Monday, February 23, 2009


Des sawed off the top bit 0f the starling egg, and tried to buff it up but it is still a bit tacky, we are going to place it in a drier over in ceramics. Mike wants to borrow it tomorrow to show elective students examples of casting techniques. Went to multi media room to do some more work on video but there was a class going on there. Handed in FYP today, was talking to Darragh about the FYP, he gave me some good advice on it.

Name: Richard

FYP Option: Thesis
Choice of Tutor: Tutor with the most knowledge in contemporary issues relating to my proposal. (Kieran Cashell ???)

Description of project

An investigation into how, an artist with an in depth knowledge and understanding of colour theory (i.e. vibration frequency of colour, psychological aspects of colour), used in conjunction with an in depth knowledge and understanding of sound theory (i.e. vibration frequencies, auditory cues etc) can enhance the viewing experience for the spectator, while at the same time maximising the potential to make his work more desirable/collectable, even by the use of unscrupulous/unethical methods.
For example, in my studio practice I plan to create a painting using a combination of sound and colour theories, so that the spectator has to both visually and aurally[1] sense the painting. I will use subliminal auditory cues to both ‘enhance’ the viewing experience for the spectator, and to ‘promote’ the work.

Context of Project

Historically, paintings were made to be seen by the spectator, in other words visually sensed. It could be said that to actually listen to a painting as well is a contemporary construct. It has been scientifically proven that auditory signals (sound waves) impact on the neural receptors of the brain far more effectively than visual signals. Advertisers have used this to great effect, especially in television advertising. (I am aware that there are laws regarding the level of sound in television advertising).As for the use of subliminal cues in advertising, there are laws governing this too. However, as for the use of subliminal auditory cues in paintings, I am unaware of any such laws in connection with this; obviously this is one of the aspects that I shall be researching in this thesis. Current investigations into semiotics will also no doubt be of use in this thesis.
Obviously paint alone has been used as an emotive force for many years, especially by artists like Mark Rothko etc but if there are other aids available like sound manipulation, which would take the viewing experience to another level, I believe it is the artist’s duty to use these aids for the benefit of the spectator.

research Sources

ReseaRegarding research sources, use of the instrumentation from LIT engineering department in Moylish, will be required; I presume this will not be a problem. Familiarisation with procedures relating to subliminal implementation will have to be researched through the library catalogue. Experimentation with sound, colour, video and drawing from my studio practice, will be used as source material. I also plan to test my experiments on a number of people to see if my theory actually works; the results will be source material. A brief overview of colour psychology, semiotics, visual and aural methodologies will have to be researched through books, magazines, web etc.

Work Plan

Research books on my associated themes, e.g. Colour psychology, semiotics, subliminal practices, and sound waves/vibrations etc, to gain knowledge of these topics.
From my studio practice experiments, and work with the equipment from the engineering section, I would expect at this stage to be in a position to write up the details/analysis of these investigations.
At this stage, I would expect to have my case studies completed. I will write an analysis of the findings of these case studies. At this stage also, I expect to be in a position where I would be able to give an overview of all my investigations in the whole project, and finalise my conclusions.
[1] I will have instructions that headphones are to be used when the painting is viewed.

Friday, February 20, 2009


More work on FYP, got it sorted now, just a matter of getting the wording right. Myself and Mathilde were meant to do some more work today but she never came in. This gave me a chance to do some more research for the FYP. Other than that, the western front was very quiet today.


Still working on FYP proposal. P.M. Mathilde and I began our collaboration today, we recorded video footage of our performance/sound piece. We also had a good quality microphone but lost a lot of good recording because we didn't know how to use it ! We experimented making sound with various different things; a bowl, spoon, table tennis nets, chairs, pedestals, bag of money etc, etc, etc. It was our first day, on the whole it went very well, I can see us producing some outstanding works.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


