Lesson Two - Catherine G.

Finding My Inner Subversive

I hadn’t done this exercise before and I had to do it a few times before I felt I’d got the hang of it. I used a glue stick for the first one – no good, and the glue seemed to go everywhere. After that I used ordinary PVA glue and a glue spreader. Still a bit messy, but much more accurate.

The first image displayed here is of a more or less symmetrical piece. (It was intended to be symmetrical but I drew the lines freehand so it’s not exact. Never mind). I liked it enough to start playing about with the idea, attempting to access my inner Rebel, and wondering if I have one. Actually, after mulling it over, I think what I might have is more of an inner Subversive than an inner Rebel. I’m not going to challenge rules head-on – that’s really not my way – but I will play about with them, and undermine them unobtrusively.

So, how to go about being Subversive? The second image retains the use of the five inch square and the basic material of black card. However, I’ve worked on only one side of the square, so as to retain a substantial chunk of black. Once I’d cut out the pieces with my knife, I then drew round them onto a spare scrap of black card. Once I’d cut these extra pieces out, I had twice as many. I then arranged them to create a further set of mirror images which makes for a kind of jellyfish effect. I’ve therefore stuck with most of the conventions, just tweaking them slightly.

The third image takes the tweaking a stage further. As in the second image, I’ve worked on only one side of the square (so, apparently, now I’m starting to create my own conventions/constraints). This time, before I stuck down the pieces I drew round them in black fineliner to use a lot of the available space on the page. I left enough space to stick down the pieces in the prescribe fashion along the edge of the square. The drawn pieces all move in the same direction – the direction of the stuck down pieces, so there’s another created convention. What’s been added here, I think, is a sense of movement, even explosiveness, which the original symmetrical image did not have.

There are a number of ways in which this could be developed, Subversively, changing only one or two conventions at a time. There is much more scope for cutting out extra copies of pieces on more black card, maybe using two, three or all of the sides of the square. And why should it have to be a square? Rectangle, rhomboid, hexagon – I could have a go with all of these. And it might be interesting to introduce more media, both in monochrome, and also colour.

I feel I’ve got a lot out of this exercise so far, and it’s generating more buzzy ideas. Very good. Thank you Jane.