Dear Cleo 18 01 15

Dear Cleo

It was good to catch up at the weekend, I missed you while I was in America and I am glad you liked the NYPD top I got for you. I have completed assignment 4 this weekend and here it is;


Assignment 4

Since the house next door burnt out there was not a lot of point keeping the front yard tidy because it didn’t make a lot of difference so I left it for a few months to grow a bit weedy, some of the weeds turned to straw, but I was proud of it being a wildlife zone, a natural looking place, as opposed to the carbon and blackness next door. To be honest I got to feeling quite cheery about it, but the year has changed and it is time to tidy the old place up.

I thought about tidying up the yard quite a bit, not because I was putting the job off, mainly because it rained everytime I tried to do it. I thought about it as a reductivism exercise a bit like Rauchenberg erasing a De kooning and that rather than just going out and tidying the yard up in a flurry of activity I could do the job selectively which would achieve a further objective in providing the materials to assemble a colle.

At last a dry Saturday arrived and I set too with a will, but there has been another thing gnawing at my brain recently and that is the death of composition. I have been looking at lots of modern art as part of my research for this course and it suddenly came to me that along with the other things that had been discarded with the rise of modern art, composition had also been a victim. Yes, you can still find the golden section quite easily in Mondrian’s work but after that you start to struggle, technique and the process is all and composition has died.

My front yard is paved with 450 x 450 slabs so I decided that this would be a golden oportunity to reintroduce composition into some contemporary artwork. The golden section is derived from nature and is easy on the eye, I have bought a computerised Phimatrix golden ratio design and analysis software that works really well, but because I am not a computer wizard (geek) I have to supliment it with a lot of long multiplication sums. Armed with my Phimatrix, a mobile phone, a calculator and a sharp trowel I set out to do some selective reductive weeding.

Before I commenced I took these photograph as a record of my process and a measure of my performance.

Figure 1 (18 01 14 01) Golden section based on paving grid, cropped digital photograph

Figure 2 (18 01 14 02) Golden section based on object of interest, cropped digital photograph

I then set to work removing the dead straws from the paving and then re-photographed the result.

Figure 3 (18 01 14 03) Golden section based on paving grid, cropped digital photograph

Figure 4 (18 01 14 04) Golden section based on object of interest, cropped digital photograph

I then removed the dead leaves and rubbish carefully, using a large stiff paint brush leaving only the green weeds and re-photographed the result

Figure 5 (18 01 14 05) Golden section based on paving grid, cropped digital photograph

Figure 6 (18 01 14 06) Golden section based on object of interest, cropped digital photograph

Last of all I removed the green weeds leaving the bare paving slabs with just the ghost of the staining from the weed growth remaining and re-photographed the result

Figure 7 (18 01 14 07) Golden section based on paving grid, cropped digital photograph

Figure 8 (18 01 14 08) Golden section based on object of interest, cropped digital photograph

I couldn’t take the deconstruct any further, short of removing the paving slabs so I stopped deconstructing and with the material I had saved during the deconstruction I created a colle

Figure 9 (18 01 14 09) Weeding the front yard 1, (563.5 x 350 mm) colle recorded by digital photography

Figure 10 (18 01 14 10) Weeding the front yard 2, (563.5 x 350 mm) colle recorded by digital photography

What did I learn?

I remembered from part 1 of the course the composition of Elizabeth Blackadder’s work, which although not classical none the less has merit and I managed to incorporate this into my final piece. I managed to form an echo of Rauschenberg’s reduction of De Kooning’s drawing, however faint, whilst retaining the classical renaissance construct of the golden section. The whole piece is a record of a performance of weeding the front yard in real time. The process of the work is laid bare and a mundane subject has become art.

Whilst this is an online course and photography is no stranger to recording my progress I think this only the second time I have used photography and photoshop in an artistic way. (the first being in my parallel project). My feeling are a little mixed on this and I need to think about it more to fully resolve it in my head.

The final piece is definitely my first colle, colle is a technique invented by Picasso in the cubist years of the early twentieth century. The viewpoint chosen has allowed the subject to appear flat and two dimensional without almost any perspective, the shadows are so close in tone to the straws so as to blend in. Colle and collage have the ability to bring out my inner child and are always fun to do. I have collected quite a bit of material in the course of weeding the garden it is almost a Lego set for making colles of an unkempt path and maybe another two or three would make it into a series.

There is also a touch of Leonardo’s staring at a blank wall (or blank Floor) in the final piece if you invest the time investigating it. I will have a copy printed up life size, not just for assessment but to hang on the wall and contemplate. The real piece no longer exists as it has been deconstructed by Freya the cat, and whilst that loses some of the texture of the piece, the design and the idea of the piece are preserved. Having looked at it for a weekend I find it quite sublime, I hope others will too.

I know it was a lot of reading Cleo but I hope you enjoyed reading it.

My love as always

Mickos xx


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