Janet Tryner Fine Artist

I am a fine artist, graphic designer & illustrator. When I am not happily getting messy with paint I work in the event industry as a presentation designer. I am fascinated and inspired by the ever-changing show of shapes and colours in the landscape.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Considering new technologies

Tacita Dean's 'Green Ray' (https://vimeo.com/38026163) considers the recording of a natural phenomenon on film: the last green ray of the setting sun - a mere flicker in time, the total length of a single frame of film - which digital video cameras were unable to record. With technical progress comes hand in hand with a loss, in this case, of an optical effect produced by our star on our atmosphere - and our world becomes a little less colourful. NB, this link to the digital version of the film will not allow you to see the green ray.

We talked of progress, briefly, during my tutorial today. Of GDP measurement of growth to track progress - a sort of school race between nations - with detentions issued to those nations failing to keep up. The Economist https://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21697845-gross-domestic-product-gdp-increasingly-poor-measure-prosperity-it-not-even uses a neat analogy on the falling cost and rising quality of light in the West to demonstrate that GDP is a complex calculation that doesn't always account for the quality of a product, as it also doesn't account for the rising tax income of rising costs, nor does it account for the value of free services - it ignores the considerable economic value of the stay-at-home carer - a mostly female workforce. It is a best-fit solution that doesn't suit every application. The suggestion it seems is that GDP has had its day. But GDP seems nebulous, new factors can be added and old ones discounted, however, when Bank of England refuses to pin down a number in their projections for growth, then Sir Charles Bean's quote “It is a big mistake to think that one number serves for all purposes,” seems to serve them well. Still, GDP figures are simple servings for grabbing headlines and perhaps we would be better served to persuade all at large to accept complex solutions for measuring worth, instead of appealing for simplicity.

So, somehow, economics canter into art.

But were they ever separate? The source of this discussion was my recounting, briefly, the Pentrich Rebellion http://www.pentrichrebellion.co.uk and my ancestor's role and punishment, that I've connected with this depiction of a dry overrun of land, homes and scattered stones. Also, to my use of polyethene, a material I connect with a deep sense of change in our environment and society, as we become more aware of how our lifestyles will affect our planet for generations to come.

I haven't yet created the right formal use of the material. It is so light and transparent that I struggle to create the same intensity I form with paper, which somehow reflects back at me all the energy that I put into it. Polyethene sucks that energy up and disperses it, I think via its transparency, which is why I plan to work on combining it with paper so I can utilise its veiling qualities yet hang on to the energy. 

Monday, 26 February 2018

Considering polythene (not Phlebus) but Zeiss

I have been procrastinating about a return to making art with polythene sheets - polythene wrap, not plastic wrap, and I have finally done some Rorschach marks and doodles on gesso on both 50:50 bread bags and plain sheets. It took us a while to eat through enough bread for me to begin experimenting with the bread bags. My daughter likes a different bread now and I've begun to make us bread out of spelt flour, and I'm not up for buying products for the bin, so there's a nice limit with this current material.

The Rorschach marks are a visual play on 50:50, and ideas of equal division, fairness, of mirroring, the almost complete repeat and dividing line - if one has to divide, does it have to be fair? What factors come in to play? And who decides?

The doodles are whatever wonderland comes to mind. Mostly I just follow a line and objects happen on the way. Here is the work in progress:

Halfway through I started thinking about what it was like working in the Magma Art and Conference Centre in Tenerife (below) some years ago, so some of the grey shapes at the top echo that architecture - wood cast concrete, angled ceilings, that sense of mass and weight. I felt that as an object polythene needs something to visually hold it firmly, forms of chirascuro allows me to play with the pretence that mass is there although it clearly is not.

On this link https://www.pointandline.com/works/1862 I came across a work by Richard Zeiss that figures some of the same concerns I've taken on by deciding to work on polythene.

Egg tempera, mica pigment and yacht varnish on tarpaulin. Brass grommets, tension wires. Backlit.

About which he said, amongst other things, having followed after Michael Newman essay on Agnes Martin where he talks about Paul de Man's concept that the material texts are made up of, i.e. letters - which, when reading, you have to forget in order to form meaning, and what in painting could perform the same 'pure, radical, non-phenomenal materiality.' His solution was to create a 'clash of material with strong external connotations that would be unlikely to meet in any given context. Like egg tempera ("medieval religious painting") and tarpaulin ("lowly material in industrial use"). The strong external referents would, to my mind, potentially erode and even delete each other, leaving you with pure, non-relational materiality.'

Presented as it is within the backlit white space the tarp takes on the vibrations of a religious object.

