November 28th, In the cut – Collage Demo with Ry Haskings

Ry developed this workshop with the Australian Centre of Contemporary Art, where he was recently included in the contemporary collage show, In The Cut’. Participants used a simple mathematical code, devised by Ry, to create a set of vertical lines based on a random word or phrase, or a movie or book title (it sounds more complicated than it actually was). We then layered collage (old newspapers and magazines) and gouache to into the work.  So the work starts with a set of self- imposed rules and constraints, and then those rules and constraints create a free space to for the artist to work within.

In keeping with the paradoxical theme, there was a lot of fun in how Ry took a very dry sounding project, and made it really engaging. We used calculators, rulers and lead pencils, and you can see from the photos how much everyone enjoyed it.

Several of the artists who have presented demos at Chapman and Bailey have addressed the problem of how to start a work. People often like to have something there to work from. Helen Johnson usually makes a big, washy, gestural mark, and Adam Lee might re- use a painting that he’s sanded back.  They both like to have something that seems unpremeditated, or unself-conscious, that they can respond to, to help find their way into the painting. Ry Haskings’ approach is to start with a ‘rational’, geometric framework, into which he intuitively adds layers of material.

Julia Gorman 2013