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!

Dubai Ideathon- Day 2

Inspirational experience in a difficult time!

Day 2 was also extended to most of day 3. My team – 11B got very passionate about crating a holistic and xcohesive platform. Our concept was to bring people together in a time of crisis, social distancing and isolation.

We produced a very comprehernsive proposal for a range of ideas and supporting online platforms. I was selected by the team to present our proposal to the forum of 174 observes via Zoom videoconference. Our proposal was very well received and the team and I are awaiting further news on a range of possible developments.

Ravens and Crows Will Peck Us to Pieces – Video Progress

As a part of the process of development of my painting, I have decided to sidetrack it and experiment with digital possibilities and ideas. Yesterday, I devoted my time to drawing crows from observation using a pencil and paper. Subsequently, I moved on and transferred my source sketches onto the canvas using rough black marker pens. The next step was to consider a balanced and rhythmic composition. My creative intention was to achieve a sense of being overwhelmed and taken over by a herd of terrifying black birds. I started to increase the density of drawings, initially with small repetitive silhouettes and gradually increasing their sizes and numbers. My animation begins with a scan of a photograph of me. I have chosen this image carefully. It represents a personally significant moment of my life. In steps, it is replaced by some of my sketches, and than, moderately transforms itself into a black screen. This has some resemblance to the current crisis. It all started with just one mutation, which in turn has expanded enormously to create a global pandemic.

Crows and the use of black are of a metaphorical importance here. They symbolise emptiness, vacuum and nothing, but destruction and death.

I purposefully repeated this sequence and reversed its speed and direction. It grows and withers, reducing itself to a dead screen. This process is looped in order to create a feeling of entrapment and bizarre predictability. We all know, what is going to happen . The cycle has now been thoroughly researched and explored. The meaning of the world is created by a clash of the opposites and juxtaposition of contradictions. Life cannot be just one-sided. Life and death, growth and decline, light and darkness.

At this stage, the overall tonation of my painting is kept in ochre and dirty yellowish greens. In consequence to my digital experimentation, I plan to increase the amount of bright yellowish stains and bleeding patches, in order to over-glaze the entire surface with a deep wash of Alizarin and Prussian Blue. The aim is to enrich the depth of colour to enhance its impact on a viewer. Perhaps, removing parts of the over-layer will allow me to reveal some key elements of the space underneath.

Lockdown with The Wheel of Fortune Seller.

Tumbling around with my thoughts – lockdown in a dark and claustrophobic chamber of an expanding pandemic – waiting for the end!

The aim of this post is to present my work in progress in order to methodically review my practice, refine my thinking and creative intentions. It is essential for me to reflect on how my visual investigation has developed, altered and evolved, especially in response to today’s global crisis.

A fragment from The Pianist, Release date: 24 January 2003 (United Kingdom), DirectorRoman Polanski

The above video draws a parallel to the current global crisis. Isolation and fear are overwhelming. However, The Pianist had his resource, his instrument. He was afraid to touch it and play music. My situation is contradictory – I have a lot of time in loneliness, but cant access my work and studio. Everything appears to by suspended in waiting for the return to my former hypnotic repetition of daily routines and distractions!

My project continues to change with a degree of unexpected persistency and without unnecessary overreliance on resources.  The above video clip reinforces that what really matters is the act of creation; whatever the circumstances.

My role as an artist is to comment on and respond to an ever-changing, dynamic and turbulent environment.  

Therefore, my principal function is to observe the world with great sensitivity and translate my research findings into art, which communicates my thinking and reflections.

My work, in turn, acts as a beacon, pointing out at new possibilities of how to understand, digest and embrace the world!

I need to accept that my initial project ideas have been altered, distorted and, perhaps, contradicted in the light of the current, brutal and rapidly progressing events.

Bye Bye, Wheel of Fortune Seller

This is my recent attempt to respond to the current situation. My project has redefined itself a few of times during a very long and turbulent journey through 9 countries. My observations and reflections have substantially changed their focus.

My initial interests were firmly placed on the uncertainties of tomorrow. The context for my investigation was mainly related to a range of economic disadvantages of people in the countries, which I visited. I was both: fascinated and terrified to learn how they deal with their daily lives. How inventive and creative they must become in order to survive.

Subsequently, I realised that everyone is waiting for a new pivotal occurrence. Something important to happen and bring about a significant and positive change. One way of dealing with this lengthy, stagnant and monotonous process is to get subjected by the conditioning of a hypnotic repetition.

My visual exploration of workers, who were suspended in the vacuum of that process, followed. I become intrigued by creating painterly responses based on analysis workers in Asia. This has allowed me to produce some of my recent and key achievements:

  1. Thai Masseur

2. The Wheel of Fortune Seller

3. Three Burmese Monks

My video of the washing cycle of The Wheel of Fortune Seller is broken down into a number of independent parts. Each one is intended to be to have a separate meaning and be a metaphorical parallel to a chapter in life; from the start to the end:

