Once again as the weary soul opens itself to the Euclidean possibilities that have availed themselves, his beliefs have been shaken and awoken simultaneously. How can the text have delivered such a clear opening and yet felt, what inevitable? bound up in this inevitability is a series of slight conjectures or nudges which lead him back to where he began many years ago. A glanced title, a falling object from the boot of a car all railroading him back to a belief in the larger possibilities of things and how he could or might produce of this scale. Only this time less self assured and more likely to listen to the small things.
Why might a set of disjointed parts acquire such significance as to produce the reason, and yet they do. Importance placed on only one element and its historical context leaves the work floundering in issues of the past. To engage wholeheartedly in the production of a total work or at least a belief in this as a possibility is the message.
The reason mentioned earlier is the element which should not falter or end on compromised ground, this should be the bedrock of beginning. Although this may not of been possible in some instances or in some slight but important way for many years. The ideal has returned and when the weary souls path is opened and the possibility manifests itself actions should be taken.
Concrete elements that return from times less depleted steady the way for what is to occur. These previous elements include the need to be within the system to activate a change and not to attempt a position of omnipresence with the ability to dissect externally. An interest in production on all levels and a belief in personal language as a guiding light through this. Why might these torch bearers who have awoken the spirit operate on similar planes that of the textual and the object? The conjuncture at which form becomes symbol and vice versa is an element that has remained true to the weary soul and is to be found back within the torch bearers too. So it is with this fan fair we await what may come from this occurrence.
Mon- Fri 10.00 -5.00. Bank Holidays Closed. Free Entry.
Tel: 01895 266074
Holding and remaining confident in what you assume you are interested in becomes difficult. Nurturing your work when what keeps it functioning is your fragile ego. When the rug of what is the believed baseline of your production is slipped from under you. As I once said before 'there is no project'(1968)
it becomes apparent that the work only improves at those points where it really begins to fall to pieces.
On a recent trip to my past, I uncovered some abstract work I made long before I ever passed through the hallowed doors of any art school, Circa 1995.
It would appear that things have gone full circle. I find these works encouraging in relationship to the trajectory I have been taking over the last few years.
Untitled as yet (UNIT 2) 14, 15 | 2010, 30x40 cms
Untitled as yet (UNIT 2) 36, 37 | 2010, 30x40 cms
These works come out of a desire to continue a system of sequential production started with the first UNIT series using limited elements and set rules. Using materials (spray paint and marker pen) that have another nostalgia even further back in my past graffiti. I have recently been having a 'reunion' with the graffiti artists of my youth online.
Graffiti Circa 85-90
This could all been seen as a bit of navel gazing nostalgia, but it is really useful to see where I came from and how and why I ended up making art. I spent a few years wandering in the wilderness and discovered Art was the only thing I could do that wasn't compromised (not so sure how I feel about that idea now though.) Is art really a form of none alienated labour?
Untitled as yet (overspill) | 2010 20x30 cms
Attempting to open up all avenues and to operate with all of ones experiences must be a worthy thing to attempt.
Obligatory most recent studio shot (18.08.2010)
It is nearly a year since an infrequent post, fulfilling its job pretty well then. Since I last posted I have discovered that people have actually read this thing. Well that changes it a bit, makes me already think that I need to MAKE SENSE more on here. The free flowing train of thought thing seems less plausible, but lets see..
What prompted this post was the photo of the studio today and a thought about how the processes of producing works of art are or at least are for me, one of a great time consuming activity. In that I spend a lot of time doing things which don't actually become works and the things that do end up being works are the things I just could not get rid of/have been worked over so many times to a point of satisfaction. I am not talking about a physical activity with them more a relationship with them, between us, that they fit. Many of the worst things I have shown and done come out of a rushed need to show something, I think it is the same for most of us. But at the same time for me the usual contradictions kicks in- I love the project/serial art work that many of my works adhere too EG the whole UNIT series, setting up a series of exercises to make the work.
SO I guess It is a gradual removal of elements that are not important from one's practice. Also space is an issue I am becoming more and more acutely aware that sculptures I make(made) need to go somewhere and those places are running out!
