Janet Tryner Fine Artist

Fine artist and live graphics designer.

Thursday, 18 February 2021

New / old directions

Now a chapter is spent with the completion of my Coventry ArtSpace graduate residency is complete - bar a last blog - I am looking at where I taking research to next and luxuriating in being able to peruse the internet for all the interesting things that I glimpsed as I flew over in pursuit of past work obsessions, deadlines and humdrum marketing responsibilities.

One of these treats is Tai Shani video interview about her meditations on ergot, wheat, ancient farming practices, feminism, witches and psychodelic intoxication at Serpentine Galleries: https://www.serpentinegalleries.org/art-and-ideas/in-conversation-tai-shani-untitled-hieroglyphs/ The alternating visions of google earth, maps, ergot infected heads of wheat, but not the arhythmic red, red waves lapping at the shore of affected consciousness, reminded me that I wanted to reapproach the work I neglected to finish on the boundaries formed where digital mapping photogrammetry joins images of the ground resulting in an imposition of virtual borders on land because it reminded me of the heady, again arhythmic, but this time because of the wind and not the sea - invisible wind can be seen in the play of crops - , bobbing heads of chrome yellow oil seed rape of that day we filmed with the aid of a bright pink rope where the false line fell on the land. Perhaps I feel something of the same alteration of consciousness. Perhaps I don't, nevertheless, I want to look at that again. 

Monday, 21 December 2020

Exhibition News!

ArtSpace Arcadia Gallery 26 Jan – 7 Feb. 
Weekdays 10.00 to 14.00. Weekends 12.00 to 16.00.

An exhibition by Coventry ArtSpace’s current graduate resident Janet Tryner.
Library of Litter will be available online and in-place at the gallery. 

Soundwalk ‘Ground Level Interference’ at places between the gallery and War Memorial Park. 

Zoom tour of the exhibition at 7pm Thursday 28 January. Registration available in the New Year.
Janet will be visible working in the gallery space on an investigative piece of work that will reflect on her time at Arcadia, suburban ground level spaces and digital methods of socially distanced communication.


Coventry ArtSpace Blog November 2020

What have I done in November? I’ve been busy developing artworks and I’ve rewritten schemes for my exhibition at Arcadia Gallery several times! 

I’m planning to have something of my exhibition available to be seen and experienced in an engaging way whatever version of lockdown Coventry faces. Which is an absorbing task, and makes me feel particularly vulnerable because, like so many parents, my child’s class could suddenly need to isolate meaning that I will be trapped at home. So far, we’ve only had negative test results and got back to (Covid) normality quickly, but this could hit us at any point and means organising for things to happen in a variety of ways as well as needing plan for other people able to experience my work safely. 

Image: From experiments with montaged intaglio prints of litter finds and AR

The good thing about all of this – and there is always a silver lining if you look hard enough – is that it has pushed me to develop art in ways that I’ve always wanted to, using augmented reality and geolocation technology, which I would probably have otherwise continued to procrastinate about. 

So I’m not going to go into too much detail about what these are here, as I will be writing in more detail about that in a blog, later this month, in the run up to the exhibition, and in an artist’s talk with ArtSpace in January 7th. However, I am posting fairly regularly all the time on Instagram. You can follow me there @anatomyofasmile. My exhibition is on at Arcadia 26 Jan – 7 Feb 2021.


November has also been marked by projects put on hold over lockdown starting to move again which has been heartening. 

I’ve been exploring Naul’s Mill Park with Coventry artist and producer Tara Rutledge, with whom I had so many plans brought to a distressingly abrupt halt back in March. We discussed how the space can be used now and improved in the future by art and imagining how we can to use sound here and elsewhere to bring spaces alive multi-dimensionally and safely in our uniquely-distanced current times.


Of course, the coronavirus dominates conversations as it does everything. But in talks with other artists I find that the tone more often takes a positive turn when we wonder about the future and seek to draw lessons to create positive actions and ways to move on with each other. This is despite all the restrictions we face.

Image: Culverted stream running under Naul's Mill Park. Those ripples!

We know plans will continue to develop as we move slowly out of this period, dominated by isolation and worry, into another phase that will happen against a background of, quite possibly, scarcity and therefore precariousness, but also of joy at being able to open up. 

I frequently wonder if it is possible to ever achieve the plans I had before lockdown, but people are giving energy to spaces and places and ideas that they don’t normally have the time to and that feels like an interesting time in which to make art.


Coventry ArtSpace Blog October 2020

4.11.20 ArtSpace Blog Nov 2020 

Blogging has become a rather peculiar thing in my practice. Before Covid, I would write reams organised into diaries and documents and then I would pick and choose what to publish and it was all quite easy. Now we are During Covid my writing has become fragmented. 

