Presentation on Cindy Sherman

For our presentation, our group were given the American photographer and film director, Cindy Sherman. Best known for her conceptual portraits, her work is largely centred around feminism, capitalism in the US, and the notion of identity, among other things. Below is a link to our presentation.


Researching the artist using the library as a resource was certainly interesting, and working in a group was great because it enabled us to each research one aspect of the artists’ work and put our ideas all together in one presentation. While I found Sherman’s work interesting, she has not really been an influence on my work thus far.



Evaluation and Artist Statement


sculpture complete

Complete sculpture

My sculpture is an intricate latticework installation made from lengths of white masking tape on a black rectangle painted on the studio wall. The black rectangle was painted with enamel floor paint, using a rectangle of masking tape as a stencil to keep it straight and regular. The tape was stuck straight to the wall, the right lengths of it measured, and trimmed with a scalpel. The position of the suspended tape was determined by marking out diagonals of the taped sections of the wall.

The main ideas behind the work include Arte Povera, i.e. the use of commonplace materials and the central concept that the idea cannot be bought or sold, op art, the moiré effect, which is an interference pattern created by the overlapping of two slightly dissimilar linear patterns, the incredibly satisfying process of creating intricate art, and the exploration of 3-D space.

Two of these are more important to the sculpture than the rest; one of which is op art, which relates to the moiré effect. The purpose of this effect is that the piece shimmers and seems to have a different pattern depending on where the viewer stands. The second main artistic element is the Italian branch of conceptual art: Arte Povera. My sculpture aims to combine Arte Povera and op art. I have long thought that op art is under-appreciated and wrongly dismissed as gimmicky, or merely a consumer item. By injecting an element of the Arte Povera movement – creating it from cheap tape, thereby making it worthless and impossible to take away – it tears down the gimmick/decoration label that op art still carries.

I chose white tape to contrast strongly with the black background to make the moiré effect more intense, thereby connecting the medium with op art. The tape is also an extremely cheap and commonplace material, thereby connecting to the Arte Povera-inspired aspect of the artwork.

My main artist influences include Robert Beatty – his artwork introduced me to the moiré effect, which connects strongly to op art and is the main visual element of my sculpture. Bridget Riley had a similar influence – as another op artist, her work creates the illusion of things that aren’t there – and my work attempts to do the same by utilising the moiré effect; it creates the illusion of ‘waves’ that aren’t there. This actually relates to the work of Escher, one of my favourite artists. His work is famous for creating multiple ‘worlds’ within the same artwork. This influences mine in that the moiré effect creates a separate ‘world’ from the studio and the sculpture. The Ttéia 1C installation by Lygia Pape explores 3-D space and perspective, which are both key elements in my sculpture. It also shares the repeated straight line aesthetic with my sculpture.


I believe my piece achieved effective visual effects; the interference pattern it creates using overlapping linear patterns is in my opinion the crux of the artwork.

In part this artwork was an exercise in neatness, as inspired by the op art movement, and the levels of neatness I achieved in the process were satisfactory and contributed well to the outcome of the piece.

In hindsight, perhaps I could have created something more complex to intensify the intended effects. For example I could have added more strands of tape or even used a thinner material, such as string, so I could have had hundreds of lines overlapping to create a more intense visual experience.


Making my Sculpture

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1. Painting a black rectangle on each wall, using masking tape to keep the edges straight

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2. Black rectangle – complete!

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3. Returning to my sculpture space after quite some time, I encountered what would become quite an annoyance – people walking all over the black rectangle, leaving dusty footprints that were difficult to clean up without taking the black paint off as well. I ended up having to repaint the floor. On the bright side, I began applying the tape to the vertical wall, using a metal ruler to carefully measure the gaps between the pieces. 

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4. Close-up of the vertical wall. The blu-tak is there because I was using it as a marker to get the gaps in between the tape exactly (or near enough) right. I used a ruler and a scalpel to get the top edges of the tape flat and identical.

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5. Tape on vertical wall complete! I was really pleased with how this looked and felt I’d done a good job of getting the measurements correct. 

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6. With the floor repainted, the piece slowly began to come together. 

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9. This image shows the slightly passive-aggressive sign I put up above my work in an attempt to stop the problem of footprints from re-occuring. 

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10. This angle highlights the straightness I managed to achieve with my tape. 

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11. Returning to my sculpture at a later date, there was the odd footprint but for the most part my sign seemed to have worked. Shown here is the beginning of the application of tape to the floor, which did not take as long as the vertical wall because the lengths were slightly shorter and I did not have to do any measuring; I only had to match the pieces of tape up with the vertical ones. 

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12. Floor tape complete!

