Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Untitled student website

Recently I became involved in setting up a website for OCA students to promote their artwork. We wanted a space to exhibit the best of our work and the students came from different artistic backgrounds such as photography, painting, drawing, textiles etc. We had a lot of discussion about what the site should be about and how we wanted to represent ourselves. The conclusion appeared to be that we would put the best pieces of our work on show and that the purpose of the site was to show ourselves as artists first and students second. This meant in practise that the best pieces from assessment and other work made outside of the course was to be included. We each had our own webpage designed by Dewald, another OCA student, and the site came out really well.

Untitled gallery

I collated all the student data so that we could work out how to apply it to the website and the whole idea was masterminded and pulled together by fellow student, Penny. Overall, despite some initial caution from some students, the site seems to have been well received and hopefully now that it is online it can be used as a base from which to build upon.

My own contribution consisted of five images that I pulled together to make a narrative sequence. I have spotted these images before in my growing archive and have noted that the reason for making them at the time isn't always clear to me. But, as I have started to continue on a creative pathway with the OCA certain themes are developing in my art.

I have always been drawn to pictures of windows - either taken from inside or out, it doesn't really matter. I can relate this back to a particular time in my life when I was 12. I was standing at an upstairs window, looking down on a scene below, when I realised that my father had died. As a photographer, whenever I come across particular types of window I'm reminded of this incident and everything that panned out in my life after that point. That was the initial basis for pulling the images together for the Untitled sequence. It felt a bit odd to be putting an intimate and emotional part of myself "out there" on display but I consoled myself with the fact that we have been told by our tutors that our art needs to be honest and drawn from within - this sequence certainly does that.

Another point that I have picked up from studying with the OCA is that art does not necessarily have to explicitly explain itself. Ambiguity can help a viewer relate something of themselves to an artwork. They bring their own knowledge (baggage) with them when they analyse art. The meaning behind a created piece of art does not stay with the creator. That is why I have deliberately left out a lot of information in the sequence. I wanted the viewer to be able to draw upon their own memories and experiences and at the same time this approach allowed me to keep some semblance of protective armour around myself.  

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