I bought a huge dust sheet which was something like 11 ft by 9 ft and pinned it up, but there was a multitude of problems with it. Firstly, the material is see-through and very finely woven so its got lots of little holes in. Secondly, it stretches far too much which meant that I managed to tear it in places and thirdly it is too long for the wall and I am too short to reach any higher so that meant it dangled below the skirting board.
Priming it was an ordeal as well as I had to put a sheet of plastic up first because I used gloss paint to prime with, and because of the thinness of the material it meant that the gloss paint would have seeped through on to the matte wall had I not used the plastic sheeting, ruining the wall for the 3rd year that used that space for the degree show. Added to that was the fact that the plastic wasn’t stretched enough as the staples ripped through the plastic when i tried to stretch the opposite side, which meant it wasn’t taut through the middle which resulted in the sheet bubbling and leaving a giraffe print of air bubbles on the material.
To fix this i pulled three quarters of the dust sheet from the wall, and left it hanging to dry for a day or two, which left it looking more like a wall hanging, which actually helped me to understand my work better, as after a talk with Peter he suggested I work with the transparency of the dust sheet, as that is the nature of the material instead of trying to make it do something it can’t. Which is something I have taken on board as I did stop trying to make it work like a piece of canvas that had a denser weave and trying to make it water resistant as I usually do, instead working with the delicacy of the dust sheet.
Not using a stretcher for my work was initially a money issue, as I simply couldn’t afford to make large stretchers, but in doing this I realised that what I do like about just hanging a canvas on a wall is that it takes away the need to hide the canvas edges, and what I mean by that is, in my opinion, usually a painting is considered an illusion because you are turning a piece of canvas into a picture of something, be it a portrait or a landscape, and that is what it is: a landscape. However, when the stretcher is removed and the raw canvas edge is visible the viewer is acutely aware that the thing they are looking at is not just a painting but a piece of fabric. And after seeing Jim Shaw’s paintings in The Rinse Cycle and being able to see the transparency of his work and the movement the work had as a piece of muslin cloth and not just a painting of trees I realised that this is what I wanted to create. The aspect of how the viewer interacts with it struck me as well, as due to the large size of Shaw’s work you had to move around it since it was hung in the middle of the room and it had a presence there. Whereas a painting is typically hung on a wall and is off to the side and gets in no ones way.
The way in which large scale work is made is of interest, because of my relation to the canvas I have to make big bodily movements in order to paint and create shapes, and that to me creates a dialogue. There is a personal touch to making big work as opposed to smaller work due to the amount of movement needed to fill a huge canvas, more of a connection because you have to completely get involved with the making of it.
In my opinion my work is moving away from simply being paintings of something, to being more installation based and more about the paint and about the material I am using, rather than trying to paint a pretty picture. I want my work to be more robust and more of an object, although I am still interested in colour and abstract paintings and how certain colours work together, I am definitely more interested in painting as an object, of paint as an object.