Reflective Journal Week 45, 2 Aug – 8 Aug 2020

Installing Wind from St Ives was challenging. This pandemic situation significantly limited spacious options I possessed.

Wind from St Ives, 2020

There were a few abandoned conceptions before the exhibition proposal was added to the due list. I thought about installing the project in outdoor space, whose light condition would benefit the visual attractiveness; also I considered space like the white cube, keep everything simple so I could drive audiences’ attention to my work. The structure of this Unit is already ambiguously large; it decided the ultimate complexity of the context at the same time. The solution I came up was to composite small components of experiments on a watercolour paper, but after all, I still have to arrange paintings in a display area. 

The interior design of my accommodation reminded me of little cottages I saw in St Ives. Since the exhibition proposal has little chance to come out as a practical plan, I think it won’t hurt to put the composition in the ideal space. I imagined galleries — white, wooden, whose French door faces the ocean — suits elements of my practices. My work does not have a powerful momentum; it was always designed to pass a sort of serenity and understanding. 

Using the window installation as the anchor point, the rest of the project would radioactively expand around it. The natural light shined semi-transparency of the installation indicates that it is the destination for the viewing tour. Sculptures and crafts were positioned on the window sill, while the most representative one were placed on tables. These individually placed sculptures Sail Form was designated to introduce my inspirations and visual style. These tables separate visitors in two directions, and both of them has a gallery of framed paintings. As I introduced when talked about being inspired by Spiral Knot, my work will reflect three kinds of Cornish landscape: Pure natural elements, human activity assimilated landscape and self-determined landscape interpretation. The mutual independence of these components spared me from designing a specific sequence of displaying them. Although it was not symmetrical, which significantly damaged my compulsive heart, one of the corridors would have a sufficient amount of space to place some additional sketches/drawings to enhance my explanation of the artist statement. 

I used Google Sketch to create a basic interior design for the matter. As most of the materials I used for crafts were paper, hand-extracted salt and wrecks, the atmosphere of this show is better to be frugal, clean and straightforward. Very much like the contemporary tone of this fishing village, the exhibition was not designed to be abrupt out of the peacefulness of the maritime landscape. “A sense of retreat”, this phrase has been heard many times when talked about travelling to West Penwith. “A breezing coolness gently sweeping across the bay, as it is ideal to be found by visitors who temporarily ran away from life, and searching for a shelter of carelessness”, this feeling is what I aimed to produce via the installation. And I believe establishing an emotional attraction is fundamental to lure audiences into deeper thinking. 

…“I have a particular interest in how landscapes can be used to define an identity, and how they are identified, recognised by different eyes. I work in perspective as an outsider, but with a constant attempt of understanding indigenous minds through a variety of contexts. specifically, the West Penwith Peninsula was chosen as my practices. I have been engaging in landscape, genre and portrait painting, extracting the true essence of her scenic views from a complicated historical context and rearranged them in a contemporary translation. I challenge the idea of exclusivism and preoccupied impressions with the might of the land, demonstrating awe to nature and a primitive belief in natural elements. Narratives were mixed into surrealistic pictures to depict the image of a contradictory visitor who caters the insecurity of not being accepted while trying to maintain his own interpretation of a strange land.”…

Positioning artworks and matching them with each other reminds me that I need to create an organised map-like graph or chart to introduce my practices and research to audiences. The chart will explain how my work has been developing from the foundation established by the investigation carried out in the winter. It has been started, but I have no estimated finish time. 

Sculpture Sinker has been finished this week. I created a compatible picture of conceptualised images that I have seen while staying in St Ives. 

“It’s night fishing,

It’s a meteor shoot across the sea

It comes as a firework upon Thames River

and to St Ive it glides”, I wrote.

I am always a huge appreciator of James McNeill Whistler, especially of his painting Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket.

Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket, 1875

Basically, in every stage of my career, there are paintings inspired by this marvellous masterpiece. Whistler was also considered as a St Ives artist when he travelled and produced maritime image there. Despite his significant contribution to the late 19th century and early 20th-century art, his practices in St Ives were more general. Perhaps the reason for his journey shares the agreement of Barbizon school’s search of the idealised idyllic scene in the rural area of Europe. With this thought, I happened to found a fascinating journal Siren published by a historian David Tovey. As always, his work of art history maintains a high quality and filled with a massive variety of information. Many exciting cases that could be used in the essay were found. There are currently 20 issues with the latest one published in the last months. Mr Tovey, I’d boldly suggest, found solid historical background research for anyone interested in St Ives art. He listed many artists and organised their relationships and intersections in the history of art. I have already found something regarding Hodgkins’s first visit to Cornwall based on the research Mr Tovey has done. But I did need more time to confirm whether it was correct.

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About cechenpaints

An artist, painter, illustrator based in London.