Summer Artist Statement

Reminiscing about why I began the theme of horror in my work, using questions such as what makes something or someone scary, I started this term certain I wanted to continue this theme. With the presence of the Uncanny Valley lying in the background of my work, I decided to try a few processes this term I’ve never used before in an effort to try and break past my artist block which I’d been stuck with since the Christmas holidays.

To kickstart my ideas on what processes I could try out I began to brain storm, keeping in mind the idea I had to fall back on from last term if I seriously couldn’t get past the block, and from this I decided to try out the moulding and casting process, using alginate, plaster and resin. My experimental batch of alginate didn’t go too well as I’d underestimated the size of the tub in comparison to my hand, the subject I planned to recreate as a cast, and therefore there wasn’t enough to cover my whole hand. Other than this dilemma the mould set quite well and despite the limited time I had to use it, 3 days until it goes moldy, I was able to create 2 casts from it, 1 resin and 1 plaster. The plaster, despite the breakage in the finger, came out surprisingly well, capturing every crease left in the mould from my hand. The resin went terribly, not drying properly despite the extended amount of time left for it to dry, and it was left with a sticky residue.

After this I begun to try another method of casting, which featured using modroc as the mould, and then pouring plaster inside it once dry. One the plaster cast was dry the modroc had to be ripped off, from this I created a face of which I’m not too keen on as the plaster set with creases throughout it.

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Before moving on to different casts, eg limbs which was an idea following finding Kiki Smiths ‘Nuit’ work, I had a crit with my tutor and group and as a whole we agreed that the work I was doing wasn’t exactly going anywhere, and I had lost my way in trying to create relevant work. I didn’t want to create pieces which could display fear, but invoke fear, or reflect feelings or scenes in horror movies. Although to follow the Uncanny Valley theory it means my work would have to look life like in some way, I think that these works just weren’t the type of life like needed to convey the fear I wanted. From this I decided to go back to the last point I knew that my work was conveying my intentions well, the masks. I was recommended artists such as Marc Quinn for his works ‘Self’, and I used sources such as the video game ‘Last of Us’, and demons from ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ for ideas and inspiration. After creating 2 masks I branched out and made a modroc hand resembling a sketch I made, a hand with shard of something coming out of the wrist. I presented this hand and the 2 masks for the practise exhibition.

 

At this exhibition I finally had an idea hit me, one I was determined to try. I wanted to create a life size skeleton or mannequin and decorate them accordingly. Leaning more towards skeleton I began to track down a decent sized skeleton, as I felt the height was an important part to the work. I looked into another process I’d never tried before, Paper Mache, in the hopes it would feel and look better on the skeleton than modroc, as I felt that modroc wasnt quite the right sort of method I wanted on this skeleton. This was proven more to me after I spent some time modrocing the legs to thicken them up. After researching into other artists, such as Reva Castillenti, a particular artist popped up again, Kiki Smith. She has made a piece called ‘Hard Soft Bodies’ which is made from paper mache, and another called ‘Ribs’ made from plaster and thread. Seeing these works made me really excited as from her work I could clearly see the potential paper mache has and could have in my work, an excitement made stronger after seeing how well the paper mache was looking on the rib cage of my skeleton.

For the final exhibition in the Summer Term I plan to present this skeleton in one of the ways I’ve sketched, the main one I’m leaning towards is hanging it from the ceiling to make it on eye level with the viewer with its feet touching the ground like it’s standing, which is in a loose way recreating the scene in a horror film in which the victim tries to escape just to turn around at the last second and end up face to face with the killer.

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