Black Lines

I started to experiment with glass as a medium. I was very interested with how it works in conjunction with photography, so much of commercial photography is placed behind glass and presented. It also started me thinking on its properties as a medium- being seemingly transparent and representational. It promises to not lie about whats behind its surface but tell a true story. I think this is an interesting topic when discussing the relationship between role of the artist in controlling a persons perspective and the materiality of the medium in promising a form of accurate representation.

‘Black Lines’ and Experimental shadow photography
2017
Ruth Linnell

I started to play with the symbol of the barred window which I had simplified through the progression of previous work. I found that painting this onto glass, whilst completely abstracted in form, created a more relatable understanding to what looking out of a caged window might be like. The harsh black lines seems to sore into your mind as some form of tribal markings. I also was fascinated wit the cast shadows of the work and would be interested in crated in far more subtle work which dealt with the shadows- possibly painting straight onto the glass of a window in a building might create a work which is far more embedded into a situation, similar to ‘Situated Underlying Existence’ 2014 by Kishio Sug.

‘Black Lines’
2017
Ruth Linnell

When photographing this work in the studio it became drowned in its location, looking incredibly small and insignificant – the same struggle I had previously with the photographic images ‘scattered in situ’. I started to bring together other items, another piece of found glass and some mesh to frame the work. This was a very impromptu response to the studio location, and the work started to cross boundaries between sculpture and instillation. However, i felt the work was now responding to the Mono- Ha which acquired materials without manipulating them, and presented them as art.

Please see: Playing with situation

Playing with situation

I had previously researched about minimalist artists and their focus on the momentary conideicnes being a part of their art work. When I was in the studio, the light started to pass across my large white painting. The shadow which was cast started to act like a barrier in an of itself. This has started my thinking on how situation and the LOCATION of my work should seriously be considered.

‘Bars in Situ’
Experimental photography
2017
By Ruth Linnell
‘Bars in Situ’
Experimental photography
2017
By Ruth Linnell

The work really reminded me of Kishio Suga’s work ‘Situated Underlying Existence’ which laid plastic sheets on the ground and allowed the light of the gallery space to be a part of the work. As I was researching into this artist I found out he was a part of the Mono-ha movement which grew in Japan.

‘Situated Underlying Existence’ 2014 by Kishio Suga

Mono-ha was concerned with ‘not making’, as it was argued by Lee Ufan (founder) that the need for an ARTIST to make things had been made void by the introduction of technology.  In his own practise he ‘rejected traditional ideas of representation in favour of revealing the world as it is by engaging with materials and exploring their properties’. I recently saw Ufan’s work at the  ‘Everything at Once’ Exhibition at the Strand. He displayed both ‘Dialogue – silence’,2013 and ‘Dialouge’, 2017. I was particularly interested with the presentation of a blank canvas in one of his pieces. When studying minimalism both Greenberg and Fried argue that the object itself cannot be the work. They suggest that the object has to become something new, however, here we see Ufan breaking these rules.

‘Dialogue’ 2017 by Lee Ufan
Photography of ‘Everything at Once’ Exhibition taken by Ruth Linnell
‘Dialogue-silence’ 2013 by Lee Ufan
Photography of ‘Everything at Once’ Exhibition taken by Ruth Linnell

‘The name mono-ha was coined slightly derogatorily by a journalist in response to the lack of polish and perceived lack of skill displayed in the making of the work. As the movement gained international recognition, and through its association with arte povera, mono-ha came to be widely respected as a movement that was critically engaged.’ – Tate

I have started to consider how this concept of appropriating objects could work in presenting the viewer with ‘barriers’. I recently found some sheets of mesh which I have take from the skip. Im unsure exactly how I want to see them used but they also present an emotive reaction by themselves (Much like ‘Curtain (for William and Peter)’ 1969 by Melvin Edwards.)

‘Found Mesh’
Process photography
By Ruth Linnell
‘Found Mesh’
Process photography
By Ruth Linnell

Bibliography:

Please see: White White White

White White White

Having experimented with discarded objects and how our perception of value can be altered when we see ‘weighted’ images on a worthless material, I wanted to work on a larger scale to see if this is an avenue I want to pursue. I found a large table top in the skip which i then took to paint onto. However, during this process because of the pre-used surface, I was picking up different textures and colours of paint underneath.