This is a current End point which as you can see relates to the IAO and quest works, serial is satisfaction. I guess one of my discoveries of recent years, doing it over and over again creates the impression you mean it. A set of related objects images asks the viewer to connect them up together.
Many of the methods I use to create these things are done to avoid the traditional ways of making geometric abstraction () and to apply both a conceptual rigour and a personal approach to the decisions. I am really interested in what form and colour do but how do you work with them now and not make compromises? It is easy now to look back at my previous works and see many of things I was making work 'about' as ways to justify this play, but this is not a moan. Simply I think, since I gave into the idea that I am interested in these slightly outmoded things (meaning I like them) my work has substantially improved. And one of the strangest things is that the work looks more like what might be considered 'conceptual art' than it ever did when I thought I should be doing that.
At a point I begin to notice, several of the long term shifts in my methods of production. I am aware of two distinct methods of working that contradict and even sabotage each other.
I often work with the remnants of the modern urban environment. But at times I also work much more with the ideals and produce work from materials with no obvious previous uses.
These two methods, one using the remnants and the other the ideals of a period, appear to be some attempt at a comparison whilst also allowing me to attempt the ideals for myself. Now that I am becoming aware of this shift that occurs within the production cycle, will allow me to make some decisions around how to proceed with a work that addresses this, (A comparison between the remnants and the ideal?).
Also this has made me much more aware of how a conceptual frame work to Art production be it of any type is now more prevalent than ever before. Any ideals I am testing are tested in a method which is related to a 60's conceptual rigour, that did not exist previous to this. Therefore the ideals are filtered through this method (self-critque?).
I should say as well that I wouldn't of got to this point without the opportunity to show my work and consider it's purpose, yes showing your work is important.
30.05.2009 – 15.06.2009
Preview: 19th March, 6 -9pm
Kingsgate Gallery presents ‘UNIT’ an exhibition by Dai Roberts.
UNIT started by manufacturing a set of materials in a unitary size1. This size was arrived at in relation to its ease of working within the human scale2 . Three materials were selected, acrylic sheet, particleboard and copper rods, chosen for their visual and constructive qualities. Although these materials appear to be pristine, as with previous works they started life as found materials. A system was devised to work these materials into three-dimensional objects.
UNIT exists in a space between object, artwork and furniture and tests the possibility of cohesion between these different forms. Where the final sculptures take on either a pseudo functional appearance or something more akin to a traditional piece of sculpture; this dichotomy is a key element of the work.
UNIT drawings came after the sculptures and out of a need to find a completion. Each sculpture did not seem to come to a point of completion and many varieties of UNIT sculpture were made before starting the drawings. Each drawing a finished thing in itself was created. One key characteristic of the drawings is their lack of adherence to the rules of gravity. They are not a reference to a possible sculpture but are a work in themselves. They are abstract drawings at the same time as alluding to concrete objects.
Dai Roberts lives and works in London. He completed a Fine Art degree at the Nottingham Trent University (2002) and Masters in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art (2005). He has taken part in the Rojaraku spatial workshop in Latvia and the Braziers international artist workshops. In 2006 Roberts formed the Noonday demons a collaborative drawing project. In 2008 Roberts won the Marmite Painting prize.
1.The unitary size (285x285mm) was arrived at in relation to the ease of working. The single unit being a favorable size for the hand, recently noted its closeness to the foot measurement.
2.The works all adhere to the unit and range from 1/4,1/2,1,2,3 units in scale.
These are a few preview images of the work I have been preparing for the show UNIT.
In preparation for this show I have been writing a statement which my fiance (an ex arts administrator) informs me is a dense load of pretentious rubbish that she doesn't even understand, brilliant!
Back to the drawing board with that one.
The more I am involved in the production of art works, the more I think and look at works critically. This may not necessarily be a good thing. I often think why is this here, why have these things made it here and what hasn't made it here? By here I mean the site of contemplation, specifically the gallery. It would appear we all become more skeptical about how things become a work of art worthy of mention, ALL OF US.
