Ravens & Crows Will Peck Us to Pieces – Glazed.

The painting has been continuously glazed and cleaned. It has gone through a number of stages and altered by, contradictory in temperature, transparent layers of olive oil and alkyd paints.

I have gone through a long process of consideration and reflection on my current painting. I was questioning how to make a radical progress with my current painting? On the one hand, the composition is intentionally balanced and scattered, on the other, the image lacks the desired level of depth and mood. My intention was to make it more dynamic and dramatic.

Currently, the skeletal silhouettes are quite rough and crude in execution. The idea is to echo the reality of my primary source – crows and ravens feasting on rotting seaweed, which is tumbled and mixed with rubbish, decomposing plastic and other organic matter, and surrounded by the most repelling possible stench. This analysis of my research findings describes and outlines both the source and the concept, while setting my work in a horrid, dark and depressing context.

Somewhere, in the centre of the compositional entrance, there is a portrait of myself. It is covered with an embedded text in Spanish. The fonts are almost impossible to decipher. My intention was to draw analogies to the final end and death of the most amazing and pure experiences in life. I wanted to question the purpose, sense, direction and destination, while embracing the most powerful existential thoughts and feelings.

Subsequently, I started to experiment with a range of glazes using alkyd paints. I wanted to drift away from the time typically used media in my studio: oil and encaustic media. Alkyd paints are thicker and stronger.  They consist of thermoplastic polyester resins made by heating polyhydric alcohols with polybasic acids or their anhydrides. Their main function is to create protective coatings, which are resistant to ageing and general wear. This physical property of this toxic medium creates a significant clash with my need to protect the significance of the past. To experiment with the viscosity and luminosity of the glazes, I have diluted them with the best quality of extra virgin olive oil. The use of a top-of-the-range product, here again, is intentional and carefully thought out. The idea was to depart from commercial qualities of cheap and raw linseed oil. I wanted to replace them with a natural and silky translucency of an opulent food ingredient. It is like feeding the birds and, simultaneously, covering the essence of the subject matter of the under image with a preserving layer of indulgence, luxury and melancholia. The additional purpose of this is try to safe myself from the attack of the cruel and metaphorically important ravens and crows.

I have included below, two documentary photographs of the glaze alteration process. They illustrate a long cycle of the building of the layers. It consists of warming up and cooling down the compositional colour scheme. Ultimately, the developed image will be ‘touched up’ with oil bars in order to continue to increase the vibrancy of the tint and add another element to the piece – texture.

Looking back at the painting process, my inspiration came from both, observation of a primary source and digestion of a piece by Greta Alfaro. I saw her work on display at the Saatchi Gallery. Her 2009 piece called In Ictu Oculi, Single channel video (HDV, 16:9, colour, sound, duration: 10:37) The Latin title in translation means ‘in the brink of an eye’.

She uses birds in a Hitchcock-like, metaphorical way. However, the meaning of her piece is different. It focuses on questioning human desires and has a very dark side to it. I thought that quoting her video and learning from her use of analogies and suggestions was very relevant to my painterly explorations.

In Ictu Oculi
https://www.saatchigallery.com/artists/artpages/greta_alfaro_in_ictu_oculi.htm

Final Evaluation – Initial Draft

I have started to draft my final evaluation. My decision is to initially review my progress on the course. This summary will be refined and developed further through further drafts, progress maps and charts. Subsequently, I will attempt to assess the impact of the current pandemic on both my project and thinking. I will look at how lockdown, social distancing and isolation have redefined the meaning of some of the key concepts that I have been researching and analysing. Waiting in the context of hypnotic repetition has changed its depth, intensity and connotations. There is a significant clash between how we embrace these ideas in the post crisis world.

To take a break from the internet and my online existence, I have started to draw up some preliminary thoughts using pan and paper – how refreshing!

The cumulative part of this document will consider the relationship between my learning and growth and my personal and professional development in the post MA environment. I will attempt to go beyond composing an immediate action plan. Hopefully, I will be able to continue to evolve my focus and expand on my research base through the prearranged trip to Madagascar this summer.

I will also reflect on the opportunities, which were created by an unexpected shift from the physicality of a material exhibition to something, which is hidden in a digital space. I would like for my online show to be a metaphor for poetry and music. They are not permanent and do not have dimensions and weight. They exist in totally different spheres of our lives and existence. These are called consciousness and soul.

Reflections on the Final Show

I have researched and tested a great number of possible platforms for the final show. Unfortunately, I have found them quite disappointing. The most common concept is to based on echoing a feeling of a physical gallery. Frequently, the software is very slow and clumsy in operation. Additionally, the overall effect is more focused on the look of the space rather than the work itself. Art becomes somehow secondary to the meaningless decorations and textures of walls, ceiling and the lighting.

