Click here for an overview of Day 18.
LB: Red is the colour of.... in the cage
LB: Shadow sacks.... in the cage
Click here for an overview of Day 17.
LB: Hovering bodies...in the cage
Click here for an overview of Day 16.
LB: Building the cage
For my rationale and reflections on constructing the cage please click here.
Click here for an overview of Day 15.
LB: Hovering bodies:
LB: Hovering bodies with knitted shrouds:
Click here for a video of the deinstallation of this iteration of Parts of me.
Click here for an overview of Day 14.
LB: More research with horizontal knitting...
Today I removed my installation of horizontal knitted sculptures, one by one. I removed the one installed with a chain first, but, sadly, forgot to take a photo of just the 2 straight sculptures. I was definitely distracted by having some lovely visitors....so here they are inspecting the two horizontal knitted forms:
It's been absolutely wonderful to be able to have face to face conversations with other students and staff who have been able to visit us at Real Space. Real People! It's very useful to hear their thoughts about my work and also to have this image for scale. It makes me realise that the red barriers are more effective when they're lower.
Here is the same piece of knitting installed at different heights, with another visitor for scale, and a photo including the 'frame':
I definitely find the sculpture tensioned with steel wire at waist height the most effective and interesting. I know that I'll find it hard to just install one sculpture in this space though. I have recently been had my work described as 'maximalist' and I recognise that that term describes my practice well. However, I know that for maximalism to be successful, it also needs to be carefully synthesised and very well thought through. Editing my normal busy practice to just one piece of knitting feels extremely daunting, frankly. This is something I need to consider in more depth in the next couple of months.
I need to decide whether and how to develop this idea further. My plan is to knit a different sculpture or sculptures to be installed in this way. There are many things to consider: Form, colour, surface, to felt or not to felt? Accentuating the associations of knitting and body could be interesting. Red is very emotive, but I feel that I need to explore other colours too, as I use red so often. Maybe black, or the colours of my flesh, a self portrait? Felting my knitting gives the sculpture more body so I might find that any wider sections would be less floppy... So, there are plenty of things to explore with this idea.
I thought I'd also include a photo of me, at work with my red knitting, kindly taken by Donna Upchurch. One advantage of being the self designated documenter is that there are very few photos of me, but I do think that it's also important to document the documenter!
Click here for an overview of Day 13.
LB: More experiments with tension and gravity:
With 2 walls, steel wire and a turnbuckle, trial 1:
I'm very pleased with this experiment, as the new line (the higher one) is much straighter. Using steel wire and a turnbuckle enabled me to tension the wire to a far greater extent.
It's intriguing to see my knitted pieces installed horizontally, especially in this space. It's constructed in such a way to suggest that it's possible to walk through it, yet the way is barred by these 3 knitted barriers. I think it creates an interesting illusion; the knitting itself obviously makes it look as if it will be soft but of course each sculpture is strengthened with steel wire or a chain.
I prefer the 2 pieces installed with steel wire, as that very straight line is what I was hoping for. Somehow, the straight line provides a curious contrast to the more organic form of the knitting and belies expectations of the floppiness of knitting. However, there is also something about the balance and contrast between the visible chain and the unravelling wool at either end of the first piece I installed which is provocative in different ways:
I had planned to install more horizontal pieces across the space, but actually, I think that just one is most striking. I plan to take them down tomorrow, so I'll be able to see what just one very straight horizontal sculpture looks like.
Click here for an overview of Day 12.
LB: Playing with gravity and tension:
I normally rely on gravity and tension when I install my knitted work, so it's usually vertical, hanging. What would it look like if it were tensioned horizontally?
With 2 cages and a chain-
The weight of the chain made the cages move randomly, of course! Here's a video. This movement delighted me, but it inevitably meant that it was impossible to tension the chain. I have to confess, I enjoy the aesthetic of contrast between the rusty chain and the cages and the knitting...
With 2 walls and a chain -
This is more like the effect I'd hope for. I have used one of my long abstract knitted sculptures, part of Red is the colour of. I was especially pleased that this particular piece has a splayed end, so it covers the fixings (a staple plate and turnbuckle), making it more of an illusion. I wasn't able to make it completely horizontal, of course, but it was a useful trial.
I'm interested in the central, bulbous section of the sculpture, which obviously isn't tensioned. Maybe I can stuff this so that it doesn't droop? If this idea works I plan to knit different sculptures to install horizontally, so felting them would also be a possibility. Sarah suggested making holes in the temporary walls and fixing them on the other side. That would definitely create more of an illusion.
With 2 walls, steel wire and a turnbuckle:
I ran out of energy and time so I wasn't able to tension the higher piece fully. Fortunately, tomorrow's another day, so I can work on it then. I'm definitely interested in the way the sculptures divide the space and how they interact with one another too. It's curious too how the sculptures become a barrier. On Day 5 I set up Red is the colour of as a walk through installation within this caged frame; it was soft and inviting. Here, although the space is the same, the thoroughfare is barred by knitting, which should be soft but isn't....