AM. working on FYP proposal. PM. CCS. We also had an introduction to the research facilities in the library by Ann the librarian. Some of us thought what is the point of this but we actually did learn some new strategies for approaching research. Ann was very helpful and mentioned that the library staff are more than willing to help us with any queries that we may have. It is very much appreciated. I will put my proposal on the blog when I have it finished.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Had a tutorial with David Brancaleone today, regarding the final year options, he gave me some very good advice, which was much appreciated. He reiterated again that it was indeed 'options' and advised me to research the requirements for possible masters placings. The proposal is due tomorrow but I am just not ready, it's as simple as that. I am not going to rush into it just for the sake of getting it done. I am going to consider my options over the next few days, as to what exactly to investigate/research. One of my colleagues was going to throw away an advertising board that she was using in her experiments. (This is the second one I have got off her). The thought occurred to me that she took her experiments as far as she could/needed but now,I will take this work as far as I can (to a certain degree of satisfaction), then I am going to pass it on to my colleagues one at a time,and ask them to add their own unique work to it. When everyone has finished, I will present the work for assessment at the required time. This I will do with a sense of trepidation, as I am going to call it my own work. My reason for this is I suppose to raise questions about artistic rights, ownership, (like the Starling egg but slightly different insofar as I hope to actually ask for for artistic cooperation, and hopefully get it) etc,etc,etc. Technically I know I could call it a collaboration but then it could be argued that artists like Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst etc in a sense collaborate with other artists, yet call it their own work. I am hoping to do a few works like this, I hope my colleagues don't think I am being mean, after all it is just an experiment of sorts. I listened to the CD that Richard got for me (Max Richter) it was excellent, and another good source of reference for my work, he got another one for me this evening by Morton Feldman, which is a bit more obscure , however it is exactly the kind of thing that myself and Mathilde hope to be creating in our own way,Richard joked that he'll have to start charging me from now on ! In fairness though it is very decent of him to help me .


Had a meeting with Mathilde today to discuss what direction we are taking. We have an abundance of ideas for our practice, I am convinced that we will produce a lot of excellent work. It still amazes me how 'in tune' we seem to be. (forgive the pun !) We went to have a chat with Matt Gidney, to discuss our equipment requirements, he was most helpful, and gave us good advice. Had a chat with David mac Burnie about the options, he was very informative, and cleared up a few uncertainties that I had. I decided that I was going to do a placement or a reflective journal. Unfortunately (perhaps that's not the right word)Aine has suggested that if we are considering a masters degree, A thesis would probably be more beneficial. (I can understand the logic). However, it is about options, and I suppose we would have to pick one that best suits our individual practice.We had a seminar with Aine in the Limerick city Gallery of Art, we discussed the work in the 'into drawing' exhibition that was currently running there, it was very intriguing, I quite liked the Eamonn o' Kane piece, the charcoal on the floor somehow made the piece more 'real' (you could imagine the artist actually working there). Stephen Brandes was very innovative, in his use of vinyl as a surface( as a reference of sorts to man made items). (I remarked to one of my colleagues that it appeared he had some 'religious issues' as there were images of churches in his three pieces). I also liked the artist Niamh o malleys' work, especially the fact that she uses video and drawing in her work. (unusual bedfellows!). Downstairs they had some video work by Clare Langan, I was impressed by the work, very 'out there' in contemporary art terms, I shall research this artist for sure.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


To my amazement,the gallery in Berlin which I e mailed, are interested in the notion of us (my colleagues and I) having an exhibition there. Of course this all depends on my colleagues agreeing to do this. I hope they will, as I believe this would be an excellent opportunity for us as a group, to exhibit in probably the most dynamic city for contemporary art in the world. The words 'gift horse' and 'mouth' spring to mind. Of course the logistics of the endeavour would take some 'imaginative' planning but where there's a will..................

Friday, February 13, 2009


Had a chat with Mathilde today and asked her if she would be interested in collaborating with me in our art practice, she was very enthusiastic about this (as am I). We have so many ideas already, and we have not even begun! I firmly believe we can take this project very far, as i have said already, we have very similar thoughts and ideas about a number of things.
The Starling egg (its new name) is still a bit tacky, Des said to leave it for another while to dry, and then we can polish it up. Spent most of the day editing the Berlin videos, I have decided that I am not going to do too much to the 'night out' video, there's no point, it's too dark in the nightclub, and it is not really connected to my studio practice. The other video has a wealth of content that I can use in my studio practice.
I e-mailed an art gallery in Berlin who were looking for group exhibitiors. It would be a fantastic opportunity for third year painting if we were accepted, nothing ventured.........................

Thursday, February 12, 2009

12/02/2009 Me with new hair, scan in background(Berlin)

12/02/2009 Maurice with new hairstyle (Berlin)


