Monday, 30 March 2015

Projection Test 2


LLOYD EVANS studio test1 from Lloyd Evans on Vimeo.

Projection Test 1


LLOYD EVANS studio test 2 from Lloyd Evans on Vimeo.

Here paper has been suspended to see how a projected image would work viewed from both sides, I also tested a swatch of proper projection screen material but found that the transparency of standard photocopy paper far was better. Obviously it would not be possible to use this outside due to the weather, but for projections inside this is at present my preferred choice. It also has the benefit of being cheap, enabling me to work large scale.  

I have also experimented disrupting/altering the surface of the picture plain, I particularly like how the individually suspended sheets crop-out parts of the larger image, creating paintings within a painting. This is something I will investigate further.

Animation Experiment 7


LLOYD EVANS web from Lloyd Evans on Vimeo.

Animation Experiment 6


LLOYD EVANS side blur from Lloyd Evans on Vimeo.

In this experiment I was trying to make the animation more 'uncomfortable' to look at, creating a blurring effect by moving a single layer from right to left.

Projections

I have been testing surfaces to project my work onto, looking at how the images are affected when broken up or warped. I have been playing with the idea of transparent screens, the idea being that the projection could be viewed from the front and behind. To develop this further I intend to try projecting paintings from two opposite positions onto a central canvas.























Recent Paintings



These are some of my repeating paintings I have been animating using Photoshop,  I originally thought of keeping colours muted while I concentrate on processes. However I now feel that aesthetically these images are working better when projected than the more colourful experiments. I think the black of the background merging with the black of a dark room gives the mark-making prominence, highlighting the 'handwriting' of the work.

Animation Experiment 5


LLOYD EVANS black & white lines from Lloyd Evans on Vimeo.

MA Arts Practice - Proposal


I thought posting my MA proposal would better illustrate my aims and objectives, as well as helping to situate how I see my work sitting in a wider context.  



Exploring the potential of surface patterns as a method for communicating the sublime

The concept of the sublime is a theme that, until now, I have primarily explored through my paintings, producing large-scale, immersive works. Originally, I viewed my fine artpainting and commercialsurface pattern as two very distinct and separate endeavours; with this investigation I seek to reconcile my two practices. 

My primary aim is to develop a new visual language that uses repeating all-overimagery as a means to communicate the sublime. I am interested in the possibilities of variable or unlimited scale offered by a repeating format, as well as the challenge of creating images without one fixed focal point. Throughout my investigation I intend to utilise and combine a range of traditional and contemporary image-making techniques and processes, opening a dialogue between painting, digital image generation, printmaking and digital projection. 

The sublime is a troublesome term known to have concerned Western society since at least 1AD, where it appeared in a treaties on literature and rhetoric by Longinus. The sublime has morphed throughout history, with successive generations adding to the discourse. In his book The Sublime, Simon Morley summarises these shifts:  

Broadly speaking, four main approaches to the sublime can be identified within contemporary art and theory. These derive from Longinus, Burke, Kant and Schiller. From Longinus comes an emphasis on the transcendence of reality through the heroic act; from Burke, the idea of the sublime as an experience of shock and awe and as a destabilizing force; from Kant, the notion of the sublime as revealing a reality that is fundamentally indeterminate, undecidable and unpresentable; and from Schiller, a reading of the sublime as ecstatic experience.(Morley, 2010, p.19). 

To qualify my interpretation of the sublime in art, I see it as a transcendental connection; on a preconscious or preverbal level, an understanding through feeling, a moment of deep connection, being held, immersed, submerged, captured an experience of the non-definable. Within the arts, this is felt through the immediate aesthetic response a viewer can have to an artwork, which could include a range of qualities, not just those of beauty or ugliness. 

Aesthetics is often assumed to be concerned with judgements of beauty or ugliness, but it actually taps into a much wider range of response. This includes not only such qualities as the awkward, the garish, the bizarre or the kitsch, but even the apparent absence of any quality, as in the dull or indifferent. (Maclagen, 2004, p.10).

I see the initial preverbal response to an artworks aesthetics as a powerful and deep-rooted connection; successfully evoking a scene of sublimity is therefore directly tied to the viewers first engagement. 

