Thursday, November 24, 2011

TRACEY - Drawing Research.

A selection of questions from the Tracey Journal with my answers:

How is drawing as an experimental approach and attitude distinct from drawing as an outcome and discipline?
Drawing as an experimental approach and attitude is something I have begun to explore in depth recently. Allowing mark making and chance to dictate the pace and feeling in my drawing makes for interesting outcomes. By fully following through and committing to chance my drawing has advanced and become a vehicle for ideas. 
Drawing for an outcome or as a discipline becomes problematic when trying to work with the notion of chance. Having a pre-formed idea about a final outcome prohibits experimentation. 

In what way is it used as an analytic tool?
Drawing is an analytic tool in that it allows me to make a clear 'map' of the fabrics I am projecting through. I am able to criticise structures and make decisions regarding mark making. 

What is interesting or unusual about your own working processes?
What is unusual about my working processes is that my main specialism (knit) has now become a thinking tool and research process. In this I am now able to create pieces that 'speak' as loudly as I had hoped was possible in knitted samples. An interesting point is that knitting doesn't lead directly to drawing and mark making. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Elijah Walton

Elijah Walton, 1867, Monte Marmorolo, Italy.

This painting stood out for me on a recent trip to Birmingham Art gallery and Museum, firstly the sheer scale of the painting (2270mm high x 3220mm wide) is striking. Secondly, the mountains and the lake compared to the people in the boat gives an impression of just how large the subject matter is. Painting on this scale always intrigues me, was it painted on location? Was it drawn in mapped out squares or freehand?

Image available at <>


After the flood

These images are a selection from one of the most moving books I have ever come across. They are all taken by photographer Robert Polidori, once most of the water had subsided following hurricane Katrina.

Images featured in the book After the flood:
Rosenheim, J. (2006) After the flood. London: Steidl

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Stefan Emmelmann

Movement, 2008

Frank Pudney

People,  2011
Pencil on gesso board
127 cm x 82 cm
Pudney's artists statement sums up in a concise and eloquent way something I have been trying to convey myself.  His use of the words and phrases 'witness', 'force greater than ourselves' and 'appreciate our insignificance' are key concepts which I'm currently exploring, but responding to in a different way.

"People is the first of a growing sequence of drawings and paintings depicting crowds in a
moment of shared experience. Witnessing an event or force greater than ourselves, we are open
to appreciate our insignificance, despite our great and ever increasing number. Showing both
the comfort and safety felt in unity the image also suggests our alienation from one another, our
vulnerability and singularity.
The viewer is invited to become ‘lost’ in the texture and pattern of the image, despite the human
subject matter, challenging how we are able to view ourselves: as one, or as many"

Available at: <> [Accessed 16/11/2011]

Mark Lawrence

Untitled 1, 2010
Ink on discarded etching newsprint
62 cm x 46.5 cm
Mark Lawrence works with chance, he found this piece of discarded etching newsprint in the studio and responded to the marks already made on it. This enables him to complete works which would have been unlikely if left to his own devices.

Featured in the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2011

Available at: <> [Accessed 16/11/2011]

Jessica Killeen & Sam Taylor

Jessica Killeen & Samuel Taylor, 'Interventional Drawing' (Graphite and Wax), 2011

Part of the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2011, Killeen and Taylor explore what it is to make a collaborative drawing.

This type of drawing appeals to me in that they influence what the other draws, by moving or staying in one position. This effects what the other person can mark as the space between them.

Available at: <> [Accessed 16/11/2011]

Andrew Vass

Andrew Vass taught the drawing module at college when I studied for a BTEC in Art and design. The way in which he makes marks is fascinating and they seem to have no obvious origin.

 just like that, 2011, charcoal, 57 x 75cm
Available at: <> [Accessed 16/11/2011]

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ingrid Calame

Ingrid Calame: L.A. River at Clearwater Street, 2006–8
Ingrid Calame: L.A. River at Clearwater Street, 2006–8 (detail)
This tracing of the L.A. River was translated directly onto the Fruitmarket Gallery wall using the 'pouncing' technique. The original tracing was traced onto what Calame called 'butchers paper' and holes were pricked through, coloured pounce was pushed through the holes and the paper removed. Working in this way has left a ghost of the original and the scale is considerable.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Elana Herzog

Untitled 2, 2001
Cotton chenille bedspread, metal staples, drywall, plywood
91.5 x 84 inches
Elana Herzog uses thousands of staples to secure fabrics to gallery walls, to then tear the fabric away. Chance is a huge factor here as there is no indication which parts of the fabric will give way or hang on.