The most popular online gallery is artsteps.com and https://www.furioos.com/ is best for streaming 3D work.

Other options, which are worth investigating are:

https://www.capterra.com/art-gallery-software/

https://www.3dvas.com/

http://omeka.org/

http://openexhibits.org/

http://collectiveaccess.org/

http://pachyderm.nmc.org

Alternatively, I have considered using a website, which is similar in design to behance.net.

I really like the simplicity, effectiveness and freshness of the front page. There is a grid of large block images, which is inviting and very clear. This website is able to accommodate a broad range of artefacts, including gifs files and video work. Photography on display is relatively high resolution and organised with order and structure.

Our group meets in Zoom on a regular bases to discuss possibilities for arranging the exhibition. All students are very proud and would like to present their research projects to the best of the abilities. Likely, Aristotle, who is one of our students, has offered to help everyone and donated both, his time and the use of his original software.

In preparation for my exhibition, I have carefully considered a range of ideas. My main intention is to make sure that the way, in which my work is displays reinforces its meaning. I would like to avoid using any unnecessary gimmicks and distractions.

In these unprecedented times, it is quite strange for a painter to accept that the final exhibition will not have a physical dimension. Frankly, I am saddened and overwhelmed by a lack of reality it terms of the experience of true colour, texture and painterly mastery of strokes. However, an artist and creative individual needs to seek opportunities in overcoming obstacles. Therefore, my intention is to excel myself and make the online exhibition even better, more refined and sophisticated. I would like for this to be a new learning curve full of controlled happy accidents, experimentation and deep reflection of what is appropriate in term of visual communication – my chosen language of expression.

The digital approach creates a new chance to experiment with a ‘space’, which supports and reinforces my messages in cohesion to deliver a holistic poetry about my painterly and video work.

Currently, I am planing for a long wall with three parallel and simultaneous video projections. This number can be possibly extended to four. I am in the process of working on a painting titled ‘Ravens and Crows Will Peck Us to Pieces’. It is quite likely that I will make sufficient progress to video another washing cycle. This image is different to portraiture. Therefore, I was relatively hesitant to include this image. However, on reflection, it summarises my overall responses to my research findings in a time of lockdown and social isolation. We are all subjected to mortality, vulnerable and fragile. The end of our journey is the only certainty in our lives. Death is the culmination of our waiting, while being suspended in the vacuum of hypnotic repetition.

The side walls of the gallery will be dedicated to the display of the actual paintings. I should be able to exhibit between 8 and 10 canvasses.

It is all very exciting!

Emirates News Agency – Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, Art Dubai Group conclude Dubai Ideathon

DUBAI, 15th April, 2020 (WAM) — The Dubai Culture and Arts Authority and Art Dubai Group have concluded the Dubai Ideathon.

The workshop sessions, held recently, brought together international experts from different fields, all working collectively to find solutions.

Beginning on the 22nd of March, the initiative began with online workshops where 70 members of Dubai’s cultural SME’s and freelancers came together to identify the primary challenges facing the local creative community, from which list of challenges was put together.

On the 31st of March,…
— Read on wam.ae/en/details/1395302836894

Call for Digital Artist Residency

My submission is as follows:

Thank you for creating this exciting opportunity for artists during a time of global crisis.

Isolation format does not support the creative community. People with imagination and exciting ideas strive in the environment of collaboration and bouncing ideas of each other. They need to be bombarded with stimulus to allow them to formulate new and deeply reflective responses.

I have spent my life travelling to the most distant places (currently 99 countries).  My creative intention is to observe people, who are suspended in the vacuum of waiting. Perhaps, the best distraction from this process is to focus on entrapment in hypnotic repetition.  Interaction with people, interviewing them, drawing and photographing allow me to establish a unique sense of rapport and cohesion.  After all, we are traveling through space on a piece of rock through space. 

Recently, I have started to use a washing machine and the process of washing as a metaphor for cleansing and erasing.  A bizarre process of an OCD-like sterilisation and removing images from their existence on canvas.

Therefore, I propose to interview a selection of people from the streets in a one-mile radius of your physical gallery space at 87 Princes Avenue, Hull, HU5 3PQ.

Perhaps, with your help, I would identify a number of possible individuals and contact them via Skype.

Following online interviews and photography, I would create a number of paintings to evidence the hypnotic repetition of waiting for the end of lockdown.

Video recordings of the washing of these canvases would become ready for submission as digital projections.

Erasing memories of isolation.