Photography of Process by Ruth Linnell

This did alter my work as I planned to paint with white onto the surface of the board. This was an idea influenced by Jasper Johns limited tonal and monochromatic work using symbols which I recently saw at the RA. Because of the surface, when painting the symbolic widow onto the boards surface- when wet you could pick it out. However, as time passed and the paint dried I found that some previous marks were whiter than the paint I had used and therefore interfered with the image. I think this changed the commentary of the work to have a larger focus on the ‘reclaimed’ aspect rather than the symbol and use of minimalism to communicate.

On reflection, I think I want to look at how different reclaimed materials could communicate differently. I want to upload the symbol of a window within my work but possibly consider how glass works in conjunction with photography. So much of photography is behind glass, and the subject of looking through a contained perspective (from behind bars) seems to marry perfectly to using glass as a medium. I think it could also be interesting if I had painted the window with a reflective clear gloss, not introducing any more coloured paint, so that the image could only be visible when light was reflecting off its surface.

‘White White White’
2017
By Ruth Linnell

Please see: ‘Painting with White’

Discarded Objects

A Little Wooden Block

                              

…and a propped up image printed on acetate/film.

This image is of a Window behind Bars.

A Window behind Bars is referencing the power of perspective.

Although many are held behind bars, they live with hope.

‘Disguise of a discarded object’
2017
By Ruth Linnell

In the same way I had previously experimented with ‘A Wooden Triangle’, I started to use photography to abstract images further. In actuality, this image is of a piece of acetate/film which has a printed image of a photograph of some impressions (on the back side of the paper) which were made when drawing some barred windows. However, when I started to play around which the use of a camera to manipulate how we view an image, this became a fascinating opportunity for possible illusion. It could be interesting to explore photographing one object in a series of different ways and presenting these all together to force the viewer to question ‘perception’.

Although these images are visually interesting, their abstraction has taken them beyond a point the point of recognising any previous theme (detention camps/barred windows). Therefore I feel this work has transitioned into a purely aesthetic realm which I wouldn’t want to pursue.

‘Disguise of a discarded object’
2017
By Ruth Linnell

Please see: The Seen and The Unseen

A Wooden Triangle

‘A Wooden Triangle’ 2017 by Ruth Linnell

I found so small wooden triangular off cuts in our studio and was particular drawn to their form, although usable as door stops they had been left for grabs. I wanted to explore experimentally with them but consider sculpture as a component in how I could express my work. I started to playfully marry images of barred windows by slotting them into these blocks of wood, Standing them in place. These sculptures started to present the printed image in a new way, body proclaiming their importance, more so that when viewed digitally or on a wall.

Experimental Photography by Ruth Linnell

However, during my documentary process of photographing these impromptu sculptures, I started to use the photography as another means of disguising what could be seen. The use of dramatic shadows and angles started to become sculptural itself, even though it was a photographic image I was producing. Although these images have become abstracted to the point where they no longer reference imagery from detention camps, they still have the remnant of that information heavily embedded within its make up. This interests me, that information can be contained within a piece of work, yet it remains visually concealed.

Experimental Photography by Ruth Linnell
Experimental Photography by Ruth Linnell

 

Sticky Sellotape

Sticky Sellotape

‘Sticky Sellotape I’ 2017 by Ruth Linnell

After playing around with using wood to overlay a restriction on top of a photographic image, I started to look at the discarded sellotape I had used at the time to hold the wooded pieces in order. It had picked up a patter on its surface, holding the memory of the grains in the wood. I found this fascinating and wanted to preserve it. These images are incredibly abstracted but it could be interested into explore how far i could push this concept of drawing through sellotape by possible etching or scratching drawings onto the surface of wood and then transferring these images to sellotape.

‘Sticky Stellotape II’ 2017 by Ruth Linnell

An Impressed Symbol

I started to explore a more minimalistic approach to communicate something significant. I impressed a symbol, having been influenced by Matisse’s faith in something symbolic sufficing, which has started to repeat itself through my work. I think It could be interesting to explore how this symbol might follow someone round. During my trip to the Peter Liversidge Exhibition in Southwark Park, my friend keep being followed by the ? symbol which he had seen in the exhibition. I think this notion of a symbol being powerful in etching itself in someones mind could be a way of the artist having an extended role in making the viewer ponder on something significant (such a detention camps) over a sustained period of time.

