Peer Bloc Crit Group 5th Febuary 2015

On a Thursday evening once a month a small group of artists meet up at Bloc Studios for an informal crit session. Set up and run by the wonderful Silvia Champion (who I had the privilege of studying alongside during our MA) we get together, drink tea and discuss our work.

Anybody who’s ever bee in a crit session will know that the content and direction of the conversation can vary from minute dissection and discussion of specific (often very technical) details, to sweeping debates (and occasionally stand up arguments) on pretty much any subject, or sometimes the session can descend into something not unlike group therapy.

Due to work commitments (yep, I know its hard to believe nobody will actually pay me for just being brilliant and that I too have to suffer that perpetual pain in the arse of having to sell your time doing things you’d really rather not just so you can pay for food and marker pens) I’ve only been able to attend a couple of these crit sessions and I’d forgotten that I was supposed to be presenting my work this month. Having made no preparation and not really thinking about any specific areas of my work I wanted feedback on, there was a real possibility that the discussion could fizzle into stagnation and end up being an enormous waste of everyone’s time (whilst simultaneously making me look like a bit of a clueless idiot)

However, I was delighted with a practical conversation about the large scale drawings I have been making – the overall design has become stiff, lacking the energy of the original drawings and, as much as I enjoy the imaginative and figurative, the little chimeras I was planning to add in just distract from what I am trying to achieve with the work – a demonstration of the the beauty of the blackwork stitch technique and a further exploration into time and making.

So I’m going back to the original –  having looked at it again with the fresh eyes of the group, there is a real depth and gossamery quality to the lines as they have been taken back that are perfect for exploiting the qualities of patten that can be achieved with the blackwork technique.

We also had an absorbing discussion about process and making, the value of time and skill, and whether an artwork can ever be finished or completed – and if it can, is it dead?


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