Rhizomatic Growth -MRes in Creative Practice-
This is a research project that proposes shifts in perception and interaction in an outsider art context, focusing on artists with disabilities, mental illness, or those deemed on the margins of art and society, working within art centres. It is based on the hypothesis that collaboration can embody a non-hierarchical connection between tutor and artist, resulting in open attitudes that potentially enhance the learning experience and facilitate the flow towards growth.
Two methods of collecting data were used; a hybrid between workshop and collaboration, and interviews. The non-hierarchical way to relate is linked by the researcher with Deleuze & Guattari’s theory of rhizomatic systems which in turn inspires a series of large scale screen-printings on fabric, several installations and one performance.
How to eat a cactus fruit
Prickly pear cactus is easily propagated by rooting its leaves. This makes it grow fast, almost everywhere. Plus, its sharp spines make it a very well defended plant. Very often, it grows as a kind of impenetrable wall, but there is no doubt it is an edible plant, commonly used in Mexican food, with very good health properties making it well worth the effort of braving its ´pinchos ´.
The project `How to eat a cactus fruit´ plays around the image of this cactus, using as inspiration its capricious shapes, intense colours, its ability to adapt and its patterns of growth.
This is a body of work created mainly using screen printing techniques, not as a way to produce a large volume of prints, but more as a creative process. It also includes photographs, one of them a series to explain the safe way of eating a prickly pear, and digital prints.
After Treeless: screen printed banners
When I moved to Scotland I started working regularly with screen printing. First it was a continuation from Treeless that, little by little, grew a personality of its own: still inspired by the landscape that I had experienced since childhood and to which I feel very linked, while trying to grasp its essence and create clean images or symbols. This is why banners ended up being the most appropriate form of expression. It is still a work in progress.
This series of artwork was developed after witnessing a dramatic change in the landscape of my childhood. This change was created by fire and a long period of disease `La Seca' -it covers the whole Extremadura region- that badly affected old gorgeous oaks. It was a long process that left dead trees standing for several years, like ruins. I drew upon that time to keep track of all those skeletons.
From that point, a more experimental part of the project started. I used dried bushes, cleaned from leafs and dust, to experiment with in 2 and 3D. This included actions like dripping, splashing or tying, using materials like wax, twine, hemp, oils and objects collected from previous Art projects like pots, bags or prickly pear leafs .
This experimental interaction is visible in the final artwork, whether drawing, painting or installation, and becomes the leitmotiv in photographic documentation whenever my own image is included.
aLUZinaciones (Light Hallucinations)
I started this project in Ireland, where I lived for 4 months. There, the lack of sunshine made me become aware of the importance of light and what it means to me in my work.
I began by extensively observing the light and the changing shadows falling onto the wall. The first pictures I took were from my bed, because in Ireland ( at least the house I lived in ) windows didn’t have heavy curtains, so the morning light coming into my room always woke me up.
When I got back to Spain, I continued my observations in a classroom of the Faculty of Fine Arts in Cuenca with East-facing windows. Early in the morning, I took pictures of the light as it flooded into the room, and how this shifted throughout the day. I also experimented with new materials, seeking novel lighting effects.
This project is a synthesis of the whole perceptual experience and the graphic information that I compiled.
In 1998, I wrote a dissertation on “The Process of Developing a Vessel”, evaluating the symbolic meaning of each step involved in this process.
While working on it, I developed a series of drawings about pots using compresed charcoal and coffee. I made this as visual research that helped me to better understand the process itself.
In these sketches, the Vessel is drawn as a contour, as a structure that denotes a function, just as the potter uses the wheel to build the inside and the outside at the same time. As a Vessel, the skethches are shaped through touch.
Like in the wheel, the charcoal outlines the mouth of the Vessel, forming lines that become a spiral. Ceaselessly, trying to make an infinite Vessel.
Touch is what allows us to feel the inside, and open a gap allowing us to perceive it without secrets. And so, get an inkling of what our sight cannot comprehend.
“An enormous head lies upturned on the gallery floor. The cavity carved deep in Hollow Head lends a vulnerability to the work in spite of its gigantesque proportions. Up-ended, the monumental head is an empty container and indeed, the representation of the head as a vessel to be filled is borne out by Consuelo´s casting of another work from the sunken interior.
Memory Bag has been fashioned from the chiselled hole of Hollow Head, mimicking the traditional sculptural process of working from a negative mould in order to create a positive form. Consuelo has used silicone to shape an extremely delicate work and its featherlight form suggests the incorporeal nature of its contents. This repository of memory is as portable as the past itself and an image to accompany us beyond the gallery walls.
The massive bulk of Hollow Head offsets the fragile substance of Memory Bag but the monolithic sculpture does not overshadow the presence of its frail counterpart. The works resound each other, a visual alliteration which reminds us of the poetry inherent in Consuelo´s work”. Fiona Kearney.
“The seed is the original metaphor: it falls onto the soil in a fissure, and it feeds off the substance of the earth. The beginning resembles the end. As soon as it falls into the hole, the seed fills the furrow and it swells up with life. Its fall is its resurrection: the laceration is the scar, and the division is reunion. All times are alive in the seed.”
This series of sculptures is based on photographs that illustrated an article in El País newspaper that had a strong impact on me. The caption read: “Children of traitors to the motherland in Moscow in the thirties" - in photographs from the records office of a centre ( probably an orphanage).