Archives for category: wall piece

In February this year, Cathedral Collective staged a group exhibition in Arts Art Centre, in Newtownards. The show had been postponed for close to two years because of the pandemic. Here is the press release:

“The artists formerly known as Cathedral Studios Belfast present New Forms, their first exhibition as a collective. Having moved out of their Belfast studio space of 18 years in October last year, the four artists; Lisa Ballard, Tristan Barry, Kevin Miller and John Macormac intend to keep showing work together. New Forms is a body of high quality, abstract, new works. The overarching concept of the show is to challenge each studio member to push their works beyond figuration and the restrictions of working to a specific set of instructions, to explore hitherto unknown territory. The group have continually influenced one another’s practice over the years, nuanced components of this show make this influence visible.

The Georgian gallery will be filled with expressive oil paintings, geometric drawings, digital prints and powder paint coated sculptures that provide a vibrant, immersive experience for visitors to the gallery that rewards repeat visits. The exhibition will reflect the diversity of art practices that each member of the collective specialises in.”

It was heartening to show work again as a group in such a beautiful building. I made a durational drawing during the exhibition, as a way of activating the space and allowing a component of the show to change and build over the run.

Durational drawing February 2022.

The Sunburst gallery room is still. Sunlight filters through pale green gauze. Outside, a busker with an electric saxophone enthusiastically covers My heart will go on by Celine Dion. The distinct smell of graphite is in the air, mingled with disinfectant from the fastidious cleaner’s mop bucket. Loading a roller with white emulsion, I reflect how easily many hours of labour can be quickly obliterated.

This piece came from desire for a self-determined challenge, a project during the run of long delayed New Forms, a group exhibition by Cathedral Collective. I wanted to spend time in this space, to activate it in the hours spent there, use it as a temporary studio. Having moved out of our long held premises in Cathedral Buildings in October last year, I crave focussed spaces to make art, process, and look out the window. 

As it progressed, the wall came to loosely resemble a drawing made on the walls of the Orpheus building during the first year of my MFA. That piece was made over several weeks, accumulating traced and transferred marks from the room environment. Forms appeared multiplied like organic growth of mould across the walls (i). It was amorphous, unfocussed, with no definite end point. Subsequent wall pieces learnt from this, adhered to considered time limits and pre written instructions (ii). 

The Sunburst gallery drawing combined these approaches. The drawing was governed by a set of pre-determined parameters, though allowed space for natural artistic ‘composing’, the attempt to achieve balance.

Rules:

  • This drawing will use pencils ranging in softness from 2B to 6B.
  • An oval, lemon like shape card stencil will exclusively be used to produce the work.
  • The outline of this shape will be drawn around, it may move around fixed points at various arbitrarily chosen positions on the shape, always repeating and accumulating marks. 
  • The drawing will be worked on for the duration of New Forms by Cathedral Collective group show. Work will stop on the last day possible before the exhibition closing event.  

Rules established, feint, hard to photograph pencil lines began to cover the blank expanse. The first hours were about covering as much white as possible (iii). As hours worked increased and layers accumulated, the network of lines became more complex. They came to resemble a dancing mycorrhizal network, tangled neural pathways or hopelessly entwined fishing nets (images iv and v.)

At the end of the show run, the piece was finished/abandoned. Work could have continued for many more hours, until the graphite became a solid layer with no discernible details, but it felt like an appropriate time to stop, call an end 32 hours 30 minutes spent dutifully scraping pencils around a lemon like shape, moving on blu-tak fixed points in varying positions (vi). 

Like in previous durational pieces, the act of drawing had become a meditative, self determined performance, a rhythm to find with each visit. I am extremely thankful to everyone at Ards Arts Centre allowing it to happen and for the chance to work at this scale again.

IMG_2750 edited.jpg

I set myself the task of having a couple of new drawings ready for Culture Night Belfast on Friday last week. We had an open evening at Cathedral Studios. This is as far as I got with the drawings, the one on the left needs more work.

 

 

 

 

Interlock1

I painted this wall piece for our second year MFA interim group show in Catalyst Arts gallery last week. The exhibition ran from the evening of Thursday the seventh of January to Saturday the ninth. The wall was repainted white on Sunday. The piece is composed of the ‘double E’ shape I have been using recently repeated in an interlocking pattern. One side is the colour inversion of the other side.

I performed a sonic art piece on the night, where I played live drums along to pre-recorded simple drum patterns. These had been recorded with a metronome and increased in speed by ten beats per minute with each pattern. Each of the nine sections was exactly one minute long.

I limited drums used in both recording and performance to bass drum, hi-hat and snare drum. This minimal approach was in keeping with the minimal palette used on the wall. I wrote a set of rules that loosely governed what I would play for each section:

1, 80BPM Bass drum/stick clicks

2, 90 BPM Bass drum/snare rims

3, 100 BPM Bass drum/hi-hats

4, 110BPM Bass drum/snare (snare off)/hi-hat accents

5, 120BPM Bass drum/snare (snare on)/ hi-hat 16th notes

6, 130 BPM Bass drum/snare/hi-hat/snare rims

7, 140BPM Bass drum/snare (ghost notes)/hi-hat

8,150 BPM Bass drum/snare (note every whole beat)/hi-hat

9, 160 BPM Bass drum/snare/hi hat.

Here is a video clip of the last 3 sections of the performance. It goes out of time with what is played through the amp towards the end. I like the intense, polyrhythmic feel this creates.

The bass drum in front of the work: I tried documenting the piece in various configurations.

intermission 2

The piece with bass drum and amplifier.

intermission3

shape.jpg

I presented this painted black gloss shape on black matte wall at a recent studio critique. It was accompanied by this sound piece, played through a powerful stereo:

It was sufficiently loud that it caused objects within the room to vibrate.

The group discussion read the combination of sound and visuals as being oppressive and ominous, combining to create an atmosphere suggestive of religious cult rituals or sinister political gatherings.

It was felt that the work presented in this crit represents a departure from previous work. The black gloss symbol has nothing of the organic, gentle feel of the pencil drawings. It is extremely assertive and dogmatic; very oppositional and uncompromising in every way, to the point of feeling threatening. It suggests none of the time based creative process of the pencil drawing.

I am gradually assessing where I go from here. The shape is just an arrangement of painted lines, although I can understand why it was interpreted in these ways. I do feel that playing with sound and visuals with a certain charge and potency has potential, though I want to find ways to puncture the pomposity these signifiers carry, to promote recognition of their ultimate absurdity.

nest

Further wall drawing, further following of rules.

ohp

nest2

d r a w i n g

The plug socket is included to give a sense of scale.

finished

1stblob

I cut out the traced blob indentation shape that keeps recurring in this work and projected it using this antiquated overhead projector; the reliable, clunky type I remember from school.

5blob

I moved the projector across the floor. The shadow shape was repeated at intervals across the wall five times.

layer blob

The projector was moved progressively closer to the wall, and the resultant shadows drawn around. This made these concentric blob shapes.

bloblayered

I continued to work using this process at at intervals until the day of our group critique, the predetermined finish point.

blobangle

The piece was accompanied by a fifty second tape recording I made by digitally slowing a ten second recording of me playing bass drum and hi-hat down. I shifted the pitch down and added a series of effects using a program called Wavepad sound editor. I chose analogue audio tape because of its warm hiss, it’s imperfection. The piece was interpreted as the sound of marching boots, or of an industrial process involving heavy machinery.

Fellow students and teaching staff thought that the sound and the drawing seemed to coalesce to a greater extent than before.

The wall turns black, ready for new drawings.

black

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