Reflecting on My Final Installation
Throughout the chaotic time during the final year I have created a large amount of experimental installations that all utilise light. This year has been very difficult for me as what I have created is drastically out of my comfort zone. My past practice has typically involved representational portraiture and making a leap from creating ‘obvious art’ to art which conjures more than just a visual recognition has completely flustered my thoughts. Yet this leap turned out incredibly beneficial and aided my development as an installation artist.
Creating my frames had taken over three hundred hours to make as it was all hand sanded, crafted and painted by myself. This process taught me a lot about presentation and the intention of my art. I got caught up in trying to perfect my frames, to prove to myself that I can create refined work and reading a vast amount of material that relates to Minimalist sculpture somehow blind sighted my initial intention as to why I began the process of creating by hand. It must be stated that If I wanted a slick creation, I would have invested in allowing for a company to paint and create my sculptures, but this process would have strengthened my guilt of not feeling satisfied that I had created the art myself. During the preparation for degree show and painting a considerable number of layers onto my frames, tidying the silicone sealant and sanding to hide the ‘imperfections’ of my frames, I came to the realisation that I was becoming frustrated that my art was not perfect enough because it would never be a Judd or a Robert Morris by hand. I realised that embracing the handmade aspect is a perfectly fine finish because I am not to create a Minimalist replica. I needed to remind myself that I was only inspired by the era. It was never my goal to create a beautifully slick (Meyer) sculpture.
I began to respond to my latest installations by painting. Inspired by Barnet Newman, Malevich, Mondrian and Stella, I created a series of geometric paintings using mainly the three primary colours. The subject of these paintings referenced the shapes my frames were creating whilst stacked on top of each other. The same fascination I experienced when viewing the multiple line shadows on the wall. Creating these paintings reminded me about the intentional aspect of my art. I purposefully used masking tape to map out the lines, to create sharp marks on the canvas, but when I removed the tape some of the lines became feathered. I surprisingly did not become drastically fazed by this ‘mistake’ as this minor detail did not detract away from the painting. Something I had learnt through the process of creating my frames.
Painting my space and frames white was an intentional decision that was discovered very early on within my studies. When creating my Doug Wheeler inspired frames, I wanted to create the illusion that when the lights were on, the frame would blend into the surrounding white space. The decision to maintain that detailing is evident within my final installation. The acrylic/resin frames are entirely obvious when the lights are on, exposing the faint pastel colours. Once the lights go off the only obvious form is the shape within the frame. To extend on the pastel colour choice, I decided to paint some of the frames pastel due to the light reactive pigment changing the tone of the white silk paint I was painting the other frames with. It also worked well as It emphasises my response to Minimalism. It is in total contrast to the vibrancy of Minimalist sculpture. The rooms interior is also painted white, allowing for the lights to illuminate the room and projecting the shadows works better on a white wall and floor, instead of a black room.
Incorporating resin within my three acrylic frames allowed for the light reactive pigment to act as a glass sheet. I decided to use resin for my acrylic frames, as my earlier experimentations proved the incredible effect of projecting light through the medium.
My development of creation from mirrors to lights have investigated the countless possibilities I can go to create an immersive environment. Creating a space that requires the beholder’s presence to exist is evident within the after effect once the lights go off. My installation for the degree show can be experienced in two stages. The first stage requires movement to activate the lights that are placed around the room. The lights illuminate the frames mounted around the room, revealing a mural composition of shadows and lines on the surrounding walls. The space is large enough for the beholder to sit or stand amongst the frames and this process of staying still evokes the second stage.
Without the beholder the second stage would never be evident and would never exist. The movement ‘charges’ the light reactive pigment that coats the frames or is encased within the frames and once the lights go off, one by one the room will have frames glowing around the perimeter of the space. To experience my installation, your presence is required. A conclusive thought discovered by reading into Eliasson’s creations.
The intention of my art is to experience. To focus on the importance of shapes and lights instead of the finish. And most importantly, to become immersed within a room full of shapes.