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Critical Annotation

In choosing precedent artists relevant to my work I initially started with those related to my aesthetic and material interests as a painter (scale, colour palette and loose, gestural mark making: Adam Lee, Gommaar Gilliams, Maja Ruznic, Jahnne Pascoe-White). While many of the painters chosen practise exclusively as painters, some of the artists I have selected work beyond the traditional process of studio painting to deliberately enrich their work through a broadened approach to materiality: Nicola Moss, uses frottage to impress details directly from the landscape into her work and builds up her paintings with individual pre painted and hand cut paper, Jahnne Pascoe-White and Sigrid Holmwood go beyond the use of commercially produced paint to create their own pigments, whereas Maja Ruznic utilises the residual pigment in her previously used thinners by pouring it over a fresh canvas to build up a painting’s initial layers. Rachel Klinghoffer and Vivienne Binns bring other material fragments into their paintings by embedding personal artefacts, along with their associated histories and narratives, directly into their work.

This rethinking of what is usually valued or omitted from the art making process has been an important consideration for me this semester, aligning with the philosophical provocation to broaden my perception of what has material value. Given the growing concern for our environmental impact as a species, it is a particularly problematic time to be a painter, yet the desire to tether my practice to a process that is visceral and tactile persists and I have been considering this need through a New Materialist lens, with an understanding that our bodily, somatic experience is just as important as an intellectual endeavour, and anyway, I ought not to try and preference one over the other. With the understanding that my practice oscillates somewhere between material and immaterial (i.e., relational) interests, I have included artists from the less materialist end of the art making spectrum: those committed to a social practice, such as Mary Mattingly and Monique Redmond. These were chosen because they use matter, and more specifically plants, as a conduit for engagement with others. 

While I have framed my work in terms of an expanded painting practice, perhaps it is not even useful to me to limit my practice by choice of media; I am more interested in defining my practice by my values and intentions. The 1969 manifesto of Mierle Laderman Ukeles has been useful to me as a prompt to write my own manifesto and to clarify my practice as values-led with the particular intention to be present in the world in a caring and attentive way. This is a broad aim, but my existing affiliation with plants provides a tactile and practicable starting point for me to physically engage with this intention, bringing it firstly into an embodied enactment and then (when further iterated through documentation), into more visually and physically tangible forms of expression.

Artists such as Emma Fielden and Aude Parichot, who use the traditional process of drawing but extend it into a three dimensional and durational performative practice layered with technologies such as video and light projection, challenge the commodification of art without truly rejecting its commercial viability and this is what I am aiming for within my own practice. I am aiming to create in a multi-layered and ever-evolving way, where fragments / iterations of work break off at some point to perhaps circulate as commodities, but only as one of many possible trajectories for the work (I am pragmatic enough to acknowledge that my practice needs to generate some income in order to sustain me -  and itself). Likewise, the images, text and other digital creations that I circulate via the virtual realm are not shared purely as a marketing exercise, but as artworks within and of themselves, intended to engage with others beyond a capitalistic interpretation. 

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