Critical Evaluation

David Somers bio photo By David Somers Comment

This post is my critical evaluation, one of the components for the Unit 2 Assessment.

Analyse and critically reflect coherently upon your own practice and its context

The best way to consider the context of my practise is through my Research PaperMotivation in Abstract Art — where I looked at the motivation behind abstract art, and positioned it from an art historian perspective, as a response to changes in society, and essentially a shift from an epistemological model to one of ontological reduction.

After writing the Research Paper my practice pushed into a new medium to explore hybridity, viz. marbling. As part of this process there was a shift from making discrete artworks to making sets. Coupled with the research paper, followed by additional research, my interest is now into exploring ontological reduction, and particularly the micro-, meso-, and meta-aspects of repeats, sets, and macro views.

Over the course of this MA, my practice-based research has resulted in approximately 133 artistic objects being created, and blog with 302 posts, being a corpus of 97496 words. When I started this MA I had no notion of how much art I would make, or how large my blog would get, and I’ve been quite surprised with the outcome, in terms of content but also progression.

My practise has encompassed a range of media… cycling initially between doodling (doodles) and fiber sculpture (fs)… then cycling between fiber sculpture and digital (sequent)… then introducing repetition into digital (generative)… discovering marbling (m)… then adding in the research and analysis from my research paper this has led into repetitions and sets within m… and back to looking at repetition within generative. An element of industrial design has been introduced for the final show, with my design for and use of bespoke laser cut acrylic to mount the m sets and digital enlargements.

My use of contemporary post-colonial theory as a base for my work is an unusual one. This critical theory is well-known and has been applied more commonly with literature and music, but its use within the visual arts has been somewhat limited. Normally, it is associated with figurative work, and the emphasis is very much on the relationship and position of the artist themselves, i.e. expressing their situation vis-à-vis colonialism. My approach is different and somewhat unique: instead of applying these concepts to community structures and dynamics (the cultural interactions in a society), I apply them to a conceptual system instantiated as a visual world (the figure/figure interactions in a pictorial space). It is conceptual abstract art and an instrument for reflection; given contemporary contemporary political and social events, it offers an opportunity for critical observation. At a secondary level, it could be be simply regarded on aesthetics and the application of color theory.

Summarise and evaluate your overall progress and formulate a constructive plan for continuing Personal and Professional Development

My research paper piqued my interest in ontological reduction, and with the shift from making discrete artworks to making sets. Following additional research and analysis I am looking towards the use of repetition (the similar but different), and presenting micro-, meso-, and meta-views of respectively repeats, sets, and a continuum of ontological reduction.

On one hand, I plan to pursue this by applying it to and expanding the marbling and generative works. On the other hand, to consider pursuing this as original research within the framework of a practice-based visual arts PhD.

Notwithstanding, the short- to medium-term plan is to continue with the m series, develop the mounting system into other configurations (possibly a smaller 3 x 3), and to develop a parallel line of generative art.

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