Gaston Bachelard (1969)a pioneer in the investigation of the creative reception of literature, famously asserted that ‘…the image has touched the depths before it stirs the surface. He meant that we do not need to know the context from which it originates, nor to have shared the poets suffering, in order for an immediate response to a poetic image to make itself felt(Maclagan, 2004, p.44).

I regard this immediate connection as a spiritual one, not to be confused with a religious belief but a belief in the other, something that cant be proven and is known through feeling. 

The essential claim of the sublime is that man can, in feeling and speech, transcend the human. What, if anything, lies beyond the human God or the gods, the daemon or Nature is matter for great disagreement(Weiskel, 2010, p.12). 

If I were to situate my practice within an historical context, I would link it primarily to abstract expressionism, my work being a contemporary interpretation of its aims and methods. However I am not looking back at abstract expressionism / modernism through  cynical or ironic lens which a post-modern approach often implies.

My work is not a reaction against but an open dialogue with its techniques, practices and principles. I am still producing non-representational work but doing so by using the format of repeatable all-oversurface patterns. I see this as a logical development to continue the abstract expressionist experiment. I think the link between abstract expressionism and surface pattern can be seen in this statement by Clement Greenberg

The eye has trouble locating central emphases and is more directly compelled to treat the whole of the surface as a single undifferentiated field of interest, and this, in turn, compels us to feel and judge the picture more immediately in terms of its over-all unity (Greenberg, 1989, p.137).

Like the abstract expressionists, my inspiration comes from within; colours, marks and gestures speak of my internal response to the external world. In his seminal text The Sublime Is Now, Barnet Newman asserted that:

Instead of making cathedrals out of Christ, man, or life, we are making it out of ourselves, out of our own feelings. The image we produce is the self-evident one of revelation.”  (Newman,1998, p574).

I see Newmans paintings as limitless, banal and near empty spaces in which the mind is free to wander. Like Newman, I intend to make images in which the viewer is free to explore, however, this is not 1950s America: the context in which new artwork is made and will be engaged with has changed. In his essay Beauty & the Contemporary Sublime, Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe questions whether the contemporary artist must adapt his subject matter in light of our technological age. 

The image of the tundra, which, as an idea of emptiness and freedom to move, inspired Newman, might be seen to have been replaced with the knowledge that invisibility itself, the air, is filled with electronic signals. An, as it were, geographical image of limitlessness has given way to a technological one. (Gilbert-Rolfe, 2010,p139).

For me this shift is not an explicit one, I am not trying to force a reference to the technological world. I work within the technological age; the context in which I create work is different to Newman’s. In expressing my internal response to the external world, I cannot help but make work which speaks of and references the contemporary environment.

I would regard artists such as Fabian Marcaccio as a postmodern abstract expressionist. He combines painterly marks with digital copies of painterly marks, oversized images of canvas textures stuck onto canvas; the painting surface itself may be stretched, warped, It speaks of a sublime of excess. His work explores how painting can persist in the technological age. This fusion of the traditional and digital, as well as his experiments creating painterly environments, makes Marcaccio a key reference for my own investigation into a contemporary sublime.

Further to my proposal I have identified a series of key questions relating to the sublime, which my investigation will have to consider

The concept that art is an idea and is no longer tied to process has been long won, however I believe there still persists a hierarchy of processes, an inherited afterglow of cultural associations that still affect our perception of artwork.
A painting demands our attention as a work of art because it speaks of the intellectual authority of the gallery; however, wallpaper has no such pretensions and alludes to domestic decoration. In his book Ways Of Seeing, John Berger asserts that the meaning of an image is changed according to what one sees immediately beside it or what comes immediately after it(Berger, 2008, p.22). I believe the context with which we primarily associate a process preloads our reaction to it, even when that very context is later altered. So, will this make some processes more problematic than others?

Another way in which painting and wallpaper differ is in their exclusivity. The handmade object is the ultimate expression of the unique; it has an exclusive material authenticity. Where there is no originalor the work is designed for reproduction, the very authenticity or genuineness of the work is called into question. In Walter Benjamins Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, the writer explores how uniqueness, or aura, is affected through reproduction:

The genuineness of a thing is the quintessence of everything about it since its creation that can be handed down, from its material duration to the historical witness that it bears. The latter (material duration and historical witness) being grounded in the former (the things genuineness), what happens in the reproduction, where the former has been removed from human perception, is that the latter also starts to wobble. Nothing else, admittedly; however, what starts to wobble is the authority of the thing. We can encapsulate what stands out here by using the term aura. We can say: what shrinks in an age where the work of art can be reproduced by technological means is its aura.
(Benjamin, 2008, p.7).

