Collaboration Three: Making Aeroplanes

It occurred to me that the way that we have planned to do the collaboration, bouncing backwards and forwards between the two making practices, isn’t really helping approaching it. I don’t see this as a problem but certainly I need to be aware of what Rebecca makes and try and make work which directly engages in dialogue with the music. Having said this there is certainly a crossover as she’s been playing and composing devising music in my studio whilst I’ve been working. She’s also the subject of a lot of my work so she is part of that visual gathering process which happened right at the point when the work begins to be realised and generated.The idea of songs from our past lives correlating with the staging of the self possibly a younger self marries up with storytelling and narrative. There is a sense of looking back, but also looking to the future and generating new work which projects potential alternate feeling again like I’m lacking in visual material I have gone back controlled through some photographs I’ve taken since Christmas. Some of these were taken in Cornwall when we went on a Woodland Trail which the borders of which were marked by coloured flags which flattered and moved like petals on the ground. Each area of the pathway was marked with a different set of colours and I took a lot of photos are following the group that I was with and also taking photos back over the paths I have walked myself. I was rather taken by the colour on the organic natural background so felt really inspired to use these forms in my next three paintings. The three paintings are on canvas and I’ve used acrylic to stain the background leaving puddles of sheer colour to create trace like uneven edges and coloured shadows which suggest fluid ghosts. I chose trails of flags which reminded me of openings, bearing off to the right or left and to suggest a journey. I haven’t really considered whether figure was going to go to also start stuff painting with oil and initially blocking out the lease shapes then adding in some light and dark tones to give them a sense of movement.

I was reflecting on this process and thought I should perhaps have thought about where the figure would go in relation to the lines; however I then realised that this wasn’t important as it allows me to work in a more spontaneous way rather than preplanning and making the image too static. I have also set up a dialogue between figure and background as elements emerge through each other. There is some overlapping (I have only added the figure to one so far). This work seems to go back to some work I did before the Trace Dance series which explored a figure falling in the woods. I have eliminated the descriptive and illustrative backgrounds but there is still a sense of place and space. I have tried his colours from within the stains from the background which is what I did for my traced on series as well and this approach has allowed me to make the figure more bound with the background. I’ve begun by marking out the body and painting in, almost in and underpainting style some of the darker areas of shadow. I imagine that some of these will remain visible at the end of the painting. As I said before I’m having to select from existing photographs, although these were new ones which I chose and when I was thinking about the collaboration. I’m going to need to take some more images so that they fit in with the visual landscape that I created. One of the pieces, I am really enjoying looking at with out any element of figure, and I’m wondering whether even though these on a triptych, they will sit in series with one another and perhaps we can leave the one piece figureless . The sense of absence and space could become common theme in my work, and especially feeding off the idea of toast which is generated by my taste prints from the previous collaboration, this could be really exciting. The sense of negative space as well is becoming more and more important and I find day today that I’m more attracted to artist if left gaps spaces and outlines in their work. This gives the image official quietness which is much more evocative than an overwhelming amount of colour detail or content. It’s also quite interesting to look at the new canvases in relation to amber and gold (this is the title which I have now given the painting in response to Rebecca’s composition).

I have experimented with different brushstrokes when depicting the figures, trying to simplify but not edit too much of the body out. I’m not sure if I prefer this to my previous negative space figures but using puddles and stains to form some parts has create an impression of dissolution and fluid. All three figures have a sense of spinning and this relates to the ‘paths’ set out by the flags. There is a sense of play and also slight imbalance, as though the spinning game could become out of control , spiralling into secluded areas of the woods – becoming lost. I’ve been getting a bit lost with the third of this series but have experimented with obliterating and staining out some of the colour to introduce more white. Although still unresolved, I feel that this is leading more effectively into the next collaboration (4) which I have already started.

This weekend I went back to these pieces to try and tie in the third of the three. I needed to leave them to breathe so that I can learn from later works and revisit with the additional parts of the story and new dialogue in relation to the progression of the narrative, works and music. Just a glimpse to show the alterations – mainly grey and red ragging over the top of the existing painting – to tie the three pieces together. I feel much happier with the new relationship between these works and the transitional nature of the pieces which sit alongside ‘Making Aeroplanes.1/.2’.

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