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Rusty mortar rake disc, paper bag and computer print
Print is A1 size
This sculpture/print was my contribution to the 'In the bag' show at the Waterside Arts Centre, Sale. A group of twenty or so artists were each given a mystery object in a white paper bag and they had six months to produce a piece of work that incorporated the object and the bag and explored the theme of shopping in relation to art.
realised that the object I received, the rusty mortar rake disc,
actually possessed enough aesthetic appeal (in terms of form, colour and
texture) without needing any modification from me. There is a limit to
how many ways you can cut and re-shape a disc, treating it as a
readymade was the best approach, I decided.
So how could I relate this to shopping and my artistic practice, well I did want to explore the secondhand status of the object, as a lot of my shopping is buying secondhand items. I wanted to highlight how shopping enables the consumption and re-consumption of objects and relate this to the recycling of ideas and materials necessary in my artistic practice. Luckily I had the brainwave of just forcing the paper bag (which the disc came in) through the hole in the middle of the disc – just to see what happened and also to physically relate the two objects through a process (you could also view the bag as being literally consumed by the disc). The end result was a pretty tattered and soiled paper bag, which I considered as having a new aesthetic – directly as a result of the process. White paper bags are very sculptural anyway, the way the folds and facets catch the light, so I was helped by this fact as well.
The second part of the artwork is a necessary visual description of the disc/bag interaction process which I have produced in the form of a computer graphic print. This could be seen as ‘instructions’ for the artistic process completed, whilst also creating extra levels of ‘consumption’ – the instructions being thirdhand consumption of the disc, then the colouring in of the instructions by another hand, then consumption of the instructions by the viewer.
Although I am mainly a sculptor, my interest in computer graphics is also evident in the work. My interest however is in the things that computers do specifically i.e. they can fill in even areas of colour and create symmetrical forms easily but cannot draw smooth ‘hand-drawn’ lines so well. In the computer print I was also interested in using the colouring book metaphor to create related and unrelated colour selections and bad drawing, to make the viewer more aware of the process itself which, for me, underpins all the qualities the finished product has.