Rethinking my proposal

After my session with Kostas in which I realised that vacuum forming wasn’t the right approach to create the look I wanted to produce. At this point I felt that it was necessary to rethink my approach.

During our experimentation both Kostas and myself had commented on the interesting and detailed effect that was left on the plaster cast. Although the alginate agent was bubbly and left a bubbling effect on the plaster the detail the alginate had captured translated fantastically into the plaster.

In my original proposal I wanted to create a vacuum formed piece that involved using plastic over plaster casted from an alginate mould. Originally the plaster was the ideal substance to use in terms of capturing detail and being able to withstand the pressure of the vacuum former, I had not originally considered using it in my final piece.

However having looked at the pieces using a plaster cast has created I am now starting to think that plaster may be the medium that would work best for my project.

Plaster – what does it add to the piece? What message does it convey? How is it perceived?

I have looked at some of the things plaster can create. It is used in separate areas of society, first and foremost it is used in the medical industry to create plaster casts around bones that need to be held firmly in place and set. To some people when they see plaster of paris this is what the associate it with: hospitals. However, I have also looked into how plaster has been used in sculpture. The medium itself takes form of the mould it is poured into and therefore has the ability to recreate textures depending on what the mould it is poured into is created from. This means that plaster is flexible in terms of the detail is can capture and recreate, and also in what shape it can form.

However I am particularly interested in what kind of underlying message this medium can convey that will link in with my concept of tackling boundaries.

The outward texture of plaster is dependent on whether it is shaped or poured into a mould, however it is often smooth and can be easily sanded down to become smooth if it is not already. To touch plaster feels cool and chalky, the coolness is similar to the way polished stone can feel, and the chalkiness can convey the fragility of a seemingly permanent medium as it wears away easily if rubbed or knocked.

As plaster is a seemingly permanent medium it seems as if whatever it is set into is ‘set in stone’ as the common saying goes. I feel that this particular association is relevant to my project. At first I was determined to produce a piece that showed flexibility in the boundary I am tackling, however looking further into my concept I feel more and more as if the boundary is set is stone. I am optimistic in my idea of tackling this boundary however I am starting to feel that plaster may be a suitable alternative for a variety of reasons.

Firstly, using alginate, the plaster cast shows up a great amount of detail that makes the cast seem more life-like, showing the humanity behind the issue I’m talking. These people, women and people of colour, are human, and they are being treated as less than that by being told that their mediums of expression are not as good as others, or that their talent is less important or less well rounded in comparison to their white/male counterparts.

Secondly, as Neolithic sculpture and the Greek era of sculpture have inspired me to use the human form alongside textures and visible, dramatic emotion I feel that this would be better evidenced in plaster, which is not the same medium that Neolithians or Greeks may have used but looks similar in terms of the end result.

Additionally, plaster carries through all detail from the mould it is created in, including the imperfections. By using a flexible material like latex or plastic the material is almost pulled tight, not necessarily highlighting every detail in the final result. Although I am producing this work to tackle the boundary between women/POC and their right to create in the art world, I want to show that these people are not claiming to produce perfect art. Instead they are fighting for the right to create, they are fighting for the right to make mistakes as all artists do, they are fighting for the right to create work that isn’t ‘perfect’ in the eyes of all art critics or the general public, but instead it expressionate and personal. All artwork is the product of failing, reflecting and improving, so I feel that having these imperfections – such as the texture from the alginate, may reflect that the fight is for equality in the art world, and is not a fight to prevail in perfection, thus imperfections should be included.

I will be redrafting my proposal to reflect this choice in change of medium.

Original proposal:

Name: Chelsie Southern
Working title: Untitled

Précis
I intend to create a three dimensional piece physically representing the boundaries women and people of colour face in the art industry. I will be experimenting with mediums throughout the project and producing a piece with a narrative that relies on the medium it was created from. By looking at a range of artists I will establish how my body of work can conceptually represent a physical, mental and social boundary. My intention for the project is to produce a piece that uses multiple tools of narrating to highlight a range of sub-points within the overall narrative.

