This month’s ‘Artist of the Month’ blog is a fellow artist and student of Wolverhampton University – Gillian Townsend. We studied Fine Art together and her work has always fascinated me. We have even exhibited together. Gillian introduced me to a fantastic book – The Art Of Not Making by Michael Petry .
Gillian is predominantly interested in insignificant objects and the properties of materials. Her previous work has included a range of small scale sculptures that have been cast from existing objects and remade in another material.
The material often explains or suggests the purpose or location of the piece, but the main significance for her, is that they are well made, rather than becoming a conceptual piece that has forgotten about the skills required for making. Gillians objects and sculptures dematerialize everyday objects.
She learns the skills and processes required each time she changes material, learning to make new work in each medium. This is the opposite of the Michael Petry book, The Art of Not Making, where it is about artists seeking skilled craftsmen to produce work that they cannot, and the argument that goes with ownership of artwork in this process.
Gillian removes this argument by making the work herself.
What do you think? Is an artwork really yours, if you don't have the skills to make it? Who takes ownership?