Studio Space

I found that displaying my work on the walls of the studio helped me to understand how my pieces ‘exposure’ and ‘white tiles’ could work in an exhibition environment. I had struggled to visualise how my work would sit in space and context when creating this tiled piece as when creating the work it was merely squares which id stacked up, unable to see them all in conjunction with eath-other. Luckily the space I’ve been working in has allowed me to use floor space in front of the wall to display and lay out my work.

Currently the desk is placed off the wall but in-front of the space, so as i’m working, reflecting and researching I have been able t visually reference the work I’ve displayed on the wall and subconsciously been analysing it. I found this particularly helpful when I was looking at how my work can be influenced by the changing light of the location.

The studio space I have currently gets direct sunlight onto the walls in the morning, which I found could play a direct part in my work when looking at the minimalist movement through ‘White White White‘. The light was able to inform the reading of the ‘painting in white’- looking more holistically at the piece in relation to the body and environment.

I have found that my work is situated between that of two painters. The work I am currently creating is very white and pure aesthetically therefore I sometimes become paranoid about the cleanliness of my situation and tend to tidy away all of my work to make sure it doesn’t become damaged. This isn’t an ideal way for me to be working in the space as I find having my work around me and out already encourages me to get started, where as the constant preparation which is involved in working in the space can sometimes be off putting.

Please see: Manipulating Exposure & Playing with situation


‘The iconography of an artwork is the imagery within it’ – Tate

After my Unit 3 Recorded Tutorial, It was suggest to me to research into the iconography of artwork. I quickly discovered that this is the semiotic reading of symbols within an images, most of which are religious or mythological. These meanings are completely dependant on their context so where a dove is representative of the holy spirit within the Christian faith, it is representative of a goddess in mythology.

‘An iconography is a particular range or system of types of image used by an artist or artists to convey particular meanings’

When reading an article of Russian Artists displaying their work in a Church Cathedral setting was particularly fascinated by how this manipulates the reading of symbols in their work. It reminded me of visiting Peter Liversidge’s work in the abandoned cathedral exhibition space. The location completely manipulated how I understood his LED work, viewing it more as a shrine than a piece of contemporary art. The Exhibition ‘Soul Seekers’ was curated by both journalist and artist. Darren Jones (artist) commented on the exhibition saying, ‘“We thought: let’s expand the notion of what an icon is and how iconography relates to secular culture generally. An icon today can be anything; a sports brand, fast food restaurant; body is an icon for many people. The most interesting part is, how people attach themselves to such ‘icons.’”

I think this is interesting to consider within the context of my work. when searching for the iconographic meaning of windows I was confronted with information on stained glass windows religious paintings which didn’t answer the question I intended. However, I found a blog review of ‘a Room with a view’ which discusses some of the symbolic meaning of windows:

“What is a window metaphorically? A window is a spiritual entrance through which your soul can travel. If you choose to let it go, your soul can break the glass boundaries created by the window and travel into the greater world; soaking in the sounds, the smells, the sights. A window is a portal; allowing your thoughts to roam around freely. However, a window creates boundaries, as your soul can only travel as far as your eyes can see. You cannot move right, or left; you move in an unwavering straight line. As you gaze out the window, you watch life go by, failing to contribute any involvement. Windows aren’t for proactive people; they are for those who watch rather than do. Those who sit outside of a window usually have a narrow point of view, and aren’t open to anything new or different.”

I think its interesting to view a window as a boundary which contains how far your soul can travel. When considering this within the context of a prison or dente ion camp when the windows are small and contained, deliberately restricting views, it makes us consider the spiritual impact of this as well as the emotional.


Please see: Peter Liversidge @ CGP London & Unit 3 Recorded Tutorial Feedback

Time Consuming labour

I started to further explore my earlier investigation of overlaying materials onto photography to conceal information. By working on a larger scale I was more able to emphasis the labour insensitivity which I want to make known in my own work. I think this is increasingly becoming something I want to make evident. I started by completing a large overlay of wooded stripes over my photographs. The process of measuring and cutting each strip of wood, then gluing them onto the paper was very laborious. I want to push this into a tryptic series, standing along side a piece were fluff is added to the photographs surface- each small piece being individually played and repeating this with the application of small polystyrene balls which I will create and lay over its surface.

