Culture, Class and Taste:

“[mass noun] The arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively:
20th century popular culture.”

“[mass noun] A system of ordering society whereby people are divided into sets based on perceived social or economic status: people who are socially disenfranchised by class [as modifier]: the class system.”

“[mass noun] The ability to discern what is of good quality or of a high aesthetic standard: she has frightful taste in literature.”

project allows for the close study of culture, as we know it and its evolution, along with the idea that the modern view insinuates that class doesn’t exist, or indeed has effect anymore. Although it is still assured that culture is a collective identity, a consensus of the universal where the majority wins in the ability to conform.

This is familiar to the idea of the previous lecture that art does not escape the class structure systems either; as art was for the rich and bored when it first came around, although when printing process sped up from etching into wood to photographs, art was available, if only as a print, for all. Although whether this means that art sunk to a ‘low art’ lifestyle is yet to be revealed.

This also resonates with my immediate project theme; Shakespeare. As when I studied it during my English Lit A-Level, I hated it, I still do. My teacher at the time used to tell me: “Well, I hate opera but even I have to know it exists.” Shakespeare is a cultural signifier for England, people have a tendency to ‘like’ things they are supposed to like because it is so famous for it’s “Brilliance”, and to not like would be heresy.

Through my current work in my image analysis; I’m starting off with Juliette Losq as my artist advisor, meaning I’m looking at wallpapers; some by William Morris. As the method given to us by the brief I am collected objects and signifiers of my approach to the definitions; that culture is lazy in appreciating the long dead and no-longer relevant, (particularly whose works most haven’t actually read) .

Which I should that ‘analyse and deconstruct’ through stereotypes in culture and the eccentric roles of artists in society, as I develop interests and reflect on taste/class and culture. This will then lead to a developed series of works that show my understanding of my focus, through developed, appropriate language; media and theme. I should also consider the output and the context it will exist in; photographs, books, site specific, Internet, collaboration or performance.

It’s certainly something to think about.

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Practice based research:

Practice based research was supported by a series of manuals or core texts that defended the idea that both ‘sides’ could be taught together. They argued against the unity of criticism that spoke against such theories like Frayling’s distinctions: “The problem of art and design”

Critic was particularly applied to the multiple response to the (for) art research, as the ominous They disliked the obvious distinction from ‘natural’ research, which was objective as fact. Micheal Biggs, in his work “The rhetoric of research” in 2002, suggest that “Frayling constructs a framework”, of categories into existence; although that are made up of stereotypes entirely. The conflict between the two mysterious groups of artists and non-artists was that the research for art was what artists believe art to be; to speak for itself, to have a different meaning to everyone, to be independent of common language. Which wasn’t academic enough.

Action Research was the second least favourite in the eyes of the public; it is easily described as “a form of research that emphasis participation in change situations, i.e. ‘doing something’ that facilitates change, like social interruption. Although Frayling himself defined it as “A research diary tells in a step by step way, of a practical experiment in the studios, and the resulting report aims to contextualize the results, which is what separates research.” Although surely the creator of the term gets to define its meaning world-wide, or is that another artistic multiple interpretation.

The problem with Frayling’s research, with his work being namely on his interest in film studies, is that non of his own research fit into the categories he has defined. (It also explains where his stereotypical archetypes come from.)

Technologies of visual culture in 19th century

“Photographing verbs, not nouns!”

The name Eadweard Muybridge is widely accepted to be the name of the first man to make ‘film’. He used a series of photographs, lined up and timed by string, to win a bet that when a horse runs, at some point; all four legs are off the ground. He won his bet.

Although he was not the most respected man and was the subject of great disbelief after his first ‘film’ in 1878. He did go on to test more and try to perfect his films. The point is that before him there were many people; that we know of, there is more likely more, who experimented with what photography could do.

Henry Talbot came up with ‘photogenic drawings’ or photo grams in 1839-40, as he perfected the method to ‘fix’ them. Etienne Robertson and Paul de Philipstial were renowned for Phantasmagoria shows in 1797 and 1801 respectively.

  1. Benjamin in 1970, wrote “The work of art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”, commenting “Lithography enabled graphic art to illustrate everyday life, and it began to keep pace with painting.” As painting, particularly oil painting was the prime method of creating images. That is until; wood cuts, etchings and engravings became fashion in the 1700’s, Such as William Hogarth’s “Rake’s Progress” in 1735. Only upgraded to lithography in 1796.