The question I see posed here is: is the uniqueness, or aura, of a work important to its effectiveness at communicating the transcendental or sublime? And, if so, can the concept of aurabe shifted from the object to the idea? This could free us to view the reproduction with the lens we have hitherto reserved for the ‘original’. The sublime is a metaphysical, transcendental experience; can we have a sublime experience with a reproduction or does a work need to be genuine

I intend to experiment translating my artwork into different formats, therefore, could a so-called sublime image be conceptually robust enough to survive reproduction into different platforms? Or, within the framework of a technological reading, could networks of reproductive processes thereby afford us some glimpse into a postmodern or technological sublime, whose power or authenticity is documented by the success of such works in evoking a whole new postmodern space(Jameson, 2010, p.145). Essentially, could the very act of reproduction lead to a postmodern sublime?

Reproduction affects the monetary value of a work: the less unique, the less value there is; thus, the value of a work may also affect its aura. This raises the question: is monetary value needed to create or reinforce the aura of a work? If so, it makes processes of mass reproduction more problematic for me as a method of communicating the sublime.

In the same way a vibrant colour becomes dull the longer we look at it, prolonged or repeated viewing can diminish the emotional response to a work. What once was illuminated can become deadened by familiarity (Crowther, 1996, p.208). I will explore methods of altering or reinventing the image to sustain the viewer’s engagement, and have already begun to test this by randomising layers of digital paintings. This may lead to experiments with animated projections.

However, do modern digital processes such as Photoshop make a work less accessible to the viewer than more traditional hands on processes? In my initial experiments I am using scanned gestural brush marks to build digital images, which allude to the handmade. Further in my investigation, I will consider whether vector-based artwork, which speaks more of a direct digital process, can alone evoke the sublime; or, do we need that direct evidence of the artists involvement? Is it possible to have a spiritual or transcendental connection to computer-generated artwork?

Emotions cannot be excluded from our responses to paint: these thoughts all happen too far from words to be something we can control. Substances occupy the body and mind, inextricably(Elkins, 1999, p.98).

A direct connection to the physical process of making a work has always been important to my practice. The use of digital processes could create a disconnection or layer between the artist and artwork. In this way, the use of digital media could be described as a secondaryprocess. I will consider how the relationship between artist, processes and artwork can affect/influence the viewers response. 

My thoughts, ideas and critical observations throughout this investigation, reflecting on my own practice, will be recorded in sketchbooks. Within the same documents I will analyse and comment upon relevant artists, theories and processes, conducting reflexive research to build a wider contextual framework. I have also begun using Pinterest to create libraries of related historical and contemporary artwork, which is a source of visual inspiration. Digital work is currently being archived, and I intend to create a blog so this work in progress can be better reviewed. Through open critical debate with peers, I will seek to clarify my position and receive feedback regarding my ongoing experiments.  

My investigation at this stage is speculative and as such I dont have a clear end product in mind. I see the opportunity to present my work in using various formats and arenas, “It doesn’t make much difference how the paint is applied as long as something is being said. Technique is just a means of arriving at a statement’’ (Pollock, 1998, p.578).

The sublime is centred in us, a personal response to the undemostratable, its true understanding is attained in the moments you experience it. The role of the contemporary artist is to question the nondemonstratable. That question is, to me, the only one worthy of lifes high stakes, and the world of thought in the coming century (Lyotard, 2010, p.135). I believe that as long as we continue to be human, and to engage in the world around us and within us, the sublime as subject matter will persist and be relevant.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Animation Experiment 4


LLOYD EVANS white line 2 from Lloyd Evans on Vimeo.

Here I have deliberately used a limited range of marks, While the animation is still far from resolved I think this pared down 'handwriting' approach is something I'll pursue further.

Animation Experiment 3


LLOYD EVANS blurred line from Lloyd Evans on Vimeo.

Here I think the image shift is to extreme, I will experiment with 'quieter' with less obvious and more gradual movement. Also I think the different types of brushmarks are over complicating the image.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Katharina Grosse


Katharina Grosse situates her monumental works either in gallery spaces or in unexpected locations; one can turn a corner on a city street and be confronted by the monumental, temporarily overwhelmed by formless colour. An unexpected encounter with an artwork momentarily gives it the upper hand. These site specific works and are often placed within an urban environment heightening their strangeness or ‘otherness’. I see the context in which a viewer first experiences an artwork as vital to his or her engagement with it; as such, I intend to play with the idea of placing my own work in unexpected contexts in an attempt to heighten the viewer’s immediate response.