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15. As luck would have it, there was a very long and thin plank of MDF near my sculpture space, which became very useful in marking out the diagonals as a reference for the rest of the sculpture. 

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16. Along the diagonal I drew a small dot with a pencil as a reference. 

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17. Along the vertical side I marked out a similar diagonal, and from then the process of linking them up with tape to form the sculpture began. 

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18. Linking up finished!

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21. A re-creation of the photo I took of my magic tape model, this time with the real thing – this displays the parabolic curve the sculpture creates. 

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23. Upon noticing the black rectangle wasn’t quite straight, I used more masking tape and repainted the edge. 

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24. Sculpture complete!


At this point, I got quite lucky – my mum found some spare tape at work, which was perfectly white, opaque, masking tape. This was ideal because it looks a lot less tacky than normal masking tape, yet was still extremely easy to work with.

This seemed ideal to work with, yet the white colour still did not contrast with the white and grey colours of the art studio very well, which in theory would ruin the effect. Therefore, at this point, I decided to paint a large black rectangle in the studio (on two walls), and then create the sculpture in white tape inside the black space.


Experiment: Masking Tape on a Wall

mock-up 1

Fig. 1

mock-up 2

Fig. 2

mock-up 3

Fig. 3

mock-up 4

Fig. 4

To make a large-scale model of the design, I used masking tape and I constructed it in the gallery where my final piece would eventually go. In a slightly dirty studio, with beige, slightly translucent masking tape, the effect is not quite as profound as it could be; however, I am still really pleased with how it looks. Hopefully showing the sculpture from four different angles demonstrates how the moiré effect changes when you walk around it.

Masking tape was fantastically easy to work with; it does not stretch and was easy to cut with a scalpel. However, the beige colour looks a bit tacky and does not contrast well with the white and grey background. I then tried the same design with black electrical tape because it has a nicer look and is black so it contrasts better with the background. Unfortunately, it proved to be a nightmare to work with – it stretched and was difficult to cut straight with a scalpel, so I didn’t finish the model and ruled out electrical tape as a medium.


Experiment: Magic Tape & a Cardboard Box


Fig. 1


Fig. 2


Fig. 3

The sketches I have done were good for getting an idea of how the finished sculpture would look, however they were drawn with a felt-tip pen and therefore do not reflect how tape looks very well. In the interest of experimentation I decided to make a small model based on design 1, just to see how it would look. Because this was just to get a vague idea, I did not measure it accurately and I used magic tape, which I had already ruled out as the material for my final piece. The model was definitely useful; I especially liked the way that viewed from the side (fig.3) the pieces of tape form a parabolic curve. This experiment motivated me to experiment with more detailed representations of the design and try out different media.

Sketches of Ideas

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Design 1

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Design 2

sketch 1

Design 3

sketch 2

Design 4

Part of the reason I experimented with linear constructions is that I have a fascination with order and neatness. Looking at something that is perfectly measured and perfectly neat is incredibly satisfying for me. Perhaps for this reason, I have always enjoyed technical drawing, of which I did a lot when I studied resistant materials for GCSE. These often involved the use of two-point perspective; which is a fantastic way to easily make objects appear 3-D.

Because my sculpture was going to be stuck straight to the walls of the gallery, I began sketching out ideas by first drawing a corner of a gallery room using two-point perspective. After experimenting with using the perspective to draw series of lines, I arrived at four designs which create a moiré effect by overlaying a 3-D linear pattern with a simpler 2-D one on the walls. The first one (top) would be the result of stretching pieces of tape between the diagonals of the two wall sections, creating a shape akin to a sort of warped prism. This is the simplest design, and yet creates an effective moiré pattern, which would change as the viewer moves around the artwork. It also creates the impression of a gradual transition between vertical and horizontal, so it appears complete, and has a satisfying sense of closure. The second and third designs (second and third from the top, respectively) are variations on the first. The second has two of the original prisms within one another, almost merged, while the third has two prisms, half the width of the original, adjacent, equal and opposite. These experiments were interesting to try, however I learned from them that the more lines used in the sculpture, the more intense the moiré effect turns out to be. In designs 2&3, the effect is somewhat compromised because only half the number of lines are used for each prism compared to in design 1. Design 4 is different to the others – pieces of tape stretch between the ends of the tape stuck to the wall and cross at a central point. This was fascinating to draw; however, the moiré effect tends to be clearest when one of the overlapping patterns is only slightly dissimilar to the other; with design 4 I think the criss-cross pattern is too different to the wall pattern to constitute a very intense moiré effect. In the interests of creating the most mind-bending optical illusion possible, design 1 is creates the most intense moiré pattern and is therefore the most effective design in my opinion.