Final Sculpture and Artist Statement

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Artist Statement:

My artwork is a mixed media sculpture made with wire, plaster, Styrofoam, PVA glue and salt which was based on an impossible sculpture we had to conceptualize. The impossible sculpture I imagined was of a reversed tap with the water running against gravity – flowing upwards into a sink. For this project, we had to create a part of this imaginary sculpture. When creating the sculpture, my focus was on the water as I felt it was the most interesting part of the impossible sculpture.

The main artist I initially researched was Ellen Urselmann who creates blown glass water droplets with glass and a tap to create a tap which seems almost frozen in time, but after participating in a plaster workshop, I really liked working with the material and decided to base at least part of my sculpture on this medium. I also felt it would create an interesting constrast to have my essential natural form of a droplet being made by something quite ‘artificial’ and related to man-made objects. From this I went on to research the works of Rachel Harrison and Cy Twombly, who have both create abstract sculptures with plaster. I was particularly influences by Twombly’s work as I loved that although his sculptures were abstract, he still managed to make the pieces which had an association with the natural world and the built environment, something which I wanted to evoke in my sculpture.

I decided to create 3 droplets of varying sizes. I made these by creating a structure using chicken wire which I filled with polystyrene to give it more solidity. After creating this structure, I then went on to covering the droplets with plaster bandages. Once dried I coated the drops with a few layers of plaster for them to dry.

Once dried they weren’t exactly perfect in their form, I still found that the results made them more interesting and ambiguous. Having always made very figurative sculptures in the past I thought this could be a good opportunity to push myself out of my comfort zone and try to make a sculpture more focused on the concept. From there I decided to cover one of the droplets in salt. I felt that the idea of a water droplet made from salt, which is soluble in water was something which I thought was quite intriguing and brought in an understated element of the impossibility of the sculpture as a natural object. I also feel like the salt brings back the natural element of the initial source of the water, and this is further emphasised by the surrounding salt which almost serves as a subtle plinth.

I also curated my sculpture to be next to other nature based pieces and near a wire tree which similarly is an unnatural representation of a natural object.

Rachel Harrison

During the 1990s, Rachel Harrison developed an eclectic sculptural language in which abstract forms are juxtaposed with seemingly ignoble materials (jars of honey, aluminum cans) and peppered with pop-cultural references. The resulting works, which mix the seemingly incommensurate languages of Minimalism and Pop, are powerful both as three-dimensional structures and as assemblages of two-dimensional imagery.

Source: https://www.guggenheim.org/artwork/artist/rachel-harrison

Looking into Rachel Harrison’s work, I was fascinated by her weird sculptures and their relation to other objects. As as weird as it looked, they somehow manage to work together in the finished pieces. I think this showed me that effect of having more common being alongside an almost out of this world structure can somehow make it seem slightly more logical strangely.

 

Cy Twombly

Cy Twombly’s sculpture made between 1948 and 1995. Composed primarily of rough elements of wood coated in plaster and white paint, these objects are fundamentally abstract, yet they evoke a range of associations to both the built environment and the natural world.

Cy Twombly’s sculptures are crude and elegant, tough and refined, ancient and contemporary. These spare, complex wooden constructions are evocative of archaic relics but distilled through a uniquely modern language of sculptural form.

Source: http://www.artic.edu/exhibition/cy-twombly-sculpture-selections-1948-1995

These sculptures were my main influence for my sculpture. I really loved the relation between plaster and the rough elements being a strange and interesting constrast between the structure of the sculpture and the material used and felt like it successful brings to attention the form of the objects. This is something which I wanted to incorporate into my sculpture.

Ellen Urselmann

Ellen Urselmann is a Dutch artist who works in a variety of medium. Her website describes the motivation behind her work as work which “defines the indefinable. Whether it is a thought or a feeling, there is only a short moment it can be captured before it loses its palpability.

The fragility of the present, the tension between future and past.

Between someday receiving and never again having. She captures thoughts at the very moment they gravitate towards intangibility.”

When researching artists for my sculpture, I was initially drawn to her tap sculptures which are created with a combination of blown glass and found objects (the spout of the tap). I was fascinated by how she used the blown glass to almost create a moment frozen in time, with the unrealistically large water droplet being forever suspended in the tap. Making it almost an illusion, an effect which I may want to achieve in my sculpture.

Sculpture-making Process

For our sculpture, we had to create a part of our imaginary/impossible sculpture. Initially I struggle to find a practical way to interpret a part of my reversed tap sculpture. After a while I settled on making a sculpture that focused more on the water part of the sculpture.

I decided to create a group of varied sized water droplets and did this in plaster as I really enjoyed using this material in a workshop I had done that week. I also felt like plaster would be an interesting material to use with its relationship to water and the process it undertakes from a loose powder, a liquid and finally to this solid form.

To being making the sculpture I had to create an inner framework out of chicken wire. This was so that when I covered the sculpture in plaster bandages it wouldn’t collapse. I also had to add some styrofoam inside the sculpture in order to make it more solid as a piece.

After creating this inner framework, I then used the plaster bandage to cover the shape and create the sculpture.

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Once the bandages had fully dried, to try and give it a better finish, I covered the droplets in plaster. Using the plaster proved to be quite difficult due to the odd shape of the sculpture, so once it dried it did not really have the smooth finish that I initially wanted.

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Though they weren’t exactly perfect in their form, I still found that the results made them more interesting and ambiguous. In my past experiences making sculptures, I have always made very figurative sculptures and with the result of the sculptures being more ambiguous, I felt like this project could be a good opportunity to push myself out of my comfort zone and try to make a sculpture more focused on the concept. A sculpture where the initial interpretation can be varied and isn’t necessarily as obvious to the audience as the ones I have previously made. So I played around with different ways in which these sculptures could be presented that would play with it’s form and make it intriguing for an audience.


After experimenting, I decided that I would keep it relatively simple, with the 3 droplets leaning against one another on the floor. Though I considered hanging them, I liked the effect of having them on the floor as earthy elements and I also liked having an interaction with the piece where you can observe it by walking around it.

After sanding them down to have a slightly smoother, but still imperfect finish I also decided to cover one of the droplets in salt. I felt that the idea of a water droplet made out of salt, which is soluble in water was something which I thought was quite intriguing and brought in an understated element of the impossibility of the sculpture as a natural object. I also feel like the salt brings back the natural element of the initial source of the water, and this is further emphasised by the surrounding salt which almost serves as a subtle plinth. The salted water droplet was also placed on the side where the most light hit from the window in the room next door, the light effectively bringing attention to the sparkle of the salt crystals.

Overall, this project was definitely one that I struggled with. I found it quite difficult to work in a more abstract way and create a sculpture that had a more open interpretation to how I might have imagined the end result. However, once I saw the finished sculpture I was more happy with it than I thought I would. If I had to work on it further, I think I would perhaps had played around more with the other droplets or maybe have curated the piece as an installation could have made it more interesting.

Plaster Workshop

Still unsure with what medium I wanted to use for my sculpture, I decided to try a plaster workshop and see how I felt about working with this medium. To start off we learned about how plaster works and how to make it.

We experimented with the plaster making different structures with a variety of materials. I really enjoyed the versatility of the medium and the look of the structures we made. We also worked with plaster bandages to create structures.

I liked the smooth finish of the plaster and think that I will use this material for my structure. Especially since it will relate to water, I like relation of working with the liquid material and having it solidify and want this incorporated in my sculpture.

Imaginary Sculpture

For the first part of our sculpture project, we had to come up with a design for an impossible/imaginary sculpture.

My image for an imaginary sculpture is below, a sculpture of a tap which is upside down and has water flowing upwards from the tap against gravity, into a sink.

(Film Project) Week 3 – Filming, Recording and Editing

In the third week, we finished filming a few scenes we couldn’t do before as we weren’t all free at the same time, and reshot Olivia’s scene as we had a new idea to incorporate into that scene where she would more literally blend in with art (the paintings we made below), to have it more humorously interact with the narration.

We then started to work on the editing, which Emily had done the tutorial for and was in charge of. We worked together testing different parts of the editing and choosing effects. We had a bit of an issue as we had two different quality videos and formats due to the camera switch, but with help from Angus it didn’t end up having too noticeably an effect on the video.

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Once we had done the basic editing, we recorded the Olivia’s narration – once again there were a few issues with the mic’s at first but we finally did get to record her parts and add them onto the video where we continued to find different sound effects to make it sound more vintage and incorporated music and other sound effects to our video. We also found the right visual effects that we wanted and just have a few finishing touches to add to our film before it is ready for the screening.