N.C.A.D. Diploma in Art & Design
Sculptural Processes - Project 2
We had quite a lot of freedom in choosing our project subject/theme and in the sculptural methods used throughout this project. Some of the key factors that the tutor expected from us during the sculpture module were to show experimentation in your work and to demonstrate good note taking, and documentation skills, on the processes that we observed and learnt throughout the module.
I decided to continue along with a similar theme ('Connections and Containment') as to that which I had used throughout my first two Arte Povera projects at the beginning of the Diploma course.
THEME: Connections & Containment
Although we are each very different in many ways, we are still all essentially connected through a common reliance on such factors as nature and the environment. Also, we are all somewhat contained within this continuous and monotonous circle of life - for example, this repetitiveness can be seen in the daily flow of each calendar year and our reliance on the continual orbiting of stars which thus supplies us with a source of energy for life here on earth.
This idea of a monotonous and repetitive circle is one of the reasons why I was drawn to the use of mirrors for this project; I felt that their reflection was a symbol of the repetitiveness and monotony in how we live our lives.
Research / Reference
I especially enjoyed the work of the below artists during my research for this project:
Mona Hatoum For example, I was inspired by her use of natural materials such as bark and the sprouting seeds in ‘Hanging Garden’, her use of cages in ‘Kapan’ and 'Cells' and her use of light in ‘light sentence’ and ‘undercurrent (red)’.
Kiki Smith For example, I was inspired by Smith in how she addresses themes of birth and regeneration, her use of animals, how she uses the color black in much her work, her use of natural materials (eg. wood, glass, water, bottle containers) and in her hanging affect; such as in ‘Overture’ . This piece, 'Overture', also caught my attention due to her use of a bird in it. Smith also uses birds in more of her work (such as in 'Near') and so I was inspired by these pieces as I had shown quite a strong fascination with birds in much of my prior art work (as seen in my course work for the Certificate in Drawing & Visual Investigation and the Drawing / Print / Mixed Media credit course that I previously attended in N.C.A.D.).
Yayoi Kusama (see my class presentation on Kusama here). For example, I was inspired by her use of mirrors (such as in her Venice Biennale exhibition) and her polka dots symbolizing the form of the sun - the sun being the energy of the whole world.
My aim for this project was to look at containment in relation to how we are confined by the environment in which we live in and how this environment performs in a repetitive manner (ie the circle of life).
I first experimented with quite a few natural materials such as coal and twigs (click here to view the mini tree like sculptures that I created from clay, twigs and bottle tops). I wanted to portray the contrasting colors of black and white (darkness and light) to symbolize the idea of life/death, day/night etc. I did this by using dark colored coal and bare twigs to symbolize the earth; and thus death as we return to the earth. Light and birth was symbolized through the hanging of white wax balls which were to represent the orbiting stars/sun which are a source of energy and life. The white sheep like figures were used as homage as to how animals provide us with a source of vegetation, to symbolize life and to portray how we have strong connections with animals through similar environmental needs to that of them.
I used microcrystalline wax to cover foam balls for the below piece. I also used mirrors, a plastic box, thread (to hang the balls) and toothpicks (to create the legs for the sheep like figures). The mirror symbolizes the constant circle of life.
The below pieces again represent connections and reflections, however, this time the wax covered foam balls contain harsh prickles (made from toothpicks) which represent the tougher and less smooth times in life. Instead of using a mirror as a symbol of relections, this time I play with the use of shadows and hence this piece is constantly moving and changing.