Back to the UNIT, some of the drawings or in fact all of them remind of my teenage years of absent doodles with the great glee I had because I can draw 3D. One of the purposes of attempting to draw this drawing 200 times is testing exhaustion of the idea. Alongside the idea of constructing an abstract image that informs a sculpture, it defines a form in a way that the sculpture cannot e.g. ignoring the effect of gravity.
The sculptures are based on working with a unitary size which has been arrived at through a process other than measurement. This is used as the basis for constructing this series of sculptures, testing various natural occurrences for sculptures (objects that exist in space) e.g. volume, height, balance, material tension. From these tests, objects appeared and these objects are then refined to either epitomize these forms or if at a point they equate to another existing object this is highlighted, such objects as a table, stool or shelf .
N.B. I have now measured the UNIT (it is 285mm.)
Speaking to someone recently they asked that annoying question of 'what art do you like?'
being slightly inebriated I came up with this
The inventiveness of modernism
The investigations of Conceptualism
The boldness of the New York school
I was quite pleased, sounds like a good recipe.
How ones ability to make art manifests itself is a source of frustration and interest for all those involved in the practice of making. This year having worked full-time for most of the year in an arts based environment, has allowed me to think about work whilst not actually spending as much time constructing. What I have found is a consolidation of my practice and a surfacing of ideas into concreate things that i can focus on.
A confidence and belief in what it is i am doing. This kind of reflection on the work through allowing it to exist without the need for a constant revolution of the work, can and may seem contradictory to my usual desire for the new experience within the work. But one thing I remember one of BA tutors saying is that Art in its very nature is a contradictory thing.
I guess how might it be done, the way to continue to build a fruit full space for ones self within a practice of value. To learn the ability of taking your time and the importance of time as a judgement tool in what you do. How and what is the element of importance within what you do and how does this element manifest itself within the work.
For myself each time a new work or series is begun it is something of coming anew to the process and questioning the methods previously used. then as the process is in flux noticing and adjusting to or againist those elements that come forth that are of my 'style'.
For the work I make always has a style by now, it is nearly always abstract and constructed, of basic materials.
of continuous development
The speed of production has something to do with quality but how does it or more precisely what is the quality of importance?
If no external judgements are given or made is what is left after the work is completed, a trace of its production, a remnants of the original intention, The area of importance. The work must manifest itself of this a potent pertinence to its own existence.
are these things and artworks in general a quality of importance or do they point to a quality of importance.
Now as we move on the method of communication becomes, as Philip would say doubles all the rules are at sea. What is said is not straight and true but the flow of such information creates what is formed, the focal point is all over and it is engaged.
The interest is multilayered but precise and fragile to the over prescription I am liable to do. To begin to open up expand these areas we must ask why they are interesting or what is it we should be interested in? It is sure and arcing. The visual as a method of communication and identification(flags).
The Larger the area an artist likes to define the stranger there progress through it will be, art is commercilised art has always been commercilsed for sure look at old photos of famous artists. What can be gained is a way to adapt experience to offer the ability to learn.
So how do i describe this , most things are locked up tighter than an acorn.
what is it to show a supplement to the work an idea germinated at art school of a parrellel description of work.
A search for meaning ends at the point a symbol takes on its meaning, the construction of signs from abstract forms. What is it about this point that holds such interest? Where abstraction ends and ideas start where symbols have been created to be recognised and have a shared meaning. The point between the unknown and known.
To search into the unknown one must have some kind of guide.
Using this as a starting point for a way to use shapes to create some sense of there own properties. What fascinates me with these Mandela symbols is there use of geometry to try to describe the world around them.
So taking this as a starting point using each drawing as a 'quest' to find something about the place position of when where abstraction and symbols meet. Searching for this point.
This series of works start from this serious point of engagement and is guided in its sensibility by some kind of attempt to relate a geometric logic to the work. Whilst trying to find a point of meaning for the viewer. This impossible quagmire is the very point that I am interested in and keeping these three elements active within the work is the goal.
