11 November 2020

My tutor shares concerns that she found too a big seperation between making and theory. (I am at a point where it seems my material making is not enough to make it through the course).

I urgently need to find the balance between praxis and theoria. I will comment on the assignment separate from the exercises and research topics, as this is the culmination of the work done for this part of the course. I am concerned and want to reflect with an open intention, as it is about my own learning and successfully work through the course. I need to take note and see where my understanding has gone astray by presenting my assignment which should have been more developed and explored in a material way – more paintings or better integration of theory (?) The questions i am contemplating now is hard and is asking some serious reflection: how I develop topics and an ontology as I attempted in this assignment? I need to take a critical look at that which I did fail to see important or that which I do not understand in terms of lack of making my tutor is referring to in this part.


Looking back at the previous feedback from my tutor, I am very aware of her nudging me to place my work in these conversations and thoughts I developed – to show a material investigation, show a practice. I clearly battled with material integration of theory and making within the way the exercises and research topics are presented in part 3. I did not see the need for material work in most of the exercises or Research questions of Part 3. I understood that these were written based responses asked of me, and from that point of view I worked reflection and analysis and other more practical(material?) suggestions such as lists or diagrams. What does this imply if my tutor reflects that she is concerned with the lack of material exploration?

I need to consider if I am not engaging with enough openness – is this the continued stifled ?(ness): how to interpret it? I saw it as not being open enough or is it that the work in general is just parting with information and not translated by showing my own understanding? My tutor writes about the exercise, ‘an experiment in writing’, :”..whilst you are very good at analysing the work of others through the synthesis of critique and affirmation, I am still finding it hard to find where you exist with it. the pages of the exercises here.…” With regards to the exercises my critical thinking is again not being explored through the making, which is my writing, but this is not seen as thorough enough thoughts/work? I need to have this unpacked to work at it. I need my tutors advice and guidance here.

My strengths are based in my research. It seems I need a body of work as evidence of an investigation through materials for this part. I need to understand how this body of work needs to look at – written in different style?Does it mean bringing my fragmented words/work into these discussions – how I think after I learnt – my reaction on those ideas? My tutor comments that it did not show material work ( I did, but not enough to convey my learning) and I wrote about it. Do I need to look at how I write about my learning – discuss my own interpretation deeper? I am not sure about this. I will focus a few hours on a better understanding of implementing a practice lead research – will read scholarly articles and make notes for learning and implementation of such a process.

I have not at this stage consider other practices than drawing or painting. I am uncertain to try other mediums as a form of studio practice. My tutor did not comment on my collage making attempts. I am trying to use writing in this course to understand my own practice better and to keep an open-ended enquiry going. I understood the material process will be developed in the parallel project which should (?) be running alongside, but I also realize know that I have not shown enough material development these.

After contemplating the report I decided to go back to exercise 3.3 and tackle my tutors question as to how my ‘interesting ideas and round the specific and universality sit within my own practice. I will attend to this immediately. Regarding the work in the course I am asking myself if my position as a maker gets hidden through written words a well. I want to put what I wrote in this part here: “Love sees the function of experience in a work is to take us to the limits of our knowledge and then act as a form of criticism on the world it inhabits (2005,169). The viewers response and the artists attitude is often where the value in art is found (2005,172).  She makes a comparison between how different the work of Emin and photographic artist, Richard Billingham’s work was received at the Sensation exhibition in 1997. Billingham showed photographs of his dysfunctional family.” The reason is to ask myself how to I put myself in this space. Do I say I understand (my background as social worker and relationship with people whom have shared similar stories about growing up in dysfunctional families) or focus on work? I think my work comments on how I view the world, in fact I am looking for ways to interact – I think about changing views and how to use my work as a catalyst (rhino drawings in my contemplating rhino blog) or educator, but do like the idea of being more journalistic in working with facts and science to show different views and issues. I am wary of ‘preachy’ or judgemental positions. I do prefer to stay in the background and use the objects/things to bring across ideas.

