Thursday, April 30, 2009


Gave my colleagues back their deposits. I feel a sense of disappointment over the Berlin affair; We were very excited at the prospect of showing in Berlin; I guess this has been a valuable learning experience. I personally have put a great deal of time and effort in to this project; correspondence with the gallery, organising the meetings,writing up the jobs, discussions with colleagues, collecting deposits, sending money off to Berlin etc,etc,etc. That said, we are not going to let this stop us. We are a very determined group, and we are still looking at other options. Quimper has been mentioned, I think this would be a good option, we'll have to investigate this further. I am thinking of burying the eggsaws in a bog close to where I live; a few years ago, there was some butter that was found there that was deemed to be a thousand years old. I believe it would be a good historical reference to use, not to mention the historical significance that bogs have to island of Ireland.


Went for CCS tutorial with David. It turns out myself and Tadhg are the only students who have appeared for tutorials over the past two weeks! It must be quite disheartening for him, as he has a very strong interest in helping students with their studies. All went well in the tutorial; have to edit down the quotes a bit, and for next week I have to present a plan of the essay. Overall though, David seems to think it is proceeding very good, which is always good to hear. He also brought me in a couple of editorials which he thought I could use in the thesis. I think this is an example of how committed he is to helping students with their studies, even though he is obviously a very busy man.It is very much appreciated. Berlin is now officially dead in the water ! my colleagues and I have decided that the Turn-Berlin gallery is not a place that can best represent us as emerging contemporary artists. Even though we are in the painting department,and would therefore normally be classified as painters, we have had/are having an eclectic education in contemporary art which entails more than just painting, for example, we use sound art, video,sculpture, photography, performance, etc. As a result of this, not all of us in the class actually use paint as the preferred medium for artistic expression.We believe the contemporary artist of the 21st century is far more than just a painter; and contemporary art galleries, are well aware of this. Apart from all this, my colleagues and I were very offended by the condescending nature of the correspondence we received from the Turn-Berlin gallery.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Spoke with Des Farrell about eggsaws; can't get a high shine on them but it's not really necessary. I discussed the pedestal construction with him; he is fairly confident that once I sort the perspex out, he can construct the pedestal very quickly, also spoke with Richard Slade about this, he is getting me a pedestal to adapt to my own design, which is great. Also spoke with Matt Gidney about the ultra violet lighting; he has given me the name of a company in Childers Road where I can obtain them. Everything is proceeding exactly as I have foreseen! (Quote from Senator Palpatine, the dark Sith lord, in Star wars!) LOL. Seriously though, everything is very going well T.G. I am extremely confident, that all I have set out to do in my practice for the assessments, will be achieved. Mathilde got accepted at Dunlaoghaire I.T. today I am delighted for her, Hope she can stay with us here though, everyone has commented favourably on our performance piece.


Presentation seminar today. There were many different artists discussed; again a great variety themes. Mathew Barney; Obscure works; successful football player, All American , Trying to take this apart? Uses many materials, some significant. Androgynous figure; notions of the classical figure (Cremaster). Ideas of a story but not really telling a story.
Peter Saville, Peter Blake, Stanley Donwood; all album cover designers. Saville worked with joy division, (factory records, Manchester post punk). Blue Monday cover; Italian futurist influence. Peter Blake; Kind of pop art style; sgt Peppers, Paul Weller album, also recent commision for Coke.Stanley Donwood; cites Casper David Friedrich, Hieronomyus Bosch and time spent in museums and mountains as influences. Existentialist type influences dreamy, Peter Doig like.
Lawrence Weiner;Coloured objects (in Ghent), Text on gallery walls. Marcus Harvey; Myra portrait made from childrens hand prints.Tony Cragg: collects discarded objects from streets to make images. Chuck close;portraits using shapes like puzzles. Richard Prince; text in art (humour) to take away from the seriousness of art world. A lot of the artists today question the notion of the visual in different ways, also raises questions about the nature of museums. Ann-Marie Busschers; hyper realism, child with chicken pox, highly detailed. Ron Mueck; Sculptor, Giant size sculptures of people etc, again highly detailed.
Afternoon; spent time in library reading for thesis.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


