Morning Coffee – Constant Versus Variable. Thanks

I have spent a lot of time considering differences between constant and variable within my new composition.

The constant is the known, predictable and expected. All of these feelings are associated with safety and security, with certainty and control. On the contrary, the variable is the dynamic, unknown and unpredictable. It makes us uncertain and anxious. It reminds us that we have little or no control over our destination and associated events. It makes us realise that we are walking in darkness with no sense of a real direction. All we do is to assume that we are in charge.

Although this piece has some potential, it would benefit from a further development. I need to question the relationship between certainty and uncertainty in the context of repetition and monotony.

Following a range of discussions with my colleagues and students, I have come to conclusion that the next step will be to remove certainty from the work and emphasise the variable part of the composition.

Until know, I have managed to explore possibilities and discuss alternatives with the following experimentation using light and digital manipulations:

 

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Symposium Part 4 – HYPNOTIC REPETITION & My Observations.

1. One Legged Pool Player

The One Legged Player is totally on the task. Her appearance looks frivolous and theatrical to distract from her determination and the fact that she cannot afford to miss any shots. Her outwards image portrays glamour and fame, but the reality is diametrically different.
The One Legged Player is frozen in a stretched position, suspended in the vacuum of repetition. Every shot is executed in an identical posed pose in a hope to attract attention and increase the stakes, hence maximise profits.
I am hesitant to come to conclusions that there is something repulsive about it. The first impressions of wonder and curiosity are replaced with laughter and astonishment.
The performance continues regardless.

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https://wordpress.com/post/pavszymanskiart.wordpress.com/2120

2. Coach To Myiek

This piece portrays a coach driver. He is preparing to leave Kawthoung for a 20 hour long journey to Myiek. The road is terrible and unpredictable. His old coach must be in a top condition before the passengers are allowed to board.
The driver looks very tired and substantially overweight. He spends his life driving his coach between those two distant cities in Myanmar.

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https://wordpress.com/post/pavszymanskiart.wordpress.com/2072

3. Burmese Captain

This work portrays a Burmese captain in charge of a long boat. His job is to transport people and cargo from Ranong in Thailand to Kawthoung at the furthest southern point of Myanmar. His main clientele are poor illegal workers from Burma trying to earn a few baht in Thailand.
Following a long conversation with him, I become one of his passengers. To maximise income, he accepts as many people as possible. He even travels on the very front of the boat to save valuable space. This place is very uncomfortable and rocky. He is also fully exposed there to the power of the tropical sun. He tries to get some relief from the burning heat by hiding under a colourful umbrella.
The image is very clashing in colour – very kitsch. This is further enhanced by his crude and cramped body position.  His ankle reveals a massive tumour.
There is a gigantic growth on his leg, perhaps caused by prolonged exposure to the sun and continued contact with polluted water in the port.
My creative intention was to portray him in his usual setting, while crossing the same water many times every day.
The focus is on him. The beautiful surroundings no longer matter. He cannot see the landscape. He is trapped in his daily routine.
The colour of his shirt blends in with the orange stripes of paint on the boat. The umbrella is feminine and looks absolutely ridiculous.

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https://wordpress.com/post/pavszymanskiart.wordpress.com/1884

4. Three Monks Begging

Mixed media on unprimed canvas.
168 cm x 118 cm
This new piece portrays three Burmese monks taking a break from their money collecting duties, while entertaining themselves with a large group of pigeons.
In the area, there were large numbers of child monks present. Most of their days are spend extorting large amounts of cash from the hard working, fearful and deeply religious market community.
They are immaculately dressed in pink robes and sarongs. Simultaneously, they walk bare foot to project an image of poverty and humbleness.
However, the truth is different. They have got daily targets to fill their metals trays with a mixture of coins and bank notes to satisfy the needs and expectations of their superiors.

https://pavszymanskiart.wordpress.com/2019/12/02/three-monks-new-gif/

 

Laundrette.

I have used, in my experimentation, a domestic washing machine before. I employed this kind of intervention during my work on the Dialogue with Pearl Twink series.

