Critique 24th September

Critique 24th September

The film will be playing on a loop in the Seminar room for the day, from 8:30 until we leave for the day (4pm at HBC?). It is projected directly onto the wall in the space. I would like the room to be darker, and perhaps smaller, more intimate, even a little claustrophobic. I am still uncertain about the sound so would be interested in feedback.

Faraway, so close from Skye Mescall on Vimeo.


In the space, I have pinned up the large work that I have been returning to. I’ve moved it from my studio space where it hung like a window in front of my desk like a strange stage set. of my own apartment, where my table sits in front of the window with the tree to the right. I’m undecided about this work. I’m not sure it is resolved enough to be hung in a gallery space or if it is now just a recreated type of landscape. Reimagined, reworked, a palimpsest of ideas and processes. A landscape in itself. Reflecting back to me my experience in the landscape. Echoes of memories and ideas, traces of processes. Pinholes marking every time it has been repositioned, tears and creases as it has been shifted and turned. The vertical lines markers of my eyeliner when it was hung vertically, tiny marks clustered around my shifting eyelevels, my body delineated in the gestures, my arms reach marked in intervals across the paper. From this work I have taken small sections to observe, to direct, to look through or to look with and created the small works on 10×10 grids.

Hanging in the space is a selected row of these works. I note that in my choice I’ve eschewed the representational works in preference for those that glance sideways at the ideas and the processes I have been using. The first work replicates a screenshot of my film. An intricate kaleidoscope of colours, a regular pattern, offset slightly and full of glitches, the colour refusing to be held in the grid and slipping off in drips. The second relishes in the paint itself. Looking into the darkness of the tree branches my vision shifts and irises expand and contract in the light/darkness. It feels like these works are a way to grapple with one thing at a time. More manageable and even quasi-scientific, a way of counting the uncountable. Of containing a myriad of ideas and processes and shifts around this project. They flip from detailing the landscape itself, to explaining the process, to being prints taken from the larger work, sqaushed against its surface and indexes of my own interpretation of a landscape. In this way, I’m not sure which of these (if any) works belong in an exhibition space. Are they parts of a bigger picture, or process works. I’m interested in the feedback around whether the small works and the large painting work together, as I have been working on them, or whether they are process works, and to be left out of the final exhibition. I have also brought along all the other grids and am interested in feedback around choices.

The third set of works are my markers of one hundred days. One hundred pieces of paper, cut from the half-finished drawings of landscape that I began this project with. 24 ruled spaces, 24 hours, each marker a full day, formatted like a google calendar, a strip of empty hours where I had nowhere else to be. In those one hundred days, I tried to fill my children’s calendar days with busyness. A painting to paint, a story to write, homework to do, instruments to practice, a phone call to make. I’m not sure it was successful, they seemed ok some days, bored the next, lulled into a strange rhythm. But my own days were mostly unbothered with the clock. My phone was belligerently precise though. It logged the hours I spent outside the apartment, walking in meandering lines around this new city. I walked histories as I read them, discovered new places, back streets and beaches. It didn’t log the quality of these hours, just the bare bones of specific times. But from these surveilled details, I could sum up the hours I had spent in the apartment and count them as hours spent in a dialogue with this tree landscape. Hours I have spent dreaming and notdreaming in view of its branches and long hours spent with the tree sentinel to our struggles with proximity and anxieties. This year has been heavily about numbers, graphs and tables. New cases, death tolls, 14 day average, virulence rates, days since the last case. Information that really is fairly meaningless, often read in different ways by different experts, influenced by politics and power. And in my own apartment, nothing really changed. We were lucky, are lucky that these days were empty. There was no catastrophic event to record on any of my diary pages.

As I made each of these markers of a day, I spent time with them, folding, tearing, ruling lines. I carried them around with me as I made more, an ever-growing stack of soft paper, getting heavier and softer as the edges blurred in my basket. Using my spreadsheet of data collated from google maps I calculated the time spent inside for each of the one hundred days. I soaked each of the sheets for that length of time in ink made with boiled cypress needles. Each sheet spent the same time steeping in the tree itself as I spent in the apartment on that day. As the paper soaked, the landscapes on the back of the paper transferred onto some of the other sheets, the inks and chalks on the paper leached into the water and stained the remaining sheets. The resultant work is more random than expected; some sheets escaped 24 hours relatively unscathed, some sheets came out after a shorter time, stained and scuffed. It seems fitting. The process may have been created from precise data, timed and controlled, but the results are not. The chaos seeps in. Each small piece of chaos could be pinned like a specimen of a dusty moth. Frozen now in place, in a history or memory. Or could be left on the table, lined up in formation. A soft, stained army. Receipts lined up for the tax office as proof of repeated purchases. A sharing of a story. This is all I have.