Digital Painting

After discussions with peers I began considering how I could prolong the viewers engagement with my paintings. My response was to try and turn some of them into animations, by subtly moving icons or whole layers I am attempting to create more transitory images. These experiments are at an early stage and so are currently very crude. For now I have been using the timeline function within photoshop to produce them. At the moment I feel they are far to obvious, I want to make the transitions smoother and more gentle so that the eye is forced to search the image to detect how the the changes are happening.


LLOYD EVANS dig painting 4.mp4 from Lloyd Evans on Vimeo.

One Brushmark - Animation Test

LLOYD EVANS ONE BRUSHMARK ANIMATION TEST.mp4 from Lloyd Evans on Vimeo.

Monday, 9 March 2015

The Sublime - Reading list & related Artists

I am intending this list to expand and develop the wider context around my practice.
It will include authors of key texts, along with artists who are in some way concerned with related ideas and processes.

This is not a 'finished' post and I will return to update it as as my work develops throughout this investigation.


Texts:

Aldrich, M. & Hackforth-Jones, J. (2012) Art & Authenticity. Surrey: Lund Humphries.

Ashfield, A & de Bolla, P. (2000) The Sublime: a reader in British eighteenth-century aesthetic theory. Cambridge: University Press.

Baudrillard, J. (1983) Simulations. Massachusetts: MIT Press.

Beckley, B. (2001) The Sticky Sublime. New York: Allworth Press.

Bell, J. (2013) ‘Contemporary Art and the Sublime’. In Llewellyn, N. & Riding, C. (eds.), The Art of the Sublime, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/the-sublime/julien-bell-contemporary-art-and-the-sublime-r1108499, accessed January 2015.

Benjamin, W (2008) The Work Of Art In The Age Of Mechanical Reproduction. London: Penguin books.

Brown, L. & Williams A. (eds.) (2000) Cassell’s English Dictonary. London: Cassell & Co.

Crowther, P. (1996) Critical Aesthetics and Postmodernism. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Elkins, J. (1999) What Painting Is. New York: Routledge.

Gilbert-Rolfe, J. (1999) Beauty and the Contemporary Sublime. In: Morley, S. (ed.) The Sublime, Documents of Contemporary Art.

London: Whitechapel Gallery, pp.136-141.

Greenberg, C.  (1961) Art & Culture. Boston: Beacon Press.

Hofmann, H. (1932) On The Aims of Art. In: Harrison, C. & Wood, P. (eds.) Art In Theory 1900–1990. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, pp.354-357.

Jameson, F. (1991) Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. In: Morley, S. (ed.) The Sublime, Documents of
Contemporary Art. London: Whitechapel Gallery, pp.141-146.

Lyotard, J,R. (1982) Presenting the Unpresentable: The Sublime. In: Morley, S. (ed.) The Sublime, Documents of Contemporary Art.
London: Whitechapel Gallery, pp.130-136.

Maclagan, D. (2001) Psychological Aesthetics: Painting, Feeling and Making Sense. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Morley, S. (2010) The Sublime, Documents of Contemporary Art. London: Whitechapel Gallery.

Newman, B. (1948) The Sublime Is Now. In: Harrison, C. & Wood, P. (eds.) Art In Theory 1900–1990. Oxford: Blackwell
Publishers, pp.572-574.

Pollock, J. (1950) Interview with William Wright. In: Harrison, C. & Wood, P. (eds.) Art In Theory 1900–1990. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, pp.574-578.

Shaw, P. (2006) The Sublime. New York: Routledge.

