I'm so stoked to have London-based Alexander Harding's work in Settling the Ghost, opening this weekend at Standard Projects! Check out this great interview, and find more at the links below!
First, can you introduce yourself? What first interested you in making art?
I’m not really sure; it’ll be something subliminal like the colors in the Simpsons or the cliché of just really liking drawing and reading as a kid. Maybe I should make up something.
In your practice, you've used printmaking methods on canvas, as well as other media to express ideas surrounding the ubiquity of images in our daily lives. Can you elaborate on this?
I’m interested in using the traditional object like quality of the canvas, as it demands a sort of specific attention that I don’t think you get from just a presented photograph. Painting as a medium has all clumsy associations and hang-ups about material and display (especially in this ‘post, post internet age), all these associations, and so with that in mind I just love, the fake material shittyness of silk-screening images, and presenting them as paintings. The Canvas feeds through the image, interrupting and distorting it, becoming both in between painterly and machinelike defect.
We take in Information always within the same plane of focus. – The screen (or the frame). We are spending many thousands of hours capturing, adsorbing, and poring over images, my work then broadly is considering this shift in the value of images, and the way we receive them into our lives. I like people cross-associating images with no direct link, trying to read into a personal cosmology that I’m not even sure is there sometimes. Ambiguity is good.
Do you do any sort of research or planning in preparation for making work?
Scrolling through camera rolls, the library and Photoshop on my phone all get used a lot before making work. I have a broad idea in mind for what I want to consider within the making but it often changes. Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about touch, in the sense of our interactions with screens and that feeling of using a touch screen. But also then things like flatness and the haptic around that.
What is the thing that intrigues you or challenges you the most about the media you work with?
The printing process is always surprising, I’m only just starting to get a vague idea of how I think a piece is going to work about before I print it. There’s to many steps and variables to printing, but I wouldn’t say its challenging, its laborious but that’s what makes it interesting.
What is your process like?
Everything when printmaking is involved takes a long time, from preparing a panel to stretching priming and then making the screens and printing for a work. There’s a-l-o-t of steps but its getting a bit quicker each time I do it, normally I’m not sure as to when things are finished until they come back to the studio so I can experiment with the display. How certain paintings sit together is important. Recently I’ve been blocking out some work with flat slabs of colour, disrupting a piece that seems not right tends to do it for me.
What is your studio like currently?
It’s being turned into the degree show at the moment, but this is the last picture I have off it. I find the studio to just be where all the ideas that I have everywhere else get rearranged and put into some kind of whole. I make a lot of my work in print studios, dark rooms etc. so the studio becomes this disparate re formatting location where ’made’ things get adjusted, re made and bought back together.
For most artists I think their head is their studio, and the physical space is where everything comes together.
What do you consider to be the most challenging part of pursuing an artistic practice, whether creatively or professionally?
‘Having enough time to do everything you want in a day.’
I think there’s a lot of pressure to be seen in a certain way, especially online, but I just try not to think about it and just let the work do the ‘talking’ in anything I send out. But then it is fun to try and think of Ironic hashtags.
What do you do when you find yourself at a creative standstill?
See other people’s shows, watch the Simpsons, go back through my phone. Check Facebook. Go to the library, check my phone again.
Usually, ill just scroll through my camera roll and then I’ll notice something that I forgot to use the first time around and then that will start me off again.
What is the best piece of advice you've received so far? Any that you're glad you passed over?
If you don’t try to fit in you haven’t got to compete -- not sure what it means, though I could see it on an inspirational poster.
What do you need most, or value most, as an artist?
Time. Time. Time! And good materials.
What are you working on right now? Any upcoming exhibitions or projects?
I’m going to be in the second issue of isthisit? And I’m part of Young Space’s group exhibition at Standard Projects in WI, USA!
Anything else you would like to add?
Find more at alexanderharding.co.uk and on Instagram @alexanderhardingg!
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