OCA study days

St Ives study days

May 23rd – 25th, 2019

The objectives set by OCA tutor Andy Hughes were:

This event will help you to:

• Gain a personal perspective on the range of work in the exhibition and museum at Tate St Ives

• Reflect on the experience and to think about your own potential

• Network with other OCA students

Objectives for the weekend include:

• Developing understanding of place within critical frameworks

• Improving your abilities to critically evaluate your own work in relationship to other creative practioners

• Helping you to contextualize your own work against a wider context of contemporary landscape art and photography

• Learning new practical art and design techniques and practices.”

Given those objectives, I signed up, booked the B&B and made all the other arrangements necessary.

The programme for the 2 days was:

ITINERY

Friday 24 may

10.15 am – 12.30 Visit to Tate St Ives

Meet at entrance to Tate St Ives

(You will need to purchase a Ticket for Tate St Ives &

Hepworth Garden / £13.00)

We will visit the new display/permanent collection which explores the history of modern art in St Ives and well as seeing the new exhibition of work by Lebanese artist Huguette Caland (her first UK museum solo exhibition)

12.30 -1.30pm Lunch –Porthmeor Beach, Lower Café Terrace

1.45 pm Visit to Barbara Hepworth Studio

2.45/3.00pm Visit Belgrave Gallery (short talk by gallery staff)

3.30pm Walk to Porthmeor Studios

4.00 pm Free time

6.45 Meet back at Porthmeor Studios

Artist Talk by Andy at Porthmeor Studios 7.00pm – 8.00pm

8.15 pm Porthmeor Beach, West Cafe (Pizza)

Saturday 25 May

Workshop

10.00 am Arrive/meet Porthmeor Studios Tea/coffee

10.30 am Beach walk towards Clodgy Point

(photography session –details in day)

12.30 Return to Studio by 12.30

Working Lunch

Load photographs work to USB sticks for 6×4 prints at St Ives Camera.

Print to Polaroid Pogo (provided by Andy)

Install images on gallery wall for group crit feedback review of weekend etc.,

4.00pm Pop Up Exhibition, Crit and Review

Close”

Thursday 23rd May

There were 9 of us who met at the watering hole on the 23rd & when Andy arrived he said that 18 had signed up.

Friday 24th May

The morning started off late as we did not know who was still to come.

Andy spoke to us about the politics of Tate St Ives which was interesting because, although every community has complex interplay of its component characters, you only get to know them when you get involved in them, so it was good to get an insider’s subjective perceptions.

We looked through the exhibition spaces & I noted the following:

The pixelated appearance of modernist / cubist paintings of Heron, Braque and Bonnard & Keith Vaughan 1958 Landscape with figure:

Because the coarse scratches reminded me of fault lines in rocks and the stories that those fault lines tell, I also appreciated Jean Dubuffet’s ‘Grand Paysage Noir 1946’ :

The videos by Allard van Horn – “Urban Songlines 2009 – 2019” were inspiring in that they concerned songs and story-telling related to land practices by Aboriginal & Torre Straights Islander people in Australia. I found them fascinating.

We had a talk by Andy and I noted the following:

The next person I noted was Jane Bennet who is an American political theorist whose talk ‘Material and Visual Worlds‘ focuses on the poetry of Walt Whitman, economics, sociology and psychology. I need to read the poetry before I can start to understand what she is proposing about the transfer of anxiety to empathy in society.

We visited theHaguette Caland exhibition at Tate ST Ives. What a pity we did not make time to discuss it.

We visited the Barbara Hepworth centre.

Saturday 24th May:

Programmed as a meeting at Porthmeor studios and a walk to Clodgy Point photographing / drawing / painting on the way.

This was the part I had been looking forward to because the most important part of the study days for me was to develop bodies of work when I am on my own:

Developing understanding of place within critical frameworks

There was no discussion as to how this could be achieved or what critical frameworks could have been involved.

