Monday, February 20, 2012

Undulating Orange and Grey

(c) 2012 Naomi Nicholls, (installation view)
Foam core, enamel paint, muslin

Trailing back through the past week, I have been working on this work whenever I get a chance.  Today I was able to finish it!  And went for a drive to find a good spot for a mini photo shoot.

I've tried some new materials, contemplating what the spacing between the shapes needs to be, etc.  This is foam core, muslin and enamel paint, so a fairly lightweight object.  When I make another, I would like to try still other materials.  Perhaps some Masonite or some kind of wood/wood product which would offer more weight and therefore different properties.  Also, I need to consider another fabric other than muslin to work as backing, as muslin is a very coarsely woven fabric which warps and stretches on the diagonal and this, I have learned, is not ideal for this work.

I am so pleased with how the paint takes to the foam core.  It has a beautiful gloss to it and reminds me of a new car.  The addition of the grey adds another element of depth to the space it occupies.  It's also another link to the Nebulous paintings the work is based on.

Now it just needs a name... 

(c) 2012 Naomi Nicholls, (installation view)
Foam core, enamel paint, muslin

(c) 2012 Naomi Nicholls, (installation view)
Foam core, enamel paint, muslin

(c) 2012 Naomi Nicholls, (installation view)
Foam core, enamel paint, muslin

(c) 2012 Naomi Nicholls, (installation view)
Foam core, enamel paint, muslin

(c) 2012 Naomi Nicholls, (installation view)
Foam core, enamel paint, muslin

Friday, February 10, 2012

'What Type of Art Do You Make?' and Other Deceptively Challenging Questions

When a new friend discovers that I'm an artist, the question that follows is usually, 'what type of art do you make?'  A daunting question, to be sure.  How can I sum my art practice (years of thinking, painting, making, trial and error and creative block) in just one teeny-tiny sentence?  The best idea is to have an answer prepared ahead of time, knowing that I will be asked.  But even that is overwhelming.  And how to do it without descending into art jargon my new friend may be ignorant of?

Here's how it usually goes...
"well - ah... I'm a painter?... and I make abstract work about shapes and space and ah... but I don't just paint pictures on canvas.  I'm interested in installation and stuff as well....?"  *hopeful grin* 
Ah, that went well...

To be succinct, but jargony: 
Geometric abstraction

Painting, installation, drawing
Expressions of undulating/unimportant/surrounding space
My art practice.

Isn't 'undulating' a fabulous word! Unduuulatiiing.

When initially making artwork I began, as I suppose most do, by making representational (IE: work that is a representation of something that exists) paintings/drawings.  I often found myself wanting to simplify and stylize my subject. Organic details and lines would become blocky.  Art school gave me the freedom to take this to the nth degree.  I rocketed towards geometric abstraction (IE: abstract artwork which is based on the use of geometric forms). 

While the art I consume contains representational and non-representational work, in my own art practice I found myself less interested in making representational art.  I wasn't interested in trying to reproduce something that already existed and furthermore, something that had perhaps been photographed as a reference to paint from, I would be thus reproducing the reproduction.  Having said that, I hold no illusions that my work is 100% original, I don't live in a vacuum so I will always be influenced by other artists and creative practice and so much the better. But I am content to experiment with my own visual language and see where it takes me.

I have been ponderously-pondering these things as I prepare for my upcoming exhibition and the prospect of showing my work.  When I've shown work before, I had been overly self-conscious.  But now I am more at ease with my processes and reasoning.  Still, it is challenging to bring artwork into the light of day and to the eyes of those who have never seen my work before.  But bring it!

*Hehe, note: 'What type of art do you make?' was actually the only deceptively challenging question contained within.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Undulating Space, now in super-exciting object form

I have returned.  Why hello there!

I had a peculiar thought this morning.  What happens when I get sick of geometric shapes and bright colours? It puzzled me for a moment.  Then I went into my studio and got right stuck in.  I don't think getting sick of geometric shapes and colours will happen any time soon.

So permit me, if you will, to share a work in progress. 

Since I began painting shapes butted up against each other on canvas, depicting the presence of undulating space, I have day dreamed about making those shapes into an object.  But for many months, I haven't quite known how.  Perhaps it wasn't so very hard, I just had to try it out.  'Learn by doing'. 

 (c) 2012 Naomi Nicholls, documentation of work in progress
Cardboard, enamel paint, muslin

The beautiful thing about working with this object is its kinetic properties.  Once made, it lays flat.  But pull at any shape in the object and it forms an almost mountainous contour, with each facet aligning to support the higher peaks.  Quite fascinating to play with.

Here I have worked with pretty lowly materials: cardboard, spray paint and muslin.  But it's a wonderful starting point.  Now my next task is to investigate other materials.  I love the gloss of the enamel paint though.   My plan is to take it out into the street and photograph it in some secret spots.  But the weather has not recently been cooperative.  Soon.

Will also look into some other colour possibilities.  This one I've made in this beautiful orange, but as with the Nebulous paintings on canvas, maybe two or three colours would be good.  I'd also love to scale up.  Busy busy.