Reflection - Installation : Assemblage : Sculpture : Painting (as related to sculpture) : Collage / by Ally McGinn

These words describe process and medium. They are important in that they are skills, contexts and possibilities for the work.

Exploring my questions and interests in a more expanded field, installation allows the space the pieces are shown in to become the surface, a literal expanded field.

I am drawn to installation for it's experiential qualities.

Not trying to represent something real but be something real.

The viewer can step into the real space of the work thereby allowing the disembodied viewer to become the embodied viewer, a collaboration that extends from the production of the work to the viewing of it.


Assemblage is a smaller form of installation - or at least it is from my perspective.

The assemblages i create are small forms of installation, and are often placed together to create installations. I have begun exploring the insides of plinths as a space to show assemblages, with four walls and the potential for an aesthetic and contextual affinity.

Assemblage is a word i often use to describe the things made in my studio. Other words include; sketch, collage, object, form, combination, conversation, formula, experiment, sentence.


Sculpture is included in this grouping because it is a relatively recent addition to my personal lexicon. My work has long been associated with painting, and can be seen as an exploration of the expanded field of painting, however, since beginning the MA my works have been more consistently split between wall and floor.

Painting as sculpture is a reality and a context that i personally enjoy. (Jasper Johns would be of note here) But how does the context shift when explored in the opposite form; sculpture as painting? This is something i am only beginning to explore.

The relationship between representational image and object can be seen as a conversation between painting and sculpture.



Before i was a painter, in 2014, i worked primarily with collage, although it is an interesting point to note that i still used photography.

Collage is another word that could be used to describe some of my works, especially those with a two dimensional element. Are they three dimensional collages? Either way there is a recurrent theme of placement and contained context. Objects placed together.


How does the reality of the objects change depending on the ways we describe them? What are the differences in perception when we look at installations, assemblages, sculptures, paintings and collages?

In my practice the answer seems to stem from the medium used. Works with paper : collage. Works on the wall : paintings. Works on the floor : sculpture. Small combinations of objects and papers : assemblage. Large combinations of objects and papers : installation.
The categorisation comes from medium and size. However all are arbitrary. Paintings can be on the floor, installations can be small, collages can be three dimensional.



There are some interesting questions here.

While these terms are descriptive i believe that fact implies a deep connection to the work. Questioning their definitions could lead to some interesting works.

This remains firmly in the ‘maybe’ list because of its potential.