Art exchange and a forensic investigation!

I've had a really good day at university today - it was an art exchange day when we got to work in the studios and get feedback from other students and all the fine art lecturers. It was initiated in an attempt to encourage students to fill in the National Student Survey but it has resulted in the lecturers taking on board our enthusiasm for it to happen more often. It was particularly important for us part timers as we don't get a studio space and consequently it is rare to see anything other than a small work, images on laptops or a journal from other students. We were given a space for the day and I worked on my 'painting in the attic' - moving it on a step further.

I have made the decision to carry out a forensic investigation of the 'man in a boat - painting in the attic' by scraping away the oil paint to reveal....... well who knows!

After scraping and removing pigment dust
small piles of pigment scrapings 
Collecting up the pigment particles 
image covered in pigment scrapings
What will remain is a trace I hope - just like the trace that's left, of that 16 year old girl, me, who painted it fifty years ago! I am collecting the pigment that I take away in a matchbox.
Remains of the day's work
It is a very meditative process and will take me a long time as the painting is 60 cms square. But the process feels right for the work - peeling back the years to see what fragments and traces of memory remain. A narrative is forming, part truth/part fiction and I can envisage a performance piece coming from this contemplative practice - maybe this will form part of my degree show? It feels an exciting place to be - a place of discovery and not really knowing what is going to happen next! I had very positive feedback from four lecturers and a number of students - it just makes all the difference when you get external verification of your work - I have been working away and rather doubting the process but now I  know I am on the right track! It was suggested that I film myself working on the painting, so next weekend I will get hold of a camcorder and make a start. 
Over the weekend you will find me scraping away in my studio for a few hours a day at least! 


Rochelle said...

arent the textures and traces so interesting!! a nice idea digging scraping back the past good luck with it....

JafaBrit's Art said...

love where this is heading and why.

Marjojo said...

This sounds really exciting, esp. with the process becoming part of the actual work, leading to different media. I almost envy you the possibility of regular exchanges with/feedback from lecturers and students while groping towards a finished piece. That's what I miss most from art college, the steady conversations about ideas, and being surrounded by people making work. Happy scraping!

Carole said...

This is a very interesting project. I agree that filming you working will add another dimension.

Fiona Dempster said...

Oh those images of scraped pigment took my breath away - such beauty! I am so glad you are recording and sharing this process; what an experience and what a journey. I love the idea that you can find traces of yourself at 16...I wish you well as you rediscover so many things.

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

I like the way this is all coming together...an interesting series for sure!!

Susan Kruse said...

Yeas, I also really like this project. I did a similar thing during my degree where I de-constructed a garment, unstitching the piece and then unravelling the fabric until much of it was just a pile of threads. It is a wonderful way to engage with an object, or painting in your case. I felt a closeness and respect for the unknown creator of my garment, do you have feelings for the person who painted the picture? And I agree that the process is meditative. Creating by un-creating and sharing the process with the other maker or painter. Very satisfying - I look forward to seeing how your project unfolds.