PHO705: Colour

The previous portfolio settled on monochrome and red. It is interesting to re-discover the following quotation from an external to MA course, The Power of Colour. KLC School of Design.

The following colour interpretations are there to be agreed or disagreed with.

“According to Benjamin Whorf’s Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis, the language a person speaks determines how he or she experiences the world. This can affect how someone perceives colour. For example, the Shona language in Zimbabwe does not distinguish between red and orange. There seems to be a pattern, however, in the order in which all languages recognise colours: all languages appear to have a name for black and white, and if a third colour is recognised, that is red, and next comes yellow or green. “

“People who live in sunny climates prefer warm, bright colours, whereas those from places with less sunlight prefer cooler, less saturated colours.”

Quotations from KLC School of Design

There is a useful article What Colors Mean in Other Cultures. This proved useful in the past and so is brought into the scope of this blog post.

Another colour reference is marketing related Colours Across Cultures: Translating Colours in Interactive Marketing Communications

TranslatingColours

Colour Psychology

Colour Psychology has been extensively written about, and again here in Chivers and Wright. However, there is often a willingness to accept what is prescribed yet the verdict around any rules and interpretations is open in terms of there being no absolute scientific validity.

Micco-Groenholm-on-Color-Affects-System

KLC School of Design

PHO705: Modernism

A re-exploration of the roots of Abstract in Bauhaus, Modernism, Post Modernism and Abstract Expressionism. Here, for now, a start is made.

This blog post serves as a reminder to revisit the developments that led to Abstract Art. This research was started in an earlier module. As there is a link to the chosen abstract genre for the final photo project, there is a reason to extend the reading.

Historic references are recorded here from external to MA studies:

  1. Spotlight on Walter Gropius
  2. The Bauhaus Movement (see timeline at the end of this blog post)
  3. Johannes Itten Biography

Further inquiry begins here with Rothko and Albers.

Mapped History of Abstract Art

(Affron, 2012) Inside front cover

Note: attended Tate Modern Exhibition of Natalia Goncharova during Assessment Period 4.

Marc Rothko

Rothko has had numerous mentions in this blog over the past 18 months:

Josef Albers

Albers work gained mention in an external course on colour but did not gain mention within the scope of this MA blog other than a blog this week PHO705: Artist Jake Wood Evans. To right this here a quotation is taken verbatim from (Affron, 2012) Page 302 as it ties together a number of references:

“Itten’s tenure at the Bauhaus was notoriously marked by the increasing incompatibility between the Expressionist and esoteric impulses of Ittenand his cohort and the functionalist ethos for which the school would become known. That tension is latent in Josef Albers’s Gitterbild (Lattice Picture), also known as Grid Mounted … Working on this piece as a student in the glass workshop of the Bauhaus, Albers cut and arranged squares on manufacturers’ samples of glass within a regular metal lattice. On the one hand, this straightforward grid composition foregrounds the materiality and variety of industrially produced glass, divested of the conventional esoteric connotations of coloured glass panes, for example in church windows. (Albers had created a stained glass window for a church four years earlier, and he would have been thoroughly familiar with the mystical connotations of stained glass). And yet, as light passes through Albers’ grid, Kandinsky’s immaterial fantasy of unbounded colour returns, finding subtle expressions through the chromatic emanation of light.”

(Affron. 2012) Page 302
Gitterbild (Lattice Picture) / Grid Mounted Josef Albers

The above plate is from the book Inventing Abstraction (Affron, 2012)

Alfred Stieglitz

Stieglitz work (Birgus, 2002) Pages 44 and 45 have visual similarities with the earlier portfolio images created for the MA as well as the current crop of images. Interestingly the 4×5 print format is common.

Images – Alfred Stieglitz

Laslo Maholy-Nagy

Having read photographic theory expounded by this writer and artist, and now having viewed a particular image, a chord has been struck. It concerns the appearance of the Christian symbol of the cross as it recurred in earlier work in the build-up to the MA portfolios.

In memory of Sibyl Maholy-Nagy – Laslo Maholy-Nagy

Wassily Kandinsky

Kandinsky is linked in the quotation above and has been previously blogged.

PHO703: Week 1 to 12 Surfaces and Strategies Contextualisation

Bibliography

Affron, M., Bois, Y. and et al (2012) Inventing Abstraction 1910-1925. 3rd 2014. Edited by D. Frankel. New York: Department of Publications Museum of Modern Art. Available at: http://www.thamesandhudson.com.