More reading today for the thesis.We still cannot find the mini dv tape that had our performance on.Amanda (Sculpture tutor) has suggested that we create one still image of the performance; the image alone would be strong enough to give a representation of what thie performance was about. My self and Mathilde agreed that this is an excellent suggestion if we are unable to find it. We Managed to get Mathilde connected to the lit wireless internet; this will be great for our presentation on Monday. Alan has asked if they can show my practice diary as part of an exhibition, of how artists use different processes in their work; this is a great honour.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Presentation seminar this morning. It was very interesting, a great variety of work and artists. The were a good few artists which I particularly liked; Gregory Crewdson for his film set type photographs, Claes Oldenberg, for the everyday objects he turns into 'extraordinary' sculpture pieces. I liked the humour in the artworks of Erwin Wurm (stuffing things up nose), Banksy's Elephant with wall paper, and Terry Borders' little wire sculptures; very humorous, something we could do with a little bit more of in the art world, it's far too serious ! Fred Wilson is an artist of particular interest to me as I will be referencing him in my thesis. Cultural identity is one theme in his work; he argues that museums are only a kind of truth, and not an absolute truth. There was mention or the Alter Modern exhibition in the Tate gallery in Britain; again this held a special significance for me, as I have a very strong interest in contemporary art. Charles Avery's Aleph Null head was intriguing. Issues of displacement and cultural identity, were a theme of Navin Rawanchaikul's work, while travel, politics of places, and trade borders were evident i n the work of Simon Starling's work (An artist of special significance to me). Walhed Beshty work about airport security x ray's were intriguing, while the artist as traveller was a theme covered by Darren Almond; Mark Dion was also mentioned. All in all it was an excellent presentation seminar, very informative, educational and thought provoking.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


More reading again today for the thesis. It is intriguing to read of the research that Pierre Bourdieu has done; and how a lack of artistic familiarity and education can effect the way people feel about museum visitation. Have also done some research on the artist/professor Alastair Maclennan; he is a well known contemporary artist who works in performance art, something which myself and collaborating colleague Mathilde are undertaking at the moment. Michael s Reidel is another artist I have been researching, he parodies other artist's exhibitions. He has done a send up of a Simon Starling's work too.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Reading for thesis. I am reading 'love of art' by Pierre Bourdieu, it is about the research he has done regarding Museum visitation by people from different socio-economic backgrounds. It is very interesting and thought provoking; a valuable reference source for the thesis.

Monday, April 20, 2009


First day back after Easter, did quite a lot of work today without actually getting a lot done (does this make sense? well it does to me in my own mind, and as Sean Lynch says, "once it makes sense in your own mind, that's all that matters")LOL. Talking of Sean Lynch; met him and his wife today at lunchtime for a chat, they were teaching for the day in the college. We spoke about the Starling egg; the historical significance of the Unter Den Linden area in Berlin, Joseph Beuys's 7000 oak trees, Simon Starlings studio in Frankfurt etc. It was very interesting to hear an established artists opinion on the work.
Returned Ann's video camera to her (she lent it to me over the Easter)fair play to her. Unscrewed the video mounting bracket and returned it to the canteen where it came from.Prepared another five eggsaws; that's the last of them now.Myself and Mathilde worked on our presentation; it is looking good. A catastrophe has occurred, the video performance we did with the hoovers etc has gone missing, I can't find it anywhere; we are so disappointed as it was really good, I do not think we could recapture the magic that happened spontaneously that day.Enquired from Matt (just in case we left it in the video camera) also asked Nigel, Sean, etc, no sign of it anywhere.Got an extension loan from the library, on the book I got on special loan.The lads have agreed that the man from the gallery in Berlin was very condescending in his e mail to us. (I sent them a copy of the e mail he sent me). Sandra has organised a bag packing week end starting next Friday and Saturday,and Sunday, fair play to her; also to Tadhg who is putting in a lot of work for the exhibition, in fact; all the lads seem to be taking their responsibilities very seriously, fair play to them all!!! Got a couple more additions to the beauty board today; it is close to completion now.



