Detritus

Studio Research - Week 11 by Ally McGinn

This week we held our MA Open Studios event. So much of the week was taken with presentation tests and adjustments. 

A fairly logistical week, but with quite a few contextual developments. (Detailed on other posts)

Ally McGinn (2017)  Studio Mushroom.  [Working Title]. Studio detritus. Size varies, approximately 5 x 5 x 2 cm.   This piece is more about the perceptual association of a mushroom than a pre-conceived idea or inspiration from nature. 

Ally McGinn (2017) Studio Mushroom. [Working Title]. Studio detritus. Size varies, approximately 5 x 5 x 2 cm. 

This piece is more about the perceptual association of a mushroom than a pre-conceived idea or inspiration from nature. 

Ally McGinn (2017) Open studios view. 6.12.17.  This is the final view of my set up for the Open Studios event. None of the working elements of the studio were removed, and it was interesting to see the engagement people had with that element of things.  The differences between studio and gallery can be seen in situ here. The difference is part of the work and it gives insight into the mind of the artist, and the working process of creating art. I think this is an interesting point for the work, as I am interested in the communication of perceptual questions. Seeing all the elements I have considered for inclusion in the work questions why those elements were chosen while inspiring a transitory state for these objects; the idea that it could change at any moment.  I would be interested to explore the idea of changing an element of the installation between each day of an exhibition. 

Ally McGinn (2017) Open studios view. 6.12.17.

This is the final view of my set up for the Open Studios event. None of the working elements of the studio were removed, and it was interesting to see the engagement people had with that element of things. 
The differences between studio and gallery can be seen in situ here. The difference is part of the work and it gives insight into the mind of the artist, and the working process of creating art. I think this is an interesting point for the work, as I am interested in the communication of perceptual questions. Seeing all the elements I have considered for inclusion in the work questions why those elements were chosen while inspiring a transitory state for these objects; the idea that it could change at any moment. 
I would be interested to explore the idea of changing an element of the installation between each day of an exhibition. 

Ally McGinn (2017) Studio documentation.   A detail shot of the space behind the canvas wall, a space of storage and potential.   There is something brilliant about this. It is an organic, aesthetically unconsidered (for the most part) installation. Ordered chaos. 

Ally McGinn (2017) Studio documentation. 

A detail shot of the space behind the canvas wall, a space of storage and potential. 

There is something brilliant about this. It is an organic, aesthetically unconsidered (for the most part) installation. Ordered chaos. 

Ally McGinn (2017) Reading a painting, process shot.   Binding this painting into a book is progressing well. The book is bound with a handmade linen hardback cover. The process is being documented in  'Reading a Painting'.   This book was easily the most conversational element of my installation, at least during the evening of the Open Studios.  It drew interaction and questions from viewers. Which is something I'm going to consider.  I have explored many of the reasons for making this book in the post ‘Reading a Painting’ but I enjoy the dichotomy of choice and focus that it brings to the viewer; they can choose which pages to linger on (and do) and yet they are focussing on individual elements more than they might at a distance.  It forces a physical interaction with painting.  I would like to replicate this process on a representational painting.  This exploration is ongoing.

Ally McGinn (2017) Reading a painting, process shot. 

Binding this painting into a book is progressing well. The book is bound with a handmade linen hardback cover. The process is being documented in 'Reading a Painting'.

This book was easily the most conversational element of my installation, at least during the evening of the Open Studios.

It drew interaction and questions from viewers. Which is something I'm going to consider.

I have explored many of the reasons for making this book in the post ‘Reading a Painting’ but I enjoy the dichotomy of choice and focus that it brings to the viewer; they can choose which pages to linger on (and do) and yet they are focussing on individual elements more than they might at a distance.

It forces a physical interaction with painting.

I would like to replicate this process on a representational painting.

This exploration is ongoing.

Ally McGinn (2017) Open studios view. 6.12.17.  Painting an addition onto the floor of ' Enframed'.   This piece began with the grey elements. As a form of equalising the materials while disguising their primary qualities.  The frame came into the work, partly, as a result of reading Heidegger. The golden frame is garish, and many people dislike it, but I enjoy the juxtaposition of Matt grey against the dusky shine of the golden frame.  The canvas behind the frame brings this piece firmly into the world of painting while highlighting its spatial qualities and materially enlarging the space of the work.

Ally McGinn (2017) Open studios view. 6.12.17.

Painting an addition onto the floor of 'Enframed'.

This piece began with the grey elements. As a form of equalising the materials while disguising their primary qualities.

The frame came into the work, partly, as a result of reading Heidegger. The golden frame is garish, and many people dislike it, but I enjoy the juxtaposition of Matt grey against the dusky shine of the golden frame.

The canvas behind the frame brings this piece firmly into the world of painting while highlighting its spatial qualities and materially enlarging the space of the work.

Ally McGinn (2017) Open studios view. 6.12.17.  One of the small interventions I placed around the studios.  The bottles are filled with studio dust, during the stages of turning it into paint, and a collection of screws. The photo is a water mark on the floor after stretching a canvas.  The combination of the material and the representational form a representation of the process in a studio.  They were placed on a conduit on the wall, at chest height (bearing in mind I'm 5ft 4). The arrow is pointing to a fire exit but is repurposed here to direct the gaze to the ‘Art’.

Ally McGinn (2017) Open studios view. 6.12.17.

One of the small interventions I placed around the studios.

