Peer to peer review
Jon Chinn was kind enough to watch and comment on my oral presentation and in response to my concerns, he asked if perhaps I could use men as my subject. He also asked if I’d seen any of Monica Sjoo‘s work. He also mentioned that James Campbell might be a good place to start in terms of awareness of alternative cultures.
Portfolio Review with Claire Bottomley 08 Jul 2021
I really enjoyed watching Vanessa Fairfax Woods present her portfolio and hear her discuss where she’s at and the direction she’s considering taking. I really enjoy Vanessa’s work and how she challenges the fashion/beauty industry. I love the F Word work she did and the Gorge series she produced.
Patrick Staff was mentioned as a reference for her future work, Staff is a contemporary performance artist and their work deals with biopolitics and queer identity.
During my portfolio review Claire referenced Juno Calypso, Juno “looks at femininity through a dark comedy lens” and Juno’s work does at times have the aesthetic of the beauty magazine image, which is how Claire perceived my work. Claire mentioned how my work had a magazine-like quality to it with the use of the commercial language and it mimics the imagery we often see in advertising. Claire recommended playing around with text and language as in Barbara Kruger’s work and bringing my past work as a graphic designer into my photography practice. Vanessa mentioned that I could consider shampoo bottles in a similar way to the face masks I used as they often come with tag lines such as dry, damaged and limp. Claire then commented on the invisible labour series I presented and referenced the idea of using Sainsbury’s “Taste the difference” tag line to accompany the image with the shopping bags.
These comments led me to consider the idea of producing a sort of magazine full of imagery that subverts the typical beauty and lifestyle messages pushed onto women by the beauty industry.
Claire also referenced the work of Clare Gallagher in her series Domestic Drift. https://www.claregallagher.co.uk/domestic-drift and The Second Shift https://www.claregallagher.co.uk/the-second-shift referencing the unpaid labour of mothers.
A really important point that Claire made was that when I was presenting my work, when she saw a white woman wearing a grey face mask she was concerned about the implications of that in respect of how that image could be read out of context. I too have had this concern when creating this series. I have been very considered in the use of the colours used in the face masks, tweaking some to make them appear more green, to avoid the issue of it being interpreted that I am in some way making a comment about wearing a darker skin toned mask on my face. I also considered the pairing of the text with the images to make sure that if a single image was shared out of the context of the whole series, that it as a stand alone piece did not carry any negative racial connotations.
Portfolio Review with Sharon Young 07 Jul 2021
I really enjoyed attending the portfolio reviews, I found that seeing others present their work who are further along in the MA course really useful. This is my first time presenting my work to an audience in this way and I was hoping that by watching other and having a go myself I would start to break down some of the barriers I have when it comes to speaking about my work. I really enjoyed seeing the diversity of work that others were pursuing and listening to the questions they asked and overcoming the stumbling blocks they were discovering along the way. All in all I felt like I was a part of the same community with us all working towards the same goal albeit at different stages of the process.
It was really interesting to get different perspectives on my work from different tutors. Also in my review with Claire Vanessa Fairfax Woods was in the review session whose work I greatly admire and appreciate. She too provided me with some really interesting pointers and ideas on things to look at/consider which was tremendously useful.
Jasmine Murray presented first and it was really interesting to see her work, how it had developed and the questions she was asking as she was about to graduate from the MA programme. Jasmine’s interests are in the self censorship on social media and the internet. She was looking into witch trials, birdwatching (public policing comments) and cancel culture as well as AI. It was amazing to watch Sharon provide feedback to someone at a much more advanced stage of the MA than I am. Lots of learning to take away from just watching and listening to the two of them interact and ask and answer questions.
Following my presentation Sharon asked what I wanted from the review and I admitted that I was more here for the experience than to ask any specific questions. I think having been to these reviews and having watched others talk about their work and then having a chance for me to talk about my work has been invaluable!
Sharon made some suggestions such as getting my 5 year old daughter to photograph me. Which is an interesting idea, because my first thought was that this would lead to a whole series of very unflattering images, but as I continued along that thought I questioned whether this could be the point. Perhaps seeing that the person who admires me most actually sees all the parts and angles of me that I try my best to conceal and hide when presenting myself to the rest of the world. It’s definitely an interesting concept.
The Failed Realist series by Trish Morrisey references the stage of child development whereby a child’s mark making is skills are not as advanced as the expression they wish to create, which is referred to as The Failed Realist Stage. This series is a collaboration with her daughter through the use of face paints.
Sharon also references Sophie Federichi who looked at feminist economics but from googling various spellings of that name I’m not coming up with any results which seem relevant.
Lorna Simpson’s work was referenced by Sharon and as I look at her body of work I can see that she used both collage and photography her works “confront and challenge narrow, conventional views of gender, identity, culture, history and memory”
Hannah Wilke’s work was also referenced, which I came across in my Feminism in Contemporary Art Course.
Sharon also encouraged me to share work that failed and didn’t work as part of the process.
Feedback from 1:1 – draft presentation with Michelle Sank
Michelle suggested the following during my 1:1 tutorial on 01 Jul 2021.
The writings of Laura Mulvey
I am about two-thirds of the way through Laura Mulvey’s collection of essays. Having not seen a lot of the old movies which are referenced in some of her earlier essays I found some parts difficult to relate to but as the essays have progressed (they’re presented chronologically in the book) I’m finding I’m enjoying and taking much more from her works.
Although Wendy McMurdo has completed a series using masks, I actually found her families work really interesting from a process perspective, I found her post-production work particularly interesting.
Jeff Wall – staged photography that looks in the moment
After voicing concerns that my photography was more constructed/staged than the more traditional notion of photography Michelle referenced the work of Jeff Wall as an example of a photographer whose work appears as though the decisive moment was stumbled upon through chance but in fact, were often constructed/staged. His work references socio economic problems which is an aspect I find particularly interesting.
Julie Cockburn – stitching in images
After mentioning that I am interested in exploring the use of threads and stitching onto photographic prints Michelle recommended looking at Julie Cockburn’s work.
Michelle mentioned the work of Helen Sear. I find some of her post production techniques very interesting particularly from a mixed media perspective.
Michelle also referenced Jenni Dutton’s work – Dementia Darnings – as an example of mixing tapestry/threads with portraits..
http://www.jennidutton.com/memorydress.html this dress made me think of the “jumper of motherhood” idea/sketch which I had. My concept was to use different old jumpers from the local community to represent how we try to stitch together an idea of how to be a mother by taking bits and pieces of advice from a variety of sources and stitching it together to create a sort of ill-fitting garment that we try and squeeze and contort ourselves into.
http://www.jennidutton.com/motherlove.html is where Jenni Dutton stirtches threads into images and they are left to hang loosely from the portrait