My Simon Starling piece was unveiled today, it was still a bit tacky so have left it to dry for another while. According to Pat, we can clean it up with some acetone. I presume we can cut off the top bit where we poured the resin in, and give it a bit of a sand. Alan has suggested that I contact Simon Starling and have a chat to him about the whole concept, I hope to make contact at a later stage. (I hope he doesn't sue me !) Richard Slade has heard of my interest in Steve Reich, and has burned off some of Reich's stuff onto a CD for me, which he had on the computer, that was very decent of him I must say. I feel very confident that I will be using sound work in my studio practice. It never ceases to amaze me; the intricacies and interconnections that happen in our lives, that causes the realisations of our dreams. From listening to a radio, to a conversation with a tutor, a whole new dimension in my art practice and indeed my life, has been opened, as a friend used to say "ceases will never wonder " !!!
Transferred the footage I took in Berlin to digital today, it took ages as there were over 150 clips. To be on the safe side, I also saved the clips to my memory stick which also took an age. I was disappointed with the nightclub footage as it was very dark, I mentioned this to Matt who said that he once saw some filming in a nightclub, and that the lighting was staged very bright for this purpose. The footage I took for my own practice looks very promising, I hope to produce a number of works from this, including paintings, drawings and of course video work. I had a very interesting conversation with Mathilde today, again more wondrous coincidences! it transpires that she is an avid fan of Steve Reich too !!! We spoke of the vibrational frequencies in humans, paintings (colour) and sound too, we seem to share unusual/alternative thought processes, perhaps we could collaborate on some projects, I will put this to her tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I was unable to add the resin to my mould today, it has to be done in the evening because of the fumes, and I had ccs in the evening. Pat said he would put the resin in , fair play to him. CCS this afternoon we were going over the options again, the tutor seemed to be of the opinion that everyone should have it sorted out by now but this was most certainly not the case. I am still unsure of which option to pursue. All this CCS work that we have to do over the next few months will certainly detract from our studio work, which compiles of some 80% of the course mark, it doesn't make sense to have so much work to do in CCS for a mere 20%.

With the left over silicone that I had, I utilised it for another piece of work; I placed some jigsaw pieces on the silicone, some of them upside down. I have placed the original packaging slip from the jigsaw manufacture beside the piece. I suppose you could say that I did this with some sense of irony, as it is now a puzzle that can not be solved, in fact it has now taken on a whole new persona (so to speak), it is a piece of contemporary art ! Could I now call this an 'ARTSAW' ! Well, as an artist, if I can change the functionality of an item, and call it art, then surely I should be able to invent a word for the artwork that I have created !!!!! Hmmm....... more food for thought.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Yesterday, forgot to mention that I continued editing my video piece, also spent considerable time getting artist research. My silicone was set this morning, so it was just a matter of removing the clay, framing it up again and adding silicone to the top again. Tomorrow it should be ready for the resin, it takes 16 hours to dry. Planted the seed tonight.
Had tutorial with Alan today, it went very well. As usual with Alan, I have come away from the tutorial with a wealth of knowledge, artists, and many ideas for investigation. I mentioned in particular about a person I had heard on the radio who was using minimalist sound (Steve Reich) and that I was very interested in the kind of work he was doing, I was amazed that Alan knew of him and he too was very interested in his work. This led to a very interesting, eclectic discussion of the relational aspects of art, sound, dance, literature, healing etc. I must say I was very impressed!


Back after the Berlin trip. We had a great time over there, I am really inspired again. The tutors had everything organised very well, we took in many relevant galleries, and I feel it was an extremely important field trip in respect of contemporary art practice. Favourite artist/piece? not possible to name favourites, there were so many great artists/artworks.
Simon Starling had an exhibition which was due to open after we had returned, however, the kind lady at the museum generously gave us a look at the works, which were in the stages of being constructed/hung etc.
Previously, Mark mentioned that we were to 'find' things in Berlin to bring back to limerick, and have a kind of exhibition of them. Well, whilst looking at the Simon Starling stuff, I saw a part of a tree in the corner of the room which he was going to use as part of his exhibition, (It was a lime tree from a famous street in the unter den linten area of Berlin ) I broke a twig off the tree, it had a seed attached to it.( it occurred to me whilst looking at the tree that had been cut down for this exhibition, that this would make for a very interesting artistic concept, IE, Simon Starling taking the tree for his exhibition, and me taking a twig from the tree to use in my own art practice. It raises all kinds of questions as to ownership, artistic licence, copyright, creative rights etc, etc, etc. Anyway, I have decided to encase the twig in resin, for two reasons, firstly, my twig or artwork will outlast Simon Starlings work, so in some strange sense it could be argued that I am also saving his work for antiquity as well. Secondly, the resin will be egg shaped , referring to the age old question; which came first the chicken............. (asking the question whose artwork came first, mine, starling's, the guy who planted the tree, mother nature.................... !
The seed from the twig I hope to grow; whether this will grow or not I leave in the lap of the gods. Again all kinds of questions will be raised if this comes to fruition, ownership, including artistic ownership, legal ownership, etc.
So, today I began making a two part mould for my egg shape resin piece, the sculpture tutors Mike and Pat were extremely helpful. I first had to get an egg (the kind manager of the canteen graciously gave me three (I broke two !) ) then drew a line about half way up the egg and enclosed the egg in clay. After this, framed the piece with some wood and clamped it, to make a solid receptacle for the silicone. Filled the silicone up to the top, and left to set.