The planning phase has been initiated with very good use of the mind map, the swot analysis tool, the planning pro forma, a brainstorming sheet, and the development of a bucket list, which is ongoing. These tools were discussed as being very familiar to me, having used them prior to this University study. Whilst they form part of the research and development module, clearly this is linked directly to the major project as well, so their use has been an excellent way for to start using familiar tools. My output from these aids was a written proposal of my own format (attached) together with the University’s recommended planning sheet. I have also created a project Gantt chart with simple tasks, hierarchies and milestones to achieve on certain dates. I'm working well within this structure.
With regard to my practice, my exploration is based on “things left behind”, and how I can use these as a metaphor to express grief loss and affect. This problem / argument has been chosen to mean that I am looking at objects that are not necessarily “found objects”, (as there is a very wide genre and interest in contemporary art within found objects), but instead looks at the notion of the involuntary loss of something that may have been left behind. This is not about discarded objects, because this involves a wilful act of jettison. So I'm looking for something new as a genre to both complement and challenge the popular genre of found objects and recycling.
I have made excellent use of my mind map as a source of recorded thinking, to provide direction to my practice. I also continue to update my mind map as a "living document" which allows me to take detours of direction during my research journey and explore related and / or new areas of interest as they emerge.
Having chosen also to examine a life event, and then related it to my project of "things left behind", I can see a correlation between the loss of an object as a form of grief. The object that is lost is merely a metaphor or vehicle for me to express this idea. It could be the loss of a simple umbrella that has sentimental value, a laptop or mobile phone or wallet, or even a kettle (as per discussion with Christian Lloyd). It is these feelings, - indeed the ‘affect’ that I'm exploring through visual images. In my own case I have linked this metaphor of an object, to my brother’s death in 2014, the object that I lost around the same time was in fact a garden gnome. The reason for the choice of object is that whilst it's quite meaningless in theory and perhaps has only a monetary value of a couple of pounds, the sentimental value of it was quite high.
Through multiple representations of series of garden gnomes in two-dimensions, I'm trying to capture and express the idea of a lost third dimension. Having used various mediums including acrylic on paper, Plaster of Paris suspended in acrylic paint on paper, and latterly watercolour painting with a transparent wash, I am now exploring how I can create a new process of using fragments of a remoulded garden gnome, made from Plaster of Paris, within a two-dimensional painting to induce within the image, a sense of disappearance and fading, just like our memories of objects beginning to disappear and fade away. This is a very slight move away from the two-dimensional into the three-dimensional, but my representation of an imagistic idea will still retain an aspect of a lost dimension, back to two (i.e. a virtually flat surface plane).
I'm also interested in how I can explain my idea from the micro to the macro level, with some humorous twist. I'm exploring this through the traces that we as human beings leave behind, such as fingerprints, footprints, our virtual Internet footprint, and even write down to our own unique signature as DNA. (As per the Genome Project...)
My feedback from my tutor was that my research here in my practice, is really very thorough and he also mentioned that this is reflected very well within my blog updates which he found interesting, because it was the combination of my writing and my studio practice work, which together provides very good research. He understood that my work is not just about making the image or making a sculpture, but it is this whole process of research which is an output. His view is that I could well have found an ideal way of how I could be practising as an established artist. This links both with the ideas that I'm having and the contextual and broad contextualisation of that with contemporary thinkers and practitioners, together with how I position myself, amongst all of them. It will be interesting how it will work on the realm of presentation, and how things have been discovered through research, rather than just objects, that I can develop over the next few months.
Overall I was very pleased with the formative assessment and my tutor gave excellent encouragement for me to continue on my journey of research.