I don’t know what I've written and where to find what I did, and on the eve of another lockdown, I'm making real and mental montages of lists which are more a symptom of a worry than an attempt to actually organise and achieve anything. Although if I could actually finish a list I like to think it would show that I’m in a fairly good place and that having this residency with Coventry ArtSpace has provided a drive to focus on the end of January when I show what I’ve done at City Arcadia Gallery. 

Image: a note I could find!

Without the residency, although undoubtedly I would have made art, I would have given in very quickly to the temptation to begin several new things and fewer of them would have culminated in a work that I could claim to express what I was thinking about and have it actually look or feel like that thing.  Because daily life During Covid is both highly in flux and yet very much the same things happen each day it is good to have a solid reason to hang on to thoughts about the ground I walked on and what I found there all anchored to a time before all this happened.


Also, I'm giving in to the temptation to compare pre-this lockdown with the first. I know one of the reasons I feel better this time is because I don’t have many other future plans that can be interrupted any more, so I don’t have to deal with the same crushing disappointments. In fact, my plan is just to keep going creatively somehow and I can do that, even in only a small way, every day, even if it is just in my head. 

Conversely to expectations, I find the current situation has encouraged me to live in the moment more than I probably have before but I can’t really say how this will affect what I’m creating and if there will be an obvious division in it by the end of January when the residency finishes and I show it (somehow.) 

I am both more and less contemplative about the things I collected this time last year in Coventry near Eaton House. These are currently gathered in a big black plastic plant pot in my bedroom with a heavy yellow toolbox sat on top as a lid.  I suppose I’m still processing them as I find I am ordering and reordering them according to their material qualities. 

Do they make a noise in my hands as I handle them, or as they rub against each other? Yes. Then I might record them and process their sounds to synthesise a dialogue between things that might have once lived on the ground. 

Do they have a surface that won’t break up under the fairly rough process of intaglio inking and printing? Yes. Then their textured effigies become a fluttery pile of cut-out bone-dry blackish-inked white paper – like the collapsed constituent parts of a book. 

Image: Inked Polythene

Some however, entirely resist any attempt of mine to place them within a taxonomy, unless it’s a negative one, by being too bulky, too flimsy, too stretchy, or too alike, or unlike the other pieces. They will possibly demand another method of translation, or maybe they will remain forever obstinately themselves and therefore unapproachable. That’s ok. 

All these bits of things I’ve collected have already had some kind of altercation with humanity at some point in their past, but now, as our detritus, they also have a thingness that is all their own; mingling within our shared environment they both hold on to that old relationship and supersede it and become strange.

2020 Lockdown, residency pause and a new beginning.

This is a catchup blog! It was published on Coventry ArtSpace back in May 2020 but, as I say later on, time has been moving in a strange way this year.

Montage of four photos from lockdown walks around Whitnash.

Phytoplasma (‘unculturable, phloem-limited insect-transmitted plant pathogens’ ref. Science Direct) seen in conjunction with the giant willow aphid, Shard of salt wear pottery, trig point, cracks.

So this is what I wrote back then:

This blog is terribly overdue. I’m sorry. Everything changed this year and, with one thing and the other, I lost grip on my artist side for a while. We all had to deal with an awful lot and we all tried to find ways of doing that, so this blog is a bit about all that but also a bit about coming out the other side.  

I found my blog incredibly hard to write because I have no plans. I always had plans before the pandemic. My own plans. Now I find I am pushed this way and then that by various restrictions caused by pandemic planning, or by worry, or by others being unable to do the certain things they always did. Not least of these is my child’s school not needing to do what they always did. And this is happening to everyone - I’m not special! (As an artist I like to be at least a little bit special.) 


I find though that this lack of being able to create plans leaves me unable to make work and I realise something which was hitherto an unknown criterion: that for me to make artwork is to have a grasp on the future as being in some way roughly similar to the way things are now so I can develop ideas and maintain momentum. Again, not special in this regard.


So much changed so quickly – and don’t get me wrong, I like quite a lot of the changes – the clear skies, the quiet, the drop in air pollution, the many new walks, board games, the weekly online family pub quiz and a lack of pressure to go out and socialise. I don’t miss the feeling that I’m missing out on events, but I find it impossible to make work. 


My space contracted; time became elongated and stretched thin over all the things in the house. Or did time get heavy, grow fat and lay thickly instead? I can’t decide. Some of this stretched/fat time and space is wonderful; I remember daily to put out food for the birds and enjoy watching them come and eat it, but I am frequently at a loss over how to help my lonely child thrive when she misses her routine and school friends so much. I’m stuck between caring for family and needing to complete paying design work to my usual standard, and art; well there is no time for it anymore.