I'm also wondering about using a long piece of 6ml steel rod. That would certainly make the line horizontal. Something else to explore tomorrow!
These explorations make me think of Yin Xiuzhen's horizontal sculptures:
Someone sent me these images last week. I need to look at her work in more depth.
Click here for an overview of Day 11.
Experimenting with projection, video, reflection and shadow.
Shadow cube video - YouTube SK
LB: More drawing in space...
After much deliberation about colour over the weekend, I decided to use a dark grey wool to make today's installation. I'm much happier with it than with Friday's brightly coloured one. I used the same hooks to tether the wool but made it much less geometric, allowing the wool to form irregular loops. At this point it reminded me of two of Eva Hesse's installations:
Hesse's works are made out of fibreglass dipped in latex so have more form, texture and body than mine. I think I would call them sculptures rather than installations, actually. hers are also much more interesting than mine! Mine, however, is still a work in progress and will be a 'frame', of sorts, for many knitted objects.
I then began to add more looping lines to the first ones, connecting them to one another to create a web-like structure. I think the fact that it is made with just one colour means that the form is more obvious, which I prefer. Part of me wanted to use black, as it's so striking, but I have certain reservations about it for this particular project. Ironically, though, the shade of dark grey I have chosen looks black from a distance anyway!
... and some knitting:
Over the weekend I knitted some small, abstract sculptural forms in bright colours. The plan for my main installation at The Art Cohort in May is that it will grow and change as the month progresses. The net-like form will become a frame for pieces of knitting that I'll make in residence and then add to the installation day by day. I like the idea of the work being transformed from being dark grey and linear, to becoming brightly coloured and more sculptural. I'm still not sure about which colours to use, or precisely how I'll attach them so I need to experiment further with this as well.
One especially pleasing detail is that when I added the two knitted sections to the loops of wool, their weight changed the form of the lines I attached them to, of course, making them more geometric. This means that each piece of knitting added will change the overall structure.
TH: For me, one of the principal gains of this residency has been the chance to show a sequence of 24 small painted panels in a single horizontal band fully 7.5 metres wide; the way I'd always hoped to display it. It's called 'View From a Train: 23 Seconds', which pretty much explains what it depicts. Of my pieces, it's easily the one that's received the most attention from visitors to the gallery (to be fair, it's hard to miss).
Two more recent, single paintings have generated far less interest, though I'm glad to have displayed them. Seeing them in situ has convinced me that several more - maybe 7.5 metres' worth - would be worth making.
Click here for an overview of Day 10.
LB: Trialling an international live projection ... :
For over a year, since the beginning of lockdown in England, in March 2020, four of us, all part-time MA Fine Art students at Bath Spa University, have been meeting weekly online. Sarah, Tim and I are working together now at Real Space, in the real space; Hannah Fry, the fourth of our 'Gang of 4', is living in Barcelona at the moment, still doing the MA remotely, so we've been planning ways to collaborate with her in the gallery via Google Meets.
Today we had a virtual meeting, with Tim, Sarah and I in Bath and Hannah in Barcelona and we trialled the set up, projecting the screen inside our projection space in the gallery. It worked! Now we're planning a live collaboration on Monday next week, sharing our projections via the internet and doing some live drawings and possibly painting, both in Bath and Barcelona. Watch this space and follow us on Instagram @realspace2021.
.... and a drawing in space:
For the past month or so I've been planning a socially engaged art project with Kat Dawe Schmeisser which will run throughout May 2021. Kat is doing an MA in Curatorial Practice at Bath Spa and she also runs The Art Cohort, a local community artspace near Locksbrook campus. I'll be setting up an installation, which will grow throughout the month, inside The Art Cohort and also several satellite, installations in outdoor public spaces nearby. To make visible my ideas, today I set up a site-responsive installation in the gallery to trial materials, colour, space, form. It was definitely like drawing in space, as I manipulated lines of brightly coloured wool to create a three dimensional installation. Very sadly, this iteration can't be participatory, due to the current restrictions, but hopefully the final installations, in May, will be.
Louise Bourgeois said that 'Colour is stronger than language. It’s a subliminal communication.' I often work with red or black as, to me, these colours clearly communicate a range of complex meanings. Or I choose flesh colours to signify the body. For this installation, however, I have deliberately selected 6 bright colours, as the focus of the project in May is about making connections and moving forward after this year of isolation. Colour definitely communicates meaning and I think this palette is warm and cheery, which I thought would feel appropriate. Oddly, though, working with these colours in this particular gallery setting doesn't feel comfortable to me, for some reason. I think it's almost too cheery. I'm very conscious that this past year has been extremely hard for many people and it probably still will be for quite some time. Somehow, I want to visualise that balance between the acknowledgment of the loneliness and difficulties of isolation and the hopefulness of reestablishing connections as we move out of lockdown. To me, these colours don't communicate anything of the 'dark side' of what we've all experienced. It makes me think too much of May Day colours and bunting. I think I need to reconsider my palette.
I am planning to add abstract knitted sculptures to the installation, which will change the aesthetic, so maybe I should try that on Monday....
Who we are:
LB: Lou Baker