Lifedrawing – 19 March 2015

Pulled out some conte pastels and worked on A3 cartridge. It was nice to draw after painting for so long, and with such a soft medium. First session of the year, I should have gone out to some other groups over Summer. Some of the snaps are out of focus, apologies, my camera seems to be on its way out.

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Basically-“yearly”-at-this-point Daily Quote #62

“We have referred above to the debate over whether the interpretation of artworks requires an inquiry into the maker’s intentions. This debate, which centered, naturally enough, on the case of literature, has witnessed confident assertions to the effect that this or that is the right way to interpret. But is it responsible to make such assertions without reference to what we know about how people actually interpret speech and writing, an area within which a great deal of careful empirical work has been done, much of it under the heading of ‘pragmatics,’ the study of how people exposed to a certain linguistic input identified semantically then come to understand a communicated message which may be richer or in other ways radically different from the meanings of the word sequences they are exposed to? Interestingly, pragmatics as a field of inquiry owes an enormous debt to the work of philosopher Paul Grice (1989), who revolutionized our understanding of communication by placing the idea of a speaker’s intentions at the heart of his theory and who showed how a process of inference based on assumptions about the speaker’s rationality and cooperativeness could explain how we understand that a speaker who says ‘I have eaten breakfast’ means that they ate breakfast today and not merely that they have eaten breakfast at some time in their lives, and why we don’t make the same inference when a speaker says ‘I have eaten tiger’. […] To the extent that scientific theories of communication assume the centrality of openness to intention, how is it possible for philosophers to advocate theories of interpretation in art (at least in literary arts) which deny that sensitivity to the author’s intention plays an important role?”

– Currie, G., Kieran, M., Meskin, A., & Robson, J. (2014). Aesthetics and the Sciences of Mind. Oxford, UK: Oxford U P.

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Sculpture: Fault (Brickwork #4)

Brickwork Series:
Brickwork #1Brickwork #2Brickwork #3Brickwork #4


I submitted this fairly rambling and defensive piece as an essay immediately before preparing my final. I’ve been trying to write up a “post-mortem” of my sculptures this final semester, but this does that job better than anything I have written, I think, in terms of what led to them and how I feel about them. I have included an addendum discussing the final work that I displayed.

A profile view of the final sculpture, Fault (Brickwork #4), in situ at Massey University.

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Thoughts on art today, and what kind of art I should make.

Earlier in the year we were encouraged to write a brief “artist’s statement” that encapsulated what we wanted out of our practice. Here’s my attempt.

When I try to grasp at what I want to achieve in art, I often return to the art theorist Alexander Voronsky who juxtaposed art against science as a method for understanding the world – “Like science, art cognises life. Both art and science have the same subject: life, reality. But science analyzes, art synthesizes; science is abstract, art is concrete; science turns to the mind of man, art to his sensual nature.” Voronsky’s idea of “art as the cognition of life” appeals to me because it avoids the traps of socialist realism (Voronsky was a contemporary opponent) and bourgeois formalism, while still leaving plentiful room for abstraction and surrealism. It also commits me to an untrendy position of wanting to convey universal truths within an industry steeped in an anti-humanist subjectivism which insists, using very vulgar epistemology, that truths can only exist relative to a specific cultural discourse, and seldom universally. Continue reading

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Glazed Over…

DSCF0001One of the frustrating parts of working with clay is how slow the process can be, especially when you’re still learning. It has taken over three months to get to our first glost firing. Let me define that jargon for you quickly: Pottery pieces usually undergo two separate firings. The first firing is a bisque firing, which makes the clay strong enough to handle the glazing process, and gets any major warping out of the way. The second firing is the glost firing, which hardens the clay further, and processes any glazes you might have applied. It’s fun to think that I went from lumps of paper clay like the ones pictured to (soon) fully finished pieces. Here they are, ready for the final kiln load. Continue reading

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Life Drawing – 25 September 2014

This gallery contains 19 photos.

Tried something different and layered india ink over my watercolours. Gave a very “noir” feel to the images, which was fun, and matched the moody lighting we run during lots of sessions. Continued using flesh tones over greens. Getting into … Continue reading

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Paper clay – an introduction

Paper clay is a confusing term. When you google “paper clay” you often get images of and references to papier mache and similar non-ceramic media. When I talk about paper clay I mean something very specific – a ceramic firing clay impregnated with cellulose fibres from thoroughly pulped paper. The fibres combine with the clay particles to make a stronger building medium than clay alone. Here is a simple guide to making a paper clay in your own studio. Continue reading

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