Week 6 – Contemplation

During the last few days, I have been considering at length my FMP direction, in terms of how to describe it to local people.

In order to attract potential contributors, I recognise the need to have a concise, engaging and relevant approach. Such an approach means that I have to describe my project – its current working title An Otter Year – in a way that would appeal to my local communities.

This I feel, would be the same for any planned exhibitions I hold.

My initial approaches have not worked, having attempted to describe the planned project to a couple of friends; they did not easily see what it was all about. This led to a running joke in my local pub as to what exactly I was trying to do with the river and cameras.

Never the less there has been interest, and some of the local wildlife enthusiasts are very keen on a planned macro photography shoot for my FMP.

At this point, I think the name of the project is misleading and the aims too loose to be defined clearly by potential contributors.

In terms of influences, I was looking through images of water online today and found Jake Aikman, a fine art painter whose work – depicting waterscapes in the medium of oil paints.

Sirena-II.III_-1030x1030Figure 1 Sirena II-III, 2018. Oil on linen. 100×100 cm

To quote from his website:

In his vast and seductive seascapes, Aikman denies the viewer a foothold. There is no jetty or shoreline on which to anchor the gaze. Rather, the viewer is set adrift, borne unto the watery surface of a world governed by the elements, suspended in time and space.

These places are non-specific, if not geographically indistinct. Yet, like flying inches above the water across a grey and murky ocean in a dream, there is a familiarity to them – we know and recognise them instinctively, even if we have never physically visited them.

(Aikman, Jake. 2018)

I have been very struck by Aikman’s work. His achievements in capturing the remote isolation of a stretch of water, in very realistic yet seemingly three dimensional way is very appealing to my practice.

The images seem to move, giving the impression they are video based scenes of water, instead of captures of a single scene in the painting.

This has given me ideas for my project work. I like the notion of capturing video and stills of water movement on the river that then does not give any indication as to where such a scene has originated from.

The idea of denying the observer reference points of land or river bed, instead of fixing a gaze upon the movement of water alone, could provide me with an exciting way of showing the river in a more ethereal way.

I am struck by the notion that work such as Aikman’s could represent the signified elemental force of water along a river, thus removing the signifier from the scene and casting the observer adrift.

The issue now would be to ensure I have the right story for such a scene as if an audio recording is to work with such visuals; both would need to complement the other.



  • Figure 1 –  Sirena II-III, 2018. Oil on linen. 100×100 cm (source media) [Photograph of a painting]