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Studio Proposal

Contextualizing Studio Practice


Tina Fahey

Project Description

For the duration of period 2 I have been working on the concept of why we, metaphorically,

wear a mask to protect ourselves from society or wearing a mask because we think that’s what society

wants to see; similar to why some people choose to wear makeup. The series of artworks I have

produced is questioning whether we need that mask or not.

The project that I did in Studio Project A is in preparation and leads onto my final work for

Studio Project B. For Studio Project A I produced a series of 18 paintings on top of photographs in

the stereotypical photograph 4” x 6” size. I used the most liked photos on Instagram and other social

media outlets and then painted over the top of them in a such a way not everything lined up but looked

better than the original in one way or another. Most of the photographs used were flawed in only a

very slight way; some were pixelated, some of the colour didn’t print right and some were under or

over saturated. When I painted over the photos I ensured to leave a border, varying in size, to ensure

that my idea of metaphorically wearing a mask or make up is clearly communicate and by the border

varying in size I am showing that some may feel like they need to mask up more than others. As well

as the main final I experimented a bit around whether to do the paintings exactly the same or

completely different to the original photo? How wide the borders should be and whether it need to be

continuous? Whether I orientate the photos landscape or portrait? whether there’s windows to the

photograph or areas that are not covered with paint? Or whether I change the colours, enhance them

or leave them the same? I decided that I needed to mix and match a few but towards the end everything

just came together.

Materials and Methods that I might use


As stated earlier I would really like to carry on from the concept I was experimenting with

this period onto studio project B. I wouldn’t stay with small works, rather play with scale and maybe

even go out and take the photos myself in order to push myself even further out of my comfort zone;

or choose a panoramic wallpaper type print. To really get the most out of this idea I would need to

find somewhere that can print on a big scale that’s within my budget. I might also need to find

locations that I would like to photograph and work with for a long time. I would also need to swap

my acrylics to oil paints, so I have longer to blend colours as it would just be frustrating to blend and

make it right with acrylics on a bigger scale. As well as this I would need to get painters tape in order

to paint multiple windows within the photograph rather than one big painting with only a little bit of

the photograph showing on the edges.

I would really like to do three massive works but that is likely not going to be possible with

the budget and the time factor. It is likely however, that I would only be ably to do one within the

restraints that I have but even that should make a big impact and be intriguing too work on and for

the audience. To do this I would need to capture a photo that is really interesting and includes lots of

elements to challenge or bring something different into what I’m painting from week to week. I

would also section off multiple geometric shapes, most likely squares or rectangles, with the painter’s

tape to work on over the course of the semester. I would figure out the layout with the aid of

photoshop to work out where I would mask off and where I would have the windows that have been

painted so it appealing to view. I would also need to find a tape that doesn’t peel off some of the ink

of the photograph with it as that would ruin the aesthetic of the artwork as a whole.

This project would be labor intensive and costly, but I think it will pay off in the end by being

interesting and capture the viewers attention for a little bit longer than they generally would. I aim to

communicate the idea of wearing a metaphorical mask or make up to fit in to societies view on how

we should act and look or what we think society wants to see with how we should act and look; I
want to be able to show multiple different metaphorical masks in the one work. This will be done by

having multiple windows that are painted in slightly different styles within the huge photograph.

Literature and Artifact review

I’ve chosen to look at 3 completely different artists that I’m looking at but they all relate to

my practice and of course 2 pieces of literature, one called Art and Life: A Metaphoric Relationship

(Shiff, 1978) and the other The Masks That We Wear (Sparks, 2015); the artists that I’m looking at

are Vija Celmins (Celmins, 1977-82), Sally Anderson (Anderson, 2019) and Fabienne Rivory

(Fabienne, 2007 - Present).

Vija Celmins practice is widely hyper realistic drawings and paintings of natural

environments and phenomenon for example rocks and the ocean etc. In relation to my practice I

found Celmins series called, To Fix the Image in Memory, to be the most intriguing [see figure 1.0

and figure 1.1 at the bottom of the text for reference] (Celmins, 1977-82); within her works I am

going to be looking at duplication within art and how it could be translated into my practice. Even

though that series is looking at something completely different to what I’m focusing on it still can

relate if you look at certain aspects in the practical sides of her artwork. Her practice consists of

extremally detailed works of rocks so that she can place a real rock next to her drawing and her work

would be indistinguishable from the real thing (Celmins, 1977-82). I have done some experiments

with trying to paint on the photograph, so the paint is indistinguishable from the photograph; however,

this didn’t work for multiple reasons. The first and the main reason being that I simply haven’t had

as much practice in painting in a realistic way, let alone a hyper-realistic way, so its not quite to the

standard of her work. The second reason being the tape I stick down, to get that crisp edge, takes

some of the ink that was on the photograph off when I go to peel the tape off; so, if I were to paint to

match what was there before I put the tape down, it wouldn’t be the same after the tape comes off.

However, duplication and hyper-realism/photorealism is still something I am going to push myself


further in over the break and into Studio Project B as working in that style would work really well

with my concept and widen my ability.

