Studio Research - Week 9 - Reflection / by Ally McGinn


I had a full week away from the studio this week, due to childcare and treeworks. So instead of images…..i present words. I am about halfway through the second trimester of the MA and I’ve realised that it's been awhile since i've done a true reflection.


During the last trimester i focussed on expanding my practice to better understand what i do, how i do it and why i do it. The work created for the exhibition point in January was more considered than my work has previously been, and heading into an interesting focus.

This trimester i have been focussing on reflection, contextually and aesthetically.
Through a systematic reflective process i have narrowed down my main terms to five areas of true descriptive focus, and am working towards a single phrase that describes what i am exploring at the moment.

I’ve almost finished a series of image reflections, which aim to explore the success and failures within recent artworks. For someone as systematic as i am this is a complicated process, as new works are constantly being added, meaning this process has the potential to never end.

In line with these literary reflections i have been researching artists who work with a similar balance of context and material. The most influential of these, so far, are;

Issa Iman - exhibition currently at Spike Island, Bristol. Blog post coming.

Ian Kiaer - whose work is a wonderful display of dichotomy; aesthetically balanced, contextually engaging and presented materially.

Lydia Ourahmane - who recently had an show at the Chisenhale gallery, which embodied the audience in an utterly experiential exhibition.


My theoretical research has been focussed on three areas, in an attempt to focus my time and knowledge. 1) Object Oriented Ontology, a relatively new philosophical ideology that explores the relationships between objects, without the previously necessary human interaction. 2) Essays and texts around the notion of the object, with a focus on the value judgements as a result of objectification. 3) Essays and texts around the act and idea of painting, with a focus on the representative qualities of both the act and output of painting.

In very broad terms these three strands are where i am attempting to contain my research.

I have a tendency to over-do, something i am trying to ameliorate through this process.


While exploring new research i have begun to focus on deepening research already done, examining it to see whether the things i have been talking about are still relevant in this reflective trimester.


It’s a time to be ruthless with these ideas and references.



In the studio the works have been progressing well, interesting new ideas are taking form, and an air of enforced focus is prevalent. Septembers show is not far away, and now the focus is key.

The first trimester was a real chance to expand and contract. This trimester has been an examination, a deeper understanding of what is happening in the studio, and what needs to happen to develop my practice.


The simplest way to describe this would be to say that i've realised how important the communication of a message is. The communication of a clear message requires clarity.


As time moves towards the show in September my aim in the studio is to focus down onto the best ways to present the objects i have been working with.


It’s hard to predict what will come of it, or what i will make, but an engagement with the space and the collection of objects is key. A balance between the two will form the final artwork.

Object and space are the two focuses in the studio at the moment.



I have a presentation and proposal to write in the next week. Trying to explain where i am and what i'm doing. This is going to be a hard process but i know that by the end it will have a very good effect on the work.


Back to it………..