the other paul smith

artist

The making of an Abstract Form

This piece was a development from my Quasi abstract heads.

The wood frame – the upright is attached with a dowel and screw to secure it.

early stage large abstract form

Building up the structure. The larger blocks will not adhere using plaster alone so I am using scrim (netting) soaked in plaster to wrap and hold the blocks.

The form is taking shape now. I am using a mix of thick sheets of expanded polystyrene packaging and large blocks that I am breaking apart.

When it is wrapped it forces the viewer to take a closer look to see what is inside – if it is without the covering it is immediately obvious. I have left a few holes into the form

Section of large abstract 3D form

The semi-translucency of the dust sheet reminded me of aged skin, which has thinned so much as to allow  you to start to see what lies beneath. Condensation formed inside the piece, on the underside of the plastic sheeting. It appeared to be alive, to be breathing. The brittle, rigid bone-like inner structure contrasts with the fluidity, yielding, Diaphanous ephemeral, fragile outer layer – easily torn.

The dust sheet also caused viewers to question – is it protecting the piece, is the piece actually finished, or is it part of the piece? I enjoyed the ambiguity of it.

The sheeting moves slightly as people walk past it. I considered these options

  • Open door – breeze. Variable dependent on weather.
  • Electric fan – more controlled. Fixed or on arc? Should the viewer decide?
  • Viewer –  the action of walking past,  invitation to blow on it? 
  • Revolving door set up next to the form?

Ideally, site the piece next to an open door so that it moves and responds to breeze – to nature. It is an organic piece so the regular breeze from a fan would be discordant and mechanical, noisy. If an open door is not practicable put a sign up to encourage viewers to walk past.

This piece is one to develop further. The honesty of it, with its use of basic materials, its ambiguity – is it finished, is the covering a protective cover, ready to be unveiled. The scale and lack of recognizable features has moved it from being a (very large) head to possibly a body or a more ambiguous form. Although I can see facial features in it – but then I know it was intended to be a head.

Large abstract form studio shot
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Manifestos are a load of rubbish

Bath Spa School of Art ran a Manifestos Workshop in Nov 2018 looking at the history and purpose of Artist Manifestos. My group were inspired by the Dadaist movement and Tom McCarthy’s view that manifestos are a defunct format but nevertheless compelling – in the way that a broken bicycle wheel was compelling for Duchamp.

We wrote a manifesto titled Manifestos are a load of rubbish and then set fire to it. Play the video for more info.

“And while we put on a show of being facile, we are actually searching for the essence of things…”   quote from Monsieur Antipyrine’s  Dadaist Manifesto 1916

 

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