Still on Easter hols but went in to do our performance piece today. We put the paints into plastic cups/jars to give us more freedom whilst painting. The paint was thinned by adding linseed oil, we used turpentine to dilute it further. We began by lying on the floor whilst listening to the music (Steve Reich), this we did, as it were, to achieve an altered state of awareness/consciousness; we listened to the music for a few minutes, then went about the job of painting the boards. The music was on a loop and it played for the duration of the work. It was an unusual experience; no planning as such (as to the structure of the painting) we just went with how we felt. It was in some sense quite liberating; being free of the usual restraints within the painting genre; we felt the painting as opposed to constructing it. It developed from pure unadulterated creativity, intermingled with generous helpings of spontaneity. Was it a success? most definitely so, the painting is full of energy.There is a wonderful array of different strokes, lines, swirls,reduction marks etc. Perhaps the next time we might use a more restricted palette, and maybe an even shorter time frame. We are both very happy with the result, it's not everyone who gets the opportunity to undertake this kind of painting/performance experience.Jackson Pollack is an obvious reference but many artists have used different means of altered states, to do paintings: alcohol, drugs, sensory deprivation and overload, etc, etc,etc.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Carried on preparing the boards for the performance/painting piece. One part of the jigsaw piece was not lined up correctly, so it would not join up; we will rectify this at a later stage. We had planned to start the project today, alas, we did not have enough paint; we hope to finish this next wednesday.


Went to the museum of modern art in Dublin;mainly to see the works of Hughie O Donoghue. There some excellent pieces on display. I especially liked the video piece which showed the process of one particular painting, it was intriguing to see the artist work and re work certain areas until he got the desired effect.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Again more preparation of the boards.


Carried on preparing the boards for the presentation/painting piece.


Had a tutorial with Alan yesterday. It was very positive. As usual, great advice from Alan,he has a great knowledge of issues within contemporary art; he has suggested I research the artist Bill Drummond, by all accounts, he is the kind of mad cap fellow which I can appreciate. Other artists he suggested which could be researched in reference to my work were: Patricia McKenna, Martin Creed,Denis McNulty,Alaistair Maclennan ,and the quintessential Joseph Beuys. He has mentioned Roland Barthes philosopher as well.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


The eggsaws turned out reasonably well, they are not crystal clear but that is fine; it will add to the mystery.Prepared the mould for another five today.Obtained the boards for the performance/painting/video piece with Mathilde. Will use the machine tomorrow to trace out the jigsaw shapes. We will play some minimalist sound possibly Steve Reich, whilst painting on the boards, we are hoping in some sense to get lost in the sound so to speak, and see what kind of painting develops, we will be recording this on video. The video we will project on to the boards when the painting is completed, it will show the whole process taking place. The jigsaw shape? Well I suppose it is a kind of metaphor for our work we are doing; a mixture of different things that we are trying to make sense of through experimentation.Had another meeting about Berlin, again, the lads are so enthusiastic,there is a great energy in the gruop.Wrote e mail to Shelia Deegan about getting Istrabraque hall for the exhibition, hope she hasn't given our spot away, did not contact her for a while.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


CCS tutorial went well; some grammatical advice and some suggestions as to what kind of approach to take,on the whole very positive. Prepared 5 more eggsaws this afternoon. Good buzz about Berlin now, the lads taking their jobs seriously, it feels like more of a group thing now, now that everyone is contributing, I'm confident that it will be a great success.

Reply from Sean Lynch (Re:Starling egg)

Hi Richard Thanks for your mail. I cant speak for Simon I'm afraid, you have to speak to him about it all if you want, but all sounds interesting to me. As far as I remember Michael Riedel did a somewhat similar but really over the top set up of Simon in Frankfurt a few years ago, I am sure you can research it, it got a big spiel in Artforum. I look forward to seeing the piece, As far as I know the tree branch you spoke about was in a show in the new kunsthalle in Berlin. I am sure it is researchable too. In any case, I wouldnt worry about what other people think of the gesture, once it makes sense in your own head is the most important thing. I made a kind of similar project on Richard Long a few years ago and didnt bother trying to explain it to him. I am in Limerick April 20 teaching if you want to meet up for a coffee that day call me on 0874138791. Bring the twig! Sincere Wishes Sean