Posts are in order of assignments, from 3 – 5 inclusively, and each exercise is shown in its entirety; original work and re-worked to show a body of work for each exercise.
‘Word Painting’ exercise has been taken from Assignment 2 and pulled forward to extend into Assignment 4 in terms of ideas and development.
These posts can also be found on the Mixed Media page under the relevant categories, where they originated from for the previous formal assessment.
I began this exercise by reaffirming the criticisms from my last assignment:
- Too repetitive in the methods of making and the materials used
- Pushing forward with critically evaluating my work – writing this as if I did not create this art.
- Be more descriptive and evaluate further
- Explore other elements – such as figurative or graphic
Using found images I feel will explore point 4 well and point one needs to be keep in mind whilst undertaking this exercise.
Buying a well known paper, hunting for a big story, which is a ‘hunting story’ the political subject of trophy killing. I feel this particular story triggers high emotions, a variety of debate and holds such knock on affect consequences it seems like the obvious start for a political collage.
I began this exercise during the week of the killing of Cecil the lion, so it seemed inevitable that one of my images could be focused on this event. Reading through papers there was a large amount of images and emotional information about the trophy hunt. First to figure out what I wanted to say, my opinion and to convey this in an image. Of course I don’t agree with what has happened and allowing time to tick over this story, a key word that stood out was ‘VANITY’, vanity of this man caused him to act and money allowed him to, therefore these needed to be an important part of my message. Mixing an image of the lion with an image of a catwalk model fashioning fur with the words ‘VANITY’ and ‘DREAMING BIG’ with acrylic. The paints chosen were dirty to reflect the situation and act, jointly influenced by Pitin. Loosely moved across the surface using palette knife and brushes to create movement, tension and vigorous marks.
‘Vanity’ from cut out letters drifting across the centre of the collage, behind is a gold element highlighting the lion appropriate to the wording. During the process I found elements were becoming too hidden and it was difficult to recover from, over painting masked the lions head and therefore giving the painting a different meaning. Asking my partner if he understood or could see the meaning, the message is subtle and conveys the view of vanity when wearing and fashioning fur and animal products, brought to the attention of the media through the recent hunting, a political themed message.
Following this the lions head was enhanced using black acrylic pen to return the shape and make it pop, reshowing the piece the answer altered slightly and it became more obvious the message was in relation to the trophy hunting, whilst still remaining subtle.
The outcome could have been more clear without being blatant, although working with this particular story and set of words the process of making became enjoyable and felt that more and more ideas flowed as the work progressed.
The subject for the second study arose from an advert which contained a pair of legs in fishnet tights, an unusual image,1920s inspired, the art deco movement flourished, reminiscent of arches, circles, angular elements and rich colours. Adding figurative and graphic elements to this piece avoiding overworking and complex areas. Line, shape and colour palette selective of the theme of the piece. Masks, stencils and collage with a final layer of text ‘choice bit of calico’ 1920s slang for ‘Desirable lady’. I asked – is this message subtle or blatant? The answer given to me was that is was blatant in terms of imagery and the text was a confusing. Like a spot light shining down on a woman who was being viewed as a sexual object or a performer on the stage. This message is enhanced by the dark tones at the bottom and the lighter areas within the top corners, the qualities of transparency within layers, stencils and the application of the acrylic particularly add the piece, contrasting well with the curves and solid elements of the figure. This piece grabs me, the colour palette is harmonious and there are elements of sensitivity, gold elements to reflect the drive for the killing. Whilst allowing the text and found images to show though, transparency and masking techniques were key.
‘Choice bit of calico’
Finding the work of Kruger interesting and refreshing I wanted to challenge myself by creating a simple image with a blatant message, I feel a blatant message has not yet been created and work seems to start to become complex and therefore the message becomes subtle or hidden.
Finding this photograph of two female soldiers, looking tough and wearing their lipstick grabbed me, the contrasts of the photo, knowing female fighters are a large part of our army however this photograph cements this visually. Raw surroundings, protective clothing, strong weapons with beautiful women who still show their femininity within the makeup they wear. Strong women and to mirror this a strong message. Still political like ‘Vanity’ yet the area of argument and thought it very different, a celebration rather than an argument or tragedy.
The message reads ‘Smile for the SHOOT’, a play on words, blatant and marked into the wet paint, keeping colour simple to ensure the piece did not become complex or begin to hide the image. I enjoyed working with this photograph before altering its form I photographed it and added text, more inline with the work of Kruger. Drawing in the words within the tonal acrylic, simple reflecting the lives of these women, I felt any other form of text or colour would have removed power from the image. Pleased with this outcome, the message is blatant and the image is interesting yet not complex.
‘Photo – SHOOT’
Using a combination of photo and software my intention was to use the strong image and add text which is more blatant again. Working closer with the collages of Kruger, I found that using both apps and computer software allowed me to produce non complex images which inevitably have a graphic element to them. Firstly changing the photo to a greyscale image and adding the text through bold, italic fonts and text boxes.
An app allowed me to add further affects to the photo, blurring and simplifying the image, removing harsh lines – a typical photo-shoot way of airbrushing. Doing this I feel removes the realism of the photo, in terms of detail, I know see two women who could be posing as soldiers rather than real soldiers. Interesting how small elements of editing can change the concept of a piece.
I took this image further by layering and exploring the translucent layers as influenced by Emma Ferreira.
These studies took a vast amount of time to complete, finding images that are appropriate and convey feelings to work with is difficult even in the midst of strong paper stories. Finding the use of found images is not easy, it requires a particular interest and ability to form concepts in a particular way. I wanted to allow myself time to explore the different ways to mould mediums using physical techniques, masking and stencilling avoiding any bumps caused by glue which occurred during my last assignment.
The sketchbook used for this assignment is larger and this has impacted on my work, pieces are becoming larger and therefore I feel able to expand the size and flow of the pieces.
Looking back over this work, pieces were collaged together with words and images, based on politics, animal welfare and women. I wanted to take further the idea of women within society and the social pressures behind being this gender. ‘Choice bit of calico’ shows the lower half of a woman and the words chosen enhance the meaning behind the way the image is composed and positioned. Even though the visual outcomes of the work of Li SongSong and Daniel Pitin draw me in with their translucent layers, marks and colours, it is the social concern of gender, identity and sexuality that interests me.
As researched earlier, Barbara Kruger is known for her monochrome photographs layered with text and slogans addressing