How do I get out of this place to the real authentic work I would like to do? I need guidance to convey the authenticity of my voice, but to I want to show what the other expect, if it does not come from a truthful place? Am I not visible enough – I saw reading, reflecting and writing as my work – I do enjoy the course but feel at lost for where it went so wrong. I can consider using broken language as a place to make work and interrogate ideas – here I refer to comments on Story telling where my tutor see possibilities to use it. I like using fragmented thoughts – it keeps the flow of ideas going in my mind. My tutor suggested: ” you are good at putting fragments together in written form, so could this be an exciting place to play, to remove words, fragment, overlay and so on could become a really interesting practice. ” My tutor suggested reading material, which I will make the time to do – another search to find the ‘HOW’ of integrating theory into my practice. I have enjoyed the course so far – the interaction with theory about art and making confirmed to me why I wanted to study Fine Arts – l never considered from my course to become an artist – this is in the making. I need a foundation that is solid and develop my own thinking and opinions on why I make and what I make.

I am reminded of investigating things – my ideas around it as in exercise 3.8. – here I should have done it through making. My comments on Exercise 3.9 where I tried to make connections between materials and my thinking is seen as ‘literal making’ and again praxis is getting lost. This is the space where I focussed on the work of Jenny Saville and getting behind a painting, the materiality. I will go back to these two exercises.

Assignment 3

Although concepts in my work is seen – “this quiet painting considers loss, containment, memories and objects” , the topic was not considered as explored enough. I am referred to work of Brian Dillon and look at this in much closer detail – which I set out to do immediately. I need to reflect on what is expected and my lack of getting it. The body of work I presented for this assignment lacked more painting. I used the smaller drawings in the assignment as a visual form of my fragmented thinking as well as enquiry into the objects I was painting. I do think the writing was too long. Did I just project in my work a too thin surface thing? I saw my assignment as exploring these ideas and believe I can still develop it by making material enquiries into some of the objects. I need guidance.

I prefer to focus on New Materialist ideas – I am comfortable within these ideas and can consider to use ideas of ‘an experiment in writing’.

My tutor referred to sketchbooks and developmental material and said that I am not evidencing any developmental studies here and the progression of an idea is missing across the assignment. I agree, as I showed no developmental drawings of my idea and need to learn from this misjudgement. Doing more preparatory drawings show my thinking process. I realise I was hooked onto an idea and explored as I went along – the idea was that the objects in my work became the subjects which I could explore. I understand it was too little – not enough work shown.

Research points

The work is seen as extremely thorough and wide reading across, but my supported images and citations shows a separation – material exploration is a serious issue. It is suggested I return to a paragraph I wrote – I feel I get the understanding – the need to think with my process of making, if it is painting or drawing – thinking with the paint in hand or the charcoal in hand. I need to show the ‘evidence’ – work if I say this is my thinking. Hope I can have clarity on this. How to get to the point where ” the conversation between reading, thinking is not so thin”……… will be my challenge. Should I have taken more time to get in under my skin and out into a better presented painting? Do I re work part 3? I am willing to take that route, if that would help me to get to the level I need to be at this stage of the process.

Parallel project

The tutor sees some work there, but ask that I need otool at taking my wider reading and bring that into my owner enquiries – more widely across the course. She suggests the following: ” You need to continue looking at objects and their meaning to really gain much more momentum in terms of pursuing an idea through your practical output.’ I need to really think about what this means in terms of practical work – get to doing more work in this space!

I am considering the current layout – will look into making this blog easier to navigate – break it up into smaller parts.