Birgus, V. et al. (2002) Die Kunst der Abstrakten Fotografie The Art of Abstract Photography. Edited by Jager Gottfried. Stuttgart, Germany: Arnoldsche Art Publishers.

Appendix

PHO705: Artist Jake Wood Evans

Attention was drawn to Irish artist Jake Wood Evans painting style.

Connected here is the use of Turner family archive photographs mixed with abstract art which has been trialled. Also, similar is the work of Susan Hiller – Aura, already referenced in this blog,

Paintings – Jake Wood Evans

There is something similar in intent. The final photo project images almost exclusively in black and white may benefit from hand colourization before mixing with mtDNA abstract art images. A basic sepia colouration might be a start.

What could be quite exciting would be the use of some muted or bold colour theory – this is getting quite exciting. Some practice and reading (Albers, 2013) and (Quiller, 2002), were conducted as part of the project research in an earlier module.

Also attended was a four-week course on The Power of Colour presented by the KLC School of Design. Colour theory also makes a regular appearance in Studio photography workshops at work.

Bibliography

Albers, J. (2013) Interaction of Color. 4th edn. Yale University Press. Available at: yalebooks.com/art.

Quiller, S. (2002) Color Choices Making Color Sense out of Color Theory. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications.

PHO705: Thinking allowed/aloud

As current research continues into Phenomenology and mtDNA, a break is taken to cast ahead to publication. The work has to be taken to the public and is still experimental as shown in PHO705: WEEK 9 REFLECTION. Some of the making stages in the plan will arrive soon enough.

It makes sense to gather some direction even though the desire is there to complete work in progress reading as mentioned in PHO705: WEEK 10 REFLECTION.

Thinking through one idea here has a purpose of creating a Strawman. This will have enough form or structure or clarify the artistic design. This idea is about a book and starts with Ghost images. These creations appear fleetingly and have to be captured before they disappear. There is a need to conquer this and to avoid there being no work of this type to show. Apparitions are always welcome to this work but the nature of creating them is open to the random. A perhaps predictable but nevertheless still surprising element of this randomness occurred during a period of distraction in which Ghost images began to appear in other made work, outside of the main project. Perhaps these intrusions are just another type of Ghost, linked to the main project by occurring during the project timescale.

In the previous module, an attempt was made to help progress by restricting image scope to abstract Landscape. At first, this was a mistaken choice. As with Ghosts, Landscapes are also subject to random process but nevertheless, they regularly feature in the work.

The experience was somewhat worrying as having restricted scope to landscape the theme was worked towards for a solid two weeks and the worst – no Landscape could be made. Letting intuition take over the method of obtaining the desired result was finally fathomed. A way of making at will was settled on which largely depended on recognising the kind of processed starting image that might work. There is an earlier Landscape representation with horizontals and verticals that would have been readily obtained from the start, which may still feature as published work, but what it had led to was a more imaginative scene that required more sophisticated processing more akin to perspective images as compared to earlier flatter images.

All this is taken as a lesson learned around the intuitive making versus something closely allied to a ‘commissioned’ approach.

The Week 9 reflection above turned up a Ghost of the kind sought. But what if that was it? in this case, it might be necessary to showcase the image as a full-page and in a process of categorisation accompany it with earlier ghost images as a plate of smaller inserts.

There is a process of categorisation that would work equally as well with the works other representations (seascapes/mountainscapes and spaces inner/outer). Each theme is linked phenomenologically with narratives of the work but each would stand as page layouts again of main plate and plate of earlier images at a smaller scale.

This is not the final piece, but thus far it has an appeal. It leads to making and it does so in a structured way and way familiar to the author and in some respects reflective of Victorian categorisation schemes e.g. in Botany.

To take this a stage further is to keep a keen eye on an Exhibition element of publication. Having learned from visits of a knowledgeable public to a Summer exhibition of recent work, the idea would be to take from this experience the things that worked well with the audiences especially around sequenced narrative and incorporate it into the same book design mentioned above. A book section that parallels an Exhibition.

There then becomes a substantive element of making to propose and gather feedback on from the University regards the standards of the MA Photography course. It would also be necessary to maintain balance, i.e. not try and squeeze a long term project into the remaining time on the MA.

What this is about is the practicalities of making images of publishable standard, about a book and about an exhibition.

There are extras planned either to assist the design such as using ISSUU as a template for hand, bookbinding. Or, to help create impactfully contextualisation by making moving stills and or a video. This created the atmosphere at the earlier summer exhibition.