Nicolas Bourriaud - Relational Aesthetics

Artists:
Fabian Marcaccio
Bernard frize
Katherina Grosse
Julie Mehretu
Ian Mckeever
Matisse
Gerhard Ricter
Ian Davenport
Mark Rothko
Barnett Newman
Meghana Bisineer
Sam Francis
Cy Twombly
Mark Tobey
Brian Eno
James Turrell
John Hoyland
Patrick Heron
Ryoji Ikeda Ikeda
Janet Echelman
Yayoi Kusama
Anish Kapoor
Robert Ryman
Olafur Eliasson
Lorenz Potthatt http://www.lorenzpotthast.de/dream-bubble-machine/
Carlos Cruz-Diez
Anthony Mccall
Willian Kentridge
Dan Flavin
Ann Veronica Jassens
David Batchlor

Source Material

These images show my source material for my digital experiments. I have been scanning images such as these out of my sketchbook, digitally reinventing them as repeating imagery. I use a Wacom Cintiq for my commercial work so do have the option of working directly onto the screen into photoshop. While this works well for my more illustrative surface pattern work I feel I would lose the quality of line that can be achieved with pen and paper. However I plan to test this in future experiments.





























Handwriting

In a departure from my earlier experiments where marks had more mass, my current work is starting to focus more on 'handwriting' and quality of line, building organic weblike structures. This is a reaction to my own interest in 'handwriting', the surrealist technique of automatic drawing; as well as feedback from peers regarding the effectiveness of different test images. I feel these kinds of structures could hold the viewer for longer, presenting them with something to search.





















































Monochromatic Experiments


I have decided to keep colours muted for now to focus on mark-making.


20 Words


An initial task before writing my main MA Study Proposal was to list 20 words which characterized or were associated with my work. These words were then to be expanded on to further clarity our positions. I wrote this as a stream of consciousness not an academic document, so please do not judge it as such, I am aware I repeat myself and some explanations/ descriptions maybe cryptic at best. I wrote it as a series of notes to myself and was not originally intending to share it. However it does hit on themes and questions I see as central to my practice so I thought it worth uploading.    

Honest - it is what it is, an abstract collection of marks and colour nothing more. Readings and interpretations are left completely open to the viewer.
Abstract- concrete abstraction i.e. not intentionally referencing anything external.
Emotive - I belive first response to a works aesthetic is the deepest connection we have with a work. It speaks of otherness, the undefinable.
Immersive - large scale, I'm interested in surrounding the viewer’s field of vision. Projection, wallpaper, Panel paintings.  I want to test effects of scale in my new work. In the past I have limited by practical considerations of transport & storage when producing paintings, but printing or projection offer the opportunity of much larger scale works.
Repeating - playing with more than one focal point is a new idea in my practice, and one that I belive lends its self to the exploration of the abstract sublime. Unending, vast, sublime!
Multidisciplinary // Multimedia paint, silk screen, projection, Illustrator, Photoshop, Ink whatever works. Engaged with new and old processes. The most important thing for me is the image, processes are just a means to arrive at the outcome.
Pattern – Does process dictate how seriously we take a work? Do assocciations of process, painting / photography give a work instant credibility? While other more domestic or design processes devalue an image through association. Can I overcome this?
Would a mediocre painting hold more credibility (aura) than a first rate wallpaper? Without the belief in a work of art it does not exist? Value/worth is in the eye of the viewer.
Sublime? // Transendental Barnet newmann (Sublime is now) Rothko - Postmodern sublime (Lyotard)
Aesthetic -beauty is not a dirty word / but aesthetic does not mean just beauty and can mean the complete opposite. - The first response to a work is based on its aesthetics not its ideas.
Altered formats – Works which are changeable to different environments.
Un-postmodern postmodernism? – not looking back  with a wry smile, more like an open dialogue. 
Gesture –
looking at how painterly gesture could translate digitally
Mark making - I see my mark making like abstract hand writing.
Rhythm - work to date has been produced in defined time frames dependent on process, paintings being created by laying individual layers upon layers. With digital processes this may change. The speed and way in which the marks are made affects the rhythm of the work, could this cause problems when working digitally?
Spiritual –is all art spiritual? an act of faith?  a belief in the value of some 'otherness' that which cannot be proven.
Pictorial depth created with colour// scale // mark making //  often close condensed squashed spaces. - may experiment with deeper depth of field.
Colour - The eye first sees colour before it sees form, therefore colour is of paramount importance to me. Working digitally opens possibility of quick alterations, further experimentation and ability to rework an image.
Immediate - love of tactile respose from painting - ' substances occupy the body and mind etc....   Love of paint. (Elkins)
Personal – My response to the external world
Altered contexts - Exploring how the reading of my work is altered in different contexts.