Sadly, I have to conclude art does not sustain us. I suppose I always knew it was an indulgence - proper top of the pyramid stuff. Not that I feel I have nothing to offer the wider world via it, and not that it doesn’t satisfy an inner craving to communicate and dwell on how the world hangs together. In this time of trauma and financial unrest what I have experienced is that making and sharing art does not offer much back to the artist, even though there has been an incredible and laudable support effort within local and regional artistic communities. Art won’t feed my family and there is nothing I can do that will make it so. I’m incredibly sad about this. So, to save my disappointment I’ve just ignored all those ideas and stored them under mental dust sheets. Moreover, I’ve also detached from critical reading and critical social media as I find it too frustrating to spectate and not engage. I can’t do that with art any more than I can with my family. I can’t do it by halves; art demands and deserves more of me than that.  


Uncritical making however, has been such a boon and I am so thankful for the piles of materials, paints and fabrics that I’ve hoarded over the years and all the crafting knowledge I learned. So, in the early weeks I plumbed in to a national effort to make things for NHS and other key workers and now I’m making alterations to our own clothing; mending, making and recycling. My sewing machine has never been busier.


The difference I think I perceive happening here is that making is materially useful. It meets my need to make a difference, and whereas Fine Art is emotionally/philosophically dense I don’t need the requisite distance from this traumatic time in order to process my thoughts into that kind of making. I am a better person for having been able to spend a couple of years at the top of my pyramid of needs where a sort of deeper creativity resides and I will someday restore myself there, but those future days are not these days. 


And that was that.


So… Upstream of all this, retrospectively downstream now, is that ArtSpace Coventry have been wonderfully supportive towards me, and are still being so. I was released from my graduate residency with a firm plan to restore the final three months and show my work when a routine ‘new normal’ settled in, that mostly being reliant on decisions made by the government and my daughter’s school. I’m immensely glad to say that we agreed on the beginning of October. Therefore, currently I’m assessing and rationalising all my notes, photos and work from the first six months so that I can begin the last three with a written proposal of work for an exhibition in City Arcadia Gallery. Tentatively I feel like I can begin to make plans and artwork again, obviously, this is incredibly exciting and absorbing but I know that the pandemic situation can change again, and though that may create a cast on what I produce I feel more positive about making art than I have for quite a while.


Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Altercation sketches

Some recent works about extended phenotypes - DNA is expressed in the environment, such a spider's web for a spider, a road system to human beings - the oak gall is a manifestation of an altercation between the DNA of a wasp and an oak tree that makes the oak create a gall. An altercation or a call-and-reply conversation between organisms.

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Oak Gall Wasp collaboration with Tara Rutledge at Classroom Open Studio.

Extra images and video from open studios at Holyhead Studios, Coventry at the end of Tara Rutledge's residency as referenced in my latest blog on ArtSpace Coventry website - which I've tagged on to the end of this blog, and is available here: Coventry ArtSpace 

I will post in the usual places where and when we are showing the next version as there is one planned for later this month - details to be confirmed. We plan to move the work on and there were a number of works and events we didn't get to show at the open studios that will be very exciting to share - not least the coffee now we've got hold of it! So do please come and see.

These are from the first time we played about with the projectors.

Some footage of the Turkey Oak on Spencer Road in Coventry. We used the audio from this to make the sound piece. I love this footage. I have this idea of the tiny Knopper Gall Wasp larvae enjoying movement high up in the summer canopy that I couldn't withstand. The rain is falling so hard that it rolls down my car window pane in sheets and the tree is gyrating all over the place looking like it's having way more fun.

Gall fluid and iPhone footage shot through a gall. We tried to make ink by adding ferrus sulphate but neither solution had had long enough to steep to work. We will have another go at that and have pens and paper to try it out with. 

We pretty much had to fly in and out and put it all up in and hour and a half due to all the other things we had to get done that day, and I was a bit disappointed that we didn't have time to play with the version of the twinned heart-shaped through the gall footage to make it work in the space. There is something really uncanny about the repetition of images that I really wanted to happen - as if the two views are two creatures speaking to each other. This is something to try again next time. I guess it's good to have more to want to do, and all told, this has been a great experience trialling stuff and I'm so grateful to Tara for wanting to share her time at Classroom with me.

ArtSpace blog: Coventry ArtSpace 
Tara's ArtSpace profile: Tara Rutledge

I've had subsequent thoughts about this piece.

When I made it I didn't know where it would be projected, but when the beam hit this spot we both knew this would be the place. Affectively it now creates a reversal. I'm pretending to show the back of the wasp's retina (my initial plan) but what it actually does is map the space in front of it as an oak tree. Consequently this makes the audience also the body of the oak - as the other things tall and straightish occupying the space.

Quite nice, I think to be portrayed as an oak, but inaccurate. Organism-wise I can't take that place and also be charged with fucking the planet up. We have major differences. However, we have some similarities, the oak and me, so there is hope.