Mounting Photographs

As well as videos, I have also got a number of photographs that I may exhibit. I am torn between the fall series, film stills, the bed photograph and the blurred photograph.

I think in terms of mounting the photographs, I really like the idea of a float mount. I think it looks neat, contemporary and professional. In order to make this I’d need a backing mat, mount board, and to make a wooden frame. To attach the frame to the wall I will use a French cleat.

I have printed three film stills that I think work well together and assembled them to a foam board with a float mount technique. I have used wood to stand the photographs out and make a shadowing effect.

The fall series has been printed on A2 size photo paper but unfortunately there has been a printing mistake because it has developed black vertical lines down across it all. This needs to be re-printed and I will hopefully be able to use the University’s print shop to do this. I like them at that size but I’d also like to try a smaller size. As a piece, I think the prints at A2 size work really nicely but if I want to have any other pieces in the exhibition as well then I think I will definitely need them to be smaller.

Not forgetting the photograph hanging off my bed. There is something I really like with this photograph, I think it might be because it played a huge role in helping me understand and think more about myself and the way I was living at that time. This photograph was taken on my iPhone and was a very immediate image that I captured whilst lying on my bed. I think the honesty in the photo is powerful; showing my bedroom, my belongings, my mess and my safe place (bed). I have looked at both colour and black and white for this photo and I think the black and white more effective.

SHOW BOTH HERE.

If I were to display this photograph I’d like to see how it would look at a size A1/A2 and on a mount board cut to size with a French cleat to add a gap and shadow.

Editing Videos

I have made 5 different versions of loops with alternating patterns of the videos- this could ensure that when the viewer walks through or stops at my exhibition they will all have a slightly different experience of the piece of work. Just like each anxiety attack is slightly different. The loop emphasises the idea of occurrence because if you stay long enough to see the video change you will get the experience of viewing another version of the piece. It becomes repetitive and long which reflects living with an anxiety disorder.

I used Movie Maker to add the videos together and used a fading effect for the transition between videos.

Ideally I’d like to experiment with video overlay but at the moment I am unable to find a way to do this on the programs I have.

 

Cindy Sherman

Untitled Film Stills is a series of 69 black and white photographs that all contain self-portraits of Sherman as different characters. The idea behind this series was to create billboard-like images to advertise a film. Each image shows a narrative; Sherman went to great detail when creating  her characters, their position and the area they are shot in.

In Contemporary Art: The Janet Wolfson de Botton Gift, p.99. Sherman talks about having a collection of clothing “more for my own personal wardrobe as well as for the sheer fascination with what those garments stood for”. Sherman’s many characters may have stemmed from her college days when she had these clothes that stood for something different to her. Each morning we decided what to wear based on our day ahead, how we’re feeling and how we want to be perceived. Clothing isn’t just clothing- it’s a form of identity. In these Film Stills, Sherman holds a new identity and narrative; she is interpreted differently and as different people.  It epitomises the way a certain look or pose can create a prejudice about that person, and yet she has done so many so what do we learn from all of these images of Sherman?

How dare you think any one of these is me. But also, see, I can be all

Interestingly, a camera captures the moment, a painting captures the painters view of the moment. But Sherman manipulates the trust people have in a photograph.

Sherman also did a series of 15 black and white photographs called based on people she had observed on the bus. This piece is interesting because it’s representing real life people that people the artist has seen. Sherman interpreted those people and made her own representations of their identity with outfits, make- up, wigs, props and their stance. Contrasting to the film stills series, these photographs look very staged and Sherman has made little effort to hide the evidence of staging these characters: leaving clothes in the frame and having the camera lead in the frame, and in one photograph there is an unknown leg appearing from the corner! …..

In the 80’s Sherman began using colour in her photographs, the following series of images were less focused on the theatrical aspects we see in the previous artworks and more about the psychological elements that person is experiencing. The series of Horizontals or Centrefolds were originally created in response to a magazine commission (which ended up refusing to accept them)- the magazine commission included two facing pages which led Sherman to think about ‘centrefold’s‘ in men’s magazines. In contrast to nude females in centrefolds, Sherman has the women wearing clothing but there is still a sense of vulnerability that is present with the photographs. I think it’s something about it a horizontal female – a woman standing up seems to hold a bit more power almost but when she is lying down she’s more vulnerable. As a viewer, I almost feel that I’m intruding on moments of sensitivity for the woman in the image. I think its the fact that none of them seem to be looking at the camera, they’re lost in their thoughts and their emotions. The roles Sherman plays in these photographs are displaying stereotypical female roles, which is an interesting way to convey irony with the centrefold tradition of female photography:

 

Another series that Sherman did in colour was the Pink Robe Series. The photographs in this series have a sense of mystery, in that she’s using a robe to cover parts of her up and we aren’t given much information, unlike her other works. This series got a lot of criticism for showing too much vulnerability but when you look closer at the images you see that the woman is holding her own power – she is the one choosing how much is seen, she is looking straight at the camera therefore aware and in control, and using the shadows to her advantage, also the expression on her face is quite strong willed. The Pink Robe series was inspired also by the centrefold idea but is vertical instead of horizontal.

 

Dissertation

Throughout my time at university I had no idea what I wanted to explore in my dissertation, until the time came that I had to start my research. The first thought that came into my mind was ‘Art Therapy’.

