This week’s lecture consisted of a talk by our lecturer Rowan Bailey who in using her background in philosophy and art history, encouraged us to extend our critical and creative thinking through exploring materials and how we can create meaning through different creative practices. Rowan’s creative process involves working with concepts whereby she seeks to develop and extend ideas to create new understandings, perceptions and knowledge of the world. With a specific focus on the body, Rowan looks at the connection of the mind and body and how they work together rather than being separate.
Rowan showed us the work of Tony Cragg, and one sculpture I was fascinated with was Point of View (Cragg, 2004). The sculpture portrays what looks like silhouettes of heads that are structured in an unusual moving like form. As a human being our instinct is to look for the meaning, patterns, shapes of the sculpture to try to understand what is being represented. Rowan explains that by walking around the sculptures, we immerse ourselves in the artwork and our perceptions of the form changes as our viewpoints are altered. Essentially meaning that there is no one meaning that the artist intended the sculpture to represent, but rather that it is ever evolving through the exposure to the human brain. Rowan suggested this reinforces the idea that our perspectives are always changing and so maybe the form is not something that is permanent, but rather has the ability to evolve into something new. By physically moving our body around the sculpture, our “brain body” (Rowan, 2021) alters the forms message. This experience can be described as a morphogenetic, a Greek term coined from (morphe) which means form and (genesis) which means to create. This ideology suggests that the form is constantly shifting and evolving as our perspectives change.
(Cragg, Point of View, 2004)
Tim Ingold talks about the theory hylomorphism, a Greek term deriving from the joining of the word hyle (matter) and morphe (form). He states that often we are pre dispositioned to jump to conclusions and expect ourselves as artists to create a finalised product or project. By this Tim means that we often take an idea and immediately try to find material objects that we can use to create the finalised form. Tim adds that he much prefers to think of making “as a process of growth. This is to place the maker from the outset as a participant in amongst a world of active materials” (Ingold, 2013, pp. 20-21).
Listening to Rowan’s talk and reading material written my Tim Ingold, it has encouraged me during this period of lockdown to start appreciating the environment around me, and to consider how I could use the space around me to progressively continue creating work, rather than halting and relying on the reopening of physical studio spaces. His ideology has prompted me to begin interpreting space. During my walks around Yorkshire this last year, I have come to realise the similarities of the landscape to that of my hometown back in Scotland. It has brought a sense of familiarity during a period of time when there is an abundance of uncertainty and a longing to travel back home. This talk has encouraged me to adopt a slower working pace and has made me more aware of my surroundings. I have found myself reconnecting with my past and awakening new perspectives within myself. This journey of self-discovery I have embarked has encouraged me to begin understanding more about where I come from and how I carry my culture with me despite living in a new place.
During one of my walks this month, I decided to take my camera and capture photos of areas that sparked a memory or encouraged me to reminisce of Scotland. The landscape’s at Ilkley Moor reminds me very much of the walks I would take as a child with my dad in the highlands. Walking around these areas of Yorkshire have made me think more of my life growing up in Scotland than I have for the last 8 years I have lived in England. Being aware of the space around me has awoken a new realisation and appreciation my surroundings and encouraged me to embark on this journey of self discovery.
(Galloway, Ilkley Moor, 2021)
Ingold, T. (2013) Making: Anthropology, Archaelogy, Art and Architecture. London: Routedge.
Cragg, T. (2004). Point of View [Photograph]. Cass Sculpture Foundation. http://www.sculpture.org.uk/artwork/point-of-view
Galloway, L. (2021). Ilkley Moor. [Photograph]. Ilkley.