Herzog, E. (2010) Available at: [Accessed 5th November 2011]

Monday, October 31, 2011


This film was unlike anything I had seen before; none of the characters were introduced, their emotional problems unnamed. I spent almost the entire film wondering what was going on, only to be ambushed by overwhelming feeling in the closing scenes. 
I struggled with the concept of this planet, Melancholia, flying by the Earth. It all became very real towards the end, when the terror displayed was so real I began to feel it too. 
There were two or three strong ways featured in the film of dealing with this impending catastrophe, the first being to avoid it completely. The second, with complete calm. The third, sheer terror.
I can only describe what I saw and it is a very different position to witness. 
The actress Charlotte Gainsbourg managed to summon terror as if the planet was actually going to crash into our own, when really all she had to accompany her were computer graphics, which no doubt were added afterwards. I can only wonder how she conjured such emotion within herself to make it all so convinving, playing the part of witness amazingly.
Approaching catastrophe is brave and I left the cinema awe struck. 

A review at the Guardian, much different to my own. This is so due to my viewing of the film to see how catastrophe was approached.

Relinquishing control

Spending hours on a sketchbook, only to throw it in the sea seems like a catastrophic idea to almost anyone.
I spent as long as I would on each page as if it was to be preserved forever, releasing myself from the burden of control by surrendering it to powers greater than myself (the sea)
I feel no preciousness towards my work and throwing it away is almost a relief. 
My sketchbook is now swollen with sea water, bogged down with sand and has been ripped in half, the cover peeling away. But now, I feel a stronger attachment for it than I ever have towards something I've made.
Drying it over the course of a few days, deciding how to display it, as part of this on-going process has become exciting.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Causing rage.

A response to one of my posts on tumblr, where I document all knitting and drawing.
This is exactly what I wanted to create; a reaction. Any reaction.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Rena, New Zealand. Video

Video showing the ship listing heavily, 6 days ago.

Love the way this has been shot, feels like I'm at sea witnessing the catastrophy first hand. I wonder how long it will take for the containers to wash up?

Available at <> [Accessed 21 October 2011]

Rena, New Zealand. Update.

Copyright Bob Zuur/WWF
Available at <> [Accessed 21 October 2011]


Cloud Appreciation Society

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gustav Metzger

Gustav Metzger  'Acid action painting' 1961
Gustav Metzger was one in a long line of artists that made destructive art works, or destroyed their work. 

Jef Bourgeau provides a categorised timeline, detailing auto-destructive art and art tagging.  Relevant events are also mapped:

1937 - Nazis mount the exhibition ENTARTETE KUNST (DEGENERATE ART) in Munich. Over 100,000 visitors.

Momart fire, 2004

Guardian article
Part one
This fire in 2004 destroyed the work of a lot of 'up and coming' artists. Was it a disaster or a triumph? I would argue that it depends on the artist.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


A couple of recent shots, great shadow due to sun setting earlier in the day.


Due to the nature of moving house every few years, and once a year for the past three, there isn't a house I consider 'home'.
I call any place I stay for more than a week 'home'.
For me, home is the sea. Being on the coast.
You can cure anything with a good lungfull of sea air.

Rena ship, New Zealand

Monday, October 17, 2011


I feel a desperate need to put the sketchbook I'm currently working on into the sea when it's finished, to 'surrender' it to the elements and a power greater than myself.

I'm spending time on every page as I would any sketchbook or drawing, but embracing catastrophe (closing pages before they're dry). This sort of behavior would invoke terror in most people. This type of 'art' fascinates me, it shows that process is the overriding desire. This need for making and process is more important than a final outcome or 'piece'. Perhaps video art is relevant?

I'm fascinated by the sea; the vastness, the power, the repetitive motion, the uncontrollable nature. This is all linked to the larger theme of the sublime.

By offering up a labour of love to potential catastrophe I become free of the burden of control.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ten things you didn't know about tsunamis.

