Part 4

The emphasis here is to publicise my body of work.

I have decided to set up a website, have an exhibition and produce a book which is not for sale but records the work.

Website

I have set up my own website for the ‘professional’ work I do, starting with my current project and exploring other off-shoots which develop from it.

The criteria for selecting this style are based on the websites of two artists: the first is multi-award-winning photographer Nicky Hamilton whose site is minimalist in every way and which foregrounds his images while still discreetly showing his considerable CV .

The second artist is ceramist Claire Curneen who also has a minimalist genre website design which again foregrounds and exhibits her work making it speak for itself.

The websites have several things in common which I aspire to having: uncluttered home page; prominence is given to the work; discreet access to bio and CV; an artist statement is there if viewers want to read it but it is not overtly ‘on display’ with each project.

Exhibition

The exhibition is to be held in “Cells” a gallery established last year in former prison cells in the Devonport Guild Hall which was used as a magistrates court and police station in years gone by. I booked the 2 weeks, 1st -12th July, last year – as soon as I heard that it was available.

With my husband’s help, I have measured and drawn up a maquette of the space to see how my work would sit in the spaces available.

Exhibition details:

Gallery footprint:

Cell number 2 will have a looped video of my recordings taken with my phone of short videos depicting ‘time’. These include horses walking past HM Prison Dartmoor first in time with one another and then with one of the horses stepping out of time; water flowing over a water-wheel and then under a bridge; a slow-mo of the ripples which formed after I had dropped a stone in a leafy pond; water churning in an Archimedes screw; a wind turbine turning in the wind. 

A section of the film showing the apple tree film and sound track below the pebble in the pond slow footage.

All these short videos will be playing over short videos of an apple tree at different times of the year with and without leaves moving in the wind and with birdsong in the background.

Deborah Johnson and I are collaborating in the Visual Art and NMC Collaboration project organised by Carla Rees of the music department. The idea is for Deborah to create a sound track responding to the elements in the looped film. I have asked for the sound track to be inspired by John Cage or his modern equivalent Hauschka. I have sent Deborah the individual films unedited and Deborah has said she will send me her ideas soon. In one of her emails, Deborah has written: “I am scoring the music for pitched and unpitched percussion, including woodblocks, snare drum, tubular bells, wind chimes, piano and xylophone.” I can’t wait to hear it! The film will be looped as will recordings of readings of Ian’s letters and the two will co-exist and permeate throughout the exhibition.

Cell structure.

In this cell I was going to put the grids of the plant material collected over the seasons to make my seasonal representations of a place in time, but, since there will not be any light in this cell, I have moved them to the wall between the cells together with the vitrine containing the leaves used in the images, and the bottles with the seasonal material collected from outside the prison to make the dyes.

A view of cells 1 & 2 with the vitrine with the leaves outside the cells and between their doors. The Blue Visitor is a visor 1.8m tall and is sculpted to scale.

It was suggested at one of my exhibition reviews that I should have Ian’s letters printed on tiles and mounted on the wall. I have had them done and this is how I am planning to display them:

The white tiles are on other tiles with fault lines in them which is the start of another project related to this one but which will not feature in this exhibition. The earth tiles will be framed in Field Maple wood similar to the tree from which I took some of the leaves for the project. This is being reconsidered.

There were going to be 17 diptychs but I have eliminated one because it does not fit in with the aesthetic of the rest.

Under Helen’s guidance, I have altered the images which deal with Ian:

from

Eliminating the green mechanism has focused the attention on the hands which was my original intention. This has, however, brought on another problem of scale which I will have to sort out somehow.

In this image we don’t know it is Ian looking at his photo so Helen suggested just having the photo:

A photo taken by Ian’s tiling tutor.

Finally, Ian writing his replies to the 140 cards he received while inside: Helen thought that having a blank canvas would be more poignant than having a card & I agree:

All the photographs will be suspended by fishing line from the picture rails. The fishing line will replace the chains currently supplied by the gallery as this is not appropriate for my work, and will be tied to bulldog clips holding the photographs. Because of the nature of the images, nothing is to be sold at the exhibition.

Regarding the matched botanicals and prison images, I have decided to have a less stringent coupling of images. I would have the botanicals in the chronological order in which I picked them in order to maintain that cyclical, calendar concept of One Year, but I would not have the activities in a fixed order. This is because the themes in Ian’s letters are quite standard: he does not mention visits in only one letter: visits generally appear in every letter, as do his learning, achievements, reflections on the weather and what is going on in his home town. In this way, I have given myself more leeway in how to position the prison images in the diptychs.

