Saturday, October 1, 2011

Another Brick
Post-Graffiti ArtCloth Installation

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

My artwork has appeared in a number of exhibitions which have been featured on this blog spot. For your convenience I have listed these posts below.

ArtCloth: Engaging New Visions (Marie-Therese Wisniowski - Curator's Talk)
Sequestration of CO2 (Engaging New Visions) M-T. Wisniowski
Codes – Lost Voices (ArtCloth Installation) M-T. Wisniowski
Unleashed: The Rise of Australian Street Art (Art Exhibition) Various Artists
Merge and Flow (SDA Members Exhibition) M-T. Wisniowski
The Journey (Megalo Studio) M-T. Wisniowski
ArtCloth Swap & Exhibition
When Rainforests Ruled (Purple Noon Art & Sculpture Gallery) M-T. Wisniowski
When Rainforests Glowed (Eden Gardens Gallery) M-T. Wisniowski
My Southern Land (Galerie 't Haentje te Paart, Netherlands) M-T. Wisniowski
The Last Exhibition @ Galerie ’t Haentje te Paart
Mark Making on Urban Walls @ Palm House (Post Graffiti Art Work)
Fleeting - My ArtCloth Work Exhibited @ Art Systems Wickham Art Gallery
My Thirteen Year Contribution to the '9 x 5' Exhibition at the Walker Street Gallery & Arts Centre
Timelines: An Environmental Journey
Man-Made Fish Kills

This ArtCloth installation was exhibited in several galleries (e.g. WattSpace Gallery, Ewart Gallery and at the Geelong Fibre Forum). Currently it is not on display.Seven of the thirteen pieces from the installation (plus exhibition site photographs) are shown below.

The focus of my ArtCloth installation - “Another Brick - was to exhibit the various issues inherent in Graffiti Art and its relationship to the communities that bare the brunt of civil society’s inability or unwillingness to address poverty, racism, exploitation and social degradation that is embedded in the visual language of Graffiti.

Another Brick: A Post-Graffiti ArtCloth Installation
Definition of Graffiti: Inscriptions of figures, designs or words on rocks or walls or sidewalks or the like, or on artifacts made of plaster, stone or clay, the singular form is graffito.

An image created on a rock wall is humankind’s oldest form of graphical communication. The first primitive artists, although they depicted hunting scenes on the walls of the Lascaux caves in Southern France, did so without tangible rewards (unfettered). It was the first conscious act of our prehistoric ancestors to indicate liberation from a reflexive instinct, namely, survival. This act conveyed the presence of an active and moreover “unfettered” imagination. The ability to possess a mind capable of an “unfettered” imaginative process (concomitant with a body able to express it) is a defining characteristic that only human beings possess.

Caves were Formed . . .Walls were Born (full view of Post-Graffiti ArtCloth).
Concept: Paying tribute to graffiti found on cave walls (which is an antecedent of Graffiti Art).
Technique: Resist, discharged (color removed), monoprints, over-discharged, stenciled, silk screened on cotton.
Size: 3.34 x 1.08 meters.

Caves were Formed . . .Walls were Born (detailed view of Post-Graffiti ArtCloth).

The Graffiti Art of Neolithic man no longer needed realism. It became more abstract, thereby indicating a deeper phenomenon: that is, an imaginative depiction of inner feelings and thoughts framed as concepts. With abstract images, a giant leap in organizing consciousness and expressing it had emerged. Repetition of graphical images to represent fixed or “agreed” concepts were therefore the first steps taken in developing a written language. Using reduced images (i.e. cutting out detail and using the fewest lines possible to convey the object) these “agreed” symbols were created and communicated sequences of animals, men and objects therefore yielding an iconic alphabet of sorts. These conventionalized symbols are now labeled generically as pictographs and when painted or drawn on rock walls they are labelled petroglyphs.

The development of human consciousness and the manner in which it is depicted (from Lascaux to the modern urban landscape) is phenomenal. Nevertheless, reductionist forms of art from cubism to minimalism keeps reappearing like dots on the timelines of human existence. A similar situation has occurred with written styles. For example, typography is now a thriving commercial business. What is now coined contemporary Graffiti Art appears on a large array of community surfaces (e.g. from train and building walls to pavements, fences etc.) It can be thought of as an emerging kindred spirit linking the art of the huntsman of prehistoric times to the present day.

Mona on the Urban Wall (full view of Post-Graffiti ArtCloth).
Concept: Appropriated images of Mona Lisa appear in many Graffiti Artworks.
Technique: Dyed, monoprints, stenciled, silk screened, digital transfers, hand drawing, studs and safety pins on cotton.
Size: 3.52 x 1.15 meters.

Mona on the Urban Wall (detailed view of Post-Graffiti ArtCloth).

As modern society has become more complex and social alienation more extreme, layers of conscious thought and reductionist thinking in art became only accessible to a smaller and smaller group of artists. At the extremes, with little education and no prospects to understand their complex society, a group of artists emerged, stripped of any sophisticated tools, training or consciousness. In other words, they were not generally professional artists and so did not possess the technical expertise in terms of painting, draughtmanship, and principles of composition or color theory except on a relatively rudimentary level. Nevertheless, they were in contact with their inner feelings and thoughts and so wanted to communicate these to the society at large. Their minds were artistically primitive (as prehistoric humankind) and yet, they innately possessed an “unfettered” imagination.