Some notes:

2/3 world - sea
26th December 2004 , earthquake NW of Sumatra, waves 3 miles inland
40 hours, 225,000 lives, 11 countries
Can happen after a landslide or underwater earthquake
cracks ocean floor, one side of fault is pushed up, displacing water, 
waves are hundreds of miles long at sea, nearer the shore they get steeper (taller)
drawback - water receding from the shore
catastrophic geological happening. 
earthquake was different, sheer cliff was thrust out of the sea bed. 
proof that it was formed recently, saw toothed edge.
second cliff - enormous - 'megathrust' - magnitude 9
cliff hundreds of miles long
tectonic plates, pushing for hundreds of years, pressure, breaking point
fault ruptured, cliff made was 40 feet tall, 450 miles long
500mph tsunami wave
created spectacle, lost temples, visible.
lost 6 below waves (pagodas)
sea retreated 1/2 kilometer in India for several minutes
Chixculub - 65 million years ago, meteor size of San Fransisco
struck earth, wiped out dinosaurs
struck water - gulf of Mexico. Crater 122 miles across
meteor 6 miles wide
700 miles/min fireball
vaporised water, blew hole in ocean. sea rushed into crater, sent out wave as deep as the ocean was
chain of waves, 100 miles inland
largest tsunami ever?
volcano - erupted for days, 25 miles into atmosphere
sea rushed into magma mass, debris fell into the sea, causing tsunami
60 feet into air, dragged back out to sea
Hawaii & Japan - tsunami capitals of the world
Pacific ocean most frequent. 4/5 happen there
Britain - first tabloid coverage was 400 years ago
3 in recorded history
Jan 1607, Bristol, fault line Ireland. at dawn
caused by God - retribution
WW2 tsunami bomb, Australian, Thomas Leech
4000 experiments, all failed
2000 tons of explosives - Tokyo bay - similar
Scientists cancelled any further experimenting
Project Seal
Moses - tsunami. Exodus. 3500 yrs ago
600 chariots, God parted the red sea
drowned men
shallow marsh? coast? volcanic eruption displaced body of water
sucked water in as it filled the void
water returning, drowned the Pharaohs army.
effects of nature unbelievable

Ten things you didn’t know about. 1/3 (2008) Ten things you didn’t know about tsunamis. London, BBC4, January 13, [DVD]

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Jason de Caires Taylor

Hombre en Llamas (Man on Fire)
Depth 9m, Cancun / Isla Mujeres, Mexico.
La promesa (The promise)
Depth 6m Cancun / Isla Mujeres, Mexico.
La Jardinera del la Esperanza (The Garden of Hope)
Depth 4m, Punta Nizuc, Mexico.
I want to be in the sea, be the sea, be a rock in the sea.

Available at: [Accessed 29 September 2011]

Friday, September 16, 2011

Anish Kapoor

Why shooting into a corner? Why red wax? Why wax at all? 
This all seems so hopelessly pointless, that I cant help but like it more. Shooting into a corner is futile, the only purpose to create. Every action is a vehicle for the Artists idea, which makes it all the more special in my eyes. The cannon is operated by unknown characters, following an instruction.

Available at: [Accessed 16th September 2011]

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

JMW Turner

The Shipwreck of Minotaur, 1810.
Classic depiction of light in 19thC painting.

Available at: [Accessed 7th September 2011]

I'm too sad to tell you.

Bas Jan Ader, 1971.

No words can describe the feeling, only visual representation. Whether this comes from joy, misery or has any meaning at all is something I can only guess at, yet I understand only too clearly.

Bas Jan Ader - In search of the miraculous

The artist who sailed to oblivion

Sailing on the sea, at the hands of God, fate or the hope of a miracle is a chance I wish I was bold enough to take. The sea is terrifying, a power so great it drawfs the land we live on.

Walter De Maria

The Lightning Field, 1977.
The Lightning Field. 1977.
The Lightning Field attracts power. There are several facts Walter De Maria states in an anthology: (The Sublime, Simon Morley, Whitechapel) height of the rods, spacing, every rod is a certain height to retain a uniform level despite the undulating ground. Fact prevails and nature takes over the 'Art' side of things.

Available at: [Accessed 7th September 2011]

Jitka Hanzlová

Policeman, 2004.
Moon Shine, 2002.
 I came across Jitka Hanzlová when reading about the Sublime, she takes photographs in the woods, privately. She experiences fear and hears the silence 'stop' as she looks through the lens.

Available at: [Accessed 7th September 2011]

Valerie Hegarty

Warped Scape. 2009.

First Harvest in the Wilderness with Woodpecker. 2011.

Exposing art to the elements.. Fire, Nature. 

Available at: [Accessed 7th September 2011]