There were others who experimented with ‘film’ such as, Etienne Jules Marcy who experimented with a photographic gun; which could ‘shoot’ images one after another quickly. The main area of study was heart beats, respiration and blood pressure, by recording a graphic trace for the tiny body vibrations in the skin: although the results were all on one plate, rather than Muybridge’s many.

“A photograph of a flying pelican” was made in 1882 and is believed to have led to the direction of realistic moving pictures, as a illusion of movements that mimic realistic movements.

This exploded the art world; the technological advances ruined the business of painting. Why spend hours painting a realistic image of a flower, when you can take a picture of it in a few minutes?

The most notable and well-known response to film advancements is Marcel Duchamp’s “Nude descending a staircase” in 1912, and Pablo Picasso “Girl with a mandolin” in 1910. Whilst cubism and other perceptual art welcomed the changes in technology as it was an area of new ideas spilling out like food for the starved, the impressionists took as the time to experiment with light, colour and all the qualities of print that photography couldn’t quite match. Like Claude Monet’s “Roven Cathedral” in 1894.

It was John Berger who said “The invention of the camera changed the way men saw. The visible came to mean something different to them. This was immediately reflected in printing.” In “The ways of seeing” published in 1972: Which saw in the half tone printing, and colour.

The ability to easily, or at least more easy than before, reproduce one, intensified the status of the ‘original’ as it commanded a high retail price. Mainly because the gallery was a space of over-valued objects with excluded the ‘ordinary’ people due to money and class, until suddenly anyone could own a copy.

Image Analysis : Juiltte Losq “Vinculum”

Juliette Losq is a ’traditional’ watercolour painter, layering to create Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 14.22.28photo-realistic images you can be captured by. Losq also produces installations from her paintings, drawing them up like wallpaper: “The Ploutonion.” Which is a design of a rust coloured forest as wallpaper around a Gothic mahogany mantelpiece, it winds around the mouth of the fireplace, and layers in ripped edges at the sides and on the ceiling.

There is a constant possibility of wilderness around the piece, acting as something it isn’t to get closer to you; mere wallpaper encroaching on your living space. It is a small piece of the natural world and all its beauty and danger, with nearby furniture to cement you in proper society; the comfort of your home. “Where wilderness and chaos oppose civilization and order, and where we feel at our most safe yet most vulnerable: stray too close to the edge and the forest may snatch you into its depths.”(Losq, 2012)

Whereas the image “Vinculum”, made in 2012, from watercolour and ink on paper mounted on canvas, actually launches you into its frame, holding in mid jump a forgotten moment. It is a photo-realistic piece of an angled shot looking down from the top of a set of dilapidated stairs, on the edge of a, presumably, abandoned building. An opinion based on the overgrown graffiti and the crawling ivy up the red brick walls, as bin liners sit in crevasses and papered up windows crease with weathering inside iron bars. By positioning the image on the left-hand slant it has, coupled with the height of the image, you are drawn in, “I make large-scale watercolours, including installations, which form immersive or semi-immersive environments inlosqto which the viewer may feel they can walk or fall. Through these I aim to challenge the ideas of watercolour as being a medium that, traditionally, holds connotations of portability, is to be used for preparatory sketching, or has associations with domestic scale and use.” (Liverpool Museums, 2014) It appears to have been made to include you in one particular memory; a photograph snapshot of a pretend moment. As a viewer you are to see the image and wonder at its importance.

Losq uses resist, a method of building up layers like an etching plate, in this particular image, obscuring and building up pieces of the image, just like layers of real life objects happen. Through the layers you can see the Victorian ‘Penny Dreadfuls’ images, illustrations and films that the author has mimicked; where the queer and the ordinary work in harmony to create emotional responses of malevolence and curiosity.