Street Hearts (full view of Post-Graffiti ArtCloth).
Concept: Depicts the evolution of new visual images and typography which form an important expression of Graffiti Art.
Technique: Dyed, discharged, stamped, lino blocked, stenciled, silk screened on cotton.
Size: 3.5 x 1.2 meters.

Street Hearts (detailed view of Post-Graffiti ArtCloth).

As images needed to be conveyed to the community at large and because the images are embedded in a “street” culture, Graffiti Art abounds on such surfaces as public and private buildings, pavements, windows, doors, fences, electricity poles and garbage dump bins. The tools that are used are simplistic. Images are usually formed employing paint brushes, paint spray-cans and stencils. Stencils are used since they are simple and the stenciled messages can be reduced to a few elements in order to make them intelligible; that is, they are producing the modern pictograph.

The voice of contemporary Graffiti artists represents the hopes, desires and fears of the “street” culture. On the wall surfaces they embed their hostilities, fantasies, triumphs, frustrations, propaganda and rebellion through the use of provocative pictographic symbolism. They directly challenge authority, and as socio-political alienated people have done throughout the ages, developed a guerilla movement organized at grass-roots level by ad hoc affinity groups.

Urban Mark Making (full view of Post-Grffiti ArtCloth).
Concept: Based on pictographic symbolism used in Graffiti Art.
Technique: Resist, sprayed, over sprayed, matrix formatted silk screen prints on cotton.
Size: 3.43 x 1.10 meters.

Urban Mark Making (detail view of Post-Graffiti ArtCloth).

The strength of the contemporary Graffiti works lies primarily in their location and their relationship to it. Hence, Graffitist’s have not attempted to become more sophisticated in form, or in the main, to move their art off the streets onto gallery walls. In other words, at present there is only an emerging Post-Graffiti movement (see past and future blogs). Generally, they have continued to produce works that highlight their sense of desolation and isolation from a complex sophisticated society. Their images revel in the mainstream society’s embarrassment of the degree of human degradation and the “real-life” situations in the neighborhoods of the alienated. The socio-political use of their art directly communicates with the public on issues of interest to “their” community (as in the case of New York’s Memorial Walls - see last week's blog). Family and friends, who commissioned mural artists to create murals on the sides of buildings, commemorate Young Latino and Afro-American men and women, who have died on the city’s battle-torn streets. In other words, to paint their “own” images and to depict their "own" stories in their visual language.

Urban Blues (full view of Post-Graffiti ArtCloth).
Concept: The anarchy of the social alienated.
Technique: Dyed, over-dyed, texture prints, silk screened, aerosol sprayed, hand painting, hand drawing, coal smudging on cotton.
Size: 3.55 x 1.15 meters.

Urban Blues (detailed view of Post-Graffiti ArtCloth).

Through policies of neglect and lack of resources to those born in unequal circumstances, the world’s wealthiest societies have turned away from the alienated. Yet these Graffiti artists have demonstrated once again that no matter what the circumstance, from primitive human beings of yesteryear to the contemporary socially alienated, art forms need to emerge to give voice to their “unfettered” imagination (the latter of which underpins the human spirit).

In Remembrance: Candle Marches For Our Youth (full view of Post-Graffiti ArtCloth).
Concept: Based on the imagery and associated religious iconography that commemorates the youth who have died on city streets.
Technique: Discharged, over-discharged, dyed, lino blocked, hand painted, stenciled, sponged, stamped, foiled on cotton.
Size: 3.65 x 1.05 meters.

In Remembrance: Candle Marches for our Youth (detailed view of Post-Graffiti ArtCloth).

The focus of my ArtCloth installation – “Another Brick” - was to explore and expose the various issues and artistic evolution inherent in Graffiti Art and its relationship to the communities that bare the brunt of civil society’s inability or unwillingness to address the poverty, racism, exploitation and social degradation that is one driver in the visual language of Graffiti Art.

Casula Walls . . . Textures and Surfaces (full view of Post-Graffiti ArtCloth).
Concept: Casula Powerhouse has set space aside for Graffiti Artist to make their art marks.
Note: The marks on this ArtCloth have been purposely distressed.
Technique: Dyed, discharge, carbon release, digital transfers, marker pens, hand painting, acrylic washes on cotton.
Size: 3.20 meters x 87 cm.

Casula Walls . . . Textures and Surfaces (detailed view of Post-Graffiti ArtCloth).

The Post-Graffiti ArtCloths were hung horizontally on building safety fencing so as to recreate a cityscape of sorts. Understandably, the Gallery declined the offer to graffiti their pristine ceiling, floor and walls, which would have given the exhibition a colorful cavernous ambience!

Post-Graffiti ArtCloth Installation At WattSpace Gallery.

Post-Graffiti ArtCloth Installation At WattSpace Gallery.

Post-Graffiti ArtCloth Installation At WattSpace Gallery.

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