Julie Mehretu

I regard the work of painter Julie Mehretu to be concerned with a post-modern technological sublime. Her large scale paintings take inspiration from the buzz or energy of the modern city, a cacophony of marks and shapes allude to the overwhelming sensory input of urban centres, including sound, movement and space. Architectural forms appear and disperse in a fragmented collage of divergent intentions. We are presented with a momentarily overwhelming amount of visual choices, everywhere you look the image is in flux.

"I'm interested in the experience you can have while looking... information that coalesces into something that comes out of the painting towards you. The amount of time that goes into these is very apparent, and that can be overwhelming. It becomes a physical experience" Julie Mehretu, http:/whitecube.com/artists/julie_mehretu/

The overwhelming physicality of her work, evoked through scale and the apparent labour intensiveness of each image, is something which I wish to explore in my own work. I also admire the tangible sense of depth and movement she has created through her use of optical effects  of colour and perspective. My images have what may be considered as a shallow depth of field, I will explore how deepening pictorial depth effects the reading of my images.





































Test Image

As I develop more custom brushes from scanned brush marks it increases the vocabulary of what is possible. 

Coverting Brushmarks into Photoshop brushes: IMAGE/MODE/CMYK
IMAGE ADJUST/ BRIGHTNESS & CONTRAST / Increase to make background whiter.
IMAGE ADJUST/SELECTIVE COLOURS/ Drop out the whites.
Select Brushmark with space around edges / EDIT/ DEFINE BRUSH / Name.
TOOL PRESETS / NEW / Name.


Fabian Marcaccio


Fabian Marcaccio combines painterly marks with digital copies of painterly marks, oversized images of canvas textures stuck onto canvas; the painting surface itself may be stretched, warped, and tethered to its surroundings, his work seems to explore how painting can persist in the technological age and speaks of a sublime of excess, aesthetically grotesque. it visually appeals to me in the way flesh does in a Lucien Freud or Jenny Saville painting. This fusion of the traditional and digital, as well as his experiments creating painterly environments, makes Marcaccio a key reference for my own investigation into a contemporary sublime.





































































Context



If I were to situate my practice within an historical context, I would link it primarily to abstract expressionism. While I consider myself to be a postmodern artist I am not looking back at abstract expressionism / modernism with the cynical or ironic lens which the term often implies.

My work is not a reaction against but an open dialogue with its techniques, practices and principles. I am still producing non-representational work but doing so by using the format of repeatable all-oversurface patterns. I see this as a logical development to continue the abstract expressionist experiment. I think the link between abstract expressionism and surface pattern can be seen in this statement by Clement Greenberg

The eye has trouble locating central emphases and is more directly compelled to treat the whole of the surface as a single undifferentiated field of interest, and this, in turn, compels us to feel and judge the picture more immediately in terms of its over-all unity (Greenberg, 1989, p.137).

Like the abstract expressionists, my inspiration comes from within; colours, marks and gestures speak of my internal response to the external world. In his seminal text The Sublime Is Now, Barnet Newman asserted that:


Instead of making cathedrals out of Christ, man, or life, we are making it out of ourselves, out of our own feelings. The image we produce is the self-evident one of revelation.”  (Newman,1998, p574).

Aesthetics


I see the initial preverbal response to an artworks aesthetics as a powerful and deep-rooted connection; successfully evoking a scene of sublimity is therefore directly tied to the viewers first engagement.
Gaston Bachelard (1969)a pioneer in the investigation of the creative reception of literature, famously asserted that ‘…the image has touched the depths before it stirs the surface. He meant that we do not need to know the context from which it originates, nor to have shared the poets suffering, in order for an immediate response to a poetic image to make itself felt(Maclagan, 2004, p.44).
I regard this immediate connection as a spiritual one, not to be confused with a religious belief but a belief in the other, something that cant be proven and is known through feeling.


The essential claim of the sublime is that man can, in feeling and speech, transcend the human. What, if anything, lies beyond the human God or the gods, the daemon or Nature is matter for great disagreement(Weiskel, 2010, p.12).

Sunday, 8 March 2015

A Different Way Of Working


Instead of building an image from individual marks I have tried using a whole image. Taking it into photoshop to trying and hide the joins of its repeating edges.  

The first image is the original ink drawing, the second image is it in repeat and polarized. While I see the potential in this process I do not not feel it has fully worked here, you are too aware of slight areas of difference along the joins between tiles. Also there is one mark which is slightly to large, this jumps out at you making the repeat to obvious.




























