Upon receiving this task I have thought about the subject and how I can relate it to my own project. I have always been fascinated with artists such as Robert Rausenberg and John Stezaker and their way of reinventing through experimental action. I love Rausenbergs use of non-traditional materials and objects. He experimented with a wide range of different methods including painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, papermaking, and performance which is something which is apparent in my practise. By experimenting with different techniques, I want to test different ways in which I reinvent something through experimental action. I would like to re-examine the relationship of the photographic image: as documentation of memory, as well as symbol of modern culture. I started making a range of collages by appropriating images found in books, magazines, and postcards specifically from tourist magazines and Asian and Western media. From there I started experimenting with the idea of a patchwork collage by sewing different images from different sources together. I like the idea of the ‘stitch’ and its humble use of making something from nothing or patching together something that is worn or torn. Sewing is also a skill that close to me since my mother and her family come from a long line of dress makers. Craft is a huge part of the Philippines and making, sewing and repairing is something far more rich in the culture as opposed to England. From figure 1 you can see I have experimented using snippets of found images. Using the mix of masks and decadence, portraiture and sewing I have formed a new narrative.
In figure 2 I focused on the concept of portraiture, both as art historical genre and identity. After reading how in some countries being mixed race was illegal as far as the 1990’s my intention in this was to create a series of portraits that proudly portray minority groups while appropriating historical portrait painting. For this did a series of studio pictures of similar aged females to me that either immigrated to the UK or from a mixed heritage living in the UK. With each woman I asked them to write a small paragraph of their experiences in growing up or moving to England-
Gina- People automatically think I am uneducated and a child lesser than god because I am an immigrant.
Ashlee- It can be frustrating feeling like I always have to be defined but I do feel that it’s just a very human instinct to want to categorise people and make sense of the world.
Rita- Yes, mixed-race people are the fastest growing demographic in the country but when your mum’s side of the family passive-aggressively lets you know that there’s too many immigrants nowadays, where’s the progress?
Christine- Sometimes I miss my old home. I am grateful but sometimes I feel I don’t belong here.
Photographing the women in the studio was an interesting experience. Not only creatively but being able to listen to their life stories made me aware of the way I wanted to portray them. English portrait paintings are the backbone to visual reference for a countries history. Historically, portrait paintings have primarily memorialized the rich and powerful. By playing with this idea I want to portray the women in a similar way to create my own historical narrative. In my Dossier, I had ambition to copy the style and colour palate of the Pre Raphaelite era but after playing in the studio with a selection of lighting I found the most effective and dramatic was the signature style of Rembrandt and the Renaissance. By practising the lighting technique of both these artists I can create a cinematic depth and add contrast as opposed to a flatness which I found when trying to recreate John Millais. This is particularly important in me creating a power and importance in the pictures. I wanted to create an archetypal ‘amazon’ woman. In conclusion to this experiment, the overall experience of talking to the woman was interesting in my research however the overall piece was too dominated by the portraits technique.