Feeling the pain, physically, financially and emotionally of a hard slog to get these crates ready for installation.

Testing Testing

In the flurry of construction and sheer exhaustion the ideas that built the work have been engulfed by the practicalities of production.

These small light boxes will sit inside the crates

The remit was to create something relating to Dickens and his fascination with the supernatural.

It wasn’t something that seemed relevent to my practise at first but after visiting the excellent British Library Dickens exhibition I was drawn in by Dickens interest in mesmerization and his belief in the power of human will.

Dickens was a champion of the imagination and of finding romance in familiar everyday events, to beautify reality through fancy and alleviate disappointment in life – key themes that inform my work.

Much of his writing is about aspiration and redemption, set against atmospheric depictions of an underworld of nefarious characters and forbidding locations. I am trying to introduce some darker elements into my work and wanted to convey an idea of a surreal dream where images of forgotten fears are recalled. As I am using personal fears whether this translates to other viewers I am yet to discover.

the madness

The installation ‘Syndrome’ recalls events and imaginings that disturbed me as a child – things that may sit in my subconscious waiting to be drawn out during some therapy session.

the séance

I have joined London Printworks to use their large format heatpress to print the tormented forest on organza panels which I intend to hang around the crates as a kind of ether of escaping memories.

My first session at Printworks was almost a complete disaster until the wonderful Margaret came to my rescue. I had almost been about to give up and go home as I was wasting fabric and stencils producing blotchy prints.

I still came away after 3 hours with only one useable panel not the 9 I had hoped for so I booked in for another full day session which did mean I got the number of panels I wanted but was an endurance test for my back.

We have cut some bamboo from the garden to use as battens to hold the panels. Light & cheap.

There is a whiff of vinegar about the place as I have been ‘aging’ the newly cut edges of wood on the crates with the concoction of steel wool steeped in white vinegar for 24hrs. Dousing the wood with a strong brew of tea beforehand lends a much darker colour.

Exhibit C at Bearspace is over now and I have been to collect my work minus one ‘Collected Thought’ which the super supportive Ursula bought as it makes her smile.

Collected Thought (4)

There was no feedback from the gallery on my work.  Also I had expected the gallery assistants would make good the walls but this was not the case and they expected the artist to do it.

I hadn’t gone prepared so Julia Alvarez let me off the task as I was parked next to the periscope warden car but I felt I left with bad feeling.

This experience has galvanised my determination to give my practise an overhaul and big assessment. I hadn’t thought I wanted to be deconstructed and rebuilt as the RCA promise but now I think I really do.

Next move after Illumini will be contemplating an MA application.