After saying that this year I would take a break from teaching and exhibitions to focus entirely on a "new direction" especially whilst attending the year mentoring Course at Newlyn, I find myself giving talks, putting work into several shows and saying yes to other projects and opportunities. I guess you can't predict when these things will come along, and as a self employed artist you have to say yes to income.
I have therefore had to re- think the phrase "new direction" what is that exactly?
For me I think it meant that I was a little tired of what I was doing, the 4 year coastal project had taken its toll and I had run a few too many workshops and had back to back exhibitions for two years. New direction just meant new places and a bit more breathing space.
There is no new direction as such just a continuation and progression of ideas, some of which I may have already visited at different times, some not. The support, constructive criticism and encouragement from the mentoring tutors and other students has been invaluable in clarifying my practice.
I am planning an exhibition in Sept 2017 called "Controlled Burning". Below is the gallery submission:
The title for the exhibition "Controlled Burning" has several meanings for me:
Fire is described as "..a natural agent of change". I am currently on a one year mentoring course at the Newlyn School of Art. My work is evolving in new ways and I am being pushed firmly out of my comfort zone. It is exciting and daunting at the same time, it is the fire I needed to produce new work and to change and develop my practice.
Controlled Burning is a form of 'prescribed fire' and is used in the management of certain eco-systems such as moorland. On Dartmoor it is called "swaling" and I have, for a long time, been quite obsessed by it. The patterns it leaves behind, the smell that lingers in the air and then later the new growth that it encourages. I will be using materials that are the result of fire such as charcoal and ash, as well as using fire to manipulate printing plates, paintings and materials.
Making art is often an uncontrollably driven path to walk down; the phrase "burning desire" describes the passion that artists like myself have. I am constantly trying to keep this under control and to direct my energies into producing good work. However, too much control can stamp out ideas and experimentation. I think that the title aptly describes my art practice:
"..controlled and uncontrolled acts of burning to avoid spotaneous self-combustion".