Cropped Image

I started to explore how information can be reduced by removing contextual information. I wanted to consider how cropping imagery has to power to alter your perspective on how we read an image. By significantly zooming in and focusing on a selected area of the whole photograph, I am able to control what the viewer understands. I have also lost a lot of the detail from the image. Manipulating the initial reading of the photo interests me in my practise.

‘Untitled’ 2017 by Ruth Linnell

A lot of these photographs were taken when visiting the boarder between two conflicting occupations of land. I found that the imagery surrounding the windows of houses discussed the political position of the location. I found that the use of barbed wire, barred windows and restricted views was very evocative.

‘Untitled’ 2017 by Ruth Linnell

I have found it interesting that we all innately desire to look out of windows. There is something about chasing light, not just as an artists (where the light and location of a studio massively impacts your work) but also as a human. There is something tortrous about having  a room with small windows. This started me thinking about how prisons place their windows above eye hight to restrict your view out into the world. Windows themselves can then have a role to play on our emotional states. They become evocative objects.

‘Untitled’ 2017 by Ruth Linnell
‘Untitled’ 2017 by Ruth Linnell

 

Layered Location

Audio can add a lot of information to a piece of work.

We also can’t escape it…. unless you have ear buds.

‘Layered location I’ 2017 by Ruth Linnell

Despite these clips being less than 10 seconds each, the contextual information which is added to the piece is able to make sense of the environment in a new way. I also became really fascinated with the conversations which I was able to pick up. I used ‘Live’ photos to capture seconds worth of conversation which provides the viewer with a series of questions.

-Who are they?

-Why are they talking about being killed?

-What is the context of this conversation?

-Do they feel threatened?

‘Layered location III’ 2017 by Ruth Linnell

I became really fascinated with how both film and drawing can be used as representative forms in conjunction with each other.  The layering of these two allows us to view the same situation from two different access points; the representative and the literal. I found this relationship interesting, the film have no longer become the primary source of information because its visuals had been considerably disrupted by having paper as a filter. This reduced the amount of visual information we could receive, forcing us to rely on the artists drawing as a way of understanding the location.

‘Layered location II’ 2017 by Ruth Linnell

Please see: not another derive?!

This Drove my Mother Up the Wall

I recently visited Katharina Grosse’s Exhibition at the South London Gallery.

‘This Drove my Mother Up the Wall’
By Katharina Grosse
Photograph of Exhibition at South London Gallery taken by Ruth Linnell

I was engulfed by her work ‘This Drove my Mother Up the Wall’. The work completely breaks down the barriers which painting traditionally has been confined to. She has allowed the space to become her canvas and totally removed any boarders from her work.

Having broken outside of the corners of a rectangular framework, Grosse has enabled her use of colour and line to dictate how we view the space and architecture of the gallery. I am particularly interested in how Grosse has cut up the lines of her paintwork to create a fragmented presentation of the actions she would have taken to produce her piece. By using Stencils to mask the floor, harsh delineations between the white floor and gestural colour force your eye to travel around the space, considering both the paint and the white space as a part of the work itself.

‘This Drove my Mother Up the Wall’
By Katharina Grosse
Photograph of Exhibition at South London Gallery taken by Ruth Linnell
‘This Drove my Mother Up the Wall’
By Katharina Grosse
Photograph of Exhibition at South London Gallery taken by Ruth Linnell

I am very interested in the removal of visual information within my own practise so am interested by the use of stencil as a way doing this. I am interested to think about how the space might read if Grosse hadn’t removed any stencils. What would these areas of paintwork look like?

‘This Drove my Mother Up the Wall’
By Katharina Grosse
Photograph of Exhibition at South London Gallery taken by Ruth Linnell

Despite my practise being wildly different from Grosse, I am inspired by the playfulness of her work. It is impossible to read the paint without considering its impulsive nature, which is reflected in childlike behaviour. The title of this work is also very humorous, it completely dictates how I read the work. As a child I draw on my bedroom walls with crayon and then wait for my parents reaction. I feel that Grosse’s work acted as a time-machine, bringing be back to being a child and waiting anxiously for my parents to discover my new addition to the wall paper. Her use of scale , the work engulfing a whole room (a room in which the doors are abnormally large) reminded me of a time when I was a lot smaller. The Evening Standard optimise my experience of the work by saying ‘you can stand at the centre, and take in the balance between her energetic colour gestures, the architecture and that glorious light. Rather than looking at Grosse’s painting, you inhabit it’

Stealing Ideas

‘Stealing Ideas’ 2017 by Ruth Linnell

“Why you taking photos?