The bottles are filled with studio dust, during the stages of turning it into paint, and a collection of screws. The photo is a water mark on the floor after stretching a canvas.

The combination of the material and the representational form a representation of the process in a studio.

They were placed on a conduit on the wall, at chest height (bearing in mind I'm 5ft 4). The arrow is pointing to a fire exit but is repurposed here to direct the gaze to the ‘Art’.

Ally McGinn (2017) Open studios view. 6.12.17.  One of the small interventions I placed around the studios.  Is this sculpture or fruit painted grey, repurposed into purposelessness. A definition of art.

Ally McGinn (2017) Open studios view. 6.12.17.

One of the small interventions I placed around the studios.

Is this sculpture or fruit painted grey, repurposed into purposelessness. A definition of art.

Ally McGinn (2017) Open studios view. 6.12.17.  One of the small interventions I placed around the studios. My daughters reaction to this piece will be the subject of one of my final posts.

Ally McGinn (2017) Open studios view. 6.12.17.

One of the small interventions I placed around the studios. My daughters reaction to this piece will be the subject of one of my final posts.

Ally McGinn (2017) Open studios view. 6.12.17.  One of the small interventions I placed around the studios, this one remained on my desk.   Frame.

Ally McGinn (2017) Open studios view. 6.12.17.

One of the small interventions I placed around the studios, this one remained on my desk. 

Frame.

Research - Arte Povera by Ally McGinn

An Italian art movement, prominent in the late 60’s and 70’s that reaffirmed that anything could and should be used as art. Characterised by the subversion of process and non-traditional everyday materials. Translated as ‘poor art,’ (Lumley, 2004) the term describes a step away from traditional materials into those considered ‘poor’ including soil, rubbish, and twigs. (Lumley, 2004) The use of materials considered traditionally non-art disrupts the commercial system of the art market found in the contemporary gallery.

Germano Celant, an Italian art critic, and curator coined the term in 1967. To him, the term doesn’t refer to cheap materials, but a break from tradition. He wrote a series of tests and curated exhibitions that established a collective identity that began in cities across Italy as it was seized in the grip of economic instability. (Lumley, 2004)

Works of Arte Povera vary in scale and media but were united in context. The use of ‘poor’ materials was a direct contrast to our increasing dependence on and habitual use of technology. (Lumley, 2004)

Jannis Kounellis (1968)  Untitled.  Wood and wool. 

Jannis Kounellis (1968) Untitled. Wood and wool. 

The primary period of production for Arte Povera was between 1967 and 1972. (Christov-Bakargiev, 2005) It has been called Italy’s contribution to conceptual art. (Christov-Bakargiev, 2005) The influence of Arte Povera has continued to current trends, I can certainly say I am following a similar thread.

In the late 60’s sculptors began emphasising the process of making and materials natural properties. (Christov-Bakargiev, 2005) Developing from the Modernists definition of the purity of media this can be seen as a natural progression in the collective exploration of the nature of art. The use of everyday materials continued, they were often malleable, volatile or elastic and the artists allow the materials to act as they would when certain circumstances are applied. (ie; gravity, electricity and magnetism) (Christov-Bakargiev, 2005)

In this way, Arte Povera artworks are marked by evidence of their own making.

Works that speak about materials in this way distort ideas about traditional value in art. Many changed appearance when shown in different galleries or would need to be remade each time. (Christov-Bakargiev, 2005) These works became interlinked with their immediate surroundings, drawing the viewers attention to the architecture of the gallery and the space of the work.

Changing physical states typify the work, (Christov-Bakargiev, 2005) not trying to represent anything other than themselves and their transformations.

"What was interesting about Arte Povera was that there was an international network of artists immediately speaking to each other, who could understand that in the turmoil of the late 60s the ways in which art-making could be transformed was something that they shared and were united in questioning," said Matthew Gale, head of displays at the Tate about a long-term exhibition of Arte Povera at Tate Modern. (Walker, 2009)

The interrogation of what art is, through a challenge of its boundaries, is still ongoing in contemporary explorations. Questioning the nature of art can be seen as the foundation of all contemporary art.

In a Guardian article about the exhibition at Tate, the writer describes Arte Povera works as “appear[ing] just the sort of thing, if included in a modern Turner prize shortlist, to set off a fresh outbreak of "is this art?" consternation in the press.” (Walker, 2009)

Michelangelo Pistoletto (1967, 1974)  Venus of the Rags.  Marble and textiles.

Michelangelo Pistoletto (1967, 1974) Venus of the Rags. Marble and textiles.

A similar form can be seen in Lynda Benglis’s ‘Quartered Meteor’ from 1969. (Christov-Bakargiev, 2005)

Linda Benglis ( 1969, cast 1975)  Quartered Meteor.  Lead and steel on steel base.

Linda Benglis ( 1969, cast 1975) Quartered Meteor. Lead and steel on steel base.

Reflection

These artists continued to develop the use of the everyday, into a challenging form that questioned our assumptions and preconceptions about these materials. The use of ‘poor’ or unwanted materials the artworks questions, transforms and extends their purpose.

Bibliography

Christov-Bakargiev, C. ed. (2005) Arte Povera. London : Phaidon.

Lumley, R. (2004) Arte Povera. London : Tate Publishing.

Walker, P. (2009) ‘Rich vein of poor art - Tate Modern revisits influence of Arte Povera’, ‘The Guardian’, [Online] Avaialible from: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2009/may/18/tate-modern-sixties-arte-povera [Accessed 03.12.17].