The issue regarding wanting to write about art therapy was it meant a lot of research so that I could learn about the aspects involved in therapy. I started off by reading a number of books that I found in the university library, but also I ended up buying some of my own. I found it quite difficult to find the books I required because I didn’t know how to start and what direction to go in or even what I needed to know. The first book I found in the Library was The Handbook of Art Therapy. This was incredibly helpful to give me an idea of what I needed to learn more about. As well as this book I wanted to research psychologists such as Jung so that I could get a full grasp of the role of the art therapist.

During my early research into art therapy, I discovered an interesting fact about Outsider Art. I read about how the art work of mental patients led to a diagnosis of their mental states. Thus, the art work was used as a way of analysing the mind- a start of using art in terms of the person’s unconscious in a medical way. This was a particular interest to me because one of the first books I borrowed from the library in my first year was the book I borrowed again for further research; Outsider Art Raw Creation. It appeared that I had been gravitating towards art that has therapeutic links my whole time at university without being aware.

As part of my field projects, I studied ‘Art and the Conscious Mind’ and this affected my thought processes and ultimately my own practice. This project informed me about perceptions, how the physical world is seen in our mental world, and how complex our consciousness is. Within this project, I had a seminar about mindfulness which was interactive and enlightening. This seminar opened my eyes to realise how important being mindful is to our practice and how we make decisions, perceive and live. This whole project made me consider more areas of the art work I was creating; in my work I wanted to express the idea of consciousness and how there’s so much more to an art piece and to a person than meets the eye. Whilst creating work alongside this field project, I felt more awake to what I was creating and I was able to read into my work on a more personal level. This meant I was discovering parts of myself in my work that I didn’t realise I was expressing

This links me to art therapy. Art therapy teaches and encourages clients to become more mindful of their internal and external world, it uses creativity to inform the client about who they are and what they are unaware of about themselves. In art and our own creations, we can uncover more of ourselves than we originally thought.

Looking back at my proposal for my dissertation, I haven’t followed the plan I created. As I discovered more about the subject, I struggled to decide what direction to go in. There was so much information about psychology but I couldn’t find many books about Art and psychology (that wasn’t specifically aimed at a certain type of application). I think my main problem was I wasn’t 100% sure what I was looking for in the Library, and I didn’t fully understand what I was writing about until quite far into my dissertation.

Alongside the research and writing of this piece of work, I was also researching artists and doing my subject work. It was during this time that I found some more inspiration for my dissertation. I researched artists that use photography to express their stories and their lives; Jo Spence and Marion Milner. This gave me encouragement to let go of my confusion with the psychology involved in art therapy, and explore the experiences of the client in art therapy and ways that creativity is explored in the therapeutic session.

Following this new attitude of my dissertation, I got some of the previous books I had borrowed and re-read the information I couldn’t quite grasp before. After learning all the background knowledge, I understood the aspects of art therapy a lot better.

I tried to start an art journal to experience what I was learning about as well as using photography to express my inner thoughts. I have always been interested in artists that portray inner emotions in their work such as Tracey Emin, Louise Bourgeois.

There were times where my tutorials were helpful and times where I didn’t feel like I was getting the information I needed. My tutor helped by suggesting a few books at the beginning and questioning what I was planning to do, I also felt more confident after having a tutorial. However, there were times where my tutor explained he didn’t have the background knowledge in particular areas of art therapy. Overall, I found the experience of researching and writing my dissertation complicated but beneficial. I learnt a lot about my own practice and it has effected my future plans – I am keen to continue my research into art therapy.

Artist Statement

I look into consciousness, being consciously aware of yourself and people around you. To explore further what defines me as an artist I’d have to include how for many years I found social situations difficult, so I became an avid people watcher. People interest me in the ways we make judgements and perceptions without ever knowing the full truth. It’s that element that fascinates me especially, the unknown, and how some of us aren’t even aware of this knowledge..

In my work at the moment, I am focusing on ways to convey the concept that we make perceptions and judgements without knowing the truth. To show this I’ve created pieces that are portraits that have been distorted in some way. They are all the same person, myself, and are all showing different angles you can look at one person.
So this is what inspires me as an artist, as to the media I use, I find my work benefits from a mixed media approach, as there are so many facets to each person, I find using different materials helps reflect this. It gives me scope to explore further and hopefully using this mixed media approach brings out all the elements I see and feel when I commit to a piece of art.

Linder Sterling

Linder Sterling, also known as Linder, is a singer, performance and visual artist. Linder creates collages, photo-montages and self-portraiture. Her work reflects consumerism such as cosmetics, imagery from magazines, pornography and food. Untitled 1976 by Linder born 1954
She/She 1981/2007 by Linder born 1954This piece (She/She: 1981) is what has influenced my own practice; her use of portraiture as well as text was particularly interesting to me. The artist is made up in New Romanticism style with make up, clothing and jewellery which was the fashion when the piece was made. In some images the artists replaces her bottom half of her face with a magazine cut out.

The make up and clothing style along with the magazine cut out makes me feel this is reflecting the female ideal represented in the media. Linder uses ways to mask her face, distort it using bandage and cling film. This distortion and close up photography of the face is what interests me along with contrasting of the black and white.

The text comes from lyrics Linder for her band ‘Ludus’. The format of this series creates a journey or story through the images with text interspersing, with a specific sequence so the pattern is pleasing to the eye.