I don’t get it

Its wrong

You think its funny?

What, you don’t like my sign?

It’s stealing

It’s stealing ideas”

– A lady who owned a flower shop in brixton.

Having already been warned that some people REALLY don’t like people taking photos, I was confident that no one would say anything to me.

Oh how I was wrong. Within the first 5mins of arriving in Brixton a woman had already got annoyed with me. I’d photographed a sign from her floral shop which said: ‘Please don’t touch the plants. They’re real and easily damaged.’ Despite me complying with her sign she started to question me: why I was taking photos; If I thought it was funny; why did I have a right to take photos etc. BUT THEN she started to claim I was stealing. “Stealing Ideas”. This concept was interesting to me. Even though the sign had clearly been put up as a practical way of asking her customers to not touch her plants, was she now claiming the sign as a conceptual piece of art?

I don’t believe that her intention when she was typing her sign and placing it with her plants was that she was devising a piece of art, or creating a concept for a work. Somehow by me taking a photo of her sign, she’d now claimed it was an idea.

This has brought me to question, what is art and what are an artists rights? All artists are constantly recycling ideas. We visit galleries to take photos of other artists work, to be inspired. We listen to conversations which we don’t ‘own’, pick up rubbish which isn’t ours and photograph public spaces which we then present as ‘art’. I am keen to read up on this subject and start to look into how we can explore copyright and the right of artists in the 21st century. I would like to read ‘The trials of Art’ Edited by Daniel McClean to facilitate this interest.

not another derive?!

I heard the word pyhchogeography and knew what was coming.

We’ve been sent out with a task, A walk. Not just a walk. A derive. 

Ive done one of these before, I actually loved it. Ive always been interested in value and material culture. How do we as a society decide what should be celebrated as ‘special’ or ignored as the mundane/ everyday. Even within the art world, some things can be classed as ‘readymades’ where as the gum stuck to the floor in the corner of the gallery (which as just been dropped by your fried) isn’t art?

Derives excite me. There an opportunity to look for those mundane things which are on the streets, inside buildings etc. Your forced to observe. To look. To take TIME. I wanted to challenge myself  to avoid using photography as a medium of presenting my work. This has always been a favourite, especially when expressing things which are overlooked and putting them on a pedestal.

I turned around to Sania to ask her where she was going – Brixton. I wanted to be carful going to this culturally rich resource where so much of the location is already being recorded. If I was trying to draw attention to the overlooked, I would need to avoid focusing on the graffiti and the markets because, although on paper these things sound mundane, in that area they’re celebrated already!!

‘Potted Plants’ 2017 by Ruth Linnell
‘Shoes on Grit’ 2017  by Ruth Linnell

I started to do sketches, to communicate the location though things which I felt were visually interesting. I naturally started to pair the rubbish from the street with the drawings i’d made of plants, people and scenes which I saw played out. Looking at the work form a reflective point of view, my drawings had captured the colour and characters of brixton in the most minimal way. Using simple linear drawings and singular lines of colour I was able to capture a scene.

‘Street Character in Brixton I’ 2017 by Ruth Linnell
‘Street Character in Brixton II’  2017 by Ruth Linnell

I’m interested in testing how little information can be shown in order for a scene, or expression of a figure/environment to be communicated. Visiting Whiteread’s recent exhibition had influenced this work. Her communication is through form yet I have said something similar by focusing on line.

‘Lifted Words’ 2017 by Ruth Linnell
‘Stealing Lines’ 2017 original photograph by Ruth Linnell

I think that my most successful piece touched on topics of ownership which came from a conversation I had with a shop owner who was NOT happy about be taking photos. ….

(please see: Stealing Ideas)

 

Untitled (One Hundred Spaces) by Rachel Whiteread

Whiteread’s work ‘Untitled (One Hundred Spaces)’ really touched on some common themes I have had running though my work in the previous year. I found that focusing on this piece, I read the work as a memorial to the lives of One hundred people.

‘Untitled (One Hundred Spaces)’
Rachel Whiteread
1995
Resin
Photograph of Tate Britain Exhibition taken by Ruth Linnell

It is written in the display that ‘each piece is a cast of the underside of a found chair, made in coloured resin…the process of casting retains the imperfections of the wear and tear of the original objects’. Knowing that these are found objects makes me consider who owned them before they were reclaimed? How has this changed their value/ weight. I started to see each object as the very identity of a randomly selected individual. Each chair had a different ‘personality’. The marks and battering to each chair says something about the owner and therefore tells a story.