Rotating Layers


I Like the slight blurring which is forcing some marks to recede slightly into the background here. I have used a range of marks as well as duplicating and rotating existing layers.




Backgrounds?

Here I have placed a canvas texture in the background, I was trying to make it so that where the picture plain was not completely covered with brush-marks you didn't get a stark white or any other flat hue in the background, which may jar with the painterly marks. However I do not think this has been successful, it does not seem to sit right and feels too forced.   



Multiple Repeat Tiles

Despite at first appearing completely random, if you look closely you will see the same white spaces repeated throughout the image. The image is actually in repeat, there is one full repeat box in the centre and 8 partial of repeat boxes located around it.

This was just a quick experiment and I don't think the images is in anyway resolved. However I am drawn to the undulating weblike structure, and might experiment further with this idea.


Repeat Tests

Here I was experimenting with how I could put images into a repeating format. I found the quickest and therefore most sympathetic to the act of 'painting' was to use the Offset function in effects. However this is not a process I use commercially for my surface pattern designs, when working with multiple layers it becomes difficult to accurately predict where icons will offset to! However because I'm trying to achieve an ''all-over' effect this randomization doesn't present so much of a problem.

Below are repeat tiles, where a mark half appears on the left edge you should see the other half of it reappear on the right-hand side. Same for the top edge and bottom edge, this means they could be repeated with no visible joins to interrupt the flow of the overall image. this also means that the image can be increased or decreased to fit the context in which it is placed.

For the last few experiments I have been using the same format of 2480 x 2480 pixels & 300 DPI. I have always liked working with a square format as I feel its not preloaded with associations like a landscape or portrait orientation can be.  



























White

In this experiment I have again spent time altering both the opacity of the marks, as well as the ordering of the layers I'm working on. Each different coloured mark is placed on a separate layer.

In my previous work where I was painting with fabric dyes, I always had difficulty using white pigments as they would dry to a chalky finish. Also unlike oils or acrylics, once you had placed a darker tone onto the canvas there was no viable way of laying a white mark back over the top.   
Here I am enjoying the freedom to use white to sit on top of darker hues.





The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

'The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction' by Walter Benjamin is a key text in my investigation, in it he explores how uniqueness, or 'aura', is affected through reproduction.


The genuineness of a thing is the quintessence of everything about it since its creation that can be handed down, from its material duration to the historical witness that it bears. The latter (material duration and historical witness) being grounded in the former (the thing's genuineness), what happens in the reproduction, where the former has been removed from human perception, is that the latter also starts to wobble. Nothing else, admittedly; however, what starts to wobble is the authority of the thing. We can encapsulate what stands out here by using the term aura. We can say: what shrinks in an age where the work of art can be reproduced by technological means is its aura.(Benjamin, 2008, p.7)


The question I see posed here is: is the uniqueness, or aura, of a work important to its effectiveness at communicating the transcendental or sublime? And, if so, can the concept of aurabe shifted from the object to the idea. This could free us to view the reproduction in the same positive light we had hitherto reserved for the original. The sublime is a metaphysical, transcendental experience; can we have a sublime experience with a reproduction or does a work need to be genuine?

In his work 'Exhibition in a box' artist Thomas Martin plays with the idea of the unique. His small scale prints are made by layering a selection of abstract patterns; this randomisation of layers and colours creates near endless possibilities, and allows him to claim that each set is unique. The 'aura' of the work is thus maintained and the material value justified, however at what cost? Some of the prints seem stronger than others, some compositions of pattern work while others are less resolved. Other sets I have seen contain compositions I'd love to have in my own set. In a hierarchy of objectives the need to make them unique has superseded the need to make them good. This raises the question, for the appreciation of an artwork is its exclusivity more important than the image itself? I see this as a key issue for my investigation.













































I would like to note that I am not attacking Thomas Martins work, I'm merley using it to illustrate my thoughts about the importance of 'uniqueness', I very much admire his prints and as I have already stated have bought my own set.

My images will be constructed out of repeating elements, and I'm interested in placing the same image in different contexts, as well as reinterpreting it using different processes. If 'uniqueness' is so important to our appreciation of a work could these forms of repetition interrupt the viewers connection with the work? Or could repetition itself lead us to the Sublime?

