The largest of a series of three steel spider sculptures, “Maman” (1999) was made for the opening of the Tate Modern in 2000. As with the series of etchings entitled “Autobiographical Series”, this sculpture was based on a small ink and charcoal drawing from 1947, a second drawing was produced in 1994 in red ink, gouache and crayon.
It is quite clear from these two examples of Bourgeois’ work, that drawings and sketches are the basis of her work. They are developed to create new work, be it prints or sculpture.
It stresses the importance of keeping all the work you produce, whether you like it or not, because you may draw on it at a later date, as she did with the sculpture “Maman” in 1999, from a sketch made in 1947.
I can relate to the element of nostalgia that is so evident in her “Autobiographical Series”. Nostalgia is a recurring theme in my work.
Scissors is part of a portfolio of fourteen dry point etchings by Louise Bourgeois, collectively titled “Autobiographical Series.” A version of a drawing (untitled), that represents the umbilical cord that ties the little one to the big one.
The scissors are symbolic – emotional repair and restoration. Autobiographical as she comes from a family of tapestry restorers.
There is a strong element of nostalgia in her work, based on memory and to an extent and recounting her early years.
I thoroughly enjoyed experimenting with different picture planes here.
I have had some happy accidents, one of which involved frottage. It wasn’t planned but the corrugated card that I had chosen to represent solidity in depicting a plastic bottle top, helped create the texture of the top, using rubbing to create the bottle top’s ridges. I then used the technique again, this time on the back of a sheet of brown paper to use the lines to create the texture of a shell.
I had planned to produce many detailed drawings as the finer details of the objects are the qualities that interest me most. At the moment, having produced what I have, I’m thinking of fine embroidery stitches. I’ve read through parts one and two of the textiles vocabulary course and the decisions I have made here are partly with the second assignment in mind.
I have managed to create some bolder, less detailed images and some that have an abstract quality as I have considered different angles from which to view the objects.
Originally I hadn’t planned to include the shell, just having man made, brightly coloured objects. However I felt I was slightly limited on variety of textures with the objects I had. The decision to include the shell was a good one, both in adding different textures and a contrasting colour. The white stands out well against the bright colours of the plastic objects and the muted tones of the beach.
Conscious of how I need to use these drawings, I have varied the different scales of the drawings. I have also used colour in most of them. This was a deliberate decision as I believe my work to be stronger when I use colour. Colour observation and mixing is a particular strength of mine. I prefer working in colour.
I have used graphite powder and white spirit, applied with a brush for my monochrome studies. This encouraged me to loosen up, something important I felt, when working on bigger paper, which I was conscious to fill with the image.
The use of a coastal map is perhaps a little contrived, however I felt it added an element of humour. Initially I chose an old map as another kind of paper to work on, but when I considered which part to use for my drawing, a coastal area seemed both fun and rather appropriate. It isn’t my favourite drawing, but it succeeds in making me smile, the contrasting colours work well together and I love the blue lines criss-crossing on the map.
The one image that I really didn’t like was the large scale image in blue. I managed to turn this into something quite different though, by tearing the paper. This was not to remove part of the image, but to reflect the shape of the object. It has a very jagged edge having been snapped off something. I had drawn the jagged edge but then thought, torn edge could be very interesting to capture in stitch at a later date. The contrast of deep blue and the torn white edge of the paper, bring to mind frayed denim.
Overall this has been a really successful exercise. My interpretation of the theme “Tropical Tourist” was well thought out. The inscrutability of some of the objects, to me makes them more interesting, the addition of the shell and the composition of the objects on the beach as found objects, helps the viewer understand the concept.
I have consciously tried to loosen up with my drawings and consider a sense of depth. This can prove a challenge as I favour fine detail. I feel this has been successful here, but its something I need to learn to consider in all my drawing.
Tropical Tourist – Man made marine debris that has floated ashore on the waves and been deposited on the beach.
Long haul debris, sometimes from as far afield as the Caribbean is literally “Tropical”.
Occasionally more than one long haul drift washes ashore together, having crossed thousands of miles of ocean. Items contained together in parcels of water despite the fluid nature of the sea.
Variation in ocean currents can cause parts of “ocean gyres” (rotating bodies of water driven by currents) to escape and the litter can travel to distant shores. Large synthetic items can become floating homes for creatures whose species end up dispersed around the world.
Octopus pots and stone crab traps can wash ashore on our beaches having travelled across the ocean. These pots and traps are used by countries around the Atlantic and Caribbean sea.
The bulk of man-made marine debris is of local origin and often shipping or fishing waste, still tourists though as they are arriving at a destination.
However when I hear the word “Tropical” it immediately brings to mind bright colours, salt water and sun-bleached hair.
Tropical Tourist – A plastic, brightly coloured object, sun-bleached, salt-buffed, on a beach strandline, its new destination.
These objects I feel, need not be removed from the beach to be photographed as the beach is of great relevance. The beach strandline is the destination of this tropical tourist. Instead they should be photographed as found objects, although I suspect I may have to arrange them on the beach to create an image that is pleasing to the eye. Ultimately I shall remove the items from the beach in order to observe and draw them.
Nice to think that I shall be “doing my bit” for the environment at the same time!