I found that by walking around the space, it was as though I was passing through a grave yard. There was an eeriness around the space which caused you to observe silence. I found that the blocks of cast resin sat in the space as grave stones, each with its own ‘weight’ of a story/ life around it.

‘Untitled (One Hundred Spaces)’
Rachel Whiteread
1995
Resin
Photograph of Tate Britain Exhibition taken by Ruth Linnell

I found this conceptually linked to the work I had made on foundation which placed the accusation of a life onto an object- in my case, a block of ice. This has brought me to question the associations we place on objects/ how objects have value. How could I respectfully use everyday materials/ objects to represent a life. Artist such as Peter Eisenman have touched on creating conceptually based sculptures to communicate a remeberance of life, such as in his piece ‘The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe’. However this is based loosely around a similar physical from to a coffin. Could this concept of an object being a memorial for a life be communicated successfully if objects weren’t placed in rows or resembling the rectangular shape of a gravestone?

‘The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe’
2003-4
Peter Eisenman

 

Rachel Whiteread Exhibition

Visiting Rachel Whiteread’s Exhibition at the Tate Britian, looking at a collective of her work, I was able to analyse her method of working, thinking and communicating in a new way. Whiteread’s playfulness with form forces the viewer to reassess not only the constructions of the world around them but also how things are made. Her sculptures play on the mind of the spectator as we enter into an alternative world.

The display was very fluid throughout the space which allowed for each piece to be seen as a member of the collective. I think this altered how I viewed the work- seeing the similarities between pieces. I also found that I became more interested in her use of different materials when casting specific items, questioning her choice and if it was of any significance to her intended communication.

‘Torso Series’
Rachel Whiteread
1993
Photograph taken at Tate Britain Exhibition 2017 by Ruth Linnell

Whilst the materials she engages with seem very permanent as she has created forms which are physical and sturdy, something about the work makes me feel the sculptures are ephemeral. Because the act of casting can often be a ‘means to an end’ or a mid stage, to have made these the final product has made me want to consider how the process of someone making a piece of art, could be the art itself. I want to explore how ‘off cuts’/ left over materials can stand alone as pieces in their own right. This touches on how recycling materials can be referencing something which ‘was’ but has since been transformed.

‘Sloping Bed’
Rachel Whiteread
1991
Acrylic and ink on tracing paper
Photograph taken at Tate Britain Exhibition 2017 by Ruth Linnell

I was particularly drawn to Whiteread’s drawings and how she is able to be technically accurate whilst having a playful fluidity to her lines. It becomes clear that her mind works in a 3D way, her work study for ‘sloping bed’ 1991 was able to provide a sense of dimensionality by tracing paper being pulled and rippled. This simple act of manipulating a surface was able to provide a weight to the form of a bed.

‘Book Corridors’
Rachel Whiteread
1997
Plaster and Steel Photograph of Tate Britain Exhibition 2017 taken by Ruth Linnell
‘Book Corridors’
Rachel Whiteread
1997
Plaster and Steel Photograph of Tate Britain Exhibition 2017 taken by Ruth Linnell
‘Book Corridors’
Rachel Whiteread
1997
Plaster and Steel Photograph of Tate Britain Exhibition 2017 taken by Ruth Linnell

Her work ‘Book Corridors’ made me question the conceptual irony of removing all the information which is traditionally held in books to a minimalist state. It made me question which books where there? what where they about? what colours were they? There was an eeriness in the remainder, Whiteread had created something which was accessible in its entirety by withholding/ removing information. The form itself seems very uniform, with visual lines seemly perfectly repetitive, however each book/impressions for the ink makes the sculptures a completely individual print of a moment in time which recorded certain texts in a specific position. Whilst it could be argued this could never be replicated, the nature of a library and the categorisation systems which they use, mean that this display of books and shelves will probably be paired together in the exact same format for the duration of their existence within a certain library. This somewhat changed my perspective on this being a ‘frozen moment in time’ and of viewing casting as a means of preserving.

‘Stairs’ 2001
Rachel Whiteread
2001
Photograph of Tate Britain Exhibition 2017 taken by Ruth Linnell
‘Stairs’ 2001
Rachel Whiteread
2001
Photograph of Tate Britain Exhibition 2017 taken by Ruth Linnell
‘Stairs’ 2001
Rachel Whiteread
2001
Photograph of Tate Britain Exhibition 2017 taken by Ruth Linnell

Untitled ‘Stairs’ 2001 brought questions of how logically consistent  this sculptural form actually was! After a lengthy period of walking around the sculpture, trying to draw it in space, or position in a house, I concluded that it now was redundant as a functioning staircase. The casting process had completely changed its use form practical to sculptural.  The work reminded me of Escher’s Illogical staircase which touches on the parallels between sculpture and drawing. Both of these artists are communicating similar scenarios but in different dimensions.