My ideas were independently developed and had no resemblance to Steve Pippin’s projects. However, I have seen his fascinating work before and was particularly intrigued by his ‘death of the camera’ and locomotion pieces.

To understand his thinking better, I have just completed reading of his 1999 book. This has led to a range of reflections and, subsequently, interesting conclusions.

I would also like to experiment with video recording in a comercial laundrette setting. My creative intention is, however, to create a moving image of the washing cycle of my paintings using a number of large scale washing machines set in a line.

There is something special about watching a machine continuously spinning – just a perfect example of hypnotic repetition. This, coupled with a great uncertainty of what will be left from the paintings after this process is completed.

Washing and it’s metaphorical meaning is ideal in terms of making progress with my thinking and the development of new ideas.

In order to make it happen, I will need to prepare a range of new images on un-stretched materials in readiness for the performance.

Theatre of Washing – a busy Saturday morning would be an ideal time for this type of video recording. More progress planning and reflection will need to take place, before I am in a position to make my new idea to materialise.

I am hoping to record several simultaneously spinning washing machines, the loading and unloading process, the long cycle of hypnotic repetition… accidental participation of additional character (people using the facility at the same time) should increase the authenticity of this undertaking and extend on the narrative.

Ultimately, the value of my of my previous and time consuming painting will be reduced to dirty underwear. Sounds great!

https://we-make-money-not-art.com/point_blank/

 

Pippin, S. (1999) Laundromat – Locomotion: An Artists’ Book; London: Verlag der Kunst

Postcards

To support my participation in the African Art Exhibition, I have designed a postcard size piece. It contains a good quality photograph of my work on the front. On the back, I decided to categorise the information as follows:

1. Explanation of the meaning of the painting.

2. Artist statement.

3. Details of my email, WordPress blog, Instagram and Behance portfolios.

50 copies of my design will be printed back to back and doubled on A4 photo card. When cut in half, this will create 100 A5 postcard type of information. The idea is to explain and promote my work.

The text itself is in grey to increase the sophistication of the design without impacting it’s clarity and readability.

Snake Seller.

Some of my thinking for this piece was inspired by learning from overpowering photographs of manufacturing by Edward Burtynsky.  My attention was particularly drawn to images of miners.

‘Manufactured Landscapes’, Edward Burtynsky, courtesy of Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto, available at https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/dpk8yw/edward-burtynsky-shows-us-impending-enviro-apocalypse-in-high-definition

I have just started to work on a new portrait of a young woman.  She is a local worker at a market in Myiek, Myanmar.  The bazaar is based next to famous hot springs.  This increases the attractiveness of this placement and maximises potential sale opportunities.  She is a snakes vendor.  She spends all her days crouching down on her knees, while waiting for prospective customers.  Although she works outdoors, her individual stall can be seen through a window-like hole in a sheet of graffitied metal.  The contrast between brown and ochre colouring of the facade, raw redness of her T-shirt and the dynamic green of the grass make an illusion of quite dramatic and full colour compositional arrangement.

Her head is decorated with a traditional Burmese turban.  She is very serious, almost contemplative and very tense.  She looks down, perhaps away, and tries to kill time by organising one of her snakes neatly in a plastic bag, always in readiness for the next sale.

She spends most of her time waiting in anticipation for a successful transaction and making a profit.  All her days are alike, full of repetition, boredom and sameness. However, competition is tough.  Sales are limited.  This makes her existence very uncertain and fills her daily life with misery and anxiety.

I am hoping to overprint this piece with a repetitive pattern to increase the power and the overall impact.  This process will be documented in stages.

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Burmese Captain. Painterly Process – Part 3.

I have continued with the process of overprinting the underage.  The screen composition contains a sworn of exotic flies, which surrounded the boat during a long period of waiting in the port.  Following a process of robbing and washing, the captain has started to appear in the window of dynamic insects.  These create an almost decorative motif framing the figure and the umbrella.  The heat of the red is juxtaposed with the coldness the vibrant blues and rich violets.  The violet tonation appears to be neutral in temperature, not hot nor cold, therefore making the overall piece much more ‘full colour’ and with a greater impact on the viewer. The narrative has also become more ambiguous and the image gained a new element, which helps to build curiosity.

