Wednesday, 24 November 2010

before i sleep...

i thought i'd give a quick update on what i'm doing now with my project.

i've now been combining the mary greg project and my shorthand project, writing out quotations from the mary greg letters in shorthand using different medium. at the moment i'm really enjoying sewing the quotations but i'm finding it quite hard to be accurate with it. (in greg shorthand different lengths of line are different sounds eg a short horizontal line is 'n', a medium line is 'm' and a long line is m-n or m-m sound) i think i will have to make some kind of stencil to make my work look a bit neater and more uniform so therefore easier to read.

i found in my room a letter i bought up from home with me which my great-grandma wrote to my grandparents in 1976. my grandma gave it to me a few years ago to keep and as she said 'to remember my great-grandma's writing'. although the letter is nothing special, it mostly talks about how busy my great-grandparents are with different functions and painting the kitchen, it's still special to me and i remember my great-grandma through it, the way she spoke, her mannerisms etc. i've written up this letter in shorthand over 2 canvases and will paint it in tomorrow. not sure what to do with it after that but i'll cross that bridge when i come to it!

i've also been working on my contextual essay. i have to pick 1 main image and 7 linked images to write about. my main image is automat by edward hopper and i'm going to focus on loneliness and solitude for my essay. i picked this image because in lots of hopper's work there is that element of sadness ans being alone. even in his paintings of couples there is still that feeling of being alone. automat is one of the pictures on my wall and i was looking at it and thinking that other artists such as manet and degas also painted pictures of solitary people usually in cafes or bars. after researching more i've added a toulouse-lautrec to my 7 extra images. more on this as i go deeper into it.

right time for bed but with my flatmates having a very early christmas sing-a-long in the kitchen i'm not sure if this will be possible!

Monday, 22 November 2010

i need a change...

ive decided i need a break from mary greg for a few days, i want to have a bit of time doing something else and then go back to it with a fresh mind.
a few weeks before coming to manchester i started to teach myself greg shorthand. i love the way words look like patterns and pictures when written out in shorthand. i started off writing phrases and words onto paper to see what it looked like but after a while i decided to have a go using wire. this gives the words a new dimension seeing them in this way and i could see myself making something more 3d not the usual writing on paper which shorthand is usually used for.
i've also been thinking about how i could link this project in with the mary greg project, making the letters she wrote into a piecce of art, showing the mystery around some of her objects and references in her letters.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

ai weiwei at the tate modern

on a recent trip back home to london i went to the tate modern originally to see the gauguin exhibition but sadly it was full so i coundn't get tickets. instead i saw ai weiwei's exhibit in the turbine hall entitled 'sunflower seeds'.
the exhibtion  consists of a large part of the turbine hall covered in sunflower seeds made from porcelain. ai weiwei recalls sharing sunflower seeds on the street as a snack with friends but the use of these seeds also holds importance politically. chairman mao was often depicted as the sun with all the people shown as sunflowers turning towards their leader. despite the oppression under chairman mao weiwei says on the tate website that he remembers sunflowers seeds more for the friendship side and a showing of human compassion. the use of porcelain is also significant for this piece, porcelain is one of china's leading exports and all the seeds were created in jingdezhen, a city famous for its imperial porcelain. this project bought the community together, all together there are about 30 stages to porcelain production.
the questions and thoughts that came to me ran at different levels. firstly and most obvioiusly the thought of what you see is not what you see but then after learning about the significance of sunflower seeds and the porcelain i started to think of being unique (each sunflower seed seems the same but are actually all unique and handmade) and individuality. weiwei asks the veiwers what it means to be an individual and are we powerless unless we work together?

i really loved this exhibtion becuase of the simplicity in conveying powerful messages. at first glance all you see are sunflower seeds but you go a bit deeper and reveal the story behind this and the significance not just to the artist but to the culture he grew up in. i also liked the interactive aspect of this exhibition, people can post questions to ai weiwei or answer questions from him making a community feeling about the art. originally the artwork was meant to be walked upon and handled  but due to health and safety this couldn't go ahead. although i feel it would have been better to be 'part of the artwork' i still feel the message he is trying to convey comes across.