Reflective Journal Week 29, 12 Apr – 18 Apr 2020

Random thought:

  • How are you going to depict Cornish landscape?

The phase historians use to talk about indigenous painters like Alfred Wallis and Peter Lanyon is always interesting. The often introduces these artists produced landscapes that only Cornish people would understand. Thus, whether I can process the landscape as one of the local individuals still remains unknown. But I intend to follow the great tradition of Cornish art. To go in, touch, feel the landscape. Talking to others, chat with artists for a solid background understanding. Work on the idea of the Cornish landscape and Cornish identity simultaneously. And if at last, my work can be recognised by the academy, the market and the art field, I would consider my depiction of Cornish landscape successful. 

Somewhere near Oatlands Robert O’Connor

Somewhere near Oatlands was the winner of twenty-twenty’s glover prize. It was created by Tasmanian painter Robert O’Connor. According to his artist statement, the painting was created to display the influence of the pastoral industry, as a consequence of European Colonisation. Living stocks completely turned Oatlands and of course, a great proportion of Australian fields into farms that at the very beginning, were made to feed, as earn extra income for the Commonwealth. The absurdity demonstrated by the painting earned favours from some judges; however, the rest of them considered this entry “a mockery to the prize, and to their intelligence”.

Despite the Glover prize was set to reward landscape painters, Somewhere near Oatlands was not technically in the landscape genre. The painter installed a lamb hunk, peas and gravy as a trope of the land whose impression was preoccupied with historical events. He challenged the true essence of the Australian wild and magnified its functional aspect. Although he claimed his entry was just to have fun, the painting itself opened up a new perspective in which landscape was interpreted by still-life objects. 

Somewhere near Oatlands inspired me to work on the materiality of a specific object. I chose the sea salt that I extracted from several different locations in Mount’s Bay. I ground a handful of salt by hand and cast it on a wet-painted she of Cornwall. I considered salt a strong symbol of the maritime culture of Cornwall.

Subjectively, I recon the absurdity of promoting the regional distinctiveness by putting the word “Cornish” in front of “sea salt”. The unbalanced British regional policies and the identity emphasised by salt is quite an elegant symbol of the marginalisation of Cornwall. 

I was also interested in how light spread out on the sheet. I saw the possibility of reproducing a sunrise/sunset when I have access to the studio. 

“The desire to fly. The rising sun shines across the peninsula. The relationship between landscape and materiality. The Cornish salt. And Peter Lanyon’s detachment from his beloved landscape. Pure Cornish ingredient, Apr 2020.”

Several sketches were produced during this week to support this piece as well as other output in the future. 

A photo about “the first access to electricity in the Russian countryside”, early 20th CenturyCentury. There is a saying in the field of Chinese literature, “the greatest common between Chinese and Russian literature is the expression of low class’s suffering. For thousands of years, peasants that supported these two civilisations were ignored and considered meaningless just because there have been too many of them.” These figures in the photo revealed a numb in their facial expression. As it was described “got used to another day of the life.” In early 20th CenturyCentury Chinese novels. People are getting emotionless due to the severe fluctuation in social stability. Starvation happened even as common as wars.

Another series of inspiration photo was about a rapidly developing town at the beginning of “open and reform”. Newly constructed buildings and the use of vehicles (which was still rare even in the early 90s), formed an incredible contrast in which figures look a bit lost. The sudden acceleration of the society overwhelmed people’s predictions about their future, planted a historically rooted concern/anxiety to common people. The country’s upcoming rising socially impacted on both hemispheres. Even today, people are still reacting differently to the possible change that China could deliver to the world. Some of these reactions are radical, few of them reveal friendliness. What I learned here is the motivation to celebrate the humanism continuously. A simple sentence given by the administration could thoroughly influence the lives of ordinary beings. 

It encouraged me to walk with people, and demonstrate their voices in a reckless time.

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