The exhibition has some elements that are rooted such as the available space and the possibility for lunchtime pop-ups during appropriate photographic training sessions. Some elements would be more aspirational at present, such as making society presentations at one or both societies with which there is an affiliation. This is a likely outcome but does not have to happen within the timeframe of the MA, it can follow on. Another group or in fact two groups have made approaches although generally so and not so much around a specific project.

The aspirational elements represent To-do action if something is to be achieved. For the purpose of the MA and continuity, it might make sense to negotiate with the various societies and groups, the further taking of the work to public view but time this to allow freedom to complete substantive work for the MA without too much self-imposed overload.

PHO705: Week 11 Reflection

As research continues into Phenomenology and mtDNA thoughts cast ahead to publication – PHO705: THINKING ALLOWED/ALOUD. In a sense, this has been a reflection upon recent refections and keeps in mind the need to take the work public.

The blog post PHO705: Artist Jake Wood Evans led to quite a bit of inspiration over colour. Colour has previously been worked on where it settled. In other words, the colour palette settled on monochrome and red as the preferred colour scheme. The reason for mentioning this is that whilst the references are very useful and interesting, the value of making a deeper dive could have limited value other than polishing work as there is already a developed sense of colour from work practice and ongoing development of colour in the projects developed for this MA Photography course.

While PHO705: Thinking allowed/aloud cast ahead to possibilities for making. This made a break from the intensity of research themes; of Phenomenology and the biological in terms of mtDNA.

In the background, research into Phenomenology in relation to the final photo project continued in spare moments. This will need to be taken under closer control to prevent reading from becoming too open-ended.

It is beginning to be sensed how much more time needs to be spent researching topics that can become very open-ended. IT has been quite a luxury being able to spend the time so far and this has aligned with such matters as continually being laid dreadfully low as bug resistance seemed to almost disappear for the majority of the Final module.

Whilst reflecting on colour, a seminal work was re-discovered that is available in PDf form. (Itten, 1970)

Bibliography

Itten, J. (1970) The Elements of Color. Edited by F. Birren and E. van Hagen. New York, Cincinnati, Toronto, London, Melbourne: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company. Available at: https://monoskop.org/images/4/46/Itten_Johannes_The_Elements_of_Color.pdf.

PHO705: Guest Lecture (Publication) – Sarah Davidmann (Uncut)

Sarah is a lecturer at London’s LCC

Here is the lecture. The main photographic project is based on letters between sisters over a hidden relationship that of a secret transgender female Ken married to one of the sisters known as aunt Hazel. All this was at a time when there was no recognition or language to frame identities.

Identity was sympathetically dealt with and Ken becomes K(ay) and her or she.

There is a book “Ken – to be destroyed”. This began as a small personal project but created an unexpected level of interest. The conversation led to working on the project and exhibiting in Liverpool. There were uncertainties from gaps in the texts.

Sarah found more including family photographs. As she worked with the materials this led to working physically in the darkroom as a natural extension of handling physical materials. The working with a family archive was a first for Sarah.

The work is robust having nowadays a universal message of identity. The work presents well as small groups of images and as a book.

The book was a collaboration with Val Williams who helped with the edit that combined family archive material with Sarah’s work. Working collaboratively proved very useful.

Both Sarah and today’s host began their artistic lives as painters.

The personal aspects were seen to be of interest to audiences. There is a universality of family with all the problems family present that viewers can insert themselves into.

Another aspect of the German Jewish family is the next piece of work. It is still, based on family history but now covers the Holocaust. The project is approached from a very personal perspective and in an intimate way. An album carried on the Kindertransport is a material source for this new work.

Final Photo Project

Sarah’s project was allowed to develop and that is important compared to planning exactly how the work should be from the outset.

A point in common is the use of family archive photographs. High-resolution scanning, alternative processing of the images and concentrating on the surface condition are strong elements of Sarah’s work. Obliteration of identity became a step in which aunt was translated into clothing only or into the uncle.

This compares with using the photos for the final photo project which are scanned for smaller size reproduction. The idea was not to overwhelm the abstract images at the core of the project. Recently one image from the archive was layered with an image of mitochondrial glow and connecting thus with an ancestor from the maternal line. This has a key significance.

The history of a family is also common as is the impact of 20th-century war.

Bibliography

Photographs Sarah Davidmann from Falmouth Guest Lecture