A few posts back I mentioned that I had work accepted for an exhibition in the UK – Mull it over. I had found out about this just as I was leaving for a holiday. I selected ten images that I thought fit the brief – images that we not quite resolved, that didn’t really fit with other work – and they were well received. Here are a couple of the images i submitted.
Many of the images were square. One of the stipulations were that they needed too be on standard paper-sizes, full bleed.
When I returned home, I had only a small time to produce A4 sized (and shaped) images for the exhibitors.
Reformatting square images to something rectangular without relying simply on cropping or bars, both of which disrupt the original composition, is difficult. Clearly there was no time to process the whole ten. So as well as the issue of reformatting was the issue of selecting a smaller set.
In art and design, restrictions on choice can be very useful. I decided to use the need to reformat and make something of the images the tool by which I would select a final four.
I hit on the idea of a circle of images. Each image would incorporate something of the previous one. I also thought that adding a text element would be another way of tying together disparate works. The questions incorporated into the images are not meaningless, but rather out of direct context. Each questions refer not to the image it is printed on, but the previous one in the series.
So, in the end, although the exhibition is for exploratory, difficult0to-categorise works from a wide range of artists, I have given them something that is in fact quite consistent and coherent, even as it asks you to “mull it over”.
Of course, the works won’t be presented as a group of four images. They’ll be four in a sea of tiled images that will form a clamorous, immersive art experience. So will anyone notice this neat circularity? This little round of questioning images? Probably not. Unless someone reading this blog pops over to The Artist Residence in Brighton and looks for them!
(And if you do, they’re for sale at a very reasonable rate. Why not collect all four?)
Here they are:
As much as this circularity suggests an empty work, there is a point to it, and to this behind-the-scenes story. The way I prefer to work as a photographer and artist is to recognise that the images I create are as contingent on circumstance and chance as any decision I make. The process behind the creation of this artwork was contingent on many things out of my control. If you are open to the fact that your work without clear control over what happens, and are willing to look at the process of making art as one of selecting available options and approaches rather than setting a firm course from the outset, the results can be good. Maybe better.