The Fruits of the Residency

So, I have been back In Durban for a few days now and have been a little quiet as I have been trying to find my footing, while reacclimatizing to everyday life; it feels like I have been thrown into the ocean without knowing how to swim and been given punctured kids armbands with the deluded idea that they will help get me to safety. This may be a little bit of an exaggeration but, you get my point. A lot of it is psychological and completely self-inflicted; coming back from my residency has filled me with exciting new ideas for work and some great prospects for my art (I know, a terrible problem to have…but it is if you start feeling completely overwhelmed and you can’t really begin anything because you don’t know where to start). Some of my feelings are also reaction to physical things; a few days before going on the residency I moved home and packed up my studio, so I came back to unpacking and moving in to a new place, and trying to negotiate life without a massive studio. But, none-the-less, things seem to be settling down a bit and I can hopefully start focusing on getting back to making new work.


The time has finally come to share with all of you the fruits of the artist residency.


And fruitful it was.

During the residency, I made two bodies of work, one main body of work and a slightly smaller series. The main body of work was a continuation of ideas that I had just started exploring prior to the residency. It was what I spent most of my time on. I will first briefly discuss this body of work, provisionally titled ‘Invite Only’. I will then speak a bit about the smaller series titled ‘Asymmetry’. Explanation and images to follow:


Invite Only

This body of work is an ongoing exploration of themes of play, celebration, frivolity and joy with an undertone of serious, dark, more complex notes. At first glance the work appears light and humorous but attempts to address heavier issues. Imagery of; objects found in funfairs or carnivals, our daily life and/or a symbolic pig is seen throughout this series of work. The pairing of the imagery makes reference to issues that plague our daily existence, as we attempt to put on facades to mask devastation, exploitation, greed, gluttony, turmoil or unhappiness. I attempt to make subtle references to sociopolitical issues, of capitalism and politics through imagery and titling of works.

The subtlety created through embossing or white on white paper cuts, is symbolic of chaos and greed that has become so embedded in our society and our daily life that it often goes unnoticed.


Comes Around. 2017. hand-cut paper and ink. 42x59.4 cm

Taste Happiness. 2017. hand-cut paper and ink. 42x59.4 cm

Party with Wolf Stew. 2018. hand-cut and embossed paper and ink. 42x59.4 cm

Win Big. 2018. hand-cut and embossed paper. 42x59.4 cm

In the Hands of Few. 2017. Paper and glue. 16 x 19 x 14 cm

Act. 2017. hand-cut paper and graphite. 42x59.4 cm

Untitled. 2017. hand-cut paper. 42x59.4 cm

Trade the Ride. 2017. Paper and glue. 20 x 22 x 10 cm

Pick a Party. 2017. Paper and glue. approx. 80 x 80 X 80 cm

Market. 2017. Paper and Glue. 57 x 10 x 24 cm

Be happy, Be Happy, Be happy. 2017. hand-cut paper and graphite. 42x59.4 cm

Strung Up. 2017. Paper and Glue. Size variable. aprox 1m x 25cm

After Party. 2017. Paper and glue. 33 x 20 x 20cm

Snakes and Ladders. 2017. hand-cut paper and ink. 42x59.4 cm

Untitled. 2018. hand-cut paper.

Untitled. 2018. hand-cut paper and ink. 42x59.4 cm

The Next Morning. 2017. hand-cut paper and graphite. 42x59.4 cm

Asymmetry

This small series was a far less serious exploration. It was the last few works I made before heading home and I felt the need to make work that was a little more intuitive; purely focusing on pattern and visual aesthetics and less on conceptual underpinning.


What lead me to this little series is: I made a work to leave behind for the retirement home, as a few artists before me had done. For this work, I wanted it to be both meaningful to me and to the context of the home. What I ended up making is seen in the first work below titled 127005. The imagery is derived from my very first real experience with Germany, which was at the entrance of the retirement home, a beautiful building with what was then a very autumn tree, completely orange. As my residency progressed the tree transformed and lost all its leaves. Its transformative journey resonated with me because of my experience on the residency. The embossed lettering, 127005, is the exact number of minutes I spent on my residency, from touchdown to take off; this work became a visual representation of my stay…I deviate.


While making this work, I feel in love with the silhouette of the tree and the small series was born. I was really interested in playing with pattern both the already existing natural patterns and a more human, man made one. I loved and tried to push the visual homonym of tree, vein, or organ that started surfacing. To put it simply, it’s a visual exploration of natural pattern.


127005. 2018. hand-embossed paper and ink. 42x59.4 cm

Untitled. 2018. hand-cut paper. 42x59.4 cm

Untitled. 2018. hand-cut paper. 42x59.4 cm

Untitled. 2018. hand-cut paper. 42x59.4 cm

Untitled. 2018. hand-cut paper. 42x59.4 cm

Untitled. 2018. hand-cut paper. 42x59.4 cm

Untitled. 2018. hand-cut paper. 42x59.4 cm

In general, I had such a fantastic time in Germany. And it was so lovely having the space and time to conceptualize and make work in a stress-free environment. The retirement home that hosts the artists was wonderful, they left me wanting for nothing. I can imagine the retirees wanting for nothing there too, it is a really great setup. If you are interested here is a link to their webpage http://www.bremer-heimstiftung.de/ . I made some wonderful friends and saw mind-blowing art. As mentioned in the beginning, I have come home with a wealth of ideas that I can’t wait to make and share with you.


(Detail shots of the above work)

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