I first saw the image within the John Moores Painting Prize Shortlist 2014, It had the artist’s name and the media only in its accompanying text; a freedom to interpret. The Prize is one that “sets out to provide a snapshot of what’s happening in painting now.” according to Losq, which “You can see in these rooms.” (O’Kelly, 2014)

____________________________

O’Kelly, E. (July 7, 2014) The John Moores Painting Prize offers a snapshot of what’s happening in the Uk art now, Wallpaper, Retrieved from http://www.wallpaper.com/art/the-john-moores-painting-prize-offers-a-snapshot-of-whats-happening-in-uk-art-now/7656

Liverpool Museums, John Moores Shortlist (2014) John Moores Shortlist, Losq, Juliette “Vinculum” Retrieved from http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/walker/johnmoores/jm2014/shortlist/losq.aspx

Losq, J. (2012) Statement, Retrieved from http://www.losq.co.uk/index.htm

Losq, J. (2012) “Plutonion” [Scanned Image] Retrieved from http://www.losq.co.uk/page2.htm

End of Project Summary:

SAM_2296

“If the dust of drawing is alive, it is both because of its entanglement with language… and its ability to elicit something less easy to articulate in words, something that happens in the blind spots of representation.”David Musgrave, Living Dust.

The project started with observing St. George’s square and what it consisted of; the building, the people, the terrain, the animals. Which with prompting took the turn that people generally don’t vocalise; the pigeons, people don’t think on them long enough to form any other opinion that the socially understood “rats with wings”, they sub consciously avoid them in the streets. Those who think otherwise have been stereotyped as mad, dirty and usually old women who sit feeding them alone. So I decide to study the birds movements in the square, following their trails, sketching their twitches: at first it was to find a common ground of correlating information between humans and pigeons, which was when I found the project “Decadent Pigeons” by Lisa Klappe and Joachim Van Denhurk, which provided those shared attributes in photographic form. So I started to think about the drawing side of the project instead; mixing and testing media and form, charcoal originally to test the different shapes and blurring motions of birds in flight, then ink to appropriately bleed the tones in capturing the change in tones as they move.

It was then I realised that the typical use of ‘drawing’ is rather flat, and as my previous project consisted of finding uses for textiles in blind art, I noticed a non-sighted person wouldn’t know the shape or tone of a pigeon, particularly one in flight. This then led to the realisation of the query “What would a drawing look like to someone who can’t see it?”After testing some attempts at hand-made 3d ‘Braille’, with a glue gun, paper until an artist named Motoi Yamamato, who makes his creations from self-made patterns of salt crystals; that I used modelling grass powder, a coarser version of flocking powder.

The delicate and man-made patterns caused me to try my own; firstly with ink, my themed media at the time, to produce drawings of a pigeon in flight, over 4 sheets of A2 sheets. I had a few problems with it as the white space that I wanted to keep pure, had drops of ink smudged, fingerprints and creases dotted around in it, although the general opinion was that a little human error was to be appreciated. It was then I found artist Roy Nachum and his exhibition “Blind”, a series of images made from photo-realistic oil paintings, covered with barely visible Braille. There is one particular piece called “Salt-Water-Fire” which is completely white with a frame made from charcoal; by touching the frame to see it, then reading the painting smears the original frame with fingerprints of everyone who sees it. This made me appreciate the idea of ‘purposeful’ errors, particular ones I could involve the viewers with through touch.

It was then recommended that I try to layer my two processes together: Leaving me with mapping out an image that was both visual (in varying ink tones) and tactile (the powder). I included the original four pages of dots in larger ‘dots’ making their frames from charcoal, and using the powder to provide a reference: connecting the edge of the paper and the drawing itself.

Helena Almeida Artist Review:

Helena Almeida (Drawing with Pigment) 1995-9

Born in Lisbon, Portugal, Helena Almeida has lived and worked there since 1934. Her work has spread out from there to Switzerland and France in 1978 and onwards, to Italy, Belgium and Scotland by 1989; all in solo exhibitions. Her art practice started as painting, a medium she studied in University, until she made “Inhabited Canvas”, (Almeida, 1976) a blank canvas that she wore walking down the street. It changed her entire style: she turned to photography as the medium to present her work, although this should be judged carefully to understand whether it is meant as “the documentation of the performance or the object itself?”(Oliveira, 2009) The same middle ground of careful understanding stands with Almeida herself, “she is at the same time work/object and author/embodied subject.”(Oliveira, 2009)

Helena Almeida’s “Drawing (with pigment)” drawn in a small series with charcoal or pastel and ink. Like most of her work, Almeida’s drawing depicts her own body, here specifically her hands as she draws, they are outlines of her physical movements and actions she undertakes in her studio. Almeida confessed a particular interest in her extremities as “We look at the body and see that it ends abruptly at the feet and hands. It finishes there. There’s nothing more- it’s like the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea.” (XUNTA, 2000) The one particular image I prefer; is of both her hands on the top third of the page in simple, brief lines. The most complex area is the cloud of pastel in the open palm of one hand drawing a hair-thin line across to connect to her other hand holding the pen.

