I find it funny how our paths often lead us back to places we visited in our childhood. For me Iona is that place, which every time I visit I get that feeling of freedom and careless happiness associated with childhood memories. But it always seems unreal or false in someway because it is in my past. This summer I visited Iona with my parents who met, married and lived on the island before I came along. It felt like such a special moment to be back on the island and yet when I think of all the people who visit for a few hours everyday, it reminds me that each of them probably have somewhere that is equally special. Somewhere that enchants, inspires and drives them to return. The rough and winding paths created in these images caught my eye whether made of stone, sand or water they represented a path forwards.
Four months on the beautiful Isle of Mull, working essentially on my own, has been an amazing experience. It tested how comfortable I was with myself and has been surprisingly relaxing. As an artist it gave me lots to think about and plenty to develop. Along with song writing, sculpting, carving, writing and sketching I also took a fair amount of photographs. Photography has become a tool for every type of artist, from fashion designers to painters and has been used in so many ways. For me it is both development and product of my work. Turning the camera on the artist, I have used it as a way of accepting the me I see in everyday. I have never really been one for taking selfies, maybe because I was never that comfortable with how I looked, but the less I have thought about looks the better I have felt and the healthier I’ve been. Too many young people are caught up with looks and don’t see the natural beauty of every body and every person including themselves. So, this is how I am on my own, this is me, just me.
With sustainability in mind, as that was the title, I revisited balance within nature. Working with recycled materials gathered from scrap bins in the university workshops I started this project recreating some of the shapes and ideas I created before. I explored different materials and shapes formed solely through balance. The final culmination of this was “Unnatural Growth” a balanced sculpture showing the progression or digression from plank of wood to natural tree.
Portraiture isn’t my specialty so this was a challenge. The initial idea I’d had was a full head with a ‘functioning’ mind. I wanted to show the process of thinking; the information going in, around and coming out. This piece reflects my dyslexia, showing my slower processing and how what I’m thinking often comes out differently. The ‘information’ or marbles in this case are dropped into the ‘mind’ (the dish), here they circle until they ‘form’ and drop out the mouth. At the point where they ‘form’ and drop, the ‘thought’ or marble changes. Inside the piece is a mechanism that stops one marble until another hits it, swapping positions. This means, if there is already a white marble in it and you put a blue marble in, the white one would come out.
As I researched the intriguing world of performance and live art I found it involves a lot of theory, psychology and philosophy. It gets pretty weird but that is the point a lot of the time. In this case I wanted to address what is socially acceptable to do in a gallery space by asking the audience to perform. The text I placed on the wall was as follows:
I know you’re probably wondering ‘Why am I reading this?’ but this is why… You’ve probably had a long day and are tired of walking around this gallery aimlessly looking at things. So why not lie down and relax. Take some deep breaths and just sink into the floor… If you’re still reading this then you probably don’t think the floor is very clean, because I’d already be on the floor if I were you. When are you going to have an excuse for lying on the floor? It’ll be good for you to stop, for a minute or two. I know you’re thinking about it… Come on, become the art and do it for me or at least do it for the sake of doing it. Just lie down. Don’t think about it and relax!
When presented to my peers they proceeded to all lie down. The result was slightly unexpected. In an exhibition I would leave pillows and not bother with the tape as this seems to be something that groups of people might be more like to do.
As one of my favourite pieces from my first semester, this has obvious meaning but is also great technically. The ‘cable’ is made from plasticine and the ties are made of paper and the whole thing is held on the wall by pins. The site for this piece was important and really adds to the fantasy and fairytale feeling of this unexpected living wire. It is a piece to be discovered in an out of the way spot.