I took photographs as I walked along. I was aware that a group stayed in a huddle with the tutor who was talking about I know not what. Apparently he asked the others why I did not join the group & apparently the answer was that I was doing my own thing – although nobody had asked me. I was trying to figure out a sense of place through my photographs and observations of the place.

Walk starts here.
Group ready to start off on the walk.
Refuge ?
head land looking over St Ives
Reminiscent of Caland again?

Rock whispers.
Thrift
The textural and colour contrasts accentuated by the strong lines.
Surprising line correlations with Haguette Caland’s work.

Improving your abilities to critically evaluate your own work in relationship to other creative practitioners

Was I influenced by what I had seen in the Coland exhibition or would I have photographed the erotic elements anyway in the landscape? Or was my perception of the elements in my work heightened by the exhibition? Coland explicitly created her work with sensuousness in mind – I did not. Is one more ‘valued’ than the other? It would have been good to have discussed these points with the group.

Helping you to contextualize your own work against a wider context of contemporary landscape art and photography

How? Again, had we had allowed time in the programme to do this, we would all have benefitted from it.

Learning new practical art and design techniques and practices.”

When 2 of us got back to the studios there was nobody there & when I tried to call Andy to see where they were, I could hear the phone ringing in the studio …

I took the opportunity to ask the other student if she wanted an invitation to my exhibition. When she saw the topic she was very interested because she was a solicitor in the prison service!!! How fortuitous! I showed her my work and she made a few comments regarding the hands in the images because they made her think of the chances that prisoners have to work in the prisons not only to learn new skills but also to get a release from the rest of the environment. She also commented that the dye paintings I had made reminded her of the excrement that some prisoners spread over their walls. I was greatly relieved to hear that because I still had time to rectify that situation.

Although I was aware that some prisoners do that, I also knew that Ian never mentioned it in his letters and my project was based on his letters only. The student does not wish to be identified because she is still working for the prison service but wrote a very general comment about the work in an email to me:”What I responded to was that you had taken pictures from an inside perspective noting some elements that would be important to an inmate such as: food, ‘phones, visits, time away from a cell. “

I had taken my video compilation and asked Andy what he thought. he thought that it should have a more staccato feel to it rather than the smooth flow from one sequence to another. I agreed with him and subsequently changed the structure. Andy also gave me the name of a friend of his who had been in prison and could give me a better opinion of my images. Graham MacIndoe was very kind in replying to my emails. The main thrust of his reply was that the work did not reflect the pain involved in incarceration. I reiterated that my project was based on letters from one person, a friend in one prison.

Graham asked me to send him my film when it was finished, which I did and await his reply.

In the afternoon, we were asked to produce some ‘art’ in response to what we had seen. Although we went to the appointed (only) photograph shop, there was such a queue that we did not have the time to wait to have our images developed.

This is what I had produced at the time. I was very pleased to have tried out the Polaroid Pogo which produces tiny Polaroids. As always, there was the usual technology glitch to contend with. This is the ‘art’ I produced the time with the Pogo image in the top left of the art work made on an A4 sheet:

I also produced this piece only on camera:

I also ‘bastardised’ (Andy’s term) Andy’s card for more post-photography experiments:

Other students’ art work:

Conclusions:

I think I met these objectives:

• Gain a personal perspective on the range of work in the exhibition and museum at Tate St Ives.

• Reflect on the experience and to think about your own potential

• Network with other OCA students

• Learning new practical art and design techniques and practices.”

In my opinion I felt that I did not meet these:

• Developing understanding of place within critical frameworks

• Improving your abilities to critically evaluate your own work in relationship to other creative practioners

• Helping you to contextualize your own work against a wider context of contemporary landscape art and photography.

Although we were asked to bring our work in progress, there was nowhere on the programme that we could have shown it. I showed mine to 1 student because we had the opportunity.

Either the objectives were too ambitious or there was an inefficient use of our time there .

Having said that, I was pleased to have met another tutor and to have had his ideas on my work and suggestion of another ex-offender to speak to about my work; to have met other students, and had the opportunity to question my image making.