Tutor feedback Ass. 4

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The first time I remember holding his hand was as he lay, I was waiting for his final breath; and when I was finally sure, I let go.


I’ve received my formative feedback from Wendy, with no surprises. I feel very close now, the scope of the work to Assignment Five doesn’t appear too far and I have some ideas about how to achieve resolution to the issues highlighted by the tutorial post Assignment Four. Overall the visual imagery appears to work well, however the incoherency of the text’s and artefacts need some more work as they aren’t as well as they could be/were intended to be.

As regards text’s, Wendy suggested a stronger methodology – up to me – perhaps a single voice as opposed to multiple. My thoughts, which I plan to test, are to use my voice. The artefacts are his, the landscapes are my psychological response to Purgatory and the text’s could be the bridge, though I am fully aware that it will be my voice bridging, excluding his. There are a couple of texts that I feel very connected to, but I need to test the presentation.

My current plan for the artefacts is to double their size, make them twice life-size in the presented state and set them centrally. I don’t think I need to re-photograph them as they are fine as they are, and their apparent ‘floating’ presentation works I feel. It is important to the work to have a developed emotional distance between the objects and I feel if I made them too large in frame they would become abstract objects and lose their emotional perspective.

I plan to re-edit the work before I go to Glasgow and present the work at the Glasgow School of Art on the 20th November. I also want to try and find a way to workshop my ideas around the reformatting of the texts. After the Glasgow event I suspect I will be very nearly ready to submit my final assignment as an early Christmas present for Wendy.


One of the principle issues to overcome on this course is to find ways of receiving feedback on work in progress, or perhaps any work. I have largely been unsuccessful on the informal fora, such as Flickr and so have developed a pseudo cohort that I am happy to go to, albeit individually, for feedback. The Thames Valley group have been very helpful and they have ‘bent’ their rules to provide indulgent extensions to the limited allotted time on occasion.

Feedback is a matter of trust, not a matter of fact. Interpretative skills are developed through discourse and time. When I set up a print group, a decade or so ago, it was for the purpose of providing critique on developing work and specifically not finished work and I take work there when appropriate. But it is to fellow students, tutors and increasingly practitioners that I am now turning to for critique/comment. I mention this now perhaps as a mark that I have embarked on the final part of the course “Sustaining your Practice” which seeks, amongst other objectives, to situate the work within a framework of a professional practice and equip me to transition from a student to an artist.

Over the past year or so I have started to develop a cohort of students whom I trust to provide critical feedback, and not to just tell me whether they think the work is good, bad or indifferent. Students operating in isolation of a pedagogic framework might appear a risky venture but I think those that I share work with provide feedback grounded in their studies. I have also found practising artists who have been very kind in providing critiques of my work – especially this BoW currently in development. The opportunity to present at the Glasgow School of Art is another opportunity to engage not only with academics and practicing artists to provide enlightened feedback on the work, but also to develop the network of connections as I transition through the course.

I have learned a lot about feedback over the last few weeks as I have ‘put this work in progress’ out there. None of it has been negative, all of it has been constructive and I plan to discuss it with fellow students at a later stage. I shall also collate the feedback and write up a post that reflects on the attempts to gain critique on this work, what has succeeded and what hasn’t.


6 thoughts on “Tutor feedback Ass. 4

  1. Getting close now John.

    Just a few thoughts…

    I like the idea of simplifying the texts, if that the right word. The work is about your feelings and reflections on your relationship with your father so it is entirely appropriate that the voice is yours. In fact the absence of your father’s voice would point to a break in communications which could well be central to your feelings.

    As regards the artefacts I find myself seeking some kind of rationale behind how they are to be presented. If it is to allow close inspection then large and central is good. But If for example they were to signal a fading memory then small and blurry might be right.

    • Thanks as ever Keith, always appreciated. We had a good discussion about the artefacts, Wendy mentioned Raphael Dellaporta, whose work I wasn’t aware of, to look at as he has done a lot of work around presentation. I know in the end it will be an aesthetic choice as much as an intellectual one, but simplifying it makes a lot of sense.

      • To have one voice is certainly more coherent and, if it’s yours, then you are emphasising your own individuality as distinct from the ‘heavy’ presence of your father. I write that because objects can loom large in thoughts and memories, but their floating presentation here enables a transition. You are able to take them out of the box, examine and replace them.

        Was it only last week or the week before that you were contemplating the idea of presenting at Glasgow and here you are now planning it. I’m really pleased for you.

      • Thanks Catherine, I do feel it is coming together at long last and I am very grateful for your consistent encouragement. I have the sense that Glasgow will be pivotal in some respects – I know I will need to be on my mettle with the calibre of personnel around!

    • Sharon provided me with an introduction earlier in the year, so it must be open to students at least to attend events, but more than that I can’t say at the moment. There is a Facebook page and a blog. I could try and find out more when I’m there?

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