It was strange talking to a room full of artists about my work on the first day, especially after fifteen years of barely mentioning it to people closest to me. The feelings of fear and excitement accompanied me throughout the residency. I was delighted for my work to get so much TLC and for me to get such tailored advice. My world was also deconstructed; there was grief, loss and bewilderment but I learnt more than I have in years. That is what I was at AIB for.
I feel very ignorant and am keen to read as much of the literature, on the endless list I have compiled from excellent recommendations, as is possible. At the same time, however, I am also remembering, connecting, sorting and contextualizing a lot of the information that I already know. Nebulous, nagging doubts I had about my work were pounced on in crits, nailed down and confronted. The process must continue as I wade through the discourse of art and address all that it will expose of me and my work.
There is a sense of pent up energy, urgency and panic in me that I must channel efficiently. My pushy yet highly perceptive and caring advisor Sunanda Sanyal, gave me grave warnings against taking on too much, committing to too many projects in not enough depth and spiraling into a self-defeating frenzy. When I played the recording of our critique session to my mother and sister (both artists), they burst out laughing in agreement. As I said, he is highly perceptive.
My area of exploration this semester will centre around gender issues in the art historical context. This is important because reclaiming power in imagery depicting women in general, and specifically in my self-portraits, interests me a great deal. I know that this investigation will spill over into other areas and am hoping that it will eventually lead me back to the dear to me, but generally dreaded, topic of spirituality. Laurel Sparks, in particular, was very positive in validating it as an eternally relevant subject, and in a very different way, so was Tony Apesos. I will keep my promise to Sunanda and steer clear of it for now. I know that spirituality is indeed a mine-field in terms of the discourse of art and the present context of Postmodernism.
In practical terms, I propose to finish my 10-15 minute film, build at least one sculpture and try to experiment in combining the two in an installation. I foresee all sorts of technical issues arising in the making of the work but want make use of the relatively luxurious freedom I have as a Group 1 newbie.