We featured a work in progress by Jo Hummel in Art North issue 2. Her exhibition ‘Transformer’ opens at &Gallery, Edinburgh, 7 September 2019 (2-4pm). Hummel’s output as an artist is characterised by a painted and paper collaged surface on which she employs spontaneous variations of space, colour and form. Although her painting collages are physically engaged and materially driven the context is purposefully anthropological and her works are informed by human habits and behaviour, with a particular interest in determinism and free will just as much as formal concerns.
Hummel runs experiments where the process often determines the outcome and provides a safe arena for improvisation, a place where rational procedures can co-exist alongside intuition. In doing this she explores the unpredictable nature of intuition and spontaneity – her practice functioning as a simulation of decision making experiences which enable her to grasp, and make use of sensations such as anxiety or serenity. And it is via these conflicting emotional states of comfort, satisfaction, anxiousness, repulsion and so on that she is able to tap into the ubiquitously felt state of human uncertainty.
The social structures we all exist in guide and interfere with how we feel and what we choose to do on a daily basis. Our social class, religion, gender and ethnicity all play a part in what we deem ‘pleasant’ or ‘unpleasant’.
The nature of collage is that throughout its creation a work is in constant flux. The artist must negotiate the canvas by rearranging, choosing and adjusting, often over long periods and having explored hundreds, even thousands of the infinite possible outcomes. In this way the creative process itself is as significant as the final outcome.