Friday, 14 March 2014

Seizure

In 2008 Roger Hiorns, commissioned by Artangel and the Jerwood Charitable Foundation, transformed an empty council flat in Southwark, London, into a sparkling blue environment of copper sulphate crystals. Seizure was created using 75,000 litres of liquid copper sulphate, which was pumped into the former council flat to create a strangely beautiful and somewhat menacing crystalline growth on the walls, floor, ceiling and bath of the abandoned dwelling.




source: http://www.ysp.co.uk/shop/product/roger-hiorns-seizure-2008/2013-poster 

Hiorns' transformation of a formerly domestic space into what could be described as a grand-scale petri dish is fascinating: it forces viewers to immerse themselves in a strangely tactile and fantastical world. In a similar way to Mark Rothko's large canvases describing nondescript doorways of colour lend their viewers an escape from their own consciousness, Hiorns' cobalt blue environment presents a suspension of reality, and the arresting colour with it's multifaceted surfaces means that there are a myriad of things viewers can see in the abstraction. Colour is immeasurably powerful, when we shut our eyes we do not escape it's hold, and indeed one of the effects of some drug usage is the increase of vividness in our minds.

under the microscope

Human fascination with the inexplicable is what draws me towards the world of science. The concept of perception is strong in my work: I like the ambiguity of abstraction, and of surprising new textures, mediums and processes. I aim to create a natural sense of intrigue in those who view my work, similar to the way people stare down microscopes at indescribably small particles, or through telescopes into infinite universe: it's about learning and viewing things we are yet to fully understand. In the 21st century, where we all have access to thousands of years worth of knowledge at the click of a button, I believe there is a purity in the unknown; the word itself is pregnant with possibility.

Recently, a company called Bevshots produced a series of photographs of alcohol samples under the microscope at the Florida State University's chemistry labs. The images are aesthetically beautiful and undoubtedly unrecognisable. The vivid colours are created by the various acids and sugars in the cocktails but they are thrown into abstraction by the magnification of the lens.







Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Kieth Tyson

Kieth Tyson's work demonstrates a fascination with scientific systems and also their limitations, ‘the difference between the scientific reductionist view and experience’. One theme is the idea of unpredictability. The Thinker is a powerful computer without any connection to a display that would provide a way of knowing just what it is ‘thinking’. This is contrasted with Tyson's own wall drawings, which make visible his own thought processes and responses to external events.




Ideas of accidents, alchemy and zooming on a vast scale, (in or out).

Monday, 24 February 2014

Aisling Hedgecock




Hedgecock's individually coloured and clustered polystyrene balls influence my work due to my interest in a number of it's elements: the vibrant contrasting colours; the sense of something living; the zoomed in short-field-depth photography which makes the above images look like microscopic worlds of their own; the organic nature of the works which seem to allow the materials/process to dictate the outcome of the pieces; the nature of the polystyrene which makes the surface appear incredibly intricate and tactile.
Like a drawn image created from an infinite number of marks, Aisling's sculptures appear to have the potential to keep growing. They are bursting with the theme of growth and infinitum, which for me links them to the fantastical.

Freedom

The pursuit of freedom is a common theme across all areas of the arts. I include science, literature, art, and music under the "arts" umbrella, because in their own ways they all pursue a deeper understanding of life and what it means to exist as an individual human with a mind and soul of it's own. 

Works such as On the Road (1957) by Jack Kerouac, Into the Wild by Christopher McCandless, and The Call of the Wild by Jack London, have influenced how I view the world around me, and my relationships with people in my life. I am instinctively drawn to the Beat Generation literature in particular, the members of which were a group of American post-WWII writers who came to prominence in the 1950s, and the work of which centres around a rejection of received societal standards, innovations in style, experimentation with drugs, alternative sexualities and explicit portrayals of the human condition. Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg are perhaps the most heavily quoted of the crew, who almost all ended up congregating in San Francisco in the mid-50s. Since the peak of their creative output, elements of the expanding Beat movement were incorporated in the hippie and larger counterculture movements. 

“I was surprised, as always, be how easy the act of leaving was, and how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich with possibility.” 
“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” 
     - Jack Kerouac, On The Road

Freedom seems to manifest itself in a multitude of different ways. One view, championed by McCandless, who indeed died on his "great Alaskan adventure", was that one had to reject modern society and our disgustingly materialist culture; however Kerouac's less radical rout of travelling in the hope of reaching a state of self discovery and euphoria through soul-to-soul understanding is much more interesting to me. The empty repetition of small talk has no place in this kind of freedom: freedom of expression and freedom of thought. Later in the 20th century Hunter S. Thompson's "Gonzo" fluidity of word and his arresting recounts of experimental drug usage in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas represents the latter of the areas in my opinion. Both he and Kerouac wrote with a flow and passionate drive which infects every word and certainly as a reader I felt transported into the mad rush of their lives. 

The small important details they both so beautifully pick out of the daily grind is another aspect of their writing that I have been contemplating: this process of selecting significance is what artists have to do every time they question their work or exhibit it in a gallery. The stunningly scripted French film Amelie is a perfect example of where the interest lies in the detail; the zooming in on otherwise passable moments.