Sally Anderson’s work is on the complete other side of the scale when it comes to intriguing

artworks. She paints in a very abstract expressionist way, sometimes incorporating a bit of collage

into her works [see figure 2.0 and figure 2.1 for reference] (Anderson, 2019). Her works to me are

like a work inside of a work, playing with different levels of detail but staying within the same colour

range which to me hints at using the same reference photo or same reference colour pallet. I am

inspired by her works to try more of a range of levels of detail, as well as the layout of her work

inspired me to do something different within those fields. I haven’t yet experimented with this due to

the fact that I found what I wanted to do pretty early on, but I will be doing more experiments around

these field in the near future. I feel like it would be difficult to let go of the detail a bit but that’s what

I need to do, I need to push myself out of my comfort zone more and push the limits of what I can do.

Fabienne Rivory is the most similar to my practice as he paints on landscape photographs; its

different in the fact that she paints an abstract wash-like blob/line and digitally layered it over the top

of 2 photographs put together at the horizon line [see figure 3.0 and 3.1 for reference] (Fabienne,

2007 - Present). Rivory explores the interactions between photography and painting, real world and

imagination, memories and reality (Jablotschkin, 2013); this is a different concept to mine as I was,

and still am exploring the mask or make-up that people hide behind. This series of work is called,

Mirror, which emphasizes the concept even more but the true relation to the title, Mirror, is

connection between all the things stated above. Rivory uses a very impactful, yet subtle colour pallet

and themes in order to communicate her concept clearer across to the viewer; She uses black and

white photos with one colour over the top, to me this really says dreaming, imagination and childhood

which relate to memories in my mind.


The literature I read was about how artists usually speak their own language through their art

and that they sometimes find their practice near impossible to explain (Shiff, 1978). It also explained

that art is generally made to bridge the gap between their true subconscious and reality but is only

possible to do that to the artist in that particular moment due for the fact that life keeps on moving.

This relates to my work as I am expressing how I, and I’m sure many others, feel like nobody can

understand their bridge in life. This metaphorical bridge in life is then covered in a metaphorical mask

or make up to make the rest of society take notice or understand just a little bit. These bridges that I

am talking about can be morphed into something completely different from the original object,

enhance and even tone down some things in order for us to feel like we are accepted in the reality of

society watching every hour of every day. The words that were written in this journal article were

quite confusing to start off with but the more I thought about what the author was saying the more I

developed an understanding (Shiff, 1978).

The final literature that I read about wasn’t related to art at all instead discussed why people

wear masks and why (Sparks, 2015). Sparks explains the reason behind why we wear masks and why

it is such a barrier in everyday life and why we should start taking the steps towards pealing off the

mask that everyone has in one or more aspects of their life (Sparks, 2015). While this article wasn’t

related to art in the slightest, it did, in fact, give me clarity as to what my concept is about and helped

me understand about where it came from and how people use masks for different things. In studio

project B I’m going to produce a work that has lots of masks for different things and use this piece of

literature as well as others to help me alter the metaphorical masks into viewable artworks.
Bibliography

Artifact 1

Celmins, V., 1977-82. Vija Celmins. [Art].

Artifact 2

Anderson, S., 2019. Sally Anderson. [Online]


Available at: http://sallyleeanderson.com/self-storage-and-the-really-real-
2018/pq08tuu5n1zpsi74a23fbg27rcnsbc
[Accessed 5th June 2019].

Artifact 3

Fabienne, 2007 - Present. Mirrors. [Art].

Jablotschkin, E., 2013. Miroir by Fabienne Rivory. [Online]


Available at: https://www.ignant.com/2013/10/22/miroir-by-fabienne-rivory/
[Accessed 5th June 2019].

Litreture 1

Shiff, R., 1978. Art and Life: A Metaphoric Relationship. Critical Inquiry, 5(1), pp. 107-122.

Litrature 2

Sparks, S., 2015. The Masks That We Wear. [Online]


Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/laugh-your-way-well-being/201510/the-
masks-we-wear
[Accessed 5th June 2019].
Figure 1.1 – A close up of one of the pairs of rocks out
of the series, To Fix the Image in Memory, by Vija
Celmins in 1977-1982.

Figure 1.0 – The eleven rocks and their painted bronze


duplicates that make the total series, To Fix the Image
in Memory, by Vija Celmins in 1977-1982.

Figure 2.0 – Four of Sally Anderson’s work currently


exhibited in the exhibition Blue and Green Music in
the OLSEN Gallery in Sydney, from the 22nd of May
Figure 2.1 – One of the many paintings exhibited, The
to the 16th of June 2019.
Kongouro's Landscape with Washerwomans Beach,
painted by Sally Anderson in collaboration with Guy
Maestri, painted in 2019.

Figure 3.0 – One of the many multimedia works in the Figure 3.1 – Another one of the many multimedia
series, Mirror, Untitled, by Fabienne Rivory. works in the series, Mirror, Untitled, by Fabienne
Rivory.