I spent the weekend working in the triptych – Trace Dance 1.7 – and working on the new painting – Trace Dance 1.8. I am really pleased with the triptych as the balance of colour and progression of power between the characters works well and is a development from pieces earlier on in the series and unit. The middle canvas seems a little awkward but I like that this figure is a reincarnation (third) of a figure and I believe, the best version. I have simplified her from the version in 1.5 and I prefer the scale to the original oil sketch I did.
There is something about photographing my work outside of the studio – linking back to ‘Breaking your Boundaries ‘- which gives a real sense of my play with tiny and gigantic. To see pieces, which in my studio appear gigantic, dwarfed by the surrounding buildings is quite poignant. The purpose of photographing outside is to get a truer colour and better sense of the piece wholly without the space or image being interrupted by lights or other work. I feel like these images could exist as a photographic series to support my work.
Me with my work outside the studio:)
The new piece is the third version of the same piece on the same scale. It’s a piece that I feel I need to make, but not sure if I have time to resolve by the show. It could be the last piece in Trace Dance 1.# but I’m not sure if the piece will make it to Sheffield. So the first version of this was one of the white paintings where the stain and figures were inscribed on an unpainted background. I loved this piece because of the lightness and incidental nature of the stain and trace. The figure on the right (from the viewer) seemed effortless and free but I always felt that the left hand figure’s legs seemed ill placed and awkward.
In version 2 (Trace Dance 1.3) I took the colours from version one’s stain and created a purple background. I used the same figures to see how they would fit in the space; this piece moved between feeling resolved and feeling awkward. Purple never seems right as it is unnatural as a colour and seems to dominate the surface.
I struggled with this piece because the colour palette was difficult to extract from the ground. I tried to use bolder marks and used my scraping tool to create the folds of the cloth. The right hand figure is better than in the original image but the left hand figure, although more animated seems awkward. I think I have successfully created a sense the figure emerging and receding and the figures are integrated. I also think this works because of the limited colour palette, particularly in the skin tone and hair.
I realised that I needed to remake a third version of this painting as I wasn’t content with the second. It had been bothering me in my studio and I wasn’t entirely sure why until I had another look at the figures and realised that the left hand figure was always awkward (not in a good way). The right feels like she has a place and I noticed that as she seemed to be leaving the space – out of the boundary or frame – she had more a sense of trace. So I have decided to recreate this figure twice in the same space as though there is a mirror, or as though she is chasing herself away.
The colours used her are inspired by pieces which have worked before, the rust and metal outside my studio window, and a piece by Friedrich Kunath which involves a cloudy background with a figure drawn onto the surface. I want these figures to interact with the background, emerging and disappearing, so I am trying to extract colours from the initial stain for the drawing. I think the colour balance and the figures are quite harmonious – I’m considering using some white to add in bold marks but trying to keep it very light so it is subtle and delicate – a sense of the invisible.
I feel brave having started this piece in such a limited time period but have a great opportunity to resolve this piece (finally) and complete the Trace Dance series. I don’t know why it feels like its the end – or time for a pause…it’s not just about TheNineMA looming (I feel good about it so it’s probably not the best phrasing:)). This stage is resolving, maturing and progressing – there is a body of work which is focused on the same theme, developing and evolving ideas which are mirrored by my contextual essay and reading.
One Month Reflection
I have spent the last few weeks since beginning and resolving 1.8, curating and arranging works in the Trace Dance Series in my studio. The combinations of colours and figures reappearing across multiple surfaces is clearly indicative of narrative and links the work visually. My plan is to take all Trace Dance pieces to Sheffield so I can see them in the context of the gallery space – and in relation to other students’ works – and make the final hanging decision there. This is also because I won’t be able to hang as much work as I would like to so need to be as flexible as possible with my material to pull the work together and communicate my intentions to the viewer.