Revisiting WORKSITE: Saskia Robinson

Notes on Saskia Robinson‘s contribution to the WORKSITE blog.

  • Saskia defines “work” as “a means to an end, and sense of duty and dedication to the task at hand”, adding that “for me specifically it’s literally adding pellet after pellet of clay and just keeping on going”. This to me suggests a repetitive, “manual” aspect of work which is perhaps in keeping with the conventions of the sculptural tradition Saskia engages in. Saskia’s “sense of duty” and “dedication” to the work also suggests a certain “work ethic” and the [perceived] moral character of artistic practice. Saskia also adds that they “feel a great sense of responsibility to be in service to the arts”. This again suggests the moral “rightness” or artistic work.
  • Saskia works in a “studio/shed” that they built, and previously a “fold up desk” in their bedroom. They aspire to make work for the “gallery setting” as well as the “outdoor setting” such as in the case of a civic monument or private home / garden. This to me suggests an inclination toward – or aspiration to – a conventional application of site-specific art, which would be a direct and/or overt “collaboration” with the environment.
  • The tools and resources Saskia requires are what one might expect for someone who makes figurative sculpture in clay – their list includes a variety of hand tools and materials, as well as the more unconventional addition of “my phone”. It is interesting to note the presence of the smartphone in this list, as it is the only item that is [seemingly] not directly related to the “making” of sculpture itself. Perhaps the phone here relates more to research, entertainment, distraction, or research – representing a link between the “traditional” and the “modern”?
  • Saskia notes their interest in Hellenistic and Neoclassical sculpture, and “the art of the Italian and Northern Renaissance and the natural world”. They add that they live in the countryside, which means that they “go outside and see animals and plants every day”. This situating of the worksite within an environment that sustains or replenishes inspiration is analogous to the conventional idea of the artist in the studio, wherein the studio walls are used to display imagery and objects which inspire or otherwise feed into the artist’s practice.
  • This idea of “situating” the worksite within an inspirational environment connects back to the idea of artistic practice as a “collaboration” between the artist and their environment. It would seem that it is of benefit to the artist to work within a site or situation which is either composed of or contains (overtly, or perhaps ambiently) stimuli (in the form of images, objects, conversation, experiences and so on) that can (or will unintentionally) be used as an element of or motivation for the artist’s work.

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