Critique and Assessment questions:

Peer & Faculty Critique comments from July seminar on this body of work: 3 light backgrounds 3 black backgroundThey liked:

  • limited number of images
  • scale- fitted the images
  • separation of light and dark background, but still close enough to allow for a connection
  • well executed images
  • the images looked authentic
  • most successful work was the middle of the light back grounds - it held the most appeal because it was not obvious what was in the bottle
  • the black background images allowed for more interpretation - they felt more science fiction
  • reflection of the garden & bits of the build world
  • not knowing what all the things were in the bottle, least obvious were most successful
  • the distortion/warping of the plant - slippage of recognition of object

Things felt to be less successful:

  • light back ground cloth - too much texture
  • reflection - can be distracting. Maybe trial other or no reflection. It felt too corny, too staged.
  • artist statement too long and too explanatory. Allow the work to explain itself more
  • Is the presentation about a tryptych - felt that the 3rd in the dark group was not successful
  • Why not hang them separated from each other, then each image would have it’s own story to tell

The work felt like:

  • a collection
  • categorization
  • sorting
  • It had an invisible presence of a collector
  • questioning what was edible? Was it all pickled?.
  • Food, preservation

Things I need to look at or trial:

  • Neil Pardington - had already been to see his exhibition
  • Cut the bottle out form the background and make them float on a black background.
  • Uplighting
  • Different reflections
  • Where are those experimental photo’s I took in the garden???

 Questions asked by faculty at assessment time:What do I think the audience gets from this work? Recollection of 5th form science & Museum visits A questioning of what is in these bottles? As the content is not directly obvious to the viewer. This not knowing exactly what it is - is the most powerful element of these works. The light background are very much a collection of things in bottles,while the dark background images has a more mysterious, possibly gothic, look about them.How did I make the decisions of what to hang? This really first needs to be answered with what decisions I made while creating this body of work: Over the course of the last 2.5 months I made the decision to stick with one approach and resolve this work. Over this time I took around 500 images, each time I would question what if?What if:

  • I turned the bottle handle away
  • had things sticking out the top
  • tried at different times of the day
  • placed the set up in different spaces to get different reflections
  • change the back ground; calico, cloth, black velvet
  • different angles: direct front on, to side view, to directly over the top.
  • other bottle shapes or types

 Plant material used, I would try:

  • seed pods - small, long, round
  • leaves - small round, long stemmed, short stemmed, deeply veined, coloured from the autumn season
  • flowers - straight, bent or twisted first for a day in another bottle
  • fresh or dried material

After each session I would print of the images that resonated with me and very early on in this process it was the ones that were less obvious what they were. These images I would look at over a couple of days and question: why does this work? what did I use that makes it work? Slowly over time I worked out what type of plant material I needed to use, how to place it in the bottle and what back ground to use. This process created this body of work and through that the selection of images was obvious.  Where to from here for my study? This question was much harder to answer, as for me this body of work is resolved and requires no further investigation. Over the 2.5 months I was working on this I was missing the hands on approach, the physically being involved with the making process. Using a digital camera is a step removed from the doing for me. I have a desire to get back into the ‘being involved’ part and also of letting go of some of the control on the outcome. With digital this is less possible, so thoughts are:

  • To build some pinhole camera’s and possible play with the bottle and the garden space. With a pinhole the reflection becomes less important as that is a detail that is not possible to capture.
  • To try to capture my own reflection in the bottle.
  • I have an obsession with specimen - maybe combine plants and human parts?
  • Or possible go back to print making, but then use digital medium to enlarge or alter. (need to be aware of the craft factor in this process)

Not so sure, in the meantime will start with making some pinholes and do some experiments with them. What I have to keep in mind are the aspects of this work that made it successful and try and re-capture that. A big challenge ahead, in the meantime continue the reading (am still fascinated with collecting and have a stack of books on the cabinet of curiosities still to digest), the self reflection and finishing a work for a group show coming up in august (not related to my study).

Posted by Elle Anderson

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