Throughout the Exhibition I found myself TRUSTING the description of materials. ‘Room 101’ was said to include plaster, metal and wood but with my eyes I could only see one of those materials- the large block of white plaster. This has made me start to question how the artist has a role in stating what their work is, what it consists of and how that should effect how the viewer reads the work. If an artist were to state their work made of a completely different material that it was in reality made of, would this be acceptable? Could this be the piece in an of itself? This opens up the discussion on what can be classified as art and is this solely down to a persons claim/personal opinion or is there something more?

Paper as Sculpture

Whilst at the Private View for the BA Fine Art Exhibition at Chelsea, I was inspired by the work of other students.

Unknown work 2017 by Unknown Artists
Unknown work 2017 by Unknown Artists
Unknown work
Unknown Artist
2017
Photography of Chelsea Opening Exhibition by Ruth Linnell

 

This artists combination of both 2D and 3D images has made me question how we classify objects. Should we categories this work as sculpture and image? In my own work I am creating photographical depictions of physical entities, but who’s to say these photographs cannot be sculptural forms in their own right. I have been challenged  to redefine the perimeters of how my work can be viewed. I would like to explore how images can become sculptural by possibly manipulating the paper/representation of some of my photography.

The photographical work of Wolfgangs Tillmans, especially ‘ paper drop (star)’, starts to discuss how despite being printed and represented in the 2D, an image still has a physical quality as soon as its been printed.

Paper Drop
Wolfgang Tillmans
2006
Framed chromogenic print
Photograph of Exhibtion by Ruth Linnell
Paper Drop
Wolfgang Tillmans
2006
Framed chromogenic print
Photograph of Exhibtion by Ruth Linnell

My own exhibited work started to play with the idea of ‘paper in space’ by lifting the acetate image off from the walls surface- which created a drawing in space.

Unknown Work
Unknown Artist
2017
Photography of Chelsea Opening Exhibition by Ruth Linnell

Having found work with a similar aesthetic quality to my own, I was very interested in look at this second artists subject matter. The photographical images seems to discuss the fundamentals of the word which surround us such as earth, death, the natural and forced. I felt particularly drawn to the earthy palette of the work and how the photos force a new perspective on our surroundings, which is something I aim to achieve in my work. Precariously balanced sculls  seem to juxtapose a ‘natural’ state of the subject. This work bizarrely reminds me of a similar playfulness between materials which was saw recently in Dali’s ‘Lobster Phone’, at Tate Modern.

‘Lobster Phone’
by Dalí
Photograph taken at 2017 Tate Modern by Ruth Linnell

First Exhibition

We started off the course with an opening Exhibition…

Visual Display for Exhibition by Ruth Linnell
Visual Display for Exhibition by Ruth Linnell
Visual Display for Exhibition by Ruth Linnell

I chose to display some recent work which discussed our limited capacity to empathise with refugees. DETENTION CAMPS <—– BBC Broadcast at 10PM on 06/09/2017 Reported the conditions of Libyan Detention camps. Although these were shocking, the report showed films of smiling faces which made me start to question how our perspectives are completely constrained by personal experience and background.

I wanted to discuss this by using repetitive imagery, alternating each printed imaged to convey a different perspective, both physically and conceptually. I found containing images within boarders had a lyrical connection to the issue of immigration, boxing a human situation into a form or government document. This was discussed through the positioning of the image on a filing cabinet.

How does written documentation contain our perspective?

How can we look at things holistically?

 Is this even possible considering we can never escape the boundaries of our own experience?

The back story…

‘A memorial to the lives of Syrian Refugees lost at sea’ by Ruth Linnell

I wanted to start my blog by referencing where I have come from. I am interested in using Art as a platform to reconcile and create space for reflection of events which occur in the world around us, both historically and presently.

Living in a world which is moving faster than ever before, where thousands of visual images are processed in seconds through social media, I want to provide space for us to question and reflect.

A simple act of looking.

During my Art foundation I started to create memorial art for the lives of Syrian Refugees lost and drowned at sea. My work discussed material as a form of communicating an abstracted physical repetition of their deaths. I created rectangular sculptures in ice, which were representative of an individuals soul. As these were left floating in water, their ephemeral quality resulted in evaporation of any previous physicality. This meant that the process of performing what became a memorial ceremony, was very personal and only could be documented through photography and film.

The exploration of how material comments on social, historical and political issues is key to my practise.