In Morely's book 'The Contemporary Sublime', 2010 he writes -
“The sublime experience is fundamentally transformative, about the relationship between disorder and order, and the disruption of the stable coordinates of time and space. Something rushes in and we are profoundly altered." (Morley, 2010 p.12).
Artists and photographers; being observers and creators of visual and conceptual objects and ideas, seek to deliver an experience to themselves and to their audience; to ask questions and to some bring about change. Yet there is difficulty in representing a sublime or in the case of this essay a toxic sublime experience. The artist needs to ask themselves several aesthetic and moral questions about the work they are making and evaluate whether or not the work made addresses the issue of toxicity within the sublime and then continues to do so within a gallery setting; surrounded by clean white space and within a safe environment. Is the value of the toxicity reduced once viewed in a gallery setting? What is the artist saying about toxicity within the sublime? Does the toxic within the sublime risk becoming too safe and therefore creating a space for complacency?
My personal interest in this topic has grown from the increase of fly tipping within my community in Hertfordshire. Being witness to large amounts of waste piled up within beautiful forests, I wondered about the sublimity of the waste, having experienced something of the sublime when I encountered the scene. I wanted to explore this feeling and ask how we can understand the toxic sublime in art.
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We talked about the textile art scene / fine art scene and ways of developing work / finding work / developing profile which was hugely helpful.
Marian Bijlenga - thinking about gaps and missing elements. Using the wall as part of the work.
I began this week planning to make 3 pieces which would be around 80 x 80 cm. However, once I began work on one of the pieces, I found that there were two different things happening within the composition so I decided to cut the piece up and make 4 smaller pieces out of it. Each piece now measure 40 x 40cm. I find that I try to fit too much in, so chopping it up and moving things around naturally allows for more space within each piece.
Below left - the piece prior to cutting up and one of the sections afterwards.
Thoughts and ideas
Samuel Palmer 1805 - 1881
Work is sort of, very slowly and sporadically continuing despite the lockdown. During my last tutorial with Kerry in December, we agreed that much of my work held a large amount of joy. So I have decided to take that idea of joy and make work that makes me joyful about things that fill me with joy! I have an allotment and this is one of the places that I love the most. The work I have been doing is loosely based on planting seeds; organic growth; joy; texture and colour. I have been experimenting with different materials and have returned to textiles. The materials I am using in my work are a combination of puff binder, stitch, beads and paint. I use 3d paint and acrylic mixed with a fabric medium. I like to sprinkle beads onto the surface and build up layers of texture and colour so that surface looks like the surface of the soil, albeit a very colourful one! Another tutor, Sally tells me that my work is full of joy and energy and it is like I am painting with hundreds and thousands – I love this idea. I like to make surfaces that are “juicy”, that would make the viewer feel a hunger for colour and texture, to want to touch it and become lost within it. My aim is to overwhelm the visual sense of the viewer.
I would describe my process at the moment as organic and playful. I love to combine different techniques to provide an abundance of stimulation on the surface. The puff binder is exciting as it behaves in an unpredictable manner and provides me with an unknown terrain on which to work. Towards the end of this page are some pieces without the puff binder which I love too - I think for the final work I create for my MA I will work on paper using a combination of these processes. Considering the lockdown and lack of space and time I will aim to make 3 A2 pieces for the final work. I don't feel the need to defer for a year as I feel as though I am ready to continue by myself. The MA has given me so much to move forwards with and I feel as though I have already achieved what I had hoped which was to stir things up creatively and remind me how to be an artist again.