Participating artists met to discuss their experience on 20 May.
“At first I felt quite private, I didn’t want to hand over what I was working on and see it move behind my recognition,” said Aldobranti who was paired with Karen Wood for CAS PostIt Exchange. And so it was, the project is both a challenge and an opportunity for each participating artist to explore material and practice whilst in active dialogue with a stranger turned collaborator. Karen Wood spoke about not wanting to divert from the parameters of her practice which focuses on urban environments (‘the streets’ in particular). This need to find where to dissent and where to assent, within a collaborative process, and always in reference to ones own individuality and viewpoint is a source of fertile tension.
Each in their own way, artists tussled with their personal expectations and assumptions, making choices about when to work within or resist their interpretation of the brief. Some chose to tailor their material prompt based on impressions of their paired artists practice. Kimvi Nguyen saw Marion Piper’s clean lines and sent a crumpled and flattened ball of paper, and Jacqueline Bonnin saw Carol Capper was a painter, and chose to send her a ‘bag of yellow’ that would not lend itself to a painterly response. Others, such as Ruth Facey and I, didn’t research our paired artist. “I just bundled up some wire and things on the basis that this is what I’m working with myself.” said Ruth Facey. And I chose to send a box of empty eggshells to illustrator Suzanna Raymond which became more of a symbolic gesture than provision of materials to be worked upon directly.
PostIt Exchange: A Showcase
The CAS PostIt Showcase page shows a variety of artist responses to the Post It project (ongoing).
Not all participating artists were present to discuss their work on 20 May but with just two hours set aside, 10 attendees was plenty. Artists came from as afar as Portsmouth and London to attend which is marvellous for a Saturday morning Art CRIT.
We heard from Dawn Evans who talked about being preoccupied by the American election around the time she received an envelope from Mike Bartlett, she couldn’t stop watching it. She said she was also fascinated by the collage on the girls dress. Her latest response is called Folding Stripe, and draws together the influence of the girls dress and the colours of the America flag. Meanwhile, Mike explained that his imagination was inspired by the possible meaning, significance and history of the rusted object he received from Dawn, and he kept coming back to its shapes and pattern.
Ruth Facey showed us her zig zagging, sculptural book. “There’s no front, back, right way up, or upsidedown, ” she said, “it’s the next version of what I’ve always done. (I once made Busy Girls Jewellery – broaches that could be stuck on any way up).” Line, irregularity and strange ways of looking at things is consistent in Ruth’s work. She received buttons, batteries, googly eyes, wire and LEDs in an envelope from Beth Davis-Hofbauer.
“How was I going to acknowledge creativity and power without lighting up the LEDs?” said Ruth. She decided to thread paint coated wire through concertinaed paper, and working with tweezers and batteries to print onto the cover. She made notes of her thought process in a notebook. One notebook entry reads: How to manage this without covering anything in paint? Have lunch first.
“When you first showed me your book,” said Carol Capper “I did think it looked like the ink had come alive and was running through the paper like it had a life of its own.”
A number of threads and serendipitous connections have emerged quite by accident over the last few months.
As I saw the responses coming in on Instagram I even noticed that the images, came in phases of colour. A series of reds, and yellows, followed by deep blues and greys. At the CAS PostIt Exchange discussion last month, Carol admitted that yellow, is in fact “a problem” colour, and so Jacqueline’s material prompt took on a ‘therapeutic’ significance as Carol designed and built her bright yellow ‘sunshine kids’. These lively characters look like they are preparing for a ritual ceremony or tribal party. It just so happens that ritual, along with repetition, making and unmaking are key to Jacqueline’s practice.
Jacqueline talked about creating a link to the arial photograph of an olive grove (posted by Carol) by choosing to work with olive oil. Her response, cooked up in her kitchen, shared strong echoes for me of my own ‘wild kitchen’ experiment in which my son joined me to ‘create galaxies’ on the kitchen floor. Where I used a velvet black backdrop to float the objects in cosmic darkness, and ‘Baba Yaga’s’ mortar and pestle to break up seeds and pods that were supplied in a returning egg box, Jacqueline mixed her materials in a bowl and evoked the green and brown contours of the olive grove through a series of marks, prints, weaves and relief images. The result is textural, flowing, evocative of liquid and solidity both.
Thank you to all artists who have engaged with the CAS PostIt Exchange experiment. It has been a huge success, and we invite you to continue using the hashtag #caspostitexchange.
“I feel differently about the work having seen it displayed and hearing the stories, from when I first saw the images on instagram.”
“The discussion has helped reveal how differently artists process, interpret, and approach their prompts.”
“Nothing beats face to face with an artist and I’m very grateful for it. Even a material art object in the post is a weak substitute.”
“I’ve enjoyed following artists responses on Instagram like I’m part of a special club because I have felt connected to the other artists who responded to the invitation.”
“Taking part in #caspostitexchange forced me to get back into it (art practice) without life keeping getting in the way, I enjoyed feeling involved and inspired.”
“Very often I work with found objects but those are prompts I have found. Having items chosen for me is so different.”
“The time constraint was helpful to keep me focused and I really appreciate learning that artists were paired randomly (out of a hat).”
“The list of prompts “ways to approach you material” was helpful in expanding my approach.”
“Responses were unexpected, delightful, ingenious.”