Reflective Journal Week 30, 19 Apr – 25 Apr 2020

Most of the physical practice were experiments of placing figures in the landscape. I intended to create neutral objects that represent the real relationship between human and nature. While celebrating the preponderant power of nature, I would like to highlight the spiritual and cultural creations of human, which ultimately, are still the outcomes of nature.

Political perspectives, preoccupied images, ideological values, all of them can cause differences between people which might lead to severe hostility. This feature is particularly concerning nowadays. I intended to work on something that human should truly fear of or respect to. The freedom of wandering in endless nature (the freedom of travelling maybe?)

Limited access to life drawing workshop significantly limited my source of figure reference. But I managed to work out a certain amount of sketches (unsatisfying ones are not posted here) to support large-scale formal works in the future. 

Quoting from the website:

“We need to learn to see not just with Western eyes but with Islamic eyes and Inuit eyes, not just with human eyes but with golden-cheeked warbler eyes, coho salmon eyes, and polar bear eyes, and not even just with eyes at all but with the wild, barely articulate being of clouds and seas and rocks and trees and stars. —— ROY SCRANTON”

Eyes as Big as Plate is a collaborative project between Karoline Hjorth and Ritte Ikonen. Figures are dressed as characters in Nordic folk tales and photographed in the environment of their dressing element. “It was a continual search of modern human’s belonging to nature”, wrote on the official website.

Bato Dugarzhapov painted landscape, architectures and figures in a vivid luminosity. His works have been collected by buyers from many countries. He has a very distinctive way to construct his observation on a combination of vegetal forms and blocks colour, easily and elegantly.

My appreciation of the English countryside’s idyllic landscape and traditional English painting was inspired by my first field trip to west Cornwall in 2014. Before the real experience in the region, my imagination that established on novels and screen images had set an idealised expectation to the natural and urban scenes of the Penwith Peninsula. I thought I understand the region well enough; thus, my task would be tracing down sceneries only. Years of study in the history of art and more profound understanding in painting enlightened me that my preconceived way of picturing a strange region reveals nothing but my arrogance as well as parochialism. Now I believe only immersed experiences as well as the acquaintance to historical and cultural context are the key elements to support a proper artwork. 

As my career continues, I have experienced inconveniences caused by the stereotype of my identity label constantly. I noticed the similar arrogance in both my expectation in Cornwall and how people treated my identity. It led my interest in exploring identity issues. I spent the past three years on developing works regarding this problem, countering specific bias and hostility in the society. Gradually, I moved my focus to a broader context. 

Looking back to Cornwall, especially from their repeated emphasise on the cultural signiture, I have noticed an anxiety over losing the unique identity among Cornish people. Massively developing tourism and the flourishing in real estate has resurrected their past of being colonised by images, which also created a resonance to my experience. Aside from antiforeignism, I believe an outsider can understand, respect and love a landscape as any indigenous resident does. Ultimately, I wish to challenge the context which misguided people to form stereotypical impressions of landscapes that they are not familiar with, and this thought has been supporting my creative practices for the past three years. I decided to return to the UK for a supportive environment and a solid background education. Now, I intend to reflect on this concept of identity issue and carry on my investigation to a new stage.

I believe there is a social responsibility for a qualified professional artist (or an art student) to fulfil. As an academic, one must contribute to knowledge; as an artist, it is essential to reveal real issues to the public attention. In my opinion, making practical contributions to society, while expanding the territory of human knowledge, is the noblest cause I can possibly picture.

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