Thursday, 31 March 2011

Circles, Jean Shin, and trying to be sustainable

'Settings is a permanent installation for the cafeteria of PS/IS 276 that is made of hundreds of plates and square tiles that have been arranged into a colorful and dynamic composition. By collecting decorative plates from homes in the nearby Battery Park City neighborhood, this installation extends the domestic realm into the public setting. While the plates themselves represent individual participants, the wide range of designs collectively speaks to the diversity of the neighborhood. From the initial gathering process to the completion of the work, many generations of students will come to understand that they are a vital part of a larger community. Ultimately, Settings is both a literal and abstracted portrait of local families and is inspired by the belief that the foundation of education begins in the home.'

Alterations, 1999. Fabric (pants scraps) and wax. 2 ft h x 12 ft w x 12 ft d
'In Alterations, a colourful and dense cityscape is constructed of hundreds of cylindrical forms made from the leftover fabric of shortened pants and blue jeans. The standing heights of each wax-stiffened cuff represent the measurement of the body in absence. The installation comments on one’s failure to measure up to the fashion industry’s standard size. '

'In Stepping Stones, hundreds of inverted pots and pans create a unique topography of used cookware that spreads across the landscape. Filled with cement and literally anchored into the ground with metal spikes, these common materials of both domestic life and commercial kitchens are transformed by being inserted into a new setting. When placed outdoors, these incredibly durable objects are no longer subjected to the extreme heat of a stove. Rather, through their physical interaction with nature and passersby, these metal vessels become active, acoustic surfaces.'

'Hide is an installation comprised of hundreds of worn leather shoes that have been laboriously deconstructed, paired and then stitched together to form 13 hanging sheets of rich, undulating color. Flattened and detached from their soles, the shoes have been divorced from their function and reduced to their material essence. With its wide range of color, detail, and design, the collection of leather “bodies” alludes to its materials’ origins as tanned animal hide.'

'Shin’s Untitled series of drawings were created by using wine bottles as stamps, dipping the bottoms of the bottles in different wines and staining the paper. Compositions of overlapping circles display a rich variety of reddish blue-gray hues, reflecting the assortment of wine types and bottle styles'.

'Jean Shin is nationally recognized for her monumental installations that transform everyday objects into elegant expressions of identity and community. For each project, she amasses vast collections of a particular object—prescription pill bottles, sports trophies, sweaters—which are often sourced through donations from individuals in a participating community. These intimate objects then become the materials for her conceptually rich sculptures, videos and site-specific installations. Distinguished by her meticulous, labor-intensive process, and her engagement of community, Shin’s arresting installations reflect individuals’ personal lives as well as collective issues that we face as a society.'

Images and quotations from

Have just become aware of Jean Shin's work. Yesterday in fact. Am very drawn to it. Particuarly the circles, as ever. But I'm most intrigued by her reusing of everyday objects. Things that already have a history, a story. Using them on mass. Giving them a new identity. A new reason for being. It's been a recurrent theme for me this week. I've been teaching about the works of Sarah Sze (again using household/ common objects in unexpected ways, but this time creating stories where before there were perhaps none). Had I known about this work, I would have used the two artists together. 

I'm searching for sustainability in my own practise. Really, really trying. I do already use a huge amount of salvaged items (all my base glass and metal content. And fabric). But I still use new where I don't yet have an alternative. I'm looking to source old wooden frames, boxes, trays for my exhibition next year. And to start firing my kiln from solar energy. It's my aim to launch my work as ethical and sustainable and I have just under a year to get my head around it (this is possibly quite stupid. Time will tell). Meanwhile. Jean Shin's work is raising my spirits. Keeping my pecker up. I like it. A lot. And am going to show it to my students next week.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Not Writing. Not anything

So, so, so, so busy. Very stressed. No time for thinking. Or making. Or taking pictures. Or twisting wire. Or cutting glass. Not enough hours for all the things that need to be done to be done in. Not even time for procrastination. And that's always a bad sign...

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Is it ok to like things just because they are pretty?

 The Cherry Blossom is flowering in Yorkshire and I love it. It's so, so pretty. This morning when I opened the front door at about 7ish the sun was already shining and I felt that perfect crisp blast, that is not quite icy, but cold enough, fresh enough, to mean that it will be an utterly beautiful day. I had to take these images. Just had to. I feel a little guilty because they are purely indulgent. And I have this stupid, limiting thing constantly going on in my head about integrity. E.g if I am to 'allow' myself to take these images, then what will I use them for? I know, I'm an idiot. Need to stop fretting and just be. Sometimes (at least). So here we are, my rebellious, indulgent images. Just because I liked them!

AND... if I show a piece of previously unshown work, that has a slightly pinky (if you look in the right light) hue to it, then I feel I have justified myself a little...

Even though it was made ages ago!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Last Summer

Today is last day of this endless winter. It is ending. At last. I have lost a lot from my garden. The -18 temperatures in November took their toll. It was harsh. A lot has gone.  These images were from last summer. A good garden year. They are a bit oddly arranged because Blogger is a bit stupid like that. Sometimes. I would prefer my images beautifully aligned. But no. Clearly my computer is not in agreement. Anyway, I love my garden. Maybe, if I'm honest, dare I admit, obsess about my garden. It means a lot to me to have a little tiny space of my own to grow things. I like the chilly spring evenings when I can potter around wearing so many jumpers that I get all twisted up. I like donning wellies and ancient fleeces over my smart work clothes and nipping outside 'just for a minute', then half an hour later realise a pan has boiled over. I like gardening in the dark, hopping aound in front of the security light every two minutes, trying to gain a few seconds of light. I can't wait for tomorrow. For it to be spring. I don't care if it's still freezing. I'll be out there...


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