Where most of her works, if not all have some form of connection to her body: she claims “My work is my body, my body is my work.” (Helena Almeida, 2014) Her main media covers painting, photography and drawing although she persists with the idea of her body as “the canvas”, her ‘self –representation’ as a photograph of her wearing a canvas with her arms outstretched in the standard Christ position, looking down.(“Inhabited Canvas”)

Although she did turn to three dimensional sketching with “Horsehair threads”, which she refers to as “drawing outwards”, she brought together her main three media including this form of drawing, in the 1975 as she experimented from “design to cinema, from paintings to comics, from photography to sculpture, from architecture to performance.” (XUNTA, 2000)

Her performance art, such as “Inhabited Canvas”, are photographed and provided as evidence of action, like the artist Stuart Brisley, in his “ZL636595c” which was a performance piece where he sat alone without information from radio/television/books or human contact from 11AM 30th March 1972 until 7PM 15 April 1972. This now exists as solely a photographic piece; several photographs that depict his time in the room and a short review of the project by himself. In which he quotes the oxford dictionary of the two phrases “exist” and “survive”. (Tate, 2014)

Brisley focuses his work on the sense of self, and how we use it; he tested his ability to live without his identity. By removing people, his name, and any alternate information of an outside world, he removed any of his personality; as “We hold each other’s identity in trust”(Perry, 2014), In that we keep a part of each other’s personality and life in our perception of them, we give them life by what we know about them. Whereas Almeida is known for her lack of any personality in her work; providing material for the article in 2010 Out of the Shadows, which covers the “’Woman: The Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970s’”(Spence, 2010), particularly noted with “Work-32(Entrada 1)” with the lack of distinguishable gender characteristics in the hand peering around the door edge.

The lack of relationship between viewer and artist: who in turn has removed the gap between the artist and the work, by being the work, is jarring. Almeida focuses on the drawing aspect of her work; her appearing in it is coincidental at best.

The poet Mário de Sá-Carneiro wrote “I am not myself, I am not the other, I am something in between” (1915), an apt description of the luminal area of self study in drawing theory that Almeida seems to occupy. As although the artist appears in almost all of her work in front of the camera or on the canvas, the work is not auto-biographical as she is not herself in it.

It is Merleau-Ponty who wrote; “The outside and the inside are inseparable. The world is wholly inside and I am wholly outside myself” in his book, Phenomenology of Perception. (1962) Almeida meanwhile is attempting to put her physical body into her drawing: her only limits there are what choreography she can imagine between her abilities and the camera. Her ‘world’ is her drawing, her use of herself as a canvas, and her ‘self’ is kept hidden, despite her appearance on camera. Over the years, her presence has been her own work, “dressed in black, since the early 1970s” (Hansard Gallery, 2010) and the only intimate action we have of her, is her gentle aging.

Almeida has made a book of several drawings the ‘traditional way, one such is the “Drawing (with pigment)” which draws your eye to the only relatable part of the image by making it the human hands, what they are doing is only a secondary observation, the ‘plane’ behind them is questionable as to whether it is the paper she drawing on or the boundaries of the drawing is currently making, i.e. the drawing itself. There are 38 other drawing in the series with the same name: they are all of her hand s in varying poses as she draws, all done in ink. Although the use of pastel changes in each; one such use is the shadows of her hand, the paper, perhaps a media she is moulding, or its simply for creating her “drawing outwards” technique, other times the media in which she apparently working; holding blobs in her hands or having her hands coloured by it.

I chose this particular image because it was simple but eloquent and it covered the separation of who we are as artists and the work that we do, we are not all stereotypical erratic mad hatters. We can include ourselves in our work, whilst keeping distant as a doctor.