  • Introduction of a middle-aged man with a face mask holding a Stanley knife. This scene is full of anticipation and automatic questioning: Who is he? What are his intentions? What is going to happen next? Are his intentions sinister?
  • Engagement of a background sound recording. This is a repetitive voice of an Asian female. It is difficult to understand and decipher. Her broken accent becomes much more clear with time. Her messages contextualise the scene.
  • Cutting the painting out and the shaking off. What is the intention? The voice starts slowly to become annoying. The shaking off is metaphorical for causing a loss of something and undergoing or suffering from a misfortune. My creative intention is to communicate how special and significant is the current pandemic situation in all broader contexts.
  • Magic of loading the washing machine. The painting appears to fly into the drum on its own. There is something theatrical, unreal and intriguing about this. It appears to be a bizarre ballet, a performance in the surroundings of a dirty corner – full of stains and clutter; in front of a red fire extinguisher, which symbolises a state of predicted and unavoidable emergency.
  • Washing – mundane and foreseeable. This part, coupled with a lengthy spinning cycle, is designed to test the patience. A new thought is born in my mind – when will this finish? Here again, this is a current question of primary importance and substance – perhaps on everyone’s mind (sic!)
  • Unloading. The female voice comes back. Something is finalised, concluded, yet the ‘old’ is reborn and reformed. It comes back like a haunting ghost from the past.
  • Final shake. It is intended to agitate – to get rid of what is there. The old is removed and no longer desired. The Wheel of Fortune Seller is erased from the surface of the painting. The old memories are gone. Let us hope, the real person behind the primary source character has a new and better life to enjoy and celebrate.

My intention was to create an almost religious and spiritual connotation.

Ultimately, the washed canvas will be stitched back onto the original stretcher. This refers to and implies a cyclic quality of life and its all events.

Interim Feedback

I have asked a group of my Foundation students to watch my Bye Bye Three Monks video. My intention was to receive some constructive feedback from my own learners. I projected the 6minutes and 47 seconds long film on a large screen in the base studio. There was a group of 15 learners available for this experiment.

The key points, which were risen during a plenary session are as follows:

I was waiting for something to happen and felt quite sleepy.

The video was relaxing and hypnotic; calming.

There was a sense of transformation from frustration to relaxation.

Some students felt quite exhausted after watching the vireo, while others found it relaxing and smoothing.

There was a little uncertainty as nothing was happening – concussion regarding the meaning of the piece.

Supporting sound, especially ‘Hugo, Hugo’, adds an element of pace into it.

The film is too long – after a minute, it may become uninteresting. However, later, it becomes enjoyable again.

This feedback has reinforced me in thinking that the video work well and communicates my ideas with sophistication. I may need, however, to support my work with a form of a postcard with appropriate text explaining the context of my investigation. I have used this idea during my most recent exhibition at Art 23 in London and received very positive feedback.

I have enclosed two sound recordings below:

“Busy Waiting”

A full commentary and critical analysis will follow. This is the first version of the piece and I am highly eager to make it available on my blog ASAP.

Bye Bye Burmese Monks

I have made some real progress today. I set up a video recording session of the washing of the Three Burmese Monks piece. Everything was arranged in the print room. As the DLSR run out of power, I had to result to using my iPhone XSMax with a tripod.

Following a discussion of details included in my storyboard, Georgie, our technician, agreed to help with the washing performance.

My picture frame was purposely wanky and crocked. I wanted to include a glimpse of a fire extinguisher and PVC pipes in the view. I also thought that bleeding stains on dirty floor make a valuable contribution to the overall impact of captured images, their meaning and the recording.

The raw footage is relatively long and full of accidental disruptions. They will all need to be edited out in order to create a cohesive video piece. The details of my plan will emerge soon, and continue to evolve and grow.

I enclose the final washed up image of the Three Burmese Monks piece and some raw and culminate footage below:

Time-lapse & Hyper-lapse with Colour Grading Workshop.

This has been a very intensive and exciting day. Matt Edwards, who run this workshop is an expert with a fast knowledge in this area. The purpose was to initiate experimentation with filming and editing footage in an intentional and meaningful way. A strong focus on the overall idea is very important in order to develop a holistic and professional piece.

In order to ensure consistency between individual workshops and experimentation, I have decided to create and record a mini pop-up show of my screen prints.

I used a Nikon D90 camera and a tripod. The idea was to capture a broad view of an art studio. All work in progress provides the frame with detail and sets the seen, while contextualising the video. I practiced with recording myself, while continuously displaying prints on a white wall to form a large rectangular composition. Subsequently, the pieces were removed one by one. White wall as a start and the same white wall as the end. This concept has provided my with the boundaries for my action and narrative.

I have experimented with a range of possibilities and considered a number of unassuming angles for shooting. My creative intention was to ‘go’ beyond a simple use of a documentary or media approach. I wanted to create a short art film.

Simultaneously, this provided me with an excellent opportunity to photograph my prints using a digital SLR.

As soon as all images and video footage are processed, I will include them and other visual material in this post.

Premier Pro is an advanced piece of sophisticated video editing software, which allows for a superb level of control, manipulation and intervention.

To aid my memory, I made a number of notes. I hope to use them as guidance in further experimentation. I am excited about taking my current ideas further and this process will begin shortly.

I feel that I have learned a lot about the impact of colour changes on video and the way in which it is perceived and understood by an audience.

Surprisingly, there is a similarity to how this applies to traditionally developed imagery.

I created a number of clips and sequences and experimented with additional effects including the use of alteration layers.

All in all, the day was very successful and demanding. I have benefitted from being challenged, especially in the context of experimentation and risk-taking leading to the development of new ideas and discussions of alternatives.

I am looking forward to the next stage of refinement of the work, which I have started to produce today.

A screen shot of my notes is below:

Raw Footage for Editing during the workshop

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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