Clarification on issues:

meeting with Judy 14th Feb 2013 A need for me to have a chat with Judy arose form me feeling like I was in a washing machine of ideas and thoughts. Through researching the idea of ‘relationship between plants and people’ had put me in a state of feeling very unsettled and unsure about the ideas and direction I was taking. To date I had tried to photograph the diss-associated relationship between plants and people. As I believe many within our society have lost that contact with plants in many parts of their lives. I thought about the places that we now ‘gather ‘ our plant related things from and realized that they mostly come from impersonal large buildings. Places such as: supermarkets, health shops, vegetable shops, building supply stores. Photographing these on a bleak early morning I thought would reflect the impersonal diss-associated experience. Initially I had them in colour, later turned them into B&W images. This added to the overall bleakness of the image, so I thought. Comments from Judy were: That these images ended up feeling more documentary, magazine like imagery and because of this they probably would not get my context behind them across very well. Depending on the final presentation methods - These images could fit into a book or as large images on wall, so that the viewer could be part of the scene. It missed the mark in trying to represent that loss of a relationship between plants and people. I agreed with her thoughts and at this stage will not totally abandon this approach, but will rethink how this could work. Maybe grow seeds on top of these images Other work I showed was:Anthotypes from silverbeet leaves, tomato plant leaves, foxglove leaves: this at this stage is experimental in trialling which plants have photosensitive properties. Making these works makes me feel like a herbalist/witch. Cutting up plan material, mincing this and adding some water to extract the chlorophyll, painting this onto paper; it is like creating a recipe. I threw away the plant material after I had extracted the juice, but later realized I should have kept that - note for next time.Daylight photograms: Using old photographic paper I placed plant material on these and sandwiched this tight with a glass plate. Leaving these in my garage where they received some direct sunlight and daylight. These were left for about 24 hrs. I then developed them as per normal analogue photographic process: First batch I did developing/stop/fix - found that while in the developer if they got any light in the paper,this turned dark quickly. Second batch I missed out the developing stage and only did stop & fix, while in stop bath, kept image facing down. The second batch created are very delicate and beautifully, haunting imagery. These images showed a great sense of time, which also strongly relates to plant- people; a plant sets seed, grow, flowers, seeds and dies, same with people. This aspect is worth further investigation, not only with this paper but also with other alternative processes. Things I need to think about are:

  • Final presentation of anything I make/re-present; the format, size, colour
  • While making anything add as much of that into studio space, to really get the smell, sounds, feeling of that element into my psyche.
  • I need to get to understand what I am transferring when I re-present an object from real to imagery/art work. I am not just documenting something but am re presenting it
  • Trust my gut feeling when something is good
  • Reclaim the word beautiful - this made me smile,as it was a word that was tabou in my previous art education
  • Think about possibly adding real life plants into my work
  • Do not be afraid of simplicity
  • Create a large mind map of this plant-people relationship and add imagery, artist names etc to this. Keep it open
  • Research the following artist: Robert Mapplethorpe, Yves Klein, Wolfgang Tillmans, James Lee Byars, Crop circles (there is a book that is worth while reading on this, title to be confirmed), the Japanese pavillion at Venice Architectural Biennale

This meeting has given me much piece of mind, a better direction and no fear that trail and error is much part of the process.

Posted by Elle Anderson

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