I felt I was a strong position when I arrived at ArToll in March 2012 for a two week residency under the title of ‘Directional Forces 2012’ with other Professional Doctorate students and International artists.
I had not had much chance to make work between ‘Hanging Hams’ and the residency I mainly concentrated on finding materials to take with me. I tried not to think or plan too much the work that I was going to make as I wanted to respond genuinely to the title in the place.
Before the residency I experienced some understandable anxiety about producing work in a limited time frame in a new environment which was also going to be part of an exhibition. The studio spaces were very large, something I have little experience of, and they were initially quite daunting however I was intrigued about the effect of having dedicated time, mental and physical space would have on my work.
I felt that the first piece of work I wanted to make should be on a large scale to reflect the size of the space I was working in. I created a large patchwork of blankets, soaked them in PVA and arranged them over an assemblage of chairs.
This was the same method I had used for the ‘Hanging Hams’ that I considered had worked well for me. I spent a considerable amount of time making draped and folded classical shapes that I thought would work well once hardened and dried.
I did not anticipate the piece would take four days to dry so in that time I started to experiment with the other with materials I had brought, initially not in a particularly serious manner and with no end goal in sight.
This ‘playing around’ resulted in being quite serendipitous as it allowed me to be quite free; I didn’t feel particularly positive about what I was producing, pieces of felt covered with wax and pigment impressed with shapes, but it didn’t seem to matter as I felt I was just marking time whilst the real work was drying.
As the days went by I began to slow my pace, I was observing how another sculptors and artists were working in the studio and was surprised about the amount of time given to contemplation and just looking at the work. I began to do the same, really looking at the pieces I had produced.
I made another similar object and hung them together to see what they did once mounted on a white surface. The dialogue appeared to immediately emerge between the two objects, something other-worldly but with a corporeality that is very important to me.
The Meteorites 2012
What is interesting for me to notice is that the body is always present in the work even if it is only implied, for example when you look at and hold a Neolithic flint tool, you hold it the same way the maker held it five thousand years ago and you have a sense of the body in the tool.
The Plea 2012
In the same way I feel one can sense the body in these new, more abstract sculptures. Similarly with the casting I made of the stairs at Artoll, I once again used the felt and wax but the body is implied and present in the work.
The Descent 2012