Some thoughts from presenting artists on the IMAA Open Crit
For our Open Crits, we have been experimenting with how we document the discussion, through inviting those who have presented work to write something about their experience of the crit, if and how they found it useful, and what they intend to do as a result..
I have taken some time out from my usual routine with the intention to progress my art work. Following a residency in the warehouse at the Mill late last year my work is in a state of change and I am not sure whether this is a development in my usual practice, just in a different landscape or whether it is a fundamental change! I have been using the crits at the mill to try to voice what my work is about and to test how others respond. I find the crit process really difficult, but it is worthwhile.
I showed a printed blanket with multiple images of a doll from my childhood, curious to see what the response would be. The overall response was that it was unnerving, creepy, angry and political. Apart from the political aspect - which I was a little surprised by - this was the response I expected, although I would like to find a way to take the creepy/scary aspect away as I don’t think that is what I am trying to say. Somehow, the work I started in the warehouse, which was to sort through my childhood toys, which make me feel safe and loved turned into a response to the refugee crisis and this muddle was clearly evident in the questions people asked and comments made. This wasn’t made as an exhibition piece, and is just the first stage of making since the residency and the crit has identified many elements I want to explore.
This was the first time I've taken part in an art academy crit and although I was nervous about it. I found it really useful. I'm preparing for an interview so it was a nice way to get some feedback on my ideas and use it as practice. I do normally work with other people and have studio crits as I'm working but I haven't participated in something this formal since university. I found it to be a very useful way to present work, as it was interesting to hear the responses to the physical work and also my reasonings and research as well as hearing different people's interpretations of the work.
As I tend to work with quite abstract forms, I normally allow the work to remain open and ambiguous when I present it for exhibitions, usually relying on the titles of the work to suggest the meaning. I enjoyed explaining in more detail and being challenged on decisions I'd made whilst making the work. I have already started the next phase of this work, using some of the questions asked of me as a springboard for experimentation. It's still the early phase of this project and I feel like it's got a way to go until I reach a clearer conclusion, so participating in this crit has given me a more ideas that I can work with.
Our next open crit is Wednesday 30th March - more info here.