Barriers

I started to explore a deepening of concealment in my own work by looking at physical barriers to viewing a work. Initially I was concerned with layering excessively tracing paper onto of imagery (which was itself abstracted) in order to completely remove the surface of any image. There was a remnants of something which ‘was’, pulling the viewer to look at the work more closely in an attempt to discern what information the image holds. I think it could have been more interesting to play with a photographic base rather than a drawn image to play on an eeriness. Using location as a source, despite concealment there is still a remnant in the image which could be interesting to explore through this specific technique.

‘The Cover Up’
15cm square
2017
By Ruth Linnell

I think that whilst the communication of the film shows the process, its interesting to have the work as a stand alone piece in which the concealed subject remains entirely known. I think if i were to pursue the use of film, it might be more interesting to start with the concealed image and peal back the tissue paper so that the truth is gradually revealed. The aesthetic of the image reminds me of a work at the Victoria Miro gallery in Nov 2016 by Alex Hartley. His work took classic examples of modernist domestic architecture to form the basis of his series of monochrome wall-based works. These wall based pieces are hugely disguised.

‘Ohra North East Elevation’, 2016 by Alex Hartley
‘Yew South East Elevation’, 2016 by Alex Hartley
‘Eames South East Elevation’, 2016 by Alex Hartley

Hartley says: “If there’s one thing that has run through my work all along it’s the idea of boundaries, and where they lie…… In the wall-based works I’m showing I’ve tried to draw out the idea of the balance between nature and architecture shifting in favour of nature. The glass-walled pavilions slip back into either the wild, or their controlled versions of it.”

SeenLondon’s press release of the work described it by saying:

Similarly, in a new series of wall-based works in which photographic, painterly and sculptural elements are brought together, the idea of the boundary – between interior and exterior, private and public space, manmade and natural environments, two and three dimensions, object and image – is subject to constant re-evaluation.

Classic examples of modernist domestic architecture, photographed by Hartley in Los Angeles, form the basis of a series of monochrome wall-based works in which the photographic image and hand-painted elements are separated by a layer of semi-transparent perspex. Caught up in these works are ideas of privacy and voyeurism, and the contradiction of modernist aspiration as epitomised by the glass-walled pavilion, giving rise to the desire for boundaries of other kinds.

I continued with my own personal investigation of creating barriers by adding strips of wood to physically conceal what could be seen. I found that this successful transformed the viewer into a space of being ‘behind bars’ themselves. They have to start viewing the work in from a distanced position. whilst they are physically stood inform of the piece, they cannot access it closely. I think it would be more interesting to explore this on a large scale as at the moment these are tests in my sketchbook. If I was to use a larger scale, I feel I could immerse the audience more successfully in a shared experience.

Wooden Bars I
2017
By Ruth Linnell
Wooden Bars II
2017
By Ruth Linnell
Wooden Bars III
2017
By Ruth Linnell

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