Saturday, April 14, 2012

Conducting a Site Assessment for Site Specific Artworks

Work in progress: the beginnings of a new site specific installation.

My installations are site specific.  That is, they are made to exist in specific places, and they respond to the elements and features of the site.

I have been refining how I approach a space.  If my work is to respond to the site, I need to do a bit of research and thinking before I rock up to a site and slap some paint on the walls etc.  That's where a site investigation can be so helpful.  I need to make notes all about the site and its features.  It may also be helpful to document the space with photographs/video - which could help you to see what you wouldn't normally notice.

When considering a space, think about:
  • Light conditions: Is it dim, bright, dappled, changing, etc? Time of day, sunlight or artificial light?
  • Shapes and forms present
  • Floor level variances
  • 360 degrees view
  • Pay attention to your body as you walk through the site: this may be assisted by using ear plugs.
  • Temporal nature of the space
  • Site historical information
  • Areas of transit: are there walkways through the space, etc?
  • What people use the space? Who owns the space? Who has responsibility for the site?
  • Interview someone about the site (user/owner/etc)
  • Scale: How high are the ceilings, etc?
I've started work in a small space (see above photograph) with lots of elements to consider.  Just briefly: It is a basic rectangular shaped room with a door and a window.  The floor is tiled red and grey.  The walls are white and feature two plaster walls and two masonry walls with the outlines of painted bricks/tiles on its surface.  There are a number of clothing(?) hooks up high in the space, and a radiator in the centre of one wall.  Light pours in from the window, and there is a small amount from fluorescent light overhead.  There is no air movement unless the window is opened. 

I often find the challenge is knowing what to utilise, what to ignore - and is it too obvious to draw varying levels of attention to a particular feature.

Stay tuned for developments to this installation.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Work on Paper and Off Paper

Over the past couple of days, this work happened - or part of it. This is a 100cm x 45cm work on 300gsm watercolour paper.  Paper has a memory.  How I wish it would remember the time when it was flat, not when it was on a roll.  Makes it really hard to flatten out and paint on without marking the paper. 

This work is a bit of a new direction (not really) and definitely a work in progress - this is not the finished product!  Acrylic, gesso, watercolour, graphite, vinyl on paper - and off paper?  Vinyl and wool.  The plan was to extend out from the paper with vinyl onto the wall, and from the paper to the floor with wool.

I'm not sure if this is a step backward from my wall works, or an extension of the idea.  But, it's something I'm willing to explore - let's not overthink, shall we?  I just like the presence of some form of painting tradition sometimes (like the frame or substrate), then I can 'do stuff' to them.

Here it is installed, with the addition of some more vinyl and wool extending to the floor, anchored by more vinyl.  In comparison to recent work, this feels positively minuscule!  But, it's an interesting exercise.  This is about 2m x 1.5m.  This straddles 2D and 3D, not merely a drawing and not completely an installation.  I think I'd like to see this in series.  Maybe 6 of them, along a wall.  Individual works, or perhaps linked by a common anchor point.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Deinstalling: The Sad Part

Now we come to the sad part.  Saying goodbye to another artwork.  I pulled out the nails, collected all the wool, peeled off the vinyl and then I painted it (at length) back to white.

Covering red is a struggle!  It took two coats of grey and I can't remember if it was 2 or 3 coats of white - it is a blur of sore-back and watching-paint-dry, literally.  Line Drawing Extrusion now lives on as photographs.  I actually slept badly the night before I painted over it.  I was worried about losing it forever.  That anxiety doesn't usually go away until about halfway through the painting-out process.  But at that point, I start to get excited about the next thing I can cover a once-white wall with.  And I will be sending red to the backburner for a while, it's pretty high maintenance.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Dimensions of Space: Documentation

(c) 2012 Naomi Nicholls, Line Drawing Extrusion (Installation view)
Acrylic paint, vinyl, wool, nails

(c) 2012 Naomi Nicholls, Line Drawing Extrusion (Installation view)
Acrylic paint, vinyl, wool, nails

(c) 2012 Naomi Nicholls, Line Drawing Extrusion (Installation view)
Acrylic paint, vinyl, wool, nails

(c) 2012 Naomi Nicholls, Line Drawing Extrusion (Installation view)
Acrylic paint, vinyl, wool, nails

(c) 2012 Naomi Nicholls, Line Drawing Extrusion (Installation view)
Acrylic paint, vinyl, wool, nails

(c) 2012 Naomi Nicholls, Nebulous & Nebulous II (Installation view)
Oil on canvas

(c) 2012 Naomi Nicholls, Dimensions of Space (Exhibition Installation view)

These are some of the photographs from the Dimensions of Space exhibition.  It's so hard to photograph a work that you walk into and around.  So I've captured lots of angles.  I've also taken some video footage which I will edit together in the next little while and post up here somewhere.

I'm really pleased with how the work has turned out. The negative space in the room is as important as the work itself - the places in the work that you can walk in to and think about yourself in relation to the work.  The lighting provides additional line drawings add extra punch to the wool 'extrusions'.  Unfortunately, the yellow wool doesn't show up very well in the photographs, but rest assured, there was plenty of it. 

'Extrusion' is such a nice word to describe what I wanted to do; pull apart a painting so we could walk in.  To extruuuuuuuude the lines and shapes so we could enter.