This time last year Our Graduate Artist In Residence Janet had only just started her residency with us. Find out how she is getting on 12 months on…
“Blogging has evolved to become a way of working out my thinking about making art, however, recently things have changed.
Before Covid, I would write reams organised into diaries and documents and I could pick and choose what to publish and it was all quite easy. Now we are During Covid my writing has become fragmented and I don’t know what thoughts have been written and where to find them, and I find myself, on the eve of another lockdown, making unfinished mental lists which are more a symptom of a worry than an attempt to actually organise and achieve anything.
Although if I could actually finish a list I like to think it would show that I’m in a fairly good place and that having this residency with Coventry ArtSpace has provided a drive to focus on the end of January when I show what I’ve done at City Arcadia Gallery. Without the residency, although undoubtedly I would have made art, I would have given in very quickly to the temptation to begin several new things and very few of them would have been finished or culminated in a work; that I could say about which: this is what I was thinking about and have it actually look or feel like that thing. Because daily life is both highly in flux and yet very much the same happens each day it is good to have a solid reason to hang on to thoughts about the ground I walked on and what I found there that are anchored in a time before all this happened.
Comparing pre-this lockdown with that other one, I know one of the reasons I feel better is because I don’t have many future plans that can be interrupted. I don’t have to deal with the same crushing disappointments. In fact, my plan is just to keep going creatively somehow and I can do that, even in only a small way, every day, even if it is just in my head. Conversely to my expectations, I find the current situation has encouraged me to live in the moment more than I probably have before but I can’t really say how this will affect what I’m creating and if there will be an obvious division in it by the end of January.
I am both more and less contemplative about the things I collected this time last year in Coventry near Eaton House, which are currently gathered in a big black plastic plant pot in my bedroom with a heavy yellow toolbox sat on top as a lid. I suppose I’m still processing them. In the course of doing so, I find I am ordering and reordering them according to their material qualities. Do they make a noise in my hands as I handle them, or as they rub against each other? Yes. Then I record them and process their sounds to synthesise a dialogue between things that might have lived once on the ground. Do they have a surface that won’t break up under the fairly rough process of intaglio inking and printing? Yes. Then their textured effigies become a fluttery pile of cut-out bone-dry blackish inked white paper – like the collapsed constituent parts of a book.
Some, however, entirely resist any attempt of mine to place them within a taxonomy, unless it’s a negative one, by being too bulky, too flimsy, too stretchy, or too alike, or unlike the other pieces. They will possibly demand another method of translation, or maybe they will remain forever obstinately themselves and therefore unapproachable. That’s ok, of course. All these bits of things I’ve collected have already had some kind of altercation with humanity at some point in their past, but now, as our detritus, they also have a thingness that is all their own; mingling within our shared environment they both hold on to that old relationship and supersede it and become strange.”