"Networks of reproductive processes thereby afford us some glimpse into a postmodern or technological sublime, whose power or authenticity is documented by the success of such works in evoking a whole new postmodern space in emergence around us" (Jameson, 2010, The   Sublime, p.145)



Pattern Stamps

As well as scanning individual brushmarks I have selected some of these thumbnail pattern ideas to turn into pattern stamps. The image below has been constructed from both these pattern stamps and customized brushes already in the photoshop library.



























Test Paintings

These are some of my first experiments digitally painting my own scanned in brush marks. For simplicity while I experiment with the process I have not put them into repeat, they are just small 'allover' images. By playing with colour and opacity I have been able to create a slight pictorial depth. Also the ability to recolour icons and easily reorder layers are both things which working digitally has made possible. I'm enjoying the speed at which this allows me change, adapt and try new things out. 

                    


 


Saturday, 7 March 2015

First Experiment

This is my first attempt playing with a scanned in mark. I have worked in layers, duplicating the mark and laying larger & smaller versions of itself on top of each other. I like how the flaring of colour around the edges of the mark creates a sense of movement, in a similar way to when I have used fabric dyes directly on a wet canvas.


Ink Scans

I've started creating a range of brush-marks which I'm scanning into Photoshop. I have done this using black indian inks. I've just used black as I can digitally recolour these marks easily within Photoshop.

Im Scanning them In at 300DPI so that they will not pixelate when enlarged. Each mark is then being turned into a Photoshop brush so that I can build my own custom brush library from which to work.




















































A Starting Point

I intend to begin my investigation by playing with the relationship between painting and digital processes. This will involve scanning drawn/painted images and icons, experimenting building repeating imagery by collaging these elements together in Photoshop. I will also try combining 'traditional' hand drawn marks and gestures with digitally generated ones, exploring the relationships between the two.

The physical act of painting has always been important to my practice. I want to test not only if I can achieve the effects I'm after with digital processes, but also if I can feel connected with the process of image making in the same way.

At this stage I'm not sure how my work is to be presented. I will start by digitally projecting my images, this is the easiest way of testing repeats, scale and the context in which the work is seen. However I also want to experiment creating wallpapers, textiles & multiple canvases.


Wednesday, 4 March 2015

‘The sublime’

‘The sublime’ is a troublesome term known to have concerned Western society since at least 1AD, where it appeared in a treaties on literature and rhetoric by Longinus. The sublime has morphed throughout history, with successive generations adding to the discourse. In his book The Sublime, Simon Morley summarises these shifts:  

“Broadly speaking, four main approaches to the sublime can be identified within contemporary art and theory. These derive from Longinus, Burke, Kant and Schiller. From Longinus comes an emphasis on the transcendence of reality through the heroic act; from Burke, the idea of the sublime as an experience of shock and awe and as a destabilizing force; from Kant, the notion of the sublime as revealing a reality that is fundamentally indeterminate, undecidable and unpresentable; and from Schiller, a reading of the sublime as ecstatic experience.” (Morley, 2010, p.19). 


I see the Sublime as a transcendental connection; on a preconscious or preverbal level. An understanding through feeling, a moment of connection, being held, immersed, overwhelmed, captured - an experience of the non-definable. Its very nature makes it hard to explain, it is a personal response to some aspect of the external world. We all experience and comprehend the world in different ways, so the Sublime will be an elusive and problematic subject matter. 


My Primary Aim

My primary aim is to develop a new visual language that uses repeating ‘all-over’ imagery as a means to communicate the sublime. I am interested in the possibilities of variable or unlimited scale offered by a repeating format, as well as the challenge of creating images without one fixed focal point. Throughout my investigation I intend to utilise and combine a range of traditional and contemporary image-making techniques and processes, opening a dialogue between painting, digital image generation, printmaking and digital projection. 




Exploring the potential of surface patterns as a method for communicating the sublime

The concept of the sublime is a theme that, until now, I have primarily explored through my paintings, producing large-scale, immersive works. Originally, I viewed my ‘fine art’ painting and ‘commercial’ surface pattern as two very distinct and separate endeavours; with this investigation I seek to reconcile my two practices. 

Often working in sets, I have experimented with creating works which could be reordered and adapted to the spaces in which they are placed. The idea of work which can be adaptable to various contexts remains a key concern and one which I intend to explore further throughout this investigation.