Many thanks

Pav Szymanski

Current research issue – Waiting: Hypnotic Repetition

Through my projects I feel that I discover my inner fears, longings and re-evaluate my uncertainties. My work seems to be an attempt to explore and question by metaphorical presentation my response to the hidden truths of the world. The essence of the value of these works is in their inherent meaning and an atmosphere, which manifests itself in the dusk of the space portrayed, thus the light may appear, where the hue of colour fulfils clarity and sounds with harmonious melody.

https://hypnoticrepetition.com/

https://www.behance.net/pavszymanski

https://www.instagram.com/pavszymanski/

https://spark.adobe.com/page/fQ9VytzHNpWq9/

Submission for Al-Tiba9 Platform for Artists

I have created a portfolio of recent work and submitted it for Al-Tiba9 Platform for Artists PERMANENT INTERVIEW.

Al-Tiba9 Interviews is a promotional platform for artists to articulate their vision, project ideas and engage them with a diverse readership through a published art dialogue.

Selected artists are interviewed by the founder & curator Mohamed Benhadj to highlight their artistic career and introduce them to the international contemporary art scene across a wide network of museums, galleries, art professionals, art dealers, collectors, and art lovers across the globe.

Confirmation of my submission is below.

Ravens and Crows Will Peck Us to Pieces

During my exercise yesterday, I managed to take this disturbing photograph. On the one hand, it reminded me of my primary source for Three Burmese Monks piece. On the other, the black crows drew references to a novel by a Polish writer Stefan Zeromski.

Ravens and Crows Will Peck Us to Pieces – is a relatively short book by a literature Nobel Price winner . It consists of three parts and has references to the atrocities of the partitions of Poland between Germany, Russia and Austria. These birds have also other common connotations. It is usually believed that that the crow is a symbol of bad luck and death. I am not superstitious, but this seen has terrified me.

Subsequently, I have developed an idea of using the crows as an overprinted pattern on my next piece. The idea is to compose a twin image to Three Burmese Monks and use our current pandemic predicament to create a painting about myself, while responding to the broader contexts of the crisis. I am waiting while working in isolation in front of my window.

Optimistically attempting to contradict Zeromski while waiting in a hope that ravens and crows will not peck us to pieces!

DUBAI IDEATHON 2020: COVID-19 CRISIS.

I have submitted the following proposal to the DUBAI IDEATHON 2020: COVID-19 CRISIS. Tee idea is to make a contribution by responding to one of six themes. My chosen topic was as follows:

How can the creative community self-organise? And what kind of public-private collaborations can we explore to help support the cultural industries?

From the creation of talent pools, expertise directories and databases to skill-based collectives and collaborative businesses.

Isolation format does not support the creative community. People with imagination and exciting ideas strive in the environment of collaboration and bouncing ideas of each other. They need to be bombarded with stimulus to allow them to formulate a response. Therefore, the key to success is in bringing people together through online plenaries and lectures; TED talks and exhibitions. Therefore, there is a need to design a platform, which can be roughly based on the concept of Microsoft Teams. However, the format and its key features must be directed at presentation and exchange of visual material, including sound, moving image and video.
Current online galleries try to emulate the physical experience of walking through a building with art in it. An imitation of a holistic effect of simultaneous physical movement, observation, analysis and reflection is totally impossible to be achieved. Kinaesthetic learning cannot take place in front of a screen. Sitting down and looking at pictures is simply boring. Visitors tend to look at the first few pieces before switching off and leaving. Through brainstorming and a dynamic dialogue, there is a potential to develop tools and layouts to avoid this, or at least minimise its negative impact.

One of the most powerful public/ private collaborations is light projection. There are many artists using enlarged displays of text to promote their ideas, such as Jenny Holzer. Video mapping for advertising and the promotion of current issues is in its infancy. These techniques could be used as powerful tools to advertise art, performance and also increase public awareness. I am confident that government bodies would also like to elevate the significance of their messages and public appeals through this medium.
I hope that my propositions go far beyond 3D printing of protection equipment for hospitals and switching the profile of the fashion industry to sewing face masks.

HOW IT WORKS

Dubai IDEATHON is a three-phased project:

PHASE 1: OPEN CALL

Open call to receive proposals that respond to one (or many) of the listed challenges.

PHASE 2: IDEATHON

Six ideation sessions with the participants of the open call will be organised based on the common challenges, and facilitated by specialised design-thinking experts, concluding in well-defined proposals.

PHASE 3: IMPLEMENTATION

Proposed solutions will be put to industry experts to help devise implementation strategies.

TIMELINE

THURSDAY APRIL 2

8am: Dubai IDEATHON submissions open for receiving ideas

SATURDAY APRIL 4

12am: Submissions close at midnight

SUNDAY APRIL 5

10am – 2pm: Groups are assigned and participants are sent workshop links

TUESDAY APRIL 7

10am – 4pm: First set of ideation sessions

WEDNESDAY APRIL 8

10am – 4pm: Second set of ideation sessions

THURSDAY APRIL 9

Collating ideas and proposals into a final list