Week 6 – Portfolio Review & Tutorial

This week included a portfolio review and a 1:1 tutorial with my tutor. I received a lot of great feedback on work to date and several useful leads to follow up.

Reviewing my WIP with my tutor, there were two areas identified for further research and experimentation to determine how to develop them further. I have started to comment on my images to orientate the viewer to the artwork that is used in the composite and describe the physical location in general terms. There are rather terse with limited use of bold text to strengthen key information. This is intentional, as I want the viewer to not have the picture spelled out to them, but provide enough to get the gist of the work. There is still room for improvement here.

The appropriated paintings, especially when only selected iconography are utilized, may not be that familiar to viewers. Similarly, why this painting should be relevant and an association made with the underlying photograph. This is somewhat problematic to solve, I can either elaborate on each painting and extensively describe the artwork per picture or include an appendix of sorts where the paintings are described.

Or as suggested, if people are interested they can just Google it as sufficient information exists in the abbreviated comments to enable a more detailed research. I am inclined towards the latter option, but I wait for more feedback before finally deciding. Personally, not a fan of long texts accompanying images, I much prefer to draw my own conclusions.

Pieter Coecke van Aelst
Gluttony(1550 -1560) 
Factory Pig Farm
Noord Brabant, The Netherlands (2021)

A further point discussed was the inclusion of people in the images. As I have been working through various readings on semiotics and advertising, I wanted to create some composite images where the farm facilities formed an in situ art gallery. Aside from the absurd aspect of such a construction, I want to create a further associative meaning where the high culture of-the-art gallery is juxtaposed with the base nature of the brutal factory pig farm. By combining a large scale tapestry, placard and museum guard, the intended meaning of an art gallery should hopefully be the dominant reading.

The tapestry is aptly named ‘Gluttony’ and juxtaposed with a factory pig farm as a leading signifier. Whether the signified meaning of an art gallery is created and the alluded contrast in culture is another thing. We discussed further exploring this avenue and including more people in additional images to develop the theme and enrich the work. Overall, the sophistication of my portfolio is increasing and as I read and learn, more new ideas come into being to investigate and include.

The most important to date is the widening of the iconography used in the images from only Hieronymous Bosch & The Haywain to include other Bosch works, William Blake, Da Vinci and Pieter Coecke van Aelst. Furthermore, the commenting of images to orientate viewers, although with some caveats there on how to make this more effective.

William Blake, Adam naming the beasts, 1810

Friday’s portfolio review was with Andy Hughes, a photographer well known for his environmental efforts in bringing attention to discarded plastic waste and the threat it poses. Overall, this was a very positive review and a stimulating discussion on factory farming and the wider issues of ecological damage and waste. Two books are recommended reading, Rich Hardy, ‘Not as Nature Intended’ and Gay Hawkins, ‘The Ethics of Waste’ both of which I now have. A couple of performance artists, Franko B, and Ron Athey were recommended to check out. Andy suggested that rather than the iconography looking painted, his impression was more like tattooed. This is a great insight and could really take my work in a new direction.

The work of Wim Delvoye and his tattooing of pigs was one example, as were the previously mentioned performance artists. I need to sit and digest this and think about where I can take this. A lot of thoughts and ideas are kicking around. I am already planning to beam some of my completed work onto building/facilities related to meat production, but this idea of tattoos opens up entirely new lines of investigation.

Overall, the symposium week has been very useful, I attended as many presentations as possible and learnt a great deal about other artists practices and gained a lot of insight into the final major project and how others have prepared including the very high quality of work produced by all those that presented. During the final keynote by Mariama Attah a photography curator, she made the remark that increasingly she sees that consumers of artwork are frequently interested in the backstory and details of how a photographic body of work went from idea to realisation and journal/logs are good examples of that. Nice to think this CRJ may become a record for how my project developed.

References

ATHEY, Ron. 2021. ‘Ron Athey’. Ron Athey [online]. Available at: https://www.ronathey.org/ [accessed 8 Mar 2021].

DELVOYE, Wim. 2021. ‘Wim Delvoye’. [online]. Available at: https://wimdelvoye.be/ [accessed 8 Mar 2021].

‘Franko B’. 2021. Franko B [online]. Available at: http://www.franko-b.com/home.html [accessed 8 Mar 2021].

HARDY, Rich. 2020. Not as Nature Intended.

HAWKINS, Gay. 2005. The Ethics of Waste: How We Relate to Rubbish. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

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