PEER FORUM: Works-in-progress
PEER FORUM was established to enable a group of artists with the space and resources to set up a peer-mentoring network — a platform to support, critique and feedback one another’s work over the course of a year. In the third session, eight of the artists each presented a piece they are currently working on, here documenting their thoughts and processes.
“I’m currently experimenting with ways that I can incorporate found imagery into my work. For my critique, I brought in various test pieces, including images directly printed onto wood, aluminium and fabric. Discussion focused on my digital collages, where found imagery has been manipulated using Photoshop. They feature singers and actresses with expressions of hope, sorrow and despair, which are edited and combined with other images to create angelic creatures. This work emerges from my current interest in the different ways of expressing grief or longing, particularly in a staged or comical manner. It is a subconscious, quick and playful process; they are a product of my imagination but also inspired by myths, scenes from religious paintings and personal experiences of grief. It feels liberating to experiment in this way and it was exciting to discuss the various ways in which these could be developed and displayed using methods in keeping with their production — through projection, animation, on screen or as digital prints.” — AT
“I presented Gargle, a work made from Jesmonite plaster and various ingredients used to colour or give texture to the sections. The pigments and aggregates incorporated in the work relate to food items, healing products or cosmetics — the things we ingest or paste onto our bodies with the ambition of restoration, rejuvenation and staying alive. The title comes from the action that the word implies — ‘to move a liquid around in your throat without swallowing, especially to clean it or stop it feeling painful.’ It is an act of internal movement followed by an external expulsion used as a way of cleansing or healing. The work emerges from a continual interest in the inside and outside of things: more recently I’ve been looking at anatomical and architectural diagrams and images where you see a segment within an object. I have been trying to make works that straddle image and object, both a chunky form and a cartoon style image of a body. I was interested to see how these ideas translate — or not — at a smaller scale, and in relation to other projects I am currently working on”. — HH
“I presented an unfinished video titled Pre-Loved and Ex-Display, that I’m developing into an installation. My videos generally feature a woman contained by a domestic environment and by the fixed frame of the video. Her movements are dictated and delineated by both containing forces. This work breaks away from this model as here the woman is in constant motion, as is the video frame which pans up, down and round her body. Her world is no longer domestic but a surface of rippling gold that appears almost liquid. Lying on gold fabric, it becomes her second skin, one of many skins: a gold flesh pressed against her flesh. Woman and world keep writhing, keep turning and defying gravity. An element of constraint persists; the woman remains headless at all times as part of her is always pulled beyond the frame edge. The woman’s body is sexually charged with her desires and yours but she remains fragmented and without an identity. A chorus of voices penetrate the video, songs of lust, desire, longing, bodies, sweat and touch run through and over her body. There is a claustrophobic intensity in joining her, your gaze following the bright portal between her thighs.” — KF
“I chose to present a painting and collage work titled Juicy Couture, where a female subject and an orange are entwined and bound together by a white thread, almost packaging them together as one consumable product. The faceless woman appears wrapped around the stem of the perfectly ripe orange in a pole dance, alluding to old representations of sin and fertility. While the use of fruit in my work began as a more general connotation, likening the consumption of women and food, more recently I have chosen to focus on the meanings and histories of specific fruits. Oranges represent fertility and abundance whereas the blossoms suggest purity. An open or over-ripe orange conveys images of sin. Their symbolic importance still lingers as they are used in marriage rituals around the world. For hundreds of years fruit has been integrated into paintings, from still life to symbolism. Besides being visually enticing, they are used to depict a person’s background, wealth and purity — the fruit’s presence describes all. Following February’s critique session, I will be doing further research into the symbolic significance of fruit. Renaissance painters, who were traditionally male, tend to incorporate fruit into their paintings in a discreet way, hiding them in the shadows and backgrounds of their work. By making the fruit the primary subject, and enlarging them, I aim to bring these traditional connotations into the present day dealing with current sexism.” — OB
Tenant of Culture
“For my critique session I brought in a work called Preserved Style — a small ‘painting’ of a Nike half sock that I found on the street, which I have dissected and pressed with a heath press underneath a layer of transparent silk organza. The work is a representation of various themes that are central to my practice and examines the conflicting relationship between preservation, morality and trend: the fleeting and contingent versus the durably preserved. With the group we discussed the idea of archiving, the flattening process of preservation and how we determine what should be preserved and protected. We addressed dirt and debris, in relation to the body, religion and sin, specifically The Shroud of Turin and the Biblical tale of Mary Magdalene washing Jesus’s feet. We talked about the dramatic connotations of clothes left on the street and how a garment immediately insinuates a story. In this act of preserving for representation there is an element of death present — through both organic processes of decomposition but also in the sense of an object being ‘trapped’ in an institutional archive. It was interesting to hear different views on this work, gain insightful references and hear suggestions on how to develop the work further.” — ToC
“PEER FORUM visited my current solo exhibition MINDY LEE & J.A.L.-B at the Perimeter Space, Griffin Gallery, London, in which I presented my installation of paintings on clothes that also incorporate my sons painting. These extended paintings grow from autobiographical narratives exploring identity and memory through psychological and physical states. They move between abstraction and figuration, exploring what is felt, known, learnt and lost in a disheveled attempt to capture and reveal the bodies’ inner and outer states. We discussed how the clothes themselves are ghostly traces of the bodies that inhabited them and the paintings’ depiction of figures as a haunting or possession upon the clothes. The role of bones as costume versus interiority was debated to investigate how the Halloween humour operates within the series. We also unpicked the work to explore its layers: the deconstructed garment, depictions of the fragmented body, my son’s paintings and the use of stitch for reparation and drawing. Our conversation ended with thoughts on the specificity of autobiography in relation to leaving the viewer space to invent and complete their own narratives.” — ML
“My presentation focused on a body of work that I have been developing since December 2016. The works are made by pouring pigmented silicone onto custom made frames, designed specifically for the space in which they are exhibited. The sleek surfaces are disrupted by a build up of stuff which has contaminated the silicone material. I talk a lot about materiality and processes, the work contains traces of its own making which is linked to the body and is always quite physical, yet the works are only ever viewed from a distance; they are never touched. I’m interested in the awkwardness between the visual and the tactile. During my crit we were able to discuss the relationship between the images and the things themselves, and how different modes of display could change the reading of the works.” — LC
“I presented sketches depicting memories using collage, ink and watercolour. Nervously, I placed my work on the floor, the drawings like pebbles floating in water, waiting to be discussed. We talked about the various surfaces, the use of colour, re-occurring motifs, associated memories and my immediate yet deliberate placement of marks. I absorbed the comments, reflecting on the phrases manifesting in my inner dialogue. It feels invaluable to have a space with peers and contemporaries to show your ‘dirty laundry’ — thoughts, ideas and materials not yet fully formed or resolved.” — AA
PEER FORUM will be meeting regularly throughout 2017–18 with the aim of expanding their ideas while giving feedback on each other’s work. Read more about PEER FORUM.