Archives for category: tracing

Our mid year show opened on Thursday night at the Belfast School of Art. Thanks are due to to all who attended. The area I share with the other part time MFA students looked like this

mys

I’ve added a black band to the top and bottom of the main wall piece. I like it as a frame, but I’m aware the lines aren’t completely straight- I spent a couple of hours on Thursday trying, and failing, to get this right, it is probably time to invest in a spirit level. Fellow student Damien Magee has been painting the pipework in the space different colours since September. I like that some of the pipes are now interacting with my drawing, establishing a conversation.

I brought my drum kit in and performed some improvisation with my friend Michael O’Halloran playing guitar. He used a loopstation to repeat ideas, and then layered dischordant notes. Heartfelt thanks are due to him.

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I think our course director took the above picture. I also included a small projection of a video I have made of my working on the wall from the early, tentative stages. It has been deliberately projected low down and at a small size, separate from the work. The idea is to have several pieces of stimuli that can openly question the relationship between the rhythms people have percieved in the drawings and the act of making, as well as the time based rhythms created by the guitar and drums. The noise we made reverberated around the space. I think Damian took some video of us playing, I will hopefully be able to upload some of this in future posts.

The show is open to public

11am-3pm on Monday 19th January

Tuesday 20th: closed

Wednesday 21st: 11am-3pm

Thursday 22nd 11am-3pm

I will be performing noise improvisations with special guests  at the following times, all are welcome to attend these.

Tuesday 20th 10am

Wednesday 21st 11am

Thursday 22nd 12noon

The hope is that musical improvisation can stimulate further wall improvisation. I will not seek to create finished work, only to push further what already exists.

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I talked about a need for new approaches to the ongoing wall piece in my last post. Since then I have been conducting experiments with new forms:

new forms

Responding to criticism, I have chosen an indentation in the studio to trace and repeat in the above rhomboid form. Care was taken to ensure the chosen mark’s shape could not be easily read as animal like, or to evoke many associations beyond it’s own pure form.

shape of itself

I am preparing for our MFA mid term show this Thursday night in the art college. Rather than try to seek a resolution, where the whole wall coheres as a piece, I have decided to heed one of my tutors advice and set up an experimental drawing ‘lab’ for the duration of the show. This will free me up, the idea of having to produce a ‘resolved’ piece fills me with anxiety. In my experience anxiety is a perrenial enemy of creativity.

One possible idea would be to use black as a framing device, perhaps with the repeated blob shape, as in this hastily mocked up photoshop picture:

mock

This would heighten the impact of the central band of marks. Another idea for potential development is sanding the wall. I like the looking through tracing paper effect of this, as seen in this small section:

sandy

The piece will continue to evolve in the coming days, over the duration of the show. I will be performing in a time based work. I’ll update this blog with what happens.

The Orpheus building wall piece has continued to grow over the last few weeks. I have employed the same rational, measured and almost ritualistic process of tracing and transferring marks in it’s creation.

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wall1

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Marks congregate around my eye level, the natural and most comfortable place to work. In this way I leave a trace of the mass of my own self on the space.

walle

Several sections occur where where marks are most layered and concentrated.

walld

A photograph of one wall inverted. I think it resembles a constellation.

wallg

I could continue this approach until the end of the academic year, but I want to interrupt it and set new rules.

liminal

The following is an extract from the report I wrote from my recent first group critique in 11 years.I showed this piece and several others to the MFA class and tutors:

“I had mounted 3 map tracing drawings on canvas at eye level on the wall in my studio space. There were old maps of Belfast on the floor and tracings that I had made from them and transferred to canvas. A piece of wood with drill holes and various marks and indentations leant against the adjacent wall. There was an old piece of work on MDF that I had transformed into something new as I drilled, scored, nailed into and cut into it with various implements.

The group gave me their initial reactions to the pieces presented. The map based drawings on canvas were interpreted as resembling veins, graffiti scrawled on school desks, freshly cut hairs on the floor of a barber shop, or colour inverted ariel photographs of cities at night. Many people realized that the conte crayon marks originated as lines on the maps, others did not. It was speculated greater ambiguity in interpretation may have happened had the source material maps not been present. Stuart read the marks as being akin to the actions of an obsessive compulsive disorder sufferer or the cutting of flesh by one who self-harms.

Some of those present picked up on a certain kinetic feel in the work, a sense of rhythmic repetition in some marks.”

White-Out

This piece was one of three that comprised my degree show in the summer of 2003.  It measures about 6 and a half by 5 feet and I consider it one of the most successful pieces I’ve ever made.

I traced marks I inflicted on wooden boards with axes, drills and hammers then painstakingly transferred the tracings to canvas. It was a slow process to build up the cluster of marks which concentrate in the bottom right corner. At this time I was discovering the power of negative space, I think it’s very important to the overall feel. I used white radiator paint around the edges and gloss paint for the vestiges of white on the left hand side of the canvas.

The work resembles old maps,  cave paintings, cells seen under a microscope or a diagram of organic growth. It was selected for the Royal Ulster Academy show that year and sold to the Northern Ireland Department for the Environment. I sometimes wonder where it has ended up, or if it still exists and what the people who see it make of it.

arterial

I suppose this is a sister piece to Reconnaissance (https://johnmacormacart.wordpress.com/2012/08/02/reconnaissance/).

It was made shortly afterwards and exhibits a similar structure with the large city like shape in the top left connected to its satellites via delicate vein like lines. I have often worked like this, loosely copying pieces that I consider to be moderately interesting and formally balanced. The ‘copied’ piece rarely resembles the original in detail.

The snaking quote, referring to  “the problem of making people love their servitude” is from Aldous Huxley.

fault lines beneath ice

A piece from the same series as frozen landscape, brittle lines dissect the negative space and lead upwards to the dense city like cluster.

90x90cm

This piece was made around the same time as Reconaissance. The title was inspired by the shape at the top resembling a map of Austrailia. I like that it refers to an obsolete idea too, continental drift was superseded by the concept of plate tectonics in explaining the movement of continents.

Traced map fragments and spilt and scraped paint intertwine on the canvas. Scrawled text winds its way around the composition. I like to juxtapose sparse and densely worked areas, like in River on light blue, I constantly want surfaces to breathe and allow the eye to venture; to explore work at the macro and microscopic level.

Image

A compsition of collaged paper, traced and clustered sections of maps, text, paint, crayon and pencil. The image resembles cities seen from the air or a diagram of organic growth.

This work grew from a tranferred tracing of a map of London. I feel allowing space lets work ‘breathe’ and balance.

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