to shoe lid, making full use of the folding and rippling qualities of the material.
Key words: Object . Overlooked – The Everyday – Ordinary . Transform – Evoke – Uncover – Reveal . Appropriation – Representation – Invent – Invert – Subvert
This is how my tissues have been wrapped – part of the printing process. In the past I’ve removed the film after a session but with this recent spurt I’ve used them for weeks. The result is they are now becoming a bit leathery in parts and discolouring. Something else to think about….
One more variation on these recent print – drawings made from some of my pocket handkerchief collection. More closely packed on an A1 sheet with some linear detailing.
So, while the Corona virus rampages around the world, I take the latest print tests with my pocket tissues into a slightly different direction for my contribution to artist book 1SSUE 44 . These are some of the pages I’ve made. I’ve enjoyed working on this format: thin strips; working off the edge and before they get posted off, seeing what happens when they live side by side.
Several months ago, before Corona virus was even a dot on the horizon, I was invited to put a piece of work in a group exhibition at Tokyo Metropolitan Museum curated by Ritsuwo Kanno, Director of Atelier Outotsu.
This piece was one experiment in creating an artwork using paper and transfer printing.
Sadly, the exhibition has been postponed until 2022. However, the piece has been a useful starting point in developing the latex and graphite work I began in the spring of 2019 : Archive 2 . This time I’ve been experimenting with other pigments, multiple objects and a manipulated paper form.
This recent series of tissues, stitched in 2020 are much more heavily worked than in previous years. That is of interest to me; how time seems to be of little concern with these pieces. Life is busy but here, as I stitch, I am less concerned with completion, more interested in what evolves. Every weak spot in the paper presents an opportunity for embellishment of the piece and its potential as an ‘other’ object. I like that I can see that now, I couldn’t in the past.
I have to confess, the use of trans-illumination is also very seductive. Once I unleashed it on the latex pieces I began to wonder what might be revealed of my tissues. The results are evocative; they make me think of forensics, diagnostic imaging, looking inside and underneath, revealing the invisible, possibly of use in this project….
When I returned to Swansea I was hoping to cast more floor skins of daily travels but the weather conditions over winter were terrible, extraordinarily wet and of course cold. I started wondering if there were other ways to approach the task, ways of recording my encounter with the floor back in the studio. So I took specimens to test, found objects. I ended up with latex puddles. When the found objects were removed, some shapes collapsed, others remained erect and (I couldn’t resist trying) when transilluminated, everything glowed.