I had considered printing the diptychs over the dye paintings and thereby exhibiting only 4 very large (1.25cm x 200cm) prints but it would make each image too complex and asking too much of viewers, in my opinion.

Summer collection
Spring collection
Winter collection
Autumn collection
This is how the 4 images would look in the gallery space.

The entrance space will have: the artist’s bio and statement, the tiles and some information on the building’s history.  This is being reconsidered.

View from the entrance door way.

The long wall opposite the entrance will have the prints in chronological order.

The wall on the left is the long wall along which 6 of the A3 images will be displayed. the wall directly opposite the viewer here is the wall on which the tiles will be hung together with the artist statement and bio.
On the right are the cells.
View of the long wall from the middle of the room. The vitrine with the leaves is between the two cell doors.

The cells, their contents and functions are described above.

On the last wall near the door will be the poem and the November Release images.

There will be sofas and chairs all around the spaces as they are permanent fixtures.

The opening event:

On 1st July from 6pm to 8pm, the opening event will consist of an introduction to the project by me. The refreshments will consist of mini Cornish pies with carrots and swede (vegetarian option) or with meat as this was Ian’s favourite meal in prison. There will be tea and coffee served with UHT milk as that was what was available in prison. This will be instead of the usual wine and nibbles.

Meet the artist:

Instead of paying for the gallery space, I am required to give either an artist’s talk or hold a workshop. I have chosen the former which will take place on Saturday 6th July from 11am to 1pm. In this time I shall answer any questions and speak about the different elements of the project. I have had a lot of experience talking about the project at all the portfolio reviews I have had.

I shall record both the opening event and the ‘meet the artist’ day.

The only thing that is worrying me about the exhibition is if the technology lets me down.

What annoys me about the exhibition space is the grey metallic cable trunking which runs along most of the walls. I have used it to frame my images here. 

Book

I met up with a local artist, Sue Coulson, who has designed several very successful and unique books of her own. Her work stands out, in my opinion, because the design is synchronous with her subject and her layout is very original rather than following popular trends.

We first of all laid out what the work is about and concluded that our aim is to bring out the inside/outside aspect of the work. This would illustrate the world within a world of Michel Foucault’s heterotopia which is the project’s underlying methodology.

We came up with this idea:

A sheet 54 x 21 cm, folded in 2 places: at 12cm and 42 cm:

An experimental page:

The front view of the closed page with a gap between the two sides representing the inside (right) and the outside (left).

The first card I sent Ian is on the left so that when you open it you can read what I wrote. The right hand cover has a cutout so that the viewer is made curious to see what lies behind it.

The inside page.

At either end would be an idea of a’ response and echo’: my written response on the left ‘flap’ and Ian’s echo on the right ‘flap. Ian’s letter would have a hole in it . Perhaps this is an inconsistency ?

The valley of the book would be at the 12cm mark of this page, measuring from the left. The overall size of the book would be A4 = 30cm x 21cm.

On exchanging ideas with Sue yesterday, we realised I could not have the book as we had designed it. Sue maintained that I would have to have the stitching down the middle of the diptych & I was adamant I would not because it broke the very being of the page.

Having thought about it overnight, I decided to try something I did for my Blurb book which was to insert tracing paper with my leaf images printed onto it.

This is the first page of the book:

Book mark 3, page 1.

The tracing paper does not work in this instance because the image and the writing interfere with one another.

Page 1 opened up with my letter behind my card on the left and Ian’s letter on the flap on the right. Ian’s letter with the hole in it works well, imo.

Page 2:

The letter on the reverse of the card image is a definite no no because of the confusion caused.

Page 2 opened up:

This format, with the exception of the tracing paper, works wellI think.

Notes on book composition:

More notes on getting the images the right way up.

An alternative is to print a front of card and the first page inside it on a folded tracing paper and stitch it with the first 2 pages. The problem comes in the co-stitched sheet which can’t have the stitched folded tracing paper. Here, then, you would have to have a single, paper (not tracing paper) sheet printed on both sides. the 2 questions follow logically: why not have just paper? Why introduce tracing paper? Answers: I like using tracing paper because it brings in qualities such as transparency, brittle / fragile qualities; I like the aesthetics of tracing paper. Ordinary paper is ordinary.

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