Although I drive and have a car I prefer to take the train when I travel to Gray's. I am constantly on the go, always busy: so I enjoy the captivity of the conveyance that forces me to slow down, consider and reflect.
When I travel northwards I have a ritual that I am compelled to observe. I will look out of the window of my carriage to seek deer. Once that task has been satisfied I am free to stare and wonder at my fellow incarcerated commuters.
This Friday however I did not follow my usual routine. Instead I used the time to read and write down quotes for my impending dissertation. The text in my employ, "Camera Lucida" by Roland Barthes. The work takes all my concentration as Barthes academically dissects 'the photograph' but I am immediately connected by a quote in chapter one which expresses how I feel when I show my found objects to some people:
"Sometimes I would mention this amazement, but since no-one seemed to share it nor even understand it (life consists of these little touches of solitude"
My arrival at Grays this Friday was to complete two main tasks; to take down my exhibition of work and to receive feedback for my studio practice from my principal tutor Dr Jon Pengelly.
One of the many aspects of Grays that I love is the kindness off all the staff. It was noted by the head electrician William as he walked by that I was using a screwdriver to take down my show. I had forgotten to take my cordless drill so he offered me a shot of his. Speaking casually to the head technician Phil Chaplain that I was wanting to do some lost wax casting he promptly led me to the casting studio, advised me on process and metals, showed me exemplars then told me to get in touch with him when I was ready to start making my metal sculptures.
Show finally down it was time for my feedback. This showcase of work has most certainly been a turning point for me. I am now beginning to make sense of the extensive experiments that I have been making and feel focused on the works I wish to output for my Masters Show. This is the feedback I received:
The work you have presented offers a fascinating insight into the breadth and depth of work you have developed over the period of this Masters course to date. These different aspects of your art practice are each closely related but yet stand along in their own right we feel. There has been significant progress in your confidence this is very clear in the confident and assured way you have curated and presented this work.
More recent developments and experiments - pinhole camera and stereoscopic viewer for example show a purposeful and clear sense of forward direction and aspect to your practice which rather interestingly acts as a counterpoint to your more opportunistic 'found' and beach combing works. Which more easily celebrate your aesthetic control and selection of artifacts and objects.
It is in this area or space you are starting to map out between serendipitous and more purposeful experimentation that we feel your starting to recognise. We do feel you might be more experimental in terms of scale (photographs for example) and think about the location both in terms of subjects as well as venue for this work.
At this point you are very well placed to move forward into the Masters element of this course, in the knowledge that your visual and critical language has developed in a very interesting and marked direction. This growing sense of self confidence, is self evident in your work and the progress you have made.