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Monday, 5 March 2018

Jane Savage PhD Review and Glass Case Exhibition

Jane Savage
Part-time PhD, CCI University of Portsmouth

Registration Feb 2015
Presentation for Annual Review March 2018

Work-in-progress exhibition

Drawing-board Expo: 3 Questions

Artist’s Statement

This is an exhibition of work-in-progress, illustrating three research questions which have arisen from practical and theoretical work. The exhibition is a snap-shot of part of the process which is not intended to contain finished pieces; and certainly not ‘answers’.

First question: Reindeer see lichen in luminous yellow: how do we respond to goldness? I am fascinated by reindeer seeing their scarce food source as ‘gold’, in a wilderness of greys. It resonates with the idea of life-force being depicted in gold by numerous artists; and with the interchanging of the words ‘life’ and ‘light’ – both of which are connected to gold. In these practical explorations I make reference to the sculptural work of Arte Povera artist Giuseppe Penone, and to the Book Artist Mark Iwinski, combining goldness with bark and tree cores.

Second question: All that glistens is not gold: does it have to be real gold, or is association enough? This question concerns materials and considers the practicalities and expense of using real gold in the Artists’ Book; and the peculiar influence of the imagination to enable us to bridge gaps in reality, when we interact with a book form. It begins to explore whether it is solely the reflective quality of gold that is responsible for its appeal, or whether our visceral response arises from the wider cultural significance of gold.

The final question in this snap-shot of work in progress is: In Praise of Shadows: is goldness more powerful in the dark? It takes inspiration from an essay by Junichiro Tanizaki entitled In Praise of Shadows, which brings to life Eastern notions of the aesthetic place of gold and presents a beguiling argument for hiding our most extravagant ore in order to appreciate its special qualities.

There is an inevitable cross-over between the lines of enquiry in the practical research, which is both reflexive and reflective in methodology. Ongoing reflective practice leads to further research questions, such as How much is too much goldness in the Artists’ Book; and does the making process imbue the work with Aura?

Key words: dazzle; uplift; transcend; arrest; restore