How materials and environments ‘speak’ their own languages

old set of vehicle gears

The object in the photograph appears to be some sort of gear or part of machinery. It appears to be small in size and seems to be machined from metal. I can tell that this object is mad made possibly by a CNC machine or other industrial machinery. I believe this object was made to do a specific job and play a role in a bigger part of machinery. The object appears to have been well used and has many imperfections from the natural wear and tear. It also appears to be quite rustic, which implies that it isn’t well looked after.

The question is: to what extent is the object wabi sabi?

I feel that the object in itself is the complete opposite of wabi-sabi because of its characteristics. Meaning that the object was produced to do a job, its function and utility are primary values, this is the opposite to wabi-sabi as it suggests that an objects function and utility is not so important.The object being a part of machinery, means it has geometric organisation of form (sharp, precise, definite shapes and edges). This is a characteristic of modernism. Wabi sabi on the other hand has organic organization of form (soft, vague shapes and edges). In terms of the way the object appears in the photograph, the metal looks to be rusting which means it accommodates to degradation. This is the opposite of modernism so there are some aspects of the object that can fall into the wabi-sabi category.

Overall the object falls mainly into the modernism category because its structural form and the purpose it was created, however the way the objects appears in the photograph shows imperfections and signs of wabi –sabi.

How materials and tools hide from view

From the above image you can see I have sculpted a small scale human head using polymer clay. When sculpting on a small scale such as this, intricate tools are needed to obtain the small details around the eyes, nose and mouth. These details would be very difficult to achieve without the use of tools, they play an important role in the things we make.

 In my piece I used a sculpting tool to sculpt the clay. I use my hands to control the tool in different ways to create the marks. These marks are made by the tool and not my hand; however I am controlling the tool in the same way I would use my hands or fingers to sculpt. The tool leaves traces of itself in my work however small the things I use it for. For example in the image you can see the detailed areas around the nose have marks of the tool, it leaves small imperfections from where I have scraped away the clay. This was my intentions for the piece because I like the way it creates the natural skin look. Without this tool these marks would be almost impossible to obtain.

 According to Pallasamaa “the tool is an extension and specialisation of the hand that alters the hand’s natural powers and capacities. When an axe or a stealth knife is being used, the skilled user does not think of the hand and tool as different and detached entities: the tool has grown to be a part of the hand “( Pallasamaa, 2009, p.47)

From the above quotation Pallasamaa explains how the tool and hand work together. This relates to the way I use the sculpting tool to sculpt. He suggests how the tool alters the hands natural powers and capacities, this is evident in the way I use the tool to sculpt the small details, the tool allows me to achieve more than what my hands or fingers could on their own. He also suggests how we do not think of the tool as different entities. When I think about how I sculpt using tools I do not focus on the tool itself, I sometimes forget the tool is even in use. The tool truly does feel like it is an extension of my hand. The example of an axe or sheath knife is used in the quotation; however the same thing applies to the tool of my practice.

How the world is as I expect it

Following on from last weeks task of drawing an object from feeling rather than seeing, I have become more aware of how much our memories, experiences and expectations play a big part in how we see the world. When I drew the the sweet I imagined a red wine gum sweet that I once had on a school trip when i was younger. That memory was transferred into my drawing and I drew the sweet as I imagined it to be. Therefore I used other images combined with the feel of the object to generate my drawing. This idea of a mind being behind the eye can be linked to one of the ideas in ‘The Minds Eye’ by Joseph Jastrow. In the text is states that ‘The picture mysteriously transferred to the mind’s representative,the brain, and there received and affiliated with other images.’ 

How the body hides from view (but is present in drawing)

In the first lecture the task was to choose an object from a bag with out looking and draw it based on the feel of it. Then draw the object from observation and compare them both. After comparing, the observational drawing was clearly drawn in more detail and a better representation of the object. The interesting thing about the drawings that the first one was smaller than the observational drawing. My theory of this is that when we use touch to visualise an object we take into account how big or small the object is and  then that is transferred into the drawing. on the other hand when we drawn something from observation we only use out eyes to judge how big the object is.

Defining 1 dimension

this weeks text was from Creative intuition art and poetry, J. Maritain. This text was again extremely difficult to take in and develop and understanding of it. However after breaking it down into sections it became more clear.

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From what I understood the text explores surrealism as well as poetry and how they relate to one another.

‘As Brenton put it, it leaves aside “any aesthetic” as well as any “moral concern.” The aim is to express “the real function of thought.”

In this quotation it talks about how surrealist express “the real function of thought” in their artwork. Therefore surrealism is about visualising “thought.” In relation to defining 1 dimension; Surreal paintings visualise “thought” through art which could be seen as the first dimension.

An example of this within the museum was difficult to find so i found an abstract painting which did not have the form of anything and tried to relate the brush strokes in the painting to this idea of the first dimension. I found this painting used brush strokes , shape and colour to give a representation of an object which could be related to the “real function of thought”.

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Defining 4 dimension

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This week in the museum the task was to read another text which was in the form of a play. After reading it over a few times I found the at the characters were talking about the subject of happiness and how being rich or poor can effect this. The character ‘MASHA’ describes how poverty is not the worst thing that can happen to someone. This gives a different perspective of happiness/unhappiness to the other characters.

My understanding of 4 dimension is that it uses all 3 dimensions as well as a fourth dimension which involves the senses.  I found that it was extremely difficult to find a piece of work that i could relate to this so i decided the example need to be more of a concept rather that a visual image. The piece of art I chose was Tyrrau Mawr, (Big Towers) 2016, which was part of the Artes Mundi Exhibition in the Cardiff Museum.

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This to me includes a fourth dimension by using sound as well as image in an artistic way. This engages the senses and allows me to experience the artwork in another dimension.

Defining 3 dimension

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In this weeks museum exercise we had to define 3 dimension.  We were each given this text to read through alongside this piece of art work. Once i had read through the text a few times i had to try make sense of it and choose something in the museum that i could relate to this to define 3 dimension.

My first intentions were to find a white marble sculpture as this seems to be what the text describes. However from what i understood the text was talking about an object and how an object such as a photograph could create a reflection. For example a photograph is 2 dimension but it is a reflection of the person in it. I believe that although the photograph is 2d our imagination creates a third dimension based on the reflections of the person in the photo.

Here is some of the art work i chose from around the museum that could best relate to this suggestion.

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These are two sketches of a standing female nude by Augustus John (1878-1961).