Mid Point Review: 2 December 2013.

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We were required to present a sample of images to the year group, and talk about the project in general. Also required was a written summation. This has been added below.

A mid point look at progress, problems and future direction. After presentation the group asked questions and observations and criticisms were made.

In general terms the project was well received. The most pointed and perceptive observations were made by Tracy in a snatched conversation at lunchtime. Her thoughts were very important.

Tracy: Backgrounds…  sort the distractions out. Make the face the focus. Crop hard if needed. Deal with the hair. Paint it or pull it back…

Film: Can this e shot on medium or large format as t is going into the studio….?

I still need to find the thing that defines me… the work is still too derivative.

Still have work to do.

BA (Hons) Photographic Practice

ART4010 Practice Exhibition

Self-Evaluation Form (MID-STAGE)


Evaluation is a fundamental part of the creative process. The following questions will help you to focus your thoughts and ideas clearly and get the most out of the self-evaluation process. Please type your responses in, print and submit ONE copy on the day you are to present during the Group Crit, either 25th November or 2nd December. A copy of this document should be included in your critical sketchbooks.

Student Name


Alisdair Tait


PROJECT TITLE: Please provide a working title (whether or not you will use it in its final presentation). How closely does it reflect your aims and ideas for the project?

 Chimera: An entity formed from parts of various animals, a thing which is illusory or impossible to achieve.

The title is still valid, and accurately reflects the overall aim of the project. If I can achieve a set of images that show multiple faces and cause the viewer to pause and reflect, I will have achieved the purpose of the project.

AIMS/OBJECTIVES/CONCEPTS: How and to what extent have you achieved the aims and objectives of your project?

–       How well is the project going?

–       Reflecting on your practice thus far, what improvements can you make?

–       As your project develops, how has it changed from the original proposal?

–       Describe the main concept driving your project.

To date the project is going well. Surprisingly well. I have explored multiple methods of constructing the images, and some have been more successful than others. The biggest realisation is that the “submerged” water pictures are a disappointment. This is an unexpected, and will almost certainly result in a change in direction. The images shot, almost as an afterthought in the studio, have proved the most successful.

Having re-defined how the images will be shot, I need to explore a greater use of colour in the paint. Alternative methods of processing the image in Photoshop, and the possibility of using film are all in the mix.

The main concept is the interplay between painting and photography, and photography and painting, and the exploration of the boundaries between the two disciplines.

PRACTICE AS RESEARCH: How thoroughly have you engaged with your practice e.g. through studio or location working, experimentation with a variety of methods and approaches? How is a reflective practice maintained and documented?

Considerable time and investment has been spent exploring the types of paint that can be used, and how to apply the paint safely ensuring the safety of the model. A series of shoots has taken place, starting with proof of concept and safety by painting an arm, and hand. Then moving forward to painting the face, and onward to filling a paddling pool with water in my kitchen and submerging the painted model in the pool. The challenges of getting the water in and out the pool without flooding the house has been solved, allowing me to focus on the artistic facet, and primary facet of the project.

The progress, and research are being fully documented via an online workbook, and blog. This is available at www.digital-reflection.com

OTHER RESEARCH METHODS: What additional research methods have you employed in your research on this project, and how did these approaches inform your project? (e.g. interviews, reading, reviewing, TV, lectures, internet, archives)

In terms of how to apply paint to a subject, I emailed and had a positive exchange with Alexa Meade. Her work in this area was the original inspiration for the project. In terms of academic research, and the search for additional inspiration, I have an extensive blog that currently shows the multiple avenues that I have explored. The bulk of this has been through photographic sites, and blogs on the Internet.

Research into archive photography of the Second World War was carried out using the National Archives, and Getty Images. This exploration ended when I decided to change the direction of the final year project.

One of the more interesting and unexpected discoveries is the discovery of performance art of the 1960s and the inspirational video of Bill Viola. Hetain Patel is a contemporary performing artist who plays with identity, and challenges one to think deeper than surface appearances.

TED Talks Art introduced me to amongst others, Alexa Meade and the performance artist, Hetain Patel.

CRITICAL REFERENCES: How useful are the references you have explored – e.g. artists, writers, photographers, film-makers (i.e. how is their practice applicable to your subject and approach)? What theory or critical content have you researched which informs the conceptual underpinning of your practice?

Original Inspiration was from a body of work by Alexa Meade. Her work has opened the door to previously unexplored artists that merge and explore the boundaries of photography, and paint. This landscape of mixed media is in step with a disturbed reality that I am looking to create in this project.

Sigmar Polke, William Ropp, and David McKean emerge from the background of surrealism and Dadaism. The work of Bill Viola and the moving image hark back and reference the work of performance art. Cindy Sherman, and Boo Ritson use make up and paint to create illusions of chimeric imagery. In all instances their work is a conversation between the photograph, reality and illusion.

Chuck Close is an inversion of the Chimera project. Photorealistic painting is an inversion of the painted portrait. Both explore identity as a constructed composite, and ultimately examine identity as a conflicted fiction.

The project has its roots in Dada, and Surrealism. The identifiable becomes an apparition. Two-dimensional photography of the painted three-dimensional space produces an unsettled imbalance. Melding the boundary between the subject and its surroundings, identity is confused and the distilled nuances that shape space, confuse. The project seeks to emphasise the properties of the pictorial form in order to explore the subject and the onlooker. To tease out the subjective emotions and psychological assumptions of both. In this it references Expressionism.

By creating a Chimera I am seeking to explore the boundaries between paint and the photograph, and confuse reality in the journey.