Monday, 30 March 2015

Tess Williams talks about her process

I came across a blog post in which London based artist Tess Williams discusses her working process. Williams is currently at Central Saint Martins where she will complete her MA Fine Art in June 2015. She specialises in painting and painting installation. 

I can relate to the way that she talks about:

exploring where one discipline ends and the next begins

the materiality of the work as a whole as being important 

engaging with how folds, creases and movement within the materials can act as a form of mark making, creating shadows, lines and shapes, whilst adding new tones to the colours of the paint

exploring the way folds introduce both inside and outside, in front and behind, what this evokes, compared with the emphasis on surface alone of traditional painting

preferring to be surrounded by rich and absorbent visual stimuli in order to add depth and balance to a world saturated with screen-based imagery

the physical link between artist and viewer 

creating work that engages with the space it is placed in

creating a dialogue between the install space and the work; the wall and the materiality of the painting

total immersion in a space/artwork as being enveloping and grounding

To read the blog post, visit

For more about Tess Williams visit her website

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Off The Hook

It's that time of year; as undergraduate degree shows loom, hundreds of Art students wait anxiously to find out which space they will be exhibiting in. The workshops are a hive of activity with students working hard to bring their 3 or 4 year Fine Art degree to a close with an exhibition that they can be proud of and that will hopefully launch their careers as professional artists.

There is a surge in the number of exhibitions of work by final year students as they test out installation ideas, both on their own and in the context of a group exhibition.

'Off The Hook' is one such exhibition. It features sculpture, print and drawing by Rene McBrearty, Jess Thorsby and Alex Searle, whom are all final year students at Newcastle University. 

The three artists have filled both spaces of the System Gallery, Newcastle. I sense an eagerness to exhibit as much as possible. This results in the works feeling rather cramped which is a shame as the work is strong and many of the works could occupy the gallery on their own. It's a common belief, that the space needs to be filled with stuff, but this has the effect of undermining the power of the work individually. Perhaps this is particularly important in the case of sculptures which require the viewer to move around them, and this can become problematic when such movement causes the viewer to bump into other sculptures. The desire to put lots in is a tendency that I am wary of in my own practice, and when I reflect on some of my previous exhibitions, I immediately recognise that by including lots in a space, the space became cluttered and the works were compromised by having little room to breathe . A possible explanation for this cramming habit is a lack of confidence or an anxiety about needing to show the amount of work that has been produced.

I hope that each artist gets a real boost from the exhibition and takes this experience on board when installing their degree shows. I look forward to seeing what they produce. If 'Off The Hook' is anything to go by, we are in for a treat!

System Gallery, 22 Leazes Park Road, Newcastle

Friday, 27 March 2015

Going against my instinct with colours

I've been thinking about my use of colour and recognise that I usually choose colours that I think complement each other and work well together. Recently Ive been thinking about how to make my work more edgy, and one way I have thought of is to be less tasteful with colour. I am pushing this by  going against my natural colour palette, choosing colours that I wouldn't ordinarily choose, and also combining colours and materials that shouldn't (and don't) work together. 


Watching silicone move

Over the past couple of days I have been filming the pouring of silicone over different surfaces.

I'm interested in the contrast of materials, the glossy surface of silicone against matt cardboard, soft foam, delicate tissue paper or shiny metal.

I have been filming the blurring of colours as the silicone forms paths down a surface, and then the dripping of silicone as it reaches the edge. These change as the silicone becomes more viscose with the passing of time.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Systems, contingency and intuition

Today I had a wonderful discussion about my work, making process, my ideas and artwork by other artists that I am interested in.

During the conversation, three words kept cropping up that seem central to my practice.


an assemblage or combination of things or parts forming a complexor unitary whole:
any formulated, regular, or special method or plan of procedure:
due method or orderly manner of arrangement or procedure:


dependent for existence, occurrence, character, etc., on something not yet certain; conditional;
liable to happen or not; uncertain; possible:
happening by chance or without known cause; fortuitous; accidental:


dependence on chance or on the fulfillment of a condition;uncertainty; fortuitousness:


knowledge or belief obtained neither by reason nor by perception;
instinctive knowledge or belief;
a hunch or unjustified belief;

When considering my recent installation 'Zing', this is how these words relate to my work
I applied a system to the choice and order of colours for the sculptures. I followed the  colours used in a bedrock map of the Cheeseburn Grange to illustrate the layers of what is below the ground


The plaster form on the ceiling was dependent on the prop being underneath it to hold it up


The way that I positioned the various components and decided what to include and how to display them was based on my own 'gut feeling' or instinct