Reflection interviews

Last night’s seminar was to interview one another about how reflection has had an impact on our practice.

I made notes about the responses I gave to Sarah’s questions which are as follows:

  • Reflection has slowed down the making process for the better. I have more time to consider and plan next steps rather than jumping in.
  • Reflection has given my work a stronger foundation which underpins my work.
  • I am able to note most of the ideas I come up with – even if they are ‘banked’ for another time – rather than jumping straight over them, which has stopped me being so skittish.
  • I do reflect in a logical, scientific way – where I can see a ‘changing value’ – rather like an equation or sum. A+B=C. A-B=D etc.
  • I like the analogy of reflection as being like the ‘show your working out’ in a maths exam. You don’t always gain the best reward from the outcome – sometimes how you get there proves to be more valuable, even if the final outcome is ‘wrong’.
  • The work I have produced this module is something I would normally HATE if I walked into a gallery. It has allowed me to appreciate other artists in a way I hadn’t before. Such as Reinhardt, Rothko and Hirst.
  • I appreciate experimentation and using a constant with ONE changing variant has allowed me to see what does and doesn’t work more easily and how to achieve the result I want technically.

Alexa and I had a chat after the seminar and were talking about how we have both compromised some of our basic values in this module and have done things we would never have allowed ourselves to do as we ‘believed’ they were ‘wrong’.

For me, this has been creating abstract work which I would normally regard as far too simplistic and have no intrinsic value. ‘It’s just stripes’.

A comment I got from an old school friend about Degrees of Withdrawal summed it up:

Him: Maybe I need to read the blog. I love the picture but… Sorry I just don’t get it. I’d hang it on my wall but it would be called stripes.

Me: It’s ok. You don’t need to get it. Just to have a response to it. The blog is a journal for my MA in fine art I’m doing (yr 3 of 4). The background is I’m working around mood/mental health and colour. I’m keeping a daily diary of 9 colours I notice each day (9 months in) for a year+. These are a consecutive period of a few days from January this year. Blog in a nutshell!

Him: Now that makes sense. Tell me the width is something to do with how long you saw them for? I’m too much of a scientist.

Me: Sadly not. It is according to how they fulfil the rules I set for each painting (greys had to be wide/brights thinnest. Golds widest and greys thinnest). BUT they ARE in the exact order I wrote them down in without changing their colour etc.

He then posted about And Then the Rains Came:

Him: Like the colours in the other one. This one isn’t as vibrant. Doesn’t do it for me.

Me: See I find the other one duller. This one makes me glow a bit. I’m less keen on the other one. I’m fascinated by people’s responses TO colour. What does do it for someone and why. It’s all tied up with memories and associations. There’s a post I made (should have pushed here somewhere) called She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not. You’ll have a preference for one of the stripy pics there and not the other!

Him: This one us just bland as far as I’m concerned. I see it as just brown and that’s a colour I don’t get.

It seems interesting that I don’t care anymore that this work should get that response. What I am most interested in is getting the idea across. It is also interesting at how his response to the work changed once he had understood the thinking behind it. As though it is the THINKING that = VALUE – not the finished article or technical skill.

I do find I am much more interested in why Reinhardt created his black paintings and even (and I can’t believe I am saying this as I feel ‘cheated’ most of the time by his works) in Hirst’s dot paintings.

I have had many discussions with friends in the past about what I regard as the ‘futility’ of Hirst’s work – and the exploitatative qualities. I’m sure there is a quote somewhere that sums this all up – but better have A response, ANY response to a work: good or bad, than be ambivalent about it. And Hirst certainly encourages a response.

I would rather someone had a strong response to my work – even if they thought it was ‘rubbish’ – than nothing at all. Most of the time these responses come from a very deep level that is hard to articulate exactly what prompted the response, so it is easier to say it is rubbish than think too hard.

I am (in many respects) thrilled to have tested my work out to get that sort of response – and to have that turned around somewhat by exposing the thinking behind it. He would hang it on the wall, without knowing anything about it, but I think he gains a better appreciation – and therefore attachment – to the work if there is a bit of background understanding. I have had a similar response to works like these ones in the past – and I guess I am a bit ‘chuffed’ to be lumped in with those as my work is seen to fit in to this genre.

I am also aware that I no longer care about the medium, intricacies or technical skill involved in my work if it gets the idea across efficiently.

One of the things I enjoy most about making these paintings is mixing the paints to match (as near as I can) to the print outs of the palettes. This is satisfying, gives me a clearer idea of how colours are made and allows me to have a deep involvement with the work that ‘printing out’ the stripes does not. This greatly expands my knowledge of how colours are made – how they come into being and how a little of one hue can turn it into another – I feel like I know ‘colour’ much better than I did 3 months ago.

I also have an understanding of how some colours are made from the CMYK palette (from printing). So I have bought some tubes of Cyan, Magenta and Yellow so I can try making colours the way I understand them from work and how they are noted in my diary.


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