Is this précis still true to my project? – Yes, however I will be rewriting it to show how my ideas have developed.

New Précis 
I intent to create a three dimensional piece consisting of a number of individual plaster casts of the human form that physically represent the boundaries that women and people of colour face in the art industry. I will be producing a piece with a narrative that relies on the medium is was created from. I will be using plaster to represent the historical permanence of the boundary I am tackling, as well as representing the solid boundary that we as a united force intend to break down. I am looking at a wide range of artists whose work relies on the medium being used to convey a narrative. My intention for this project is to produce a piece that uses multiple tools of narrating to highlight a range of sub-points within the overall narrative.

Rationale
I feel that I produce better work when I focus on a theme that I resonate with, and I feel that in this module of experimentation it would be best for me to work with an idea that I already have a great deal of knowledge about so that I can use the tools at my disposal in the best possible way.

The idea that women and people of colour are at a disadvantage in the art world has been downtrodden in current times as it is the general idea that we’ve overcome such boundaries, when in reality we still have a long way to go. I feel that because this is an issue that affects me as woman I am able to explore the issue in more depth and in a more personal way which will reflect well in my experimentation of mediums and reasoning.

I also want to produce this body of work because the idea itself gives way to a range of experimentation, although the idea itself is specific the medium through which I communicate the idea does not have to be. This leaves me with a wide array of avenues to explore in order to properly convey the narrative, in terms of medium, what exactly I want to display and how.

Is this rationale still true to my project? – Yes. After researching further into this issue I feel that I resonate with this issue now more than ever. I am still just as interesting in producing work that helps to show the audience that we need to overcome this boundary set in front of us as women or people of colour. I also feel that I have been experimenting with a range of materials to find which medium is most appropriate for this body of work.

Aims & Objectives
My body of work will be aimed at those who have any knowledge of the art world, or any interest in it. This work is an awareness campaign of sorts, as it is raising awareness for the boundary that still lies between women & people of colour and access to create and display their art without sexism or racism.

My approach to the work will be forward and unsympathetic to the audience. I feel that I almost want my audience to feel the sense of shock, the sense of being overwhelmed with truth that is undeniable. I want them to feel this way because society themselves are at fault for denying these categories of people a chance to create and a chance to show what they have created, and society must be faced with how this has affected the people involved.

Are my aims and objectives still true to this project? – Yes. My work is still aimed at the same audience, and my approach to my work is still the same – unsympathetic and shocking.

Overview
For this module I will require the support of the 3D tutors and their knowledge of equipment, as I will no doubt be experimenting with multiple mediums and will need the help and opinions of these tutors to advise me on methods and safety.

At this point in my project I am not yet sure what equipment I will need specifically, however throughout my project I will update my proposal to include this. I am also not sure if this project will rely on any external locations outside of the university, this – along with my budget, will be updated as my project progresses.

Is my overview still true to this project? – Yes and no.

New Overview
For this module I will require the support of the 3D tutors and their knowledge of equipment, as I will no doubt be experimenting with multiple mediums and will need the help and opinions of these tutors to advise me on methods and safety.

For this project I will require the use of the 3D studio, including materials such as MDF, alginate, plaster of paris and equipment in relation to mixing and creating these agents. This project does not require me to visit any locations outside of the university, and due to the university providing the relevant equipment and materials there will be no personal cost to me for this project besides travel expenses for the visitations of relevant exhibitions.

Synopsis

Overall my project is about breaking down barriers between people who want to create, and the ability to do so. I am focussing on how boundaries are put up, why they are put up, by who, and for what? This particular issue of women and people of colour being shut out of the art industry seems political, and for that reason I can understand that not everyone will be able to resonate with the piece. To some people that the issue does not affect it is not as easy to see why it is important, however this project to me, is about doing my best to show everyone why it is important, and what breaking down this boundary could do for those on the other side of it.

Is my synopsis still true to my project? – Yes. My synopsis of the project remains the same.

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