Poetry As Part Of My Final Pieces

I’ve always had an interest in poetry, and using text in my work has further compelled me to read into writing and literature more deeply and in turn write my own work. I have never written in the style of portraiture until recently, due to this project, and I still feel insecure about how personal it can be. Because of this, I have overlapped poems I have written on ‘Noted’ on my iPhone.

I used my notes as I would record my thoughts as soon as I had them, instant and honest. The use of this app is also recognisable to most people and has a personal feeling to it as it is usually used to record personal ‘to-do lists’, things to remember, notes to self.

Overlapping these poems gives an idea of privacy, secrecy, but also of overhwhelming emotions and thoughts. It also leaves a boundary between the artist and audience, my work still being private on some level.

A few of these show the same poems as others but all have different composition. Two of these also have layered poems that are rotated upside down – again adding that difficulty in knowing what has been written. I really love these experiments but I am still unsure as to whether I want pieces to personal to be displayed on exhibition

Layering Process

After a trip to the hospital on Sunday the 21st May because of a heart condition I have, I wanted to create a small collection of works about it as it was quite a big experience for me – not the most fun or interesting but new.

The night I returned home I wrote my first thoughts down, in a style that reads like poetry:

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The next day I painted over in thin layers of blue : the colour representing my mood the last few weeks, which I feel really represents my emotions – as in Van Goghs ‘Blue Series’ which I love. I wanted the text to still be visible, and then to keep layering.

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I wanted to show the process of thoughts in, having the original writing just visible through the paint, but the finalised appearance of it on top. This pays attention to the immediacy of the first piece of text and how I have still involved that in the piece. I used white pen to write over the layers:

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I feel the reader should feel some humour in these pieces but can also relate and feel the confronted by how personal they are.

Process of Painted Text Piece

I made a recent decision to start using my own words and thoughts in my work, rather than using dialogue taken from other people to express my own feelings, a more personal approach to language. With such a strong interest in Tracy Emins’ ‘The Exorcism of The Last Paintings I Ever Did’, I want to express this raw individuality through text. However, unlike my earlier messy paintings – more similar to Emins expressive paintings, I wanted to try painting text neatly – Like artists such as Christopher Wool and Fiona Banner. I have thought about the idea of taking a small note, word or thought and having it presented in a gallery. How this brings awareness to the significance and immediacy of communication, but painting it neatly and perfectly – drawing attention to insignificant small moments of life and making them significant.

The text used is ‘I COULDN’T SLEEP LAST NIGHT BECAUSE I WAS THINKING ABOUT THIS PAINTING’. I actually had this idea while I was trying to sleep – this phrase relates to itself, making the text the actual ‘thing’, as well as involving myself in the idea. It also highlights the anxiety and excitement of creating art, the uncontrollable and distracting urge to create. I also feel it has a sense of irony and humour in the innocence to it.

First sketch:

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It was interesting drawing such a spontaneous thought so neatly and planned out, as well as being difficult in the intricacy.

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Close up of amendments to the text. I actually liked this aspect, the double effect that makes it hard to read, maybe suggested the tiredness of not sleeping. It is an idea I may use in the future.
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Rewritten piece underneath original – overlapping and repetition. This is showing the process of my ideas and thoughts about this piece. I haven’t planned a piece so deeply as this, usually making quick sketches and writings. Repetition really adds urgency and a sense of anxiety to the words. However, like Kosuths conceptual art, I want the piece to easily communicate its meaning.
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Final outline for painting – on A2 cartdrige paper.

I have made decisions about each aspect of this piece as it may be a possible final piece. I chose to paint on paper as it will show a relationship to my other works, as well as playing with the idea of immediacy in experience used in my sketches. The paper will contrast to the neatly painted letters and that’s what I like. My thoughts should be on paper, not on a perfectly primed canvas.

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Picture of Process.

Colour Choice:

  • I chose a deep navy blue as I feel black acrylic has a shininess to it I don’t like. I mixed cobalt blue, turquoise, white and black to get this particular shade.
  • The background is a cream colour made with white and ochre – I didn’t want a stark difference between text and background, and I always have felt a slight tinge of yellow/brown suits blue well.

Playing with Font and Hidden Text

I started to write with a continuous line about thoughts I was having, immediately expressing what was on my mind. To progress onto the following line I had to draw a horizontal one to start the line again, giving this striped, unclear and overlapping text. I love the fact that I can barely remember or read the writing, let alone the audience. This makes me think about secrecy, hidden ideas. I can use this to express personal feelings and ideas, playing with the idea of being honest with an audience, but not actually being able to read it. The text itself has a delicate but messy feel to it and I love the composition.

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Joseph Kosuth

Joseph Kosuth, a famous artist of Conceptual art movement is hugely influential in his written, minimalist and installation work. His ideas evolve around the use of language and text instead of visual imagery and explored the relationship between objects and words that are used to describe them.

His most famous artworks were from the series of One and Three installations (1965). This involved an object, a photograph of the object, and an enlarged photograph of the dictionary definition of it. This explores language and how we process words in relation to their meaning, as well as question what actually is the object – whether the text can be a part of the object too.

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One and Three Chairs (1965).
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One and Three Frames (1965).

The focus on language and communication really interests me and I am thinking about creating a final piece, or series of pieces, that works with more conceptual, minimal use of text, and plays with the question of what can be considered art, or an object.

Mirror with Text – Involving the Audience

I tried out changing the background of my text, and questioning how it could be read in an exhibition. Using a small A5 mirror, I wrote about my current work – explaining the exhibition I will be putting up – using continuous line ‘secretive’ writing. The idea was to have it at eye level on the mirror, covering  a portion of the face but also involving the audience in the reading of the piece. This communicates the participation of other subjects in my work, but adds a sense of confusion as the text isn’t illegible – I am the only person who knows what I wrote. Hopefully this will express the message that all art is private in some part to the artist, and an audience can only understand so much.