What is considerably more interesting to me is that Zeiss has moved on his reading to Blanchot who rejects stable meaning: 'every piece of writing establishes writing anew, and in a sense creates a microcosm with internal references, like vestors shooting back and forth; or indeed like a good science fiction story, that is completely unbelievable out-of-universe, but works perfectly in-universe'. This rather neatly, too neatly to be true, creates the instance of a self-referring, or even, self-refereeing artwork, which just has to be water-tight in order to work. Another way of saying that would be that in order to work, or be understandable as an artwork, it merely must not contradict itself. It's language must be anomolous, if not the same as, the language as the network it exists within - structurally similar, if not syntacically the same. This leaves the door open for syntactical works like Zeiss's No51, and like mine, with contrasting material content. 

Spirituality, being based in belief rather than empirical data is non-sensical. Maybe my feeling that Zeiss's work has a spiritual dimension occurs because the materials exist in a state of tension, suspended and 'ultimately cancel each other out like vectors pulling in opposite directions', it is, like spirituality - and science fiction - nonsensical but nonetheless vitally existant, and tells us much about ourselves.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

fragments and flecks

I am experimenting with drawing unconsciously made marks in order to create a palimpsest to which I can reactively draw in order to discover remembered places. Starting my process of remembering at various points may enable access to deeper or less predictable memories. 

Starting strokes with a water-soaked brush, pipette-drops of Paynes Grey and Sepia acrylic ink, and free-arm lines made with the end of the pipette. When that was dry I wetted the whole page to increase the spread of colour and reduce hard lines and tinted the edge with diluted turquoise and leaf-green acrylic paint. Once dried, I re-wetted and half-poured half-brushed water containing graphite pencil sharpenings.

A problem was the fixative (Perfix) failed to fix larger flecks of graphite. Therefore, I decided this was the right point to engage with the surface directly with a pencil to recreate the flecks - a lengthy process which knocked them from the surface - consequently, I found myself deciding the limit between the size of flecks I would trace, and those which I thought another spray of fixative would adhere to the surface. These marks are not so dark as the flecks, as they lack three dimensions and shadow, nevertheless, the next stage of drawing has begun.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Contemplating end of Nov 17

So I'm thinking about this work:

This has grown from some artwork on improbable / unfeasible buildings and investigation into mark-making - drawing a line. Thick acrylic paint, incised when wet and infilled with more paint when dry on bits of mount board that were left over from some mounts I made for my open studio back in the summer. I dislike throwing away stuff so they were lying about waiting for a job. 

What I'm wondering is: should I do more and end up with a kind of patchwork montage? Would that be along the right lines of my investigation? They take quite a bit of time to make and since I'm not made of time I need to consider if it's time-wasting to make more. 

Also, do themes of proliferation, fragmentation and multiplication work with my interests in unfeasibility, uncertainty, improbability. It strikes me that these are all reductive things and the aspect of repeated shapes is multiplying and I wonder what the outcome would be of combining the two.

Is there a sense of repetition towards infinity? This could be a question of whether infinity exists. There are differing ideas about this.

If there were to be a sense of breakdown within the repetition - in a sense like RNA, which carries information from DNA to the ribosome, where messages that don't arrive atrophy and degenerate.

Currently, I think the outcome of this is that they work better alone. Or in small groups so that they can be contained. I think I may try to think more about the relationship between the works I've done - not to prove or display a link - but to see how they speak to each other. 

Maybe or maybe not connected that: I recently read an Aeon article about the philosopher Phillipa Foot http://bit.ly/2BoBCiH - about moral choices being value driven with those values more likely to come from the reality (or perceived reality) that surrounds us rather than from logic or language, which prioritises relationships & culture as decision-making tools. 

So maybe a question I can ask myself about the future of this work is: What is the reality that surrounds it/me? rather than 'What is the logical result / next step'.

Recent work Nov 2017

Continuing my current work... an exploration into drawing while holding in mind my interests in notions of utopia and science fiction.., I've been working on this piece for about 2 weeks, a length of time that reflects both how long each layer of ink takes to dry and the flattening process for each A1 sheet. Making the marks takes comparatively little time. Now I have to decide if I want to speed up that time and how to do that. The length of the process gives me lots of thinking time and I can work on other projects that all feed into each other in the meantime so I rather enjoy the inherent delays. However, I'm interested in how joining the sheets together first will change the eventual form as lots of marks are made by ink drips pooling on the paper as it dips and stretches, also, flattening it will be an interesting exercise.

I made it too long to hang on the wall vertically which has turned out to be a boon, as it effortlessly seems to have achieved one of my recent aims which is to achieve some kind of shape additional to the 2d flatness and illusionary depth. It isn't visible from the photograph but the piece lying on the floor is deliberately upside down and it does give a pleasant slightly topsy turvy feeling when looking down on it. It's interesting how easily and simply that the situ of a drawing on a wall can be challenged.  This is definitely something to be explored.

