Project 2 : Experimenting with mark-making

Aim: This project continues the theme of focusing attention on your own physicality and opening up your method to new ways of moving

Method: Set up a reasonably large still life, for example two or three chairs piled together. Make yourself some drawing tools by attaching pencils or pieces of charcoal to the ends of bamboo cane or similar. Place a large sheet of paper on the floor and try to draw your subject using these super elongated pencils. You will have less controll but you may find that little movements you make have big results as they are magnified by the canes. This will lead to a very sensitive responsive mark. Even if you struggle to get an accurate representation of your subject, you will have a super accurate representation of your own struggle.

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Reflection :  Experimenting with mark-making:

I was suprised with the fact that it was not a bad drawing. I used a broom stick with a distance of around 1.50m between where I was holding and the medium and yet I could capture the lines and my coordination wasn’t very affected by the method. I didn’t feel like I broke the relationship between my brain and the marks I was making. It was more  informative lines. In a way it is good not being able to add many detalis or being accurate in lines but in images as a whole. I like the simplicity of it and how I still managed to depicted the whole view I had from my set up large still life. I think laying the paper on the floor made things easier and I use my foot to hold the paper at some parts where I want to stretch some lines but the paper would wrinkle a bit. I used a very  fine paper I buy here in Malaysia, called  ‘Mah-jong’ paper. It is used to place the tiles of the game, similar to domino. It is cheap and the size is about 80cmx80cm, a great size to draw big scale drawing on the floor. I think the result of this project is good. If I had the chance, I would like to extend the distance between my hand the drawing medium, maybe draw from top of a ladder since I my coordination seemed to be not too affected by the distance of the broom stick. I can say that my experience in this project is losing control and I feels as if I was sending a message from my hands to a far end to deliver the movements I was doing.

Research Point: ‘The abstract Expressionists’

The abstract Expressionists use of gesture was caught up with notions of authenticity and even of prity of intent. The influential critic Clement Greenberg wrote in his article ‘Avant Garde and Kitch’ in 1939 about the good artist painting ’cause’ and the bad artist painting ‘effect’. He also tas about what he describes as ‘the inflections of the personal’ becoming a legitimate subject. For example, the artist Jackson Pollock talked about wanting to paint from his emotions, not to illustrate them. What is your response to these comments?

Clement Greenberg became an art critic in a very unique time for art when he published  Avant-Garde and Kitsch in 1939 for the Partisan press. He was living in America, New York when the world was under wars and issues and art had been influenced, as fascist war rolling over Europe,’culture’ had been appropriated by the totalitarian powers of the Soviet Union, Germany and Italy. Artists had to find ways in communicating with the public with a certain amount of freedom they could use to express themselves. The public was largely illiterate about art due to limitations imposed. Greenberg basically defined ‘Avant-Garde’ as a ‘superior consciousness’ associate with a minority of intellectuals who were able to understand and had the time to be trained in what  concepts of art was. Concepts which included experimentation, the medium acting itself, techniques that were formed, flatness and abstraction. He believed it would bring art value for a long term in  culture. In contrast ‘Kitsch” was the popular art, mass consumption, profitable activities associated with the proletariat, non intellectuals  who still had a thirst for some sort of a medium for culture but highly influenced by capitalism. Avant-Garde was purposeful  beauty  and Kitsch accidental beauty. 

For Avant-Garde public, Jackson Pollock technique and paintings were appreciated as it was not only about ‘splattering and dripping’ painting on canvas, he had total control of it. He had it purposely planned even if it was unconsciously done.