Bank Street residency, day 5, 10th April 2012

Today my usual 08:24 train from York to Sheffield was cancelled because of a body on the line near Thirsk. I got a later train to Leeds and then got the slow train from there to Sheffield. Consequently, I got to Sheffield at 10:37, which didn’t leave me enough time to do my walk and be back at Bank Street by 12, so I decided to use the train journey between Leeds and Sheffield instead. I made a list of odd words and impressions (since I like lists in this blog):

brittle

bracken

gantries

dead stems [of plants by the track]

sticks

thin

brittle bricks

rusty rails

brittle iron

I felt that the spring morning sun somehow gave everything a brittle quality – the buildings, the railway itself and last year’s dry vegetation by the track. Even solid brick structures seemed somehow brittle. I also couldn’t get the suicide (as presumably that’s what it was), that had delayed my journey, out of my head. I felt that it was easy to regard an occurrence like that as merely a nuisance (this was the second time I had been delayed for this reason in about two weeks – the first time was when travelling back from London just before my residency), but that what had happened had impacted others in a very different way that day.

At B&Q I picked up a tester pot of Craig & Rose 1829 Venetian Red (posh paint) and B&Q Colours Grey Slate (cheap paint). I used the bottom half of the long wall (I spent a lot of the train journey looking at the edge of the track) and tried to respond to that idea of brittleness without painting dead bracken and hogweed stems. I think I nearly succeeded , but I’m not sure I got at what I was trying to respond to (they do look a bit like stems – but how do you paint ‘brittleness’?). I feel like most of the works I’m doing in the residency are missing their mark, but that doing them is helping me to hone my view of the problem I am trying to solve (by which I mean see what that problem might actually be!) I added a red and grey shape towards the middle bottom of the wall as a sort of memorial to the suicide.

The photograph I have posted of today’s work is just a snapshot, as I didn’t have time to photograph it properly. I’ve also posted a picture of day 3’s piece, with day 2’s work fully painted out. It is taking quite a few coats of white to get rid of each piece, so each one is forming part of the next. Each piece on the big wall has taken some aspect or other of its position from the ghost of a previous one. Today’s thing used the traces of the ‘legs’ of day 2’s piece to space the vertical elements.

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