Working collaboratively on some mixed media pages

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A friend wanted to produce some mixed media pages about her experience of living as an immigrant in the UK over the past few years.

We discussed colour, themes, and what she wanted to convey.

The pieces are to be used as part of a presentation of an academic paper on a slide show loop. We felt that it was important to use a colour theme- we chose a turquoise back ground and spread acrylic paint onto cartridge paper with credit cards.

We did some research on google looking at fear. And found a few images to look at as a starting point.

https://www.alamy.com/the-hands-of-a-child-pressed-up-against-the-frosted-glass-of-a-door-image4635144.html

http://www.paintedpath.org/2011/02/on-being-vulnerable.html?m=1

We found a load of other images but these were two that seemed to talk to my friend the most – built up layers of paint , found images and newspaper collage

We fancied a bit more layering so added baking sheet

We made a copy on my printer – the paper was too big to be copied whole, but we decided we liked the image cropped very much – it conveys the feeling of being trapped much more effectively

The second piece felt much more easier to do.

We added ripped bits of paper onto the back ground and then swirled acrylic paint in a loose circle on top. The figure is a found image from a magazine. We wrote words that my friend wanted on news paper and then added torn red pieces and swirled on top of everything with gelatoes

I have been feeling a lot of pent up anxiety and emotion about Brexit and Trump recently and this was very releasing – even though it wasn’t my emotions being targeted- using art in this way always amazes me.

The Pathos of distance -Sarah Pierce


The Irish National Gallery -Print Room 

The exhibition is about the migration of people from Ireland – the art works range from 1813- 1912 – the exhibition also includes quotes and descriptions printed on fabric panels . The images were prints presented in the original dimensions arranged on furniture 

From 20th and 21st century mainly teak from the 1960’s and 1970’s 

 

When I visited the exhibition , I was the only one in there at 10.07 am on a Friday in April . It was haunting and moving seeing all the furniture from my childhood and teenage years – I felt stuck in a time warp as I read about diaspora 
 The images and the concepts of the exhibition were secondary to the furniture ‘culled’ ( Pierce 2016) from Dublin second hand shops. I Was blown away by the number and layers of memories that flooded me . I was expecting to spend hours looking around the whole art gallery – I went to chill and digest what I was experiencing in the nearly empty cafe  

I have been travelling regularly since making a new home in Edinburgh . I am English 54 white middle class. I lived in Oxfordshire for 25 yrs. I didn’t travel out side Europe before I was 40. Living in Scotland sometimes feels like I have migrated to a different country. 
My parents divorced when I was 5 yrs old 

My Dad married an southern Irish woman when I was 7 and she had a daughter . I had the feeling of being surrounded by ‘their ‘ accents , since arriving in Ireland the evening before. 

After he met my step mother my Dad seemed almost itinerant – He was a civil engineer and travelled with work to Holland, Jakarta , Tehran , Egypt . They lived in a succession of houses – Oxford , Reading , Croydon, The Hague, a little village in the Dutch countryside, Dublin, Oxford city, Stadhampton, Watlington, in the middle of a field ,Southampton, Wimbourne Minster, and Dungarven Ireland. 

During the Pathos of Distance , I am struck by the furniture and how my Dad and my step mum seemed to take their stuff with them – a white shag pile carpet, white units that could be used as tables or storage for book and artefacts all very different from the teak in the exhibition –

There seem to be so many layers here . I have visited Ireland a few times – the last time 11 years ago when my father had a stroke and subsequently passed away. 
A visit at Christmas when I was 19 seems at the forefront – A family party where everybody had to sing ,a pink fluffy jumper , burnt curry and a pretty flat. 
A pantomime where one of the chorus girls had darned hole in her fishnet tights 
Not being able to find a pay phone that worked to phone Hone and say happy Christmas 

if you talked about teak furniture to my immediate family they would be reminded of my Stepdad – he brought some with him from his first marriage – a dark teak table , chairs and a side board – 

 

In the literature about the exhibition Pierce says that the furniture is innocuous to me it is any thing but – the art in the form of prints displayed in their original formats – is small and made insignificant by the placing on the furniture which is used in a sculptural way 
There is an almost alien disruption in the positioning – which may be supported by the whole concept of diaspora? 
In one section the furniture is grouped with the images like a stage set – smaller black and white prints on tables and chairs in front of a large coloured print . This created a depth and interaction that I didn’t feel any where else in the room
The furniture also reminds me of visiting friends houses and digs that I stayed in during the 1980’s.