Bibliography:

Almeida, H. Inhabited Canvas, [Photograph] Retrieved from http://www.hansardgallery.org.uk/event-detail/46-helena-almeida-inside-me/

Oliveira, F. (2009) Helena Almeida. Inside Me. Kettle’s Yard. Retrieved from http://www.fillesducalvaire.com/texts/Almeida_185-1.pdf

Galerie Les Filles Du Calvaire. (2014). Helena Almeida Bio. Retrieved from: http://www.fillesducalvaire.com/bios/bio%20Helena%20Almeida%202.pdf?1415480842

Helena Almeida (2000) Xunta [Board] Xunta De Portugal

Helena Almeida. (2014, April 16). Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helena_Almeida

Sá-Carneiro, M. (1996) The Great Shadow (and other stories) (M. J. Costa, Trans.) Dedalus (Original work published 1915)

Merleau-Ponty, M. (1996) Phenomenology of Perception (Smith, C, Translation.) Gallimard (Original work published 1962)

Almeida, H. Inside Me (2010) Retrieved from http://www.hansardgallery.org.uk/event-detail/46-helena-almeida-inside-me/

Tate Gallery (2014) Art & Artists: Stuart Brisley. Retrieved from:http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/brisley-zl636595c-t03316

Spence, R. (2010, March 6/7) Out of the Shadows. Financial Times, P.12.

Perry, G. (Artist & Presenter) & Crombie, N. (Director) (2014) Episode 2 [Television series episode] Joe Evans(Producer)Who are you?

Almeida, H. Drawing with Pigment, [Photograph] Retrieved from http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/almeida-drawing-with-pigment-t13471

Image Analysis:

Juliette Losq is a ’traditional’ watercolour painter, layering her images to create photo-realistic images you can be captured by. Losq also produces installations from her paintings, drawing them up like wallpaper like Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 14.22.28“The Ploutonion.” Which is a design of a rust coloured forest as wallpaper around a Gothic mahogany mantelpiece, it winds around the mouth of the fireplace, and layers up it ripped edges at the sides and on the ceiling.

There is a constant possibility of wilderness around the piece, acting as something it isn’t to get closer to you; mere wall paper encroaching on your living space. It is a small piece of the natural world and all its beauty and danger, as nearby furniture cements you in proper society, in the comfort of your home. “Where wilderness and chaos oppose civilization and order, and where we feel at our most safe yet most vulnerable: stray too close to the edge and the forest may snatch you into its depths.”(Losq, 2012)

06_John-Moores-PrizeWhereas the image “Vinculum”, made in 2012, from watercolour and ink on paper mounted on canvas, actually launches you into its frame, holding in mid jump in a forgotten moment. It is a photo-realistic piece of a angled shot looking down from the top of a set of dilapidated stairs, on the edge of a, presumably, abandoned building. An opinion based on the overgrown graffiti and the crawling ivy up the red brick walls, as bin liners sit in crevasses and papered up windows crease with weathering inside iron bars. By positioning the image on the slant it has, tilting to the left, coupled with the height of the image, you are drawn in, “I make large-scale watercolours, including installations, which form immersive or semi-immersive environments into which the viewer may feel they can walk or fall. Through these I aim to challenge the ideas of watercolour as being a medium that, traditionally, holds connotations of portability, is to be used for preparatory sketching, or has associations with domestic scale and use.” (Liverpool Museums, 2014) It appears to have been made to pretend to be a photograph including the fact that they are used to show a memory; one particular point in time printed as a keepsake. As a viewer you are to see the image and wonder at its importance.

Losq uses resist, a method of building up layers like an etching plate, in this particular image, obscuring and building up pieces of the image, just like layers of real life objects happen. Through the layers you can see the Victorian ‘Penny Dreadfuls’ images, illustrations and films that the author has mimicked; where the queer and the ordinary work in harmony to create emotional responses of malevolence and curiosity.

The image was within the John Moores Painting Prize Shortlist 2014, a Prize that “sets out to provide a snapshot of what’s happening in painting now.” according to Losq, which “You can see in these rooms.” (O’Kelly, 2014)

____________________________

O’Kelly, E. (July 7, 2014) The John Moores Painting Prize offers a snapshot of what’s happening in the Uk art now, Wallpaper, Retrieved from http://www.wallpaper.com/art/the-john-moores-painting-prize-offers-a-snapshot-of-whats-happening-in-uk-art-now/7656

Liverpool Museums, John Moores Shortlist (2014) John Moores Shortlist, Losq, Juliette “Vinculum” Retrieved from http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/walker/johnmoores/jm2014/shortlist/losq.aspx

Losq, J. (2012) Statement, Retrieved from http://www.losq.co.uk/index.htm

Losq, J. (2012) “Plutonion” [Scanned Image] Retrieved from http://www.losq.co.uk/page2.htm