Final Major Project

We are a few weeks into our last term at Northbrook College being foundation students which has whizzed by! This also means that we have now started our final major projects. Last week we submitted our final project proposal, which I took a while to finalize as my ideas meandered. When deciding what to do for my final major, I decided to re evaluate what I want to gain from this foundation. In the last term, I mainly focused on improving my 3D skills, learning new techniques and materials I can use. The project ended with me working onto the body using various metals, in a very expressive way, inspired by DNA structures. Now I have got my place at University, I really want to make the most of my last term on this foundation, focusing on creating work that excites me.

A couple of months ago I went to an exhibition of work by artist Olivia Stanton at the Candida Stevens gallery in Chichester. I absolutely fell in love with her large oil paintings. Her use of colour and shape made her paintings seem alive and her thoughtful use of mark making creates a familiarity about her work. When reading about Stantons inspiration, I learnt that she is inspired by life, what she sees and what surrounds her. “She is in awe of nature, its wildness and wonders.”

You can read more about her exhibition here —–> https://www.artsy.net/show/candida-stevens-olivia-stanton-a-retrospective

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I knew at the time that I really wanted a go at creating work of a similar style. I’ve always been naturally attracted to large, colourful abstract work, so I thought this final project would be the perfect opportunity to explore this! The movement of Abstract Expressionism is something I have been looking into recently. What I have realized is that I am more interested in creating abstract work derived from an initial inspiration rather than pure abstraction.

I initially had the idea to create work in response to music. I researched ‘Synaesthesia’ which is a neurological phenomenon where simply, letters or numbers are perceived as inherently coloured. One artist in particular who claimed to have ‘synaesthesia’ was Wassily Kandinsky. A lot of Kandinsky’s later work was in response to music, where he made his individual connections between sound and colours/shapes.

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I wanted to try and create my own language in response to music and I thought a good way to do this would be to create some paintings whilst listening to different types of music. I then thought I would decipher what part of the music made me respond in what way. This experiment really opened my eyes as to what aspect of music I want to take onto my final project. I felt that trying to write my own language to respond to music with could potentially become quite a dry and ‘scientific’ route to take. This is not what I want as part of my journey, as I love keeping my work and experiments upbeat and constantly evolving. However I realized I did love using music as an initial inspiration and an ‘enabler’ for me to make work.

IMG_4512   (an example of my painting in response to music)

This realization has led me on to think about other inspirations for my work. I have the idea to start photographing familiar scenes and lanscapes, looking closely at colours, shapes and textures. I want to create evocative work, which people can relate to even though they cant quite pin point why. By taking apart these scenes, but keeping aspects such as the textures, I want to create abstract work that is familiar but never seen before.

By picking things apart and changing the way things are viewed I hope to provoke a few questions. An example would be hanging a chair upside down and painting it gold. Is it still a chair? And if its not, then what is it now? Is all we see up to interpretation? Through a series of experiments looking at size, materials, textures and interactivity I hope to explore these questions. Who knows where this path will take me!