30 April 2009

Some more studio pics

Here's how my studio's looking:

These two are not far away from being finished:

These two I've just started:

Here's a simple statement of the facts:

Here's some background material:

And here's what we have to deal with:

I also got marks back for my essay and presentation for critical studies. The best comment was:
One aspect which needed work was your engagement with critical theory – your ideas are all really good but I felt you needed to back some of your critiques up. For instance – your discussion of the instiitution of art was good but completely unsupported and there are many writers you could have used to back these ideas up.

29 April 2009

It's all happening now

I was feeling okay about my studio project yesterday, but then I had a chat about it with a couple of tutors today that messed with my head slightly. As one of them put it, it's typical mid-project for everything to go foggy, and I certainly did feel as if I was stumbling about lost in the murk. Where am I going? Why?

The other tutor pointed out that the problem is mainly that I'm trying to conflate too many things at once, which I am wont to do, and suggested that I should pick one aspect and concentrate on that. When I mentioned what that aspect would probably be, the response was 'The most difficult one!'

Another problem is that I haven't really been thinking of it as an art school project. Rather, I've been thinking in terms of what I'd normally do if I were having a show at a gallery. It's taking some getting used to, this art school bizzo.

I just got stuck into some painting this arvo and let these problems knock around in the back of my head. I think I'm getting it sorted. I've got a fearsome amount of painting to do in the next couple of weeks, and maybe even some construction. No distractions for me!

We have an NSRU1 practice tomorrow morning, which requires some preparation tonight. This involves recording some more vocals and trying to work out how a piece of equipment I've borrowed works. Being stupid doesn't help the latter. I've also got a presentation to prepare, and I want to knock it into a rough shape tonight as well.

I should get my critical studies essay back tomorrow. It'll be interesting to see what the marker made of it. (Cue chorus of 'rubbish!')

I might also take some more studio photos to post.

Update: Oh yeah, when I was chatting with my assessor today, it was mentioned that I'm doing what I know (i.e. painting). I answered that that was deliberate at this stage as part of the reason for going was to see what kind of reaction I'd get from an academic institution that is not exactly sympathetic to painters. My assessor grinned and said, 'Oh yes, we hate painters!'

28 April 2009

Formative assessment

I got a formative assessment of my studio project today. Unfortunately, it is singularly lacking in quotable comments (i.e. snark). Instead it has some useful suggestions that are suprisingly close to what I've been thinking – about the use of text in the paintings. I'd been thinking, given the time left, that I'd do some without it.

However, I am after all morally obliged to do the opposite of what my assessor suggests, so I'll do a purely text-based work first.

27 April 2009

In other news

I think my favourite of the Ballard tributes is Michael Moorcock's. The Guardian has put together a nice page. A couple of the articles mention how he wanted to be a painter but settled for being a science fiction writer instead. That resonates with me because I wanted to be a science fiction writer but settled for being a painter instead.

Closer to home, and on a more cheery note, here are a couple of things that made me laugh recently: John Hurrell calls Andrew McLeod a Wellington artist, and Nicky Watson talks about modelling for Liz Maw.

That Hurrell piece made me think that a good test for people is whether they see the humour in Bocklin's work.

22 April 2009

Everyone must die

No prizes for guessing why I chose this question to answer for my critical studies essay:

Roland Barthes' 'Death of the Author' initiated a re-examination of the totalitarian author. Is such a nihilistic approach necessary? Discuss with regard to art practice.

I won't bore you with the whole essay, but here is the last paragraph:

Unfortunately, it seems Barthes’ approach was not nihilistic enough. The death of the totalitarian artist left a gap that was filled not by the revolutionary birth of the viewer but by the totalitarian rules of the art game. To overthrow this new tyranny, it is up to those playing roles within the art world to change the rules of the game. For art to be free, we must wage a revolutionary guerrilla war by subverting and disrupting the structures of our roles until they no longer play the same tyrannical functions within the system. The death of the totalitarian author must be followed by the death of the totalitarian art world. Everyone must die.


20 April 2009

Visual art hierarchy

  1. Works that are visually compelling and conceptually coherent
  2. Works that are visually compelling but not conceptually coherent
  3. Works that are conceptually coherent but not visually compelling
  4. Works that are neither visually compelling nor conceptually coherent

I suppose I should really define my terms and/or give examples, but I'm not going to.

17 April 2009


Last week, I showed up at the reception for my old day job and was greeted with ‘Oh yes, come to beg for your job back, have you?’ The answer of course was yes, but only for the holidays. So this is where I am.

It’s quite strange being back, though (as I told my boss) there are some similarities: studio politics are very much like office politics. The students are not necessarily that much more immature either.

Oh yeah, and I was quite chuffed to discover that it’s taken two women to replace me.

14 April 2009

On thinking

It's sobering how little of any person's internal experience – thoughts, feelings, insights, etc – can be conveyed or recorded. Words are wholly inadequate to the task, very crude and simplistic tools indeed. Pictures are better (one of the main reasons I make them), but not by much really.

Once your thoughts have been reduced, simplified, and bent out of all shape to fit into the box you're using to convey them, they're pretty unrecognisable. It's not so much that you can only convey a fraction of what goes on in your head but that that fraction is a hideous travesty of it.

All the people who ever lived, all their epiphanies, gone forever without much of a trace, if at all.

07 April 2009

Quarter of the way in

Last week, I showed my assessor my studio project (see below) so she could make a 'formative assessment' of it – a non-graded written indication of how I'm going. This arvo NSRU1 are meeting the tutor for our sound course for an informal verbal version of the same thing.

On Thursday, for critical studies, I've got to hand in an essay worth 50% and give a presentation on a reading worth 25%. We could choose which readings to do, and, being an idiot, I chose based on content without regard to the calendar. So my first assessment for that course is worth 75% of the final mark. If I stuff it up, it's pretty irrecoverable.

Oh well, it'll be good to see how I'm going.

A joke

During his speech at the opening of the World Cinema Showcase last week, Bill Gosden said he didn't want to talk about the programme but the global economic crisis. To the chorus of groans that greeted this announcement, he compared it to early drug experimentation: everyone's anxiously asking each other 'Are you feeling anything yet?'

01 April 2009

Quote of the day

Suprematism is to all previous painting as philosophy is to journalism.

- Yurkevich
visitors since 29 March 2004.