I found that when exploring with impressions, I have initially been influenced by the traces I found on the back of my drawings. Developing theses to more permanent works made me consider how colour- or its removal- can influence how we read images.

‘Impressed Symbol’
2017
by Ruth Linnell
Experimental Exportation
2017
By Ruth Linnell
Experimental Exportation
2017
By Ruth Linnell

I also started to explore how the application of paint to an images surface can remove much of its visibility but when the image which is concealed has an emotional weight, much of that is still communicated. I think it would be interesting to explore hiding images from detention camps beneath paint, to be read along side a simple statement which explains the location. The knowledge which is then given to the viewer through text, can do much of the communication. I think in future, I would cover the images more fully/evenly in white paint as they have a very textural quality at the moment which distracted form the intended aim.

Sketchbook work
2017
By Ruth Linnell
Sketchbook work
2017
By Ruth Linnell

Please see: Peter Liversidge @ CGP London

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

Bibliography:

 

Filing Cabinets

FILING

CABINETS

‘Filling Cabinets’ 2017 by Ruth Linnell

I started to visually explore how positioning photographs in space can alter our understanding of their context. They enter into a sculptural realm, with relativity to their surroundings. By placing images on filing cabinets, I have started to question the filing of documents in relation to humanitarian crisis. We can so easily become ditched from individuals and focus on the documentation of facts.  Chopping these images in half, in quarters, into sections and by removing elements from their composition by cutting them out of painting over them has become a way of being being able to control the viewers perspective. By physically manipulating the composition I am able to change how you might be able to interpret the work. This restriction I have explored by directing images.

Sketchbook Work
2017
By Ruth Linnell
Sketchbook Work
2017
By Ruth Linnell

I started to play with documenting different variations of the same image. Each image shows a different combination of information which alters your understanding of the work. I want to look into the work of John Hilliard as he explores this concept in his photography.  With these filing cabinet images it might be interesting to print these life scale and see how they relate to the human form. I feel that I could explore other possible ways of manipulating photography such as overlaying objects/meticulously cutting and sticking back together.

‘Dissection’ 2017 by Ruth Linnell

Veils

Using my earlier drawings, I started to play around with the involvement of Veils. What is a Veil and what does it fundamentally represent?

When researching into this concept I discovered that a veil could be known as:

  • Something which covers, separates, screens or conceals eg a veil of smoke.
  • A mask, disguise or pretence.

When researching into this subject I discovered that the most frequent connotation of a ‘veil’ was religious. More specifically researching ‘veiling of objects’ I learn about christian liturgical tradition in which veils are symbolically tied to the veils in the Tabernacle in Solomon’s Temple. The purpose of these veils is to shield the most holy from the eyes of sinners. The veil was placed between the inner sanctuary and the Holy of Holies and the veils are used to remind people of when the veil was torn during Jesus’s death. I found this interesting as I wanted to consider the ripping of a veil/ the Veil being the work itself. When photographing my work with an outreaching hand, the work became a symbol of hope to a dire situation.  For Christians , grace and hope were given when the torn was ripped in two as it provided direct access to God. By drawing on the very material of a veil and its symbolic nature I could discuss ‘hope’ as a theme in my work.

‘Veils I’
2017
by Ruth Linnell
‘Veils II’
2017
by Ruth Linnell

I felt that I was able to continue my investigation in visually exploring how people observe/ react to the same situation in different ways.  We are all POWERFUL people and therefore have the ability to view our situations with positivity, knowing that there is a greater plan/ something better coming- with gratitude. OR we look at our situations with despair, seeing only the bad and without hope. The use of a veil, evokes an emotional response. We start to question if theres ignorance involved either in on our part (in not seeing the whole situation/ not being able to access the same contextual information which has been drawn on to give the detainees a wider context when forming an opinion about their situation in a detention camp) or in the view of the detainees themselves, being filled with hope.

‘Veils III’
2017
by Ruth Linnell

Please see:Curtain (for William and Peter) 1969