When fully dry, I plan to the cloth with damar varnish before proceeding to machine wash it on the hottest setting.

I am hoping for at least a partial disintegration of the image and substantial bleaching of the colour layers.  Ideally, there will be nothing left – just an eroded and exhausted surface.  If the first wash is insufficient in achieving this effect, I will persevere with repeating this process while echoing the journey made by the Burmese Captain and his longboat between Ranong and Kawthoung.

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Hypnotic Repetition.

The Captain appears to be oblivious to both his social predicament and his surroundings.  This is what he does every day. The same journey, non-communication with his passengers and trapped in his own world.  He not not necessarily looking for escape.  He embraces the banal repetition of his job, routine and existence.

This reflection has given me new ideas.  The focus of my investigation has slightly evolved from superficial repetition on one hand and uncertainty of existence at all on the other.  He appears to cling to that routine as it gives him a sense of certainty and security.  He believes that he knows what to expect yet works in a relatively unpredictable environment while operating an old longboat in a very uncertain territory . His real existence is very fragile and temporary. He cannot even imagine that one day, he will not be able to do it again and may not survive without an income.

I have also started to experiment by drawing into the existing image with water soluble pastels.  I have found this new to me medium flexible, refreshing and expressive.

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Burmese Captain. The Painterly Process Continues.

I have started to work on a long process of glazing the already existing underpainting. Every wash of colour was subsequently cleaned of with a sponge and cloth. The objective was to make the painting more moody and dramatic. This technique has also allowed me to reveal individual areas of the glaze while allowing some of the original colour to get through the layers.

This painstaking process has already taken its toll on integrity of the surface. The chips and cracks of the underage have become more and more apparent. When the work is completely dry, I intend to reinstate the machine intervention process.

I plan to video record a long and hot machine cycle. Whatever is remaining after will constitute the beginning of the next stage of the painting process.

Dreaming about The Island Girl

“Her messy hair a visible attribute of her stubborn spirit. As she shakes it free, she smiles knowing wild is her favourite colour.”

“She didn’t just walk on the wild side,
she lived there, dancing in the streets
and setting fire to its sky.”

J. Iron Word

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The Island Girl

Dear Island Girl,

Will you go beyond the horizon?

Where the oceans meet the sea.

Where the waters are immaculate;

And the adrenaline is high.

 

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Pearl Twink. The New Madonna.

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Heaven can only be with you in it.

Wherever you belong…..

You’re not the girl with long hair, oval eyes, luscious lips and perfect teeth.

You don’t look like  the girl on the magazine cover or runway,

Hell, you might even be straighter than an arrow.

But you’re the most beautiful.

The way you love hard, laugh with abandon, push your glasses back to your face, wipe the sweat off your forehead, the way that crown dances on your head.

Sure, you’re a queen,

Of hearts, of love, freedom, beauty, wisdom.

Your huge heart is large enough to hug all the children of the world.

you refuse to be undermined and wield your sword in the  fight for truth.

WCW’ by Maryam Atoyebi 

The Bathing of Pearl Twink.

I have just started the next phase of the long planned process of experimentation with machine intervention.  I have alternated individual washing cycles with the overprinting and refreshing of the image. When the ink was dry, I used the washing machine again and programmed different lengths and temperatures to maximise the effect of uncertainty and unpredictability.  Cold washes had minimal impact on the image.  The screen-printed text started, however, to become softer and softer. Therefore, it appeared to be more ambiguous and difficult to decipher. The surface of the painting itself, became damaged and populated with watery holes and creases. This change to the texture and integrity of the piece has started to create an impact on the dynamics of the painting.

My plan is to continue with this process in order to find out, how far it can be stretched. What I would like to establish is the limit of uncertainty.  How far can this process be taken to before the inevitable becomes the obvious, predictable and very certain.  I am fascinated by a dialogue and interdependence between both contradictory perspectives and the testing of the boundaries.

I have managed to record several interesting images depicting this new to me method of working.

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