‘Time consuming labour I’ 2017 Ruth Linnell
‘Time consuming labour II’ 2017 Ruth Linnell


This work will then not only function as a means of concealing a photograph, but also be able to emphasis the energy taken to make the image hidden. This concept could also hold a lot of significance and it comments on the lengths people take to make sure the information they want to conceal is secure from public understanding. This could nod to governments concealing information which they deem unimportant for the public to know. I think it will be important for me to record the process that i take to create the work and the time which I spend – docking in time sessions so I can make known (either by supplementary commentary or directly within the work ) the labour which went into the concealment of the image.

Documentary Photography
Experimental Process-lead work  
Ruth Linnell


I started to look at the constraints of human decision which can sometimes prevent us from breaking through artists barriers which we from through rituals.

‘Untitled 1985’ by Donald Judd

Donald Judd starts to explore how we can create methods of breaking these habits of human nature by using mathematical algorithms or rule to change our making process- inviting an external dictatorship.  ‘Untitled 1985’ shows a series of objects made in different variations. His work is a reaction against individualism, where all decision making is down to the artist- such as Clifford Stills work. The work is traditionally completely under the artist control. Therefore the artist self is the core source of the making of an article. The artist is the creative one. Much of the control held by the artist was celebrated in the romantic period as an opportunity for self discovery, which was seen as a liberation.  In 1960’s artists consider what an artist does when they produce art and start to challenge that the focus on the ‘self’ might actually be a limitation. Therefore some forms of art could go beyond the idea of self.

Italo Calvino discusses the need to break outside of self and starts to think about that need to create other rules to break from own decisions: “Think what it would be to have a work conceived from outside the self, a work that would let us escape the perspective of the individual ego, not only to enter into selves like our own but to give speech to that which has no language…

(Italo Calvino ’Multiplicity’ in Six Memos for the Next Millenium 1988)

‘Flat Waste’ 1975-92 by Dieter Roth
‘Flat Waste’ 1975-92 by Dieter Roth

The idea of allowing another force to come into the work might give a new intensity to the piece. Dieter Roth ‘Flat waste’ collection of all of Roth’s waste over a 17 year period makes you consider what a human beings life is by looking at the gathering detail of remains of a human life. There is a decision made at beginning which carries an intensity as Roth chose to continue to meticulously collect his waste. Tehching Hsieh One Year Performance becomes an obsessive project which he keeps. The work discusses the human capacity to submit as he take a photo every hour of his life for a year.

‘One Year Performance’ (Time Clock Piece) 1980–1981 by Tehching Hsieh

These external rules start to question the artists role as not making a compete work but as something which starts a process. I’m interested in how I could apply this repetitive nature to my work. I think when discussing detention camps I could enforce a time period of working following a rule. As I have meticulously have been chopping up images I could set time limits on the work, or systems to be followed and produce a body of work who’s scale is emotive, commenting on child exploitation in these locations. This could become laborious work which reflects that which might be forcibly set on detainees as work during their time in a detention camp.

Easy Vs Hard Labour

When displaying my work for my Crit, I had planned to put up these 2 wall based pieces. I had started my exploration into photographic manipulation – removing information initially by playing with the exposure. This then moved towards the white tiled work which I felt was more subtle. I decided to hang both in conjunction, initially to compare them and then later decided the aesthetic worked well. I also wanted to create a reference to the original image which had sparked my use of a repeated window symbol throughout my work. I felt that if I were to have put my white tiled work up in isolation the weight of the engraved symbol could have been completely overlooked.

