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An Artist’s Workshop for Unveiling Emotions

BALTIC 39, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
18 - 22 September 2013


Andro Semeiko is a painter. The stereotypical painter of a previous era is erratic and outspoken, at the mercy of his emotions and impulsive beyond control. Andro worries, however, that the contemporary painter has worked so hard to counter this cliché that he has done a disservice to art, chasing out emotional content altogether, partly in an attempt to achieve cool self-criticality, and partly from embarrassment at his predecessors’ excesses.

In this five-day long workshop Andro (we will drop the usual, rather hard-nosed press-release convention of using the artist’s surname only here) will be attempting to identify the relationship between emotions he is capable of feeling and the lines he produces in paintings and drawings. Through exercises, which will run in vigour from the high-energy workout to the psychologist’s gentle probing, he will investigate the links between mood and movement and the marks they leave behind.

Is it possible to make an emotion-laden mark in a drawing without the aesthetics of style or an intellectual engagement with composition encroaching? Can an audience identify from a painting the state of mind its creator was in, and can they empathetically reconstruct that state of mind in themselves? Would they want to? Or would they prefer to read the image through the lens of their own mood?

What you see here are the ongoing results of an enquiry that is being carried out in conditions that are as emotionally charged as possible. And should the artist fail to feel strongly about things, it is anticipated that the anxiety of being on public display will at least produce that most reliable of sensations, perceptible in the shaky line and the sweaty smudge.


Text by Sally O'Reilly

Module One: Emotionarama - Drawing the Line in Public
Thursday 19th September 2013
An unusual brew of emotions will be concocted by throwing three darts into Plutchik’s wheel of emotion. Andro will then find the quality of line that best conveys this complex state of mind.

Module Two: Relating to Objects
Saturday 21st September 2013
Working with reference to a bank of images selected for their emotional impact within his own biography, Andro will isolate the objects (which might be body parts or inanimate objects), or relations between objects, that seem to carry most of the emotional baggage in the picture and translate them into new works.

Module Three: Projecting
Saturday 21st September 2013
Cognitive psychologist Dr Larry Taylor will talk with reference to Andro’s work and speculate on how we might use our bodies to understand and experience it, perhaps imagining ourselves existing in the world depicted, or producing the lines ourselves.

Module Four: Talking it Through
Sunday 22 September 2013
Curator Will Cooper discusses the project with the artist, and together they will consider whether his practice might change as a result. They will also reflect on Andro’s recent project at PEER, produced in collaboration with Sally O’Reilly and Zinovy Zinik and which provided the starting point for the BALTIC 39 project.

The events have been developed in collaboration with Sally O'Reilly.

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