During the past few weeks have been working on a self portrait and using a palette knife in order to see how I can bring the materiality of the paint into my work. Can figurative work be a way of finding myself within the theories I have been studying and challenge me to – showing myself or showing up? I see this as acting without too much thinking I added this to my parallel project – it is still a work in progress. I enjoy the freedom of exploring and the textures I am getting with the thicker drier paint. It reminds of sculpturing, but also it is part of my thinking, fragments of paint I can add, or subtract – I can erase/scrape as I learnt from the work practice of De Kooning. I use the palette knife as a form of brush stroke which is not tied to a specific form, the mixing of the paint also plays into this. I feel the paint is helping me to make choices about form and light by thinking about what is happening when I place a layer and trying to stay with my focus of capturing a moment of myself enjoying what my senses experienced in this moment I am trying to capture (photo image in parallel project blog) I do not see this work as particular good/bad. I am doing it for myself – I see it as learning through making. I enjoy that I can walk away and come back – dip in and out.I consider if it would not have been better to work with acrylics, but I believe the softness of the oil paint is what makes the experience of pushing on, being able to come back and develop texture and mark making, more textile to my own senses. I want to go back to the work of J Saville to see what I could use in my work. I do see questions arising to which I can react, which has to do with identity, place and does not need a lot of context but should be found in the materiality of the work. This is a photo taken at almost 5 years ago – I have changed physically and mentally. I want to capture the gaze of content/wonder, not that I am sure I have captured it if I look at the painting of 11 November – the eyes need work. I can see some development – put here is still work to be done, questions to be answered before it is a completed work in terms of reaching what I set out to do. It reminds me to keep looking for form – I need to find difference to describe it as I continue to work – this is the painting process.

My tutor suggested reading which I will do in the immediate future. The suggested list is:

Appadurai, A (1986) The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (a collection of essays – will try to find)

Miller, D (2010) Stuff. Cambridge: Polity (Google search – see I will really find value when it comes to ‘materiality’ material stuff)

Morton. T. (2013) Hyperobjects. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press ( I downloaded it on SCRIBD)

Action points to consider:

Have a follow up conversation with tutor on many questions and concerns arising

  • Send this blog to tutor today for consultation and guidance
  • Considering practice at this stage – I do feel lost between places and between things.
  • I want to focus on practice lead research and reflective account – I will develop more work around assignment 3 for the time being, before I continue with Part 4 and or had feedback from my tutor. My tutor suggests I explore this more as the practical output is to light at present.
  • Read the books – at least most of it.
  • My tutor suggests I start a sketchbook enquiry without text and work openly, with the hope to determine what I am investigating and why. I will do so – I am concerned and need to up my efforts. I need to find a comfortable space where I can be working authentically. I know that I live with ambivalence and that it is affecting how I relate to the world around me. The Covid pandemic has brought many lessons – I live in a space of temporality which I can see the end coming. I can also make the best of this space.
  • I want to take this experience to a place where I address my shortfalls and focus on learning with insight. I plan to develop more paintings/sketches as part of Assignment 3. I have added a watercolour study of a Gazelle, but do not think this changed the lack of development., it is an attempt at doing it more in depth.
  • I will start a daily drawing practice as of today.

Thinking about my practice. This feedback makes me consider my why – which is currently to be successful at my studies. I made a quick pastel drawing in my notebook whilst looking at the rising sun from my workspace. Again my minds plays with memories of trees and walks…. and how I see this as part of my practice.

(My creativity lies in my exploration of ideas and to having a quiet conversation whilst drawing or painting and/or writing – this takes time and effort)

I found butterfly wings in my studio space and put them on the quick pastel sketch – it felt good and right – one needs to look at your vulnerabilities with compassion.

New Materialism ideas I will add to Parallel project after these thoughts above.

[Interesting is that in both cases the trees are seen as invaders in the space they occupy. In Dubai these trees have been declared as aliens and may not be planted any longer. We stay in a development which was stopped after the 2008 financial crash – in a way nobody cares, no future plans by the developers – the dream was shattered and we are stranded in a unfinished compound and manmade palm shaped island, which was supposed to be a little Venice of the UAE. This shows uncertainty of plans we make and how we learn to adapt and get over loss. The trees around our boundary keeps us safe from unfinished water canals. The Eucalyptus trees on the farm are native Australian trees, and hardly any old farmstead in SA are without it, always nearby the home or farm sheds – a reminder of the colonial influence of my home country. They are a huge threat to our natural water resources and need to be kept at bay,…. but then, these are old and give a lovely to the landscape, as well as shade to the sheep during summer months. In both cases these trees were brought into the landscape because they are drought resistant and are fast growers – immediate gratification against maybe long term competition with indigenous plants as they compete? Planting trees cannot be seen as short or quick solution – it takes time to grow and mature. The joy should be in cultivating and not only in harvesting the fruits – in this case having shade or protection against wind and nurturing their growth]


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