Visual display of ‘White windows’ and ‘Manipulating exposure’
Ruth Linnell

However, I decided to bring in my ‘black lines’ work into the studio to photograph it. As I placed it it situ I started to visually embed the piece within the context of the wall based pieces. They started to relate to each other, playing with the same shapes and a monochromatic theme ran through the three piece. The materials I had surrounded myself with in the studio I started to draw into the space, lining a glass panel next to my black line barred painting. This action was very spontaneous but the work seemed somewhat incomplete and almost sat as an ‘add on’. Adding some mesh I had found in the skip as a layer over the glass referenced the ‘barred’ experience of being detained.

Mesh work and ‘Black Lines’ in Visual Display
Ruth Linnell

The work started to reference a very different way of working which was spontaneous and took very little time.  This was a wildly different approach to working which conflicted with my intended aim for the crit presentation. I had aimed for my wall based work to be emphasis the time which I had taken to produce it, the labour being a conceptual core to the piece’s success. However, by introducing these two found elements which had very little/ no alteration, I had somewhat thrown off the cohesive reading of what is now an instillation piece.

I felt these spontaneous additions to my display relate loosely to the Arte Povera Movement which explored everyday materials, and presented these in the context of a gallery to challenge the traditional understanding of art materials.


Ritual in the Nature of Cooperation

‘The Artist as Artist as Curator as Collaborator’ – Clare Goodwin (curating around practise/collaborative projects).

What lies behind offering the gift? Is The gift more about cultural or capital status?

The ideal of the ‘individual’ was born in renaissance. It was a workshop so you would have an assistant who would mix your paint for you. But this isn’t a collaboration because you have servants, whoever signs the painting is the master so they get the credit. This happens nowadays because Damien Hurts, Phia De Barlo ask someone to do things you can but still have the authorship of the work which changes the dynamic of collaborative work. Collaboration – Marinia Abramovic is another good example of this exploitation, although she worked with Ulay he is unrecognised in her performance pieces. Although without his presence the work would function, she is accredited.

‘Rest Energy’ 1980 by Abramovic and Play

As an individual artist there is an argument that you can only access a limited resource, confound by your own mind and condition. Working in collaboration could be suggested to unlock new ways of visualising and pushing boundaries.  This brings to question at what point are you collaborating officially? Many ideas circulate around the art work, and beyond this in adverting, film, music and conversations which are drawn upon in influencing artist. Meret Oppenheim’s ‘object’ on a fur tea cup and saucer was the product on a conversation with Picasso in which he suggested anything could be covered in fur, sparking the idea for the piece. Oppenheim took all the credit for the piece, however, this could arguably been unjust considering Picasso’s role.

‘Object’ Paris, 1936 by Meret Oppenheim


Interestingly at the Whitworth Gallery in Manchesteran Exhibition on ‘South Asian Modernists’ has been curated in celebration to the Partition between India and Pakistan. This act is celebrated despite it being orchestrated by the British Colonial Army, causing huge devision and murder across the land. The work doesn’t actually discuss what’s happened but seemingly celebrates independence. Here’s an example of when historical facts have been concealed so that the art work in the exhibition can be ‘enjoyed’ on an aesthetic level, without confronting the responsibilities of our colonial past. This covering/ concealing of history is something which really fascinates me in my own practise. I defiantly want to investigate historical events in my work.

‘Palace Gate’, 1959 by Anwar Jalal Shemza showing at Whitworth Exhibition.

Some artists we discussed:

  • Sophie Call – lived as a house maid in a hotel. She compiles info through notes e.t.c she registered how her relationships were between herself and her interaction with those visiting the hotel by recording what they left behind. She is a surrealist and dada artist who’s work becomes auto-enthnographic (almost obsessively about herself). This talks about the notion that we are present not just in our body but also in the objects which surround us.

    ‘The Hotel, Room 47’ 1981 by Sophie Calle. Presented by the Patrons of New Art through the Tate Gallery Foundation 1999
  • Clair Goodwin’s curation of ‘Museum of the Unwanted’ Zug 2015  featured artists who uses the unwanted either directly or conceptually. It was a readymade space so had to be careful about where to place work. ‘Unwanted’ questions if these pieces are important but they were all pieces which were on loan from artists. They couldn’t buy any of the work as it belonged to different galleries.