In regards to the other projects, I am slowly bringing this drawing to a resolution in my home studio. I am of a mind, since I know where I am going with it, to concentrate more on other experiments within the studio space at college, although I've just started focusing again on the central shape.

I've realised that I've been mainly occupied with different ways to make a line - and to do that in a meaningful way. These are all gesturally different and either involve adding or subtracting material to or from a surface. So along with the ambiguity over surface / object that is something to explore - without going into drawing in space and installation. Not that I'm against formal installation its just that I'm all about the portability, and maybe transference of place in relation to my artwork. I'm going to have to investigate that too. :-)

Monday, 27 November 2017

deceptive perception?

Perhaps our problem is faulty perception? I glanced up from the computer screen to idly consider what a moment of arrival would be like for a civilisation such as ours, which is occupied with progress, only for my eyes to focus involuntarily on an object in the middle-distance across on the other side of the street. So now there is a displacement in inverted colours: a light-shadow superimposed up and to the right-hand side onto what I now see: the formerly unseen object. Here is an impression of a green glowing chimney beneath a cloudy sky. I am simultaneously seeing the object and my memory of it. And the memory is rapidly fading. As a memory and representation of a thought, this could be a fading presence of a civilisation.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Group Crit

Feedback on via tutorials and crits coming thick and fast at the moment - probably the best way to get it all in. I'm not expecting anyone in the big wide world to be at all interested in my arty shit, this is just my way of recording what my art course is doing for me and in some way attempting to distill what I'm learning.

Group crits can be really useful, but it's good to know what format they are going to take then you can prepare accordingly. My tutor emailed us all an excerpt from '7 days in the art world' that described a marathon group crit so I did approach the day with a feeling that I should have brought extra sandwiches - however, it wasn't nearly so intensive.

Firstly, I asked to have my crit in the format of a discussion rather than in 'fly-on-the-wall' mode. I wanted to have some other opinions on unresolved areas of my current work so I showed them sketchbooks and work in progress.

The main idea I have come away with is to work with the materiality of paper in it's form, to reshape it somehow, to explore it's properties as an object while retaining it's sense of surface: folding, wetting, the shapes and spaces left, and the touchable surfaces. They really liked being able to get their hands on my sketchbooks given that we don't get the opportunity to do that very often. I also enjoyed being able to share them. There is something around touch that I am interested in that somehow ties up with my hobby of partner dancing and the senses of physical connection that I use and enjoy there. That is a blog to come - perhaps after I finish the dissertation. My, how these blog ideas are growing.

I keep going back to the shape of my concertina sketchbook and its diarising potential. Also there was the idea of working on a roll - creating a drawing on a roll of paper and just rolling on forward when an area is finished. I'm also thinking of Bea Last's sculptural charcoal drawings. Trying to get to the edge of the paper's tolerance. I'm also very taken with Marian Piper's work which came up in my last tutorial with Cathy. They both tread a fine line between surface and object and their work both features repetition and layering

My working from original doodles made while waiting backstage at work was discussed. I kind of had a hard time trying to think of similar limbo that I have now - on pay, waiting for my turn and nothing else to fill the time but let events distill themselves on paper - it was very much a special time and place. I don't have any time now that isn't devoted to something else - there is always something to do - there's never time quite like that when I'm on someone else's pay and expected to do nothing. The only time that happened was while invigilating and we were told we could read or use phones - and I didn't feel I could zone out in the same way. It was hard to explain to everyone, and even myself that I don't have or allow myself those times. I have that sense of time passing increasingly quickly so I try to use every available second - so those enforced limbos are really valuable; of course I didn't let myself sit there then, I used the time to make something.  So now I am faced with wanting to make that time, or what I learnt into something else, or to learn how to access what I did then in a different way. Is it really a case of getting myself locked up so I am free to make?

What else was there?

As I read back over what I've written I realise that I haven't, and we didn't, discuss what I'm drawing - that I am not bound up in what I'm drawing. I've been too concerned about that probably. Perhaps I'm moving into the realm of abstraction but that may move me away from those original limbo doodles and the insight they gave me. I'm going to have to think more clearly about what I gain in moving away from that, or if I dawdle on the edge of doing so. Certainly, the large ink and charcoal drawing currently on the wall is a dawdling. Nice word for it. Maybe a dancing dawdling. Maybe d(r)awdling on the edge is as far as I want to go?

So ideas I had over the weekend were to emboss objects into the paper - coins, chains. I feel that I very much want to stay producing surfaces, and not objectify. There is something around the continuance beyond the surface, and the illusion of space that really interests me, the window-like aperture of a frame or the edges of the drawing. The edges really interest me, but not at the cost of the content or the centre. The tension between the edge and the centre is continuing and can be altered by adding another piece of paper. One of the next things I'm going to do in the studio is play with the nebulous ink and chalk dust background and cut it up and repaste it and see what I get.