2nd year BA Art and Psychology student at the University of Reading. Looking for opportunities to broaden my experience outside of university.
I AM Fine Artist-Mixed Media LOOKING FOR Commissions, Collective Exhibition, Sell My Work IN London, Greater London, West Berkshire
Statement in relation to the above works, "Cheap, tacky and rubbish", "Thing 1" and "Thing 2"
My work this term has been concerned with simultaneously taking what I had previously made in my practice and running as far away from those concepts as possible. As I worked very much around figures and ideas which related to the human psyche, I decided to explore a realm of artificial intelligence, as not only does it relate to the idea of a mind and consciousness, but also completely contradicts these notions. Artists such as Ben Snell, who created ‘Dio’, a sculpture designed by AI, and then physically sculpted himself using melted down parts from the same AI computer; influenced me to explore working collaboratively with AI. Websites such as ArtBreeder really helped me to explore the possibilities of AI in a very accessible way and prompted the work I made for the summer project. What I found particularly engaging about this way of working was the moral dilemma presented by it; how could I claim this piece as my own when it was so heavily influenced by something other than myself?
I continued to work around this concept, but by scaling back and looking at ways in which materials themselves could influence the work, thus forcing a gap between myself and the work I am creating. And so, the drill was introduced. I found that the drill could work in a similar way to AI, the similarity being that both have a “mind of their own” and when used in a specific way can create something almost entirely independently; although the drill obviously works in a far less technologically advanced way. By using the drill, a degree of separation was created between myself as the artist and work being made, as although I was preparing the materials (such as placing the acrylic paint onto the paper, choosing the colours and choosing the paintbrush etc), it was the drill which was “holding” the paintbrush and making the marks on the page.
In order to further explore the effects which materials themselves have on the work, and to further push away my sense of control on a piece, I decided to use silicone and plaster, two very fluid forms, in such a way that I had very little influence over the outcome. I simply poured the silicone over a staple gun, without interfering, and then once this was dry, I did the same with plaster into the silicone mould. Naturally, the materials ran freely so that a very indistinguishable and fragile mould and cast were made. I believe that this helped me to appreciate my lack of influence a lot more, as before with the drill paintings I had still had some control over where the drill was travelling around the page, yet with this staple gun experiment, I just had to step back and watch what happened.
I went back to painting after this, however I decided to blend both the very abstract and material driven approach with a more figurative and compositional approach. David Diao’s process of painting was something I found particularly captivating, as he would make marks on a canvas and then choose to use a squeegee to blur these marks and create a whole new look; this idea of deliberate mark making and then distorting afterwards was an approach I wanted to explore. As a juxtaposition to the mechanical and AI influences, as well as an homage to my older works, I wanted to use a homunculus as a figure and then distort it. I painted the figure using oils, and then applied the same drill-paintbrush technique to it in order to distort and smear the deliberate lines I had previously made. It felt very authentic to combine the organic shape of the homunculus, which is a synonym to the human psyche, with the simplified “artificial mind” of the drill.
Overall, I merged the idea of the human mind and the artificial mind, the degree of separation and material influence/processes to create a piece. It felt very satisfying to use my own painting style to create a figure, and then use the mechanisms of the drill to ruin what I had made, allowing me to have less control and mix figuration and distortion.