Model Studio artist, Sue Morris, continues her series of reports from her residency at Air Krems in Austria.
Here she reflects on how the residency is already affording her new perspectives on time space, two of the most important dimensions for any artist.
How quickly and easily a new routine can be established when the conditions are right. Having been temporarily freed from my usual responsibilities – domestic, work and financial – my thought processes and working methods have realised new possibilities.
Day one of serious drawing activity resulted in a dead end but I quickly cleared the debris and launched into new and exciting work. The limitations of importing art materials into Austria forced me to restrict what I was able to bring to the residency. Just as well then that I decided to pack some spools of wool (!) because it is to these I have turned to explore line moving into form. And by happy coincidence, the American artist, Fred Sandback, has an exhibition at a gallery close by in which, stripped back to essential elements, taut lines of coloured acrylic yarn are strategically placed, challenging the viewer’s perception as he/she moves about the space. My use of woollen yarn is very different in approach. Tall, white columns fall sensuously to the floor to suggest a strange, semi-transparent forestscape.
The work is very time-intensive, but I have time! In some ways it is informed by Foucault’s Of Other Spaces and by a novel I am reading, The Quiet Twin by Dan Vyleta. This gristly tale is set in Vienna in the 1930s, against the backdrop of the rise of Nazism, where Informants, paranoia and dark secrets abound.
As I read, the close proximity of Justizanstalt Stein prison, just behind my studio-cum-apartment, seeps into my conscious (and that of most of the artists in residence here at Krems) and appears to offer a resonant counterpoint to the series of ever-watchful eyes that are colonizing one of the walls in the second bedroom of the apartment, where the installation will be not only contained, but also provoke a sense of scale. From my lofty eyrie upstairs in the mezzanine bedroom, I am able to look down onto the work through the railings adjacent to my bed.
As I work, think, read and observe, I am becoming increasingly aware that the boundaries between my domestic space, the studio space and my artwork are beginning to dissolve.