25th October 2018 we had our first group/show crit. As this was only two weeks into our course it was a chance to share process and ideas with our fellow students and not think of the work as resolved. As my research is predominately preoccupied with memory, I worked from old photos, the first painting ( Fig.1) was of of my Slovak grandmother who I had never met and died in 1968 (I wanted to Imagine her as a young women) I used a found painting on board that I rescued from the College skip. This was deliberate as I wanted to practice applying and taking off paint to show an aged patina.I used acrylic as I wanted to build layers and give the impression of fragility of memory.
Fig.1 Acrylic on found painting. 60 cm x 60 cm
26th October-22 November
As part of my ongoing research into memory, I decided to base my next painting on a time in the 1970s when my Mother had not been long in the UK. She came to the UK from Czechoslovakia in July 1968 and in August, Russian invaded Prague which is known as Prague Spring.She sought asylum in the UK and it would be another 22 years before she returned.This painting attempts to recall the freedom she felt and the mixed emotions as her Mother had died in Slovakia in January 1968.
I found an image of the Radio building in Bratislava, ( Fig.1) that was built from 1968-1980s and I thought I would use this as a starting point as my Mother worked for many years in the BBC world service in Bush house, London, I though it was an interesting comparison.
I then approached my Father as I knew he had some slides in the attic that I hadn't seen for 40 years. I wanted to see the slides again with the eyes of an adult, the fact that I hadn't seen them for 40 years was a key factor in using the images. I'm interested in the work of Naeem Mohaiemen ( B.1968)an artist who is nominated for the Turner Prize 2018.
'I work on memory, the memory and the disjuncture between what I remember and what it must have been. I think that can't be how I remember it' ( Naeem Mohaiemen, Tate shots, 2018)
Fig.1, Radio building,Slovakia.Source: Start of painting
1992, ISBN 80-217-0443-
29th October. Dark room.
Over the weekend I hired a 35mm Analogue camera from the central loan store and I went out into Reading and I took some photos of the run down part of town. This was in response to the lecture on the 11th October on Ruin ( www.paintingresearch.net) I found the old gas works social club building built in 1903 which is now a ruin and managed to get some good photographs of the inside. I developed the contact sheet in the darkroom and printed one photograph. This took all day! It brought back memories of being in the dark room at College in the 80s and I'm glad to have rediscovered to process. I will give some thought to how I can incorporate this medium into my research for the coming year.
12th November 2018
Today I started painting on panel, I wanted to experiment with colour and to paint the image from the ( first painting) on board to see how the surface dictated the use of material. I found this really challenging to begin with as the surface wasn't absorbent. I resolved this by perseverance! I painted and took off the paint which I wasnt happy with because it looked too faded so I painted it back in again. I used a bright colour palette as I had been looking at paintings by Jules De Balicourt and wanted to inject some hyper reality into it.
4th Dec 2018- Tutorial with Mark Fairington. Today we discussed where my work was going and Mark suggested it would be helpful to arrange my research and sources into a timeline, this was to make sense of the fragmented nature of my work and see it stretched out in year order.
6th Dec- Etching in the print room
Today I took a B & W photo of my mother and her brother taken in 1963 when they were 15 and 18 and digitalised it onto a photo polymer plate , I then inked up the plate and printed the image. This was research for my next painting to get into the 'character' of the photo and give some thought to how I would present the image in paint.
10th December -14 December
This week I made panel boards, stretched canvas over them and primed them. I started painting with a new a colour palette , I wanted to examine the photograph through the application of paint that I'd also printed the week before. This was because I wanted to explore it in different medias , whilst I was doing this I called my Mother one evening and mentioned my painting of it. I emailed her the first small painting ( top left) and this opened up a dialogue of when the photograph was taken that I had not taken notice of before.
My mother told me that 5 years after this photo was taken she would be living in London and would not return to Slovakia until 1990 ( 21 years later) I tried to capture the closeness of a brother and sister but couldn't help feeling the weight of the story as I painted it.. I painted these with a lump in my throat thinking how many years were lost when they weren't in contact. I couldn't imagine not seeing my brother for 21 years and not knowing where he was for all those years (My Mother and brother did not know each others whereabouts all that time )
Dec 14th -18th 2018
New painting underway . Still working from my Mothers photos , I decided to enlarge the photo of my Mother age 5 on a family picnic ( Fig.1) for a few months this photograph had reminded me of Déjeuner sur l’herbe( Fig2) by Manet(1862–1863) I went to the National Gallery ( Fig1) in October and straight away I thought this painting would make a good reference. I also did some of my own research of picnics in art ( this is something I will return to later)
( Fig 1) Unknown, B & W , 1963.Slovakia
( Fig 2 ) Déjeuner sur l’herbe by Édouard Manet (1862–1863)
Screen printing- 20th December 2018
today I worked from a photograph taken in 1991 of my step Grandmother and her friend ( Fig.1) I enlarged it and exposed the image on the screen then silk screen printed the image on a wood panel and twice on canvas, I then stretched the canvas on wood panels that made in the afternoon while I was waiting for the printed images to dry ( Fig 2)
Fig 1.Svidran A , 1991.Slovakia