Reflection - MA Open Studios / by Ally McGinn

Ally McGinn (2017)  Rainbow Tube  [Working Title]. Cardboard, paint and masking tape. Size varies.

Ally McGinn (2017) Rainbow Tube [Working Title]. Cardboard, paint and masking tape. Size varies.

The best part of the Open Studios, for me, was my six-year-old daughter, Lottie’s, reaction to the new work I had made during the day, that I have to make note of here. The work is tentatively titled ‘Rainbow Tube’, a name chosen by Lottie. The tube has been created from masking tape that was used in another artist's process. The construction of the piece was quite prescriptive, Ollie sent me the masking tape on a large sheet of folded paper (about 4m long!), and it’s obvious he has been collecting it chronologically, as the colours form a narrative of his process.
To be true to the materials, and their purpose, I took two pieces of masking tape off each ‘side’ of the paper, choosing based on the length of the pieces in relation to their suitability and functional ability to fit around the tube without too much waste. When I reached the end of the tape collection I painted the remaining area of tube grey. (This happened to be about half the length of it).

I enjoy Lottie's perspective, she is the ultimate unknowing being, a purer being than we could be, not as biased by the cultural and value associations in art. Children are brilliant lenses through which to view art.
When I asked Lottie what she thought of the tube, her response was that she wanted to play with it, which I, of course, let her do. She proceeded to use it as a hobby horse, which I found brilliant. I took a few photos in the moment but didn't want to ruin the moment.
Now I feel like the way I display the piece needs to relate to her interpretation of it.
I loved it, and I now wish I could make all of my works into things that we can use or play with.

In researching, I use processes and tools, ways of seeing the work in different lights, and one of the most interesting is through the eyes of a six-year-old. So one of the forms of research is monitoring my six-year-olds responses to art when she finds it, draws it, explores it, and when she experiences it. And it is unfortunate that I have only just made this observation. I can retrospectively record and note her responses, but my future plans include the act of documenting, in the moment where possible, her perceptions and actions.
I think there is a really interesting body of data there, to help us understand why humans do, and love, and explore, ‘Art’.

I've had a new idea or direction for my work in response to my daughter's interpretations of it. Related to my wider practice, and not, I want to make pieces that I then show to her, or present to her. Based on her responses I will then give instructions for viewers to interact with the works in the ways she did. This may extend to asking her to title the works.
In the case of ' Rainbow Tube', which she wanted to use as a hobby horse. I think this work should be accompanied by an A4 laminated set of instructions for how to ‘use’ the artwork.

Make two more rainbow tubes that we can then have a sword fight with.

I'm beginning to realise how central the idea of children could be to part of a new body of work, informed by exploring the ways my daughter, and other children, interact with, interpret and understand art. Exploring the implications on the way we see art when we consider the viewer as a child. 
I think the contextualisation that sometimes overwhelms art isn't there with children, not in the way it is with adults, but the experience is still there, in an arguably purer sense. It would be interesting to have an exhibition where there is a requirement to bring a child to gain entry to the exhibition itself.

The way Lottie interacted with the Brutalist Playground was amazing, she got stuck in physically and didn't stop moving for the entire time we were there, which was as long as we were allowed to be there. At the Louise Bourgouise exhibition at Hauser and Wirth, she got stuck in mentally, encouraged in a different way and she drew amazing sketches of what she saw in, and of, the work. The differences between the works and her drawings of them are quite interesting.

This is all something I need to return to later, and could be the basis for an extended research project for the future.