The process of showing work


Making work is one thing, showing it is another. Resolving work can have different outputs, the book, a show, online galleries and maybe competition submission — some work can include all of the above. How do we know if it is ready for any of these? Over the time I have spent on this degree we have had three shows and interestingly I have not felt that my work was ready for any of them. However in the case of two out of three, Experiment and Tacenda once the work was hung I felt different and it seemed right and ready to show the work. The way the images were chosen was a collaborative process that included work prints, peer critique and tutorials. And the making of the work was supported by a team of technicians and outside industry to fabricate some of the display elements, it is important to understand and appreciate the roles of those who help us as artist to realise the vision of what our work can be.

For the current Tacenda show I knew that I wanted the foyer space to show my work as before this I had been frustrated by the hallway spaces and felt that I would like a more installation type space that could be entered into. This is because I wished my book to be an intrusive element in the space because it is a sculptural piece. The meanings and writings are also a challenge so this seemed to fit well. The previous show came out of the experiment module and I used large scale prints that referenced the body, this was experimental and also worked. I had made decisions based on this space prior to the show and this was a large part of the resolution process. I felt the horizon images should be large scale to draw attention to it, also the actual horizon we experience is vast so there is both a reference to and rejection of the sublime, the real horizon and distance exist but the image does not contain it. I was hopeful to include the Fice’s Well work but only found a display solution at the last minute, after trying many ideas. The round positives that were contact printed in the darkroom are displayed inside the petri dishes the original filters were designed for, the connotations of the filter are resolved — a filter we see through, a camera filter and the filter membrane used to either clarify liquid or show what is present in any given fluid.

The final element is the book, displayed in a closed glass plinth, spread as if it has been ripped open to view but the realisation remains incomplete, we cannot see most of the content and as such it remains somehow latent, powerless. I am happy that this is effectively rendered. The overall effect draws me into the space to look further, I want to see the back of the book case and see the Petri dishes at closer proximity. The large images draw me back out to view at a distance, which is in turn again blocked slightly by the book. The display is as I thought it would be, I planned it like this and am happy with the outcome. There can always be improvements though, there are also contact prints that are framed that I would have liked to show and the Event Horizon work has further images to complete the set, but for the purposes of the space available any more images or work would not fit and clutter the space and lessen the impact.

One other thing to consider is that at first all the displayed work were separate projects, through critique and tutorial I realised the links and that they could work together. This flexibility and accordance is part of the conscious effort to remain unfixed.


Printmaking Editions

Photo Etching. 

So I have been making limited edition prints with the photo etch process, using ink to individually create ‘pages’ for an unbound book. The process is a beautiful way of using the photographic medium in an alternative way. Each print is different, a one off and together they seem to be asking different questions and creating a more intimate experience for the viewer, somewhere between a book, family album and postcard. The book will be finished off with written pages hand made in letterpress.  This has taken two months so far and the finishing letterpress pages should take another month to complete, watch this space.


Fices Well - Resolving work


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Heading to the Well I realise that water is a mystery to be investigated, standing with my mother, our feet sucking down into the sulphurous ground, cows and sheep moving at the edges of my vision and the cold, rushing around us in great gusts sticking my hair to my lashes, making me blind, again. We reach the well, this is the third time now, and the water and mud has taken over, no patches of dry to skip between, so it is a slog across this small part of the moor. The story keeps bringing me back, the idea of healing and restoration is of interest, from the scare that takes me back years, and the coincidence of the photographic profession in the same year. The idea, and reality, that one can go blind from being stressed, blind from a feeling not a tangible event but an accumulation over many years, incrementally stressing the body and mind until effects are literally seen. It was a close call and the fears and tests to check worsening of the condition have finished now. 


Photography was my healer, and is, this well is representative of a journey from there, past, to here, now. The Well water is the photograph, the bog, pathless and forbidding, but an end point from which to manoeuvre  to further moments that seem metaphorical. Mother came along at my request but was this a mistake? She has been on many journeys with me, and against me, but this one is mine alone, experiencing physicality and possible losses is an internal subjective climb.


The Well is encircled, a wall built by prisoners, and I climb inside and lay low out of the wind bend over to collect the water and climb back out to leave. Mum is standing just across from me in the field, in the bog just looking into the middle distance, what does she make of our walks? I Photograph her then call out, she laughs but seems thoughtful, she never talks of her own feelings or thoughts, so I am left to wonder. There is a deep sadness in her, it has always been a feature but it is quite well hidden apart from these cursory junctures, I am aware that she too went to Art College and that she quit it before I was born, recently she told me that she too had also used photography and liked the darkroom, this is new information.  I am as blind to her.



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