Friday, 21 March 2014

2013/14 Artwork

The Act, 2013.

Using film and plaster, along with found objects, The Act aims to venture to a time of abuse in my childhood and confront it. The piece is an interactive installation which invites the viewer to initialise the childhood sound of the music parts. For this piece I have been heavily influenced by the Kafka play Metamorphosis and have used it as a metaphor for myself becoming, like Gregor, the squashed bug. The hands on the wall make the viewer uneasy as they offer the experience to them like a gift, daring them to get involved, and I have taken inspiration from many horror films such as V/H/S/ (2012) and The Hostel part three (2011) to help  get this uneasy feeling across.

‘Could that have been you father,’
‘Where did you get such strength?’
‘You threw that apple so hard it sank into my back,’

(Kafka, Metamorphosis, 1915)

Love me, 2013.

Love me explores the world of the person that is never heard, never acknowledged, and the lengths that they will go to to be accepted. Like in the musical Chicago (Ebb/Fosse 1975) Mr Cellophane can be looked right through exclaiming ‘you never know I’m there’ - whilst donning his red nose and bowler hat, he is still completely invisible.

On approaching ‘space’ this was a feeling that was not new to me, so within my piece I wanted to rediscover this feeling of isolation and desperation within a group of people. Continuing from The Act, 2013, I have chosen to again use multimedia techniques and film to create a highly personal piece of art – the one shot format heightens my vulnerability whereas the lengthy projection exaggerates distance and the splitting of the persona.

I now feel that the artwork I create is more important and has more of a soul, in fact part of mine. I have been that person that craves the attention of others and just wants someone to love at any cost; that can assimilate to your ideals whilst leaving her own behind. Ultimately Love me follows nicely from The Act as the abuse that formed The Act definitely affected the way I am which in turn produced this piece.

Within Love me I have practised with a variety of media, firstly choosing to use plaster, but finally opting for wood in which I created my ‘crowd’. This was very rewarding as it taught me processes such as jig sawing which I had never experienced. It mirrors my earlier work, such as The Box Experiment, 2013, which was heavily involved with the metal manufacturing process.

I have been influenced by the art of projection having researched Tony Oursler’s work The Influence Machine, 2000 as well as this year’s Turner Prize winner Laure Provost with her work Wantee, 2013. Another pop culture reference to Love me would be the Cardigans’ hit Lovefool

“So I cried, and I begged for you
to Love me, love me”

Amy Demented, 2014.

Amy Demented is a look into a person’s mind suffering with dementia. It asks the questions what if you could converse with your older self? What would you say? And would they even remember you? The awkward silences showcase the slow descent into the abyss that is living with dementia.

This piece comes from family experience, having had two family members struck with this affliction as well as being around older people in a care home setting; I have seen the slow deterioration of memory and persona within the people until they are zombie-like shells in chairs 24/7. I also have a similar thing happening to me, being epileptic, I am aware from numerous brain scans that every time I have a fit a portion of my brain cells die. 
It has been interesting using green screen within this piece as super-imposing my ‘younger’ self into the scene with my ‘older self’ was quite a technical challenge but has been very rewarding earning me more developed skills using audio visual means. I have chosen to split the film four ways using external monitors to really exaggerate the conversation between the two ‘selves’, the sketchy pictures within the older selves’ mind and the growing isolation of the demented old lady.
I have looked at many different artists with my research for this piece including the work of William Utermohlen – an artist whom on being diagnosed in 1995 created a timeline of portraits showing his progression into dementia, Tom Hussey and his photos showing images of Alzeimer’s sufferers and offers a glimpse into what they see in the mirror – their former selves. I have also researched Mary Oliver – an artist whose mother tongue piece had her play and film different generations, presented on different television sets so that they seemed to converse.

Following on from Love Me, 2013 and The Act, 2013; I feel this piece has helped me explore performance and film techniques in more detail and distinguished my practice as that of an Audio/Visual artist.

The Brain is Only Temporary, 2014

 This piece also focuses on living with dementia, however it uses the manipulation of  sculpture combined with film as a metaphor for the disease.  As the boiling water drips onto the ice you see the parts of the brain slowly melting away, as with the fire on the wax and the planer on the plaster,  until there is nothing left. It shows the very subtle way dementia involves itself and ultimately takes away a persons memory like a parasite.

This pieces’ longevity shows the long time it takes for dementia to take its hold on the mind, especially in the ice sculpture for the first ten minutes you will see just drips for fractions of a second, creating the metaphor that dementia is just like the dripping of a tap yet by the end of the ice piece the water is poured all over it like a flood, melting any existence of memory. The same is evident in the wax and plaster versions as the flame gradually turns the wax brain to mush as well as the plaster brain is slowly corroded by the planer.

For this piece I had been researching further into the disease looking at dementia charities and speaking to members of the community as well as looking at artists that manipulate materials, such as Ted Reiderer who melted vinyl records into images of skulls to showcase his love of music – the result being clever, yet sinister pieces. I feel ‘The Brain is Only Temporary’ echoes this as it is alerting something I fins very important to me, as well as creating a disturbing yet beautiful image.

Amy Gilbert.

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