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  • Suzy Costello, workbooks

MFA, Sept 20-26 2021

One-on-one with Julieanna, application for Collin Post Memorial Scholarship, Preparing for Crit presentation, Artist John Bevan Ford


1. One-on-one with Julieanna

Helpful talk with Julieanna, we spoke about my shift in inquiry for the thesis next year and thinking about moving out of the basement 10A18 and looking to present in new places. Julieanna suggested I seek out a gallery for my final exhibition in 2022. That's a big leap for Suzy! Also some good ideas on how I begin my art inquiry next year, looking not just at the idea of starting with drawing but investigating the action of where to start, how I enter the space and expand on the flavour of this process.


2. Application for Collin Post Memorial Scholarship

Done, I don't stand a chance given grades need to be A or A+ but the hat is in the ring. This is what I submitted along with images -

My sculptural practice

I’ve been exploring a sculptural practice for six years now, driven by a fascination with the tactility of three-dimensional objects and how they exist in real space. The principles of process, materiality and agency guide my artmaking practice.

My first foray into making sculptural objects was figurative bronze sculptures made using the lost wax method. It took a while to be able to capture the expressive qualities of the human body, and to understand the properties of wax and the additive process, but eventually I came to appreciate how the wax itself holds the vibrancy and liveliness transmitted from the makers hands into the material itself. Transforming a wax figurine into a bronze object that would hold a permanence beyond my own life was particularly satisfying. During my time as a student at The Learning Connexion, I explored sculpture in bronze, glass, clay, and Oamaru stone, as well as printmaking and drawing. TLC was an exciting time. Inspired by Pallasmaa’s essay, The Eyes of the Skin, my intention when beginning at Massey as a graduate diploma student in 2019, was to create installation art that explores the sculptural-ness of objects within the dynamics of space. To avoid high material costs I decided to use only detritus materials holding a low value. Installations ensued using cardboard boxes, plastic cups, wrapping paper, and natural materials collected from my neighbourhood.

As I followed the agency and narratives of these natural materials, my practice changed from an ideation of objects and into an exploration of the natural world around me. Space, place, and site have anchored themselves into my art practice.

This year I began a master’s in fine arts at Massey and am committed to continuing with a focus on installation art, materiality, and the agency of place and site. I have explored my sense of becoming Pākehā, as this is meaningful to where I live. The idea of how we experience the space and place where we live has led to an inquiry into enactive embodiment as described in Laroche’s Embodiment of Intersubjective Time. This has added a deeper nuance and subtlety to my artmaking, as if space is activated differently. Doreen Massey’s notion of a dynamic, non-linear, and relational space also enriches my art practice. My choice of materials has been more considered as I ask, “what does it mean to remove materials from their site?” and “how do we affect this space and place?”. Instead I have been using tissue paper, tape, and thread as I try to discuss notions of intersubjective embodiment that are impermanent, fleeting, and precious. I will continue this line of enquiry into my final year of study in 2022.


My career aspirations

Truly, I just want to continue making art. Aspirations seem a little pie in the sky and beyond my control, but I like to share my art with others and welcome their feedback. Is the art meaningful enough to be displayed in galleries and art institutions? I hope so. It would be nice to move towards this and I feel it is important to explore this more fully next year. Being a recipient of the Collin Post Memorial Scholarship in Sculpture, would certainly enable this aspiration.


What the scholarship means to me

Being a recipient of this scholarship would go a long way to reducing my costs of tuition and material expenditure. It would offer me greater scope to use other more costly materials that may be important in establishing myself as an artist in the art scene. The recognition and affirmation bestowed on scholarship recipients would also be appreciated and give me greater confidence in the relevance of my art practice. I am happy to participate in events that promote the pathway of sculpture to school pupils or prospective students and when I was studying at The Learning Connexion I helped in this area. Art is made to share with others and making it relevant to the wider community is important to me and evidenced in a socially engaged artwork I undertook with parishioners of St Albans Church in 2020. Thank you for this opportunity to apply for the Collin Post Memorial Scholarship in Sculpture.



3 Preparing for Crit presentation

I've rebooked 10A18 for the crit week 4th October and am hoping to be able to go in the following weekend to install. Book of poetry is all printed, and I'm pleased with how it looks. It will be the basis of this installation as it draws together all the work this year. I'm not sure how or what else I will install but have asked to use the two wooden box/stools again. I'm wondering how much more I should/can abstract the memories and perceptions of past installations and my experiences of walking in the forest and along the beach? Do I need to reference them again with x marks and pieces of thread or is the audience able to recall them from previous installations? Is the book of poetry enough? These nestings of installations pose interesting problems! It does feel like the pattern is changing though as I move forwards towards next years work. The forest is calling to me to enter and I feel an excitement about the work that might be created as I encounter the trees.



4. Artist John Bevan Ford

Here are some really beautiful ink, pen, and pencil drawings done by renowned NZ artist John Bevan Ford (Ngāti Raukawa Ki Kapiti/Ngāti Raukawa/Māori), 1930-2003. Images are courtesy Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki . Delicate, intricate lines and subtle colours, capture the feeling of space between sky and sea/land, Rangi and Papatuanuku, it is quintessentially Aotearoa's cultural landscape.

Images are -

Te Hono (The Connections)

Te Hono ki Muka - 3

Maui, Ancestor of the Pacific