Constellation Level 6 PDP Reflection

At the time of deciding what area of study to research in preparation for my dissertation, I was influenced by the ‘art and the conscious mind’ lectures I was attending and my own practice based research that I was exploring. I began to analyse the relationship between our minds, senses and the world. By connecting my studio based practice with philosophy and science, I developed a better understanding of how I perceive the world and the different ways in which I can present it.
The first artist that triggered my curiosity was Evan Walters after stumbling upon his artwork at Newport Gallery. At first glance it appeared to be a depiction of visual impairment but upon further inspection and later research, I discovered that it was simply a representation of his natural vision. The painting had elements of expressionism and presented a technique with uniform horizontal brush strokes that I had not seen before.
Although I believe that becoming aware of something and acting upon it is a positive change, on occasion I found that certain aspects of my vision were sometimes difficult to be unseen. I became irritated by the features that obstructed my view such as my nose, hair and glasses. However, the best advice that I have been given since the beginning of university is to use any implications to your advantage.
Like Walters, after becoming aware of the implications of my visual field that had gone unnoticed before now, I became obsessed with researching the effects of binocular vision.
By presenting myself with new artistic inquiries and arranging tutorials with tutors I had not previously discussed with, my work developed into a multi disciplinary practice. I experimented with several different mediums such as drawing, painting and photography in an unconventional way. I began incorporating aspects of my natural vision by presenting the curved edge of my visual field, blurred edges mimicking the peripheral area and of course, double images. Each medium presented an issue with depicting my view, with photography I consistently recognised that I was unable to capture the entirety of my visual field, only partially capturing the centre of my view and dismissing information surrounding it. With drawing and painting it was difficult and seemed inevitable that I could not depict a three-dimensional view on a two-dimensional surface. This was when I discovered the Oakes twins, Trevor and Ryan. They had already experienced my struggles and developed their research into creating a concave surface using an apparatus in which they designed and built themselves. Around this time, James Green gave a lecture or two at the university presenting his work that has shown similar methods and styles but instead morphing plywood as the surface for a painting. Several artists including Edvard Munch and David Hockney were mentioned and had sparked interest into researching entoptic imagery and the implications of photography.
After a large amount of research and experimentation of how the functionality behind vision works, I began to compare previous methods concerning pictorial depth cues and monocular perception. I soon found links between each art movement and was fascinated by the developments. I finally came to the conclusion that it is evident that there have been limitations to depicting the natural vision, there are still artists of the twentieth century developing and improving the methods. This developed into structuring part of my dissertation in a time line manner, focusing on significant times in which each artist such as Paul Cezanne, Edvard munch, Evan Walters, David Hockney, Robert Pepperell, James Green and The Oakes Twins developed a new way of depicting a view, each paving the way into a new movement.
Towards the end of my research, I realised that I had spent more time on researching the philosophical and scientific elements of my practice that I neglected the reason why I began to create art in the first place. I’m not overly concerned about representing the world to the most accurate proportions anymore and focusing more on expressing my presence within an artwork. Recently experimenting with sculpture, scanography and video in order to express my experience and frustrations with mental health. Although I have changed my direction of practice into something that is disconnecting from the subject of my dissertation, it is still beneficial to look back on the ways in which our mind, senses and the world are connected. The research gave me a better understanding of perceiving the art world in general and improved my way of presenting my visual experience.
Spending time outside of the studio, whether it be in the library or meeting for tutorials, I now have a greater sense of knowledge from several disciplines I can now apply to my practice and feedback from several sources that will benefit the development of new ideas. I have also found that I am more structured and focused on my work, whereas before I spent little time researching and too much time in the studio, which affected my overall progress up to this point. At first, the thought of writing a dissertation was daunting and I felt that I wouldn’t be able to accomplish doing so. If I had not started researching at the end of second year, I would have struggled long and hard to find what I needed in time to start writing confidently. After I began researching I found that it was incredibly interesting and at times I couldn’t put a book down or stop writing. I have improved my academic skills and I am more confident in my capabilities.
Overall, the constellation module this year has benefitted my academic research, writing skills, time management and studio practice. I feel that I am better at explaining my reasoning behind presenting my work in a specific way and can form a structured argument. I have experienced a new level of confidence and motivation to return to the studio and can see new ways in which I can develop on existing ideas that had seemed to run their course and hopefully expand into new ideas.


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A nocturnal twenty-something artist

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