I had often passed the Iron Man sculpture by Anthony Gormley in Birmingham and often examined it close up looking at the welds and its attachment to the ground and also its relationships to to the buildings surrounding it and also its relationship to the sky as one stood underneath it. It is probably about 18 feet (5.6 metres) high or slightly higher.
I had taken a lot of images of it always in terms of the above as I was never interested in recording its pure sculptural representation. I find its mass and solidity despite its awkward standing angle something that appeals and also works very well with the brutalist architecture of the old Birmingham central library. There is a mass about both that come from very different sculptural or architectural perspectives. The old central library is pure concrete block squared off mass but the Iron man is a tonnage of sculptural curvature. They both have a presence and density which is a contrast to the other surrounding architecture.
In contrast much of the work I had been looking at from a painterly perspective was Milton Avery where his figures were flat colour where the body or landscape lacked a certain solidity but equally exuded for me a powerful presence. Nothing seems to have a different density or weight in Avery's paintings. For me they are vivid memories or captures of things past even in the moment of painting them. It seems the outcome of his technique is this presence without density.
I think encountering brutalist architecture and Anthony Gormley's figures one is immediately struck by the density and historicity of their presence. The materials used an essential part of their identity and essentially necessary to convey this message of permanence. I am by-passing the idea of the necessity of their construction from architectural or sculptural viewpoints and merely addressing things from a sense of feeling in me as a viewer.
I wanted to add this to my blog as I felt the final image I produced via my IPhone after my encounters with Avery's paintings and Gormley's Iron Man, show the unconscious associations one derives from the art they are viewing at the time. I have taken my experiences of both that I felt consciously were about material density and seemed to have arrived at another place which is more about interactions of shape, surface and tonality rather than the materiality that I felt I was initially driving my creative interests.
I think at these stages everything is about forming ideas regarding what might influence one's artistic development and where perhaps an identifiable way of seeing or the shaping of a body of work may emerge from. I am more concerned as I move to BA degree level in being open to accidents and mistakes and to absorb all influences than to craft perfect outcomes. I think if one can keep the faith in experimenting, trying and looking ridiculous on many an occasion then progress of a sort develops.
The challenge for any artist I feel is to not be compelled to arrive at immediate aesthetic outcomes that tick perceived boxes of progress. It is much more difficult to live the life of what if and to wonder why one is working in a particular way than to seek solace in beautiful outcomes. To view everything in a myriad of ways such that something else emerges (which is often hopeless and worse of course) are the incremental steps one necessarily has to make and that is why art is such a challenging subject. It is easier to live with what is known and answers already arrived at than to be constantly pushing against conformity and comfort. To be more interested in the questions and to be open to a diversity of solutions is for me the basis of my work ahead.