Essay & concept research

I am half-way through the first draft of my essay. Watching “Ways of Seeing” by John Berger gave valuable information about reading and analysing artwork which I have put to use with this task as well as during first hand visits to galleries & museums.

Our new brief is titled “Culture & Conflict”. Our work should aim to explore an aspect of culture and the conflicts that exist relating to it.
After reading this article about the African tribe known as the Tuareg people I was inspired to begin building a concept around the subject of gender roles, identity, individuality and cultural traditions/expectations of appearance, especially those linked to religion.

This in turn inspired the topic of my essay, exploring the use of ‘feminine’ crafts within fine art and the connections with the feminist movement.
I have really enjoyed researching this essay and discovered information which has been useful to my practical concept too.
First hand research gathered from visits to Tate Modern and FOAM have also informed both tasks.

Initially I struggled to concentrate my concept and how I could explore it practically so I had several informal peer crits where we discussed our ideas and helped each other by offering ideas, opinions or potential research topics. This helped me to move from an idea that was “something about the Tuareg tribe” to the aim of creating several small works exploring the ideas of gender and identity by obscuring visual clues and leaving both aspects ambiguous, encouraging the viewer to ponder the relevance, links between and their own pre-conceptions of both subjects. I intend to make use of decorative craft techniques such as embroidery, collage photography/found imagery, as well as layering by using photocopying/digital editing software, and experiment with detraction through burning, adding chemicals or ‘junk’ materials.
I have been inspired by and will continue to research:

  • EJ Bellocq
  • Francesca Woodman
  • Judy Chicago
  • Barbara Kruger
  • Miriam Schapiro
  • Tracey Emin
  • Aidan Salakhova
  • Cindy Sherman
  • Lorna Simpson

I will also be curious to explore editorial and journalistic photography.

I have collected together visual inspiration and resources on this Pinterest board


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