An attempt to reach/create a symbol
Geometry as a method for investigating the nature of existence
Abstraction as a specific art historical project
So the project of NON (end of things) has been leading towards a debate connection to theory, what is this 'end of things' that is talked about? If I look at the theorists who talk of this Alexandre Kojève's 'end of history' or Jacques Derrida. Is it that they are saying that the possibilities are becoming limited because to some extent we have made it, this is the best we can get, there is no further room for improvement in the social structure of society, we are indeed the end of things.
How might this be translated into or relevant to artistic practice and mine specifically? It gives and makes me re-access what is the value of the work how should it be looked at by this I am thinking of what is the art in it that people will see as the art? And the differences of production (production values) how the use of materials can lead the viewer into there relationship with the object. If it is well made and beautifully produced how this can become the value that is most easily encountered in the work, were as when this is not the case some other reading is required. Making something badly or with your eye less on the finish rather than aesthetic quality leads to another set of value judgements. The work may still be of a simple formal qualative type but these qualities can jut up against the very nature of a formal arrangement to antagonise the viewer into the need to speculate about the conditions for existence of such a work.
To tie this back to derrida there is something of the 'deconstruction' of what is the art work, I know this has been done through out the 60's and onwards, but it seems a vital part of now (or my now). A need to constantly access what it is that gives these things the qualities they have and how to judge if these qualities are valuable as art. Why is it deconstructing well mainly just because it feels like that. Much as the theorists are running out of room for creating overarching theories (ideologies) we the artist have run out of materials of newness that have not been used before. there isn’t a great bold step into the unknown it is a simple thing of spending more time with the things you know and checking them out!
If the end of things is a concept, how tight does a concept have to be to make a thing. not very (this really does feel like sex and the city!).
As an initial velocity or arc of intent ends, and a period of reflection begins. What becomes apparent is many of the things of quality that are done have to be done under duress. Or is it simply my take on the intellectual life. Many do have careers without the angst, and those periods could only imbue the work with a remembered feeling for myself rather than a quality that is perceptible by the audience. How can this be gauged other than by success?
This blog was set up as a way for me to engage in some other form of dialogue about my work and to try to bridge the gap between this place of digital and the out thereness of making things artwork in the world. What it has done to some extent is to reconcile another area of practice with this, it has become as personal as the sketchbook.
what this blogs main focus has been so far is failure, failure of myself to reconcile these things to be distracted by all the other things in here to do and my continued failure to make work which really impresses me. Maybe I have just got harder on myself about it than I used to be but this cant be a bad thing.
what I have been grappling with and what is the main focus of my note making is what is the nature of art in itself and how things like concerns exist and in what form these concerns can manifest them selves, how they are then evaluated and some how prescribed a status. I really should try to use simpler English more often.
I don't think this is the only focus my notebooks, notebooks have been a key element in my art making practice since the beginning of my BA nearly 10 years ago now. And in those early days they were much more about me using them as a way to locate myself track my behavior and thoughts to understand really what it was that I am. Now some of the biggest questions I ask in these books are are (were) these books simply ways to make myself better and whether any of these things I found out (revelations) have much artistic merit in themselves?
Hey folks this sure sounds like sex and the city to me.
i guess something i have always wanted to put down somewere is all that i have learnt and discovered since making art if I don't make any more great art I don't mind, I do really like doing it and think there are things to be done more to be learnt, but maybe I just just don't have a niece. Or maybe I just don't have the talent fantastic. Once you leave art school you really need that semi continual boost to your ego that is some external source justify your art making.
I had a good day in the studio today completed or at least made a non light light box totem piece which I think is called end of things and did some more work on a painting which is the second of a series trying to make the painting as object like as possible and the object painted as false or false in a pictorial sense. A play between the two.
after long and hard thinking , i have decided that :
There is no project
i guess i began to think about this when i was in latvia and named this work
there is no project
the title was more in reference to several things going on at the time there on the residency , the organisers really wanted me to have a 'project' to work on " come on dai your a sculptor, dont just take pictures of these old soviet buildings". PROJECTS NON and also the title is referencial about the failure of the soviet 'project' and the crumbling buildings were a visible symbol of this.
so i am going to concentrate on work about no projects: END OF THINGS.