LEAH CARLESS // ARTISTS LUNCHTIME CRIT
The artist lunchtime cirt was really well attended. Such a diverse range of work and people travelled from all around London to attend. We decided on 5 shorter crits in total which led to a lively and fast paced discussion.
Miguel Sopena was first to present. Miguel led us to the basement studios at Turf where he presented a number of impasto style figurative paintings. His studio and works are lit with a strong directional lighting that seemed to be setting the scene for the work; it felt almost as if a life model had just left the studio. Miguel’s desire to create paintings with expression and feeling really came across as he introduced the work. He talked about his process of preparing the paper with marble dust, which gives the work a deep texture. He talked about his love of paint and the immediacy of capturing a gesture and his frustration of photography and photorealist painting. Some of the group were drawn to the smaller life ‘studies’ pinned to the wall, these works felt very dynamic and gestural, something which didn’t always seem to translate to the larger scale works, which were more laboured. Miguel has been attending life painting sessions in group classes and we discussed the possibilities of a model attending Miguel’s studio and what might happen if the artist was able to have more control over light, composition and colour.
Stefan Szczelkun presented a series of watercolour studies in a sketchbook. The paintings are a new thread within a larger photography project in which Stefan locates and documents community notice boards. It was really interesting to see how each board has a different character, the framing being one of the most distinctive features along with the types and quantities of notices. Stefan showed a range of paintings, some rendered in a fine detail graphic quality, some more abstracted. There is a humour at play in the choice of using watercolours, a nod to the Sunday painting classes that these boards so often advertise. During the crit we discussed the different compositions, the jostling of each notice for the best space, corners folded, sharing pins and partially covered notices.
Keanu Arcadio is a final year BA student and presented a short film documentation of a performance work made this year. The work is a poetic musing on the limits of language and is rooted in the artists reading of Ludwig Wittgenstein. During the performance, the artist gradually consumes a banana, one bite at a time, over a number of visits back and forth, back to the camera underneath the projected quote ‘CANNOT BE SAID WHAT’. During the crit we discussed the use of the banana as a comedic device, the dramatic end to the performance and how these elements embrace notions of the absurd.
David Vargas is currently studying in his final year MA. David brought in some of his smaller sculptural pieces for the crit session. The works are made from expanding foam. David has become adept in using this unruly and chaotic material and has different approaches of treating the material to create the desired effect. In a single object, the material appears to be swelling and expanding as a whole in one area and growing in a more nodular system in others. The works feels blobby and grotesque and has a bodily feel through the choice of colour. During the crit we discussed documentation of the process (of the foam expanding), the use of different materials which act in a way and the transformative potential of casting these current forms in more stable material.
Alejandra Pardo presented a series of exquisitely detailed etchings of the large wheelie bins that can be found at back doors of buildings collecting the flotsam and jetsam of the consumer. The depicted bins sit in groups, sometimes bursting at the seams unable to contain their contents, sometimes neatly lined up or penned in by railings. Alejandra has studied these backspaces, the spaces that aren’t meant to be seen and presented them with a detail and a tenderness which is unexpected from it’s subject matter. The group wondered at how long the artist spent in these places, how the artist discovered these moments and there is a clear interest in psycho geography. At the time of the crit I never made the connection, but I wish now that we had discussed Laura Oldfield-Ford’s work and found out if the artist attended the Walkative event held at Turf the previous week. I feel that Alejandra would have gotten a lot out of that event and would encourage her to look for future events of that nature.
Thanks to everyone who presented and all the other artists that contributed to the discussion but didn’t get the opportunity to present. It was a really enjoyable afternoon with a wide range of artworks and ideas being discussed. Also big thank you to Holly for organising and being on hand to keep the discussion running smoothly!
Artists Lunchtime Crit, an artist feedback session led by Leah Carless at Turf Projects (March 2018). Image © Turf Projects
Many thanks to artist Leah Carless for leading the crit and for this writeup! Turf’s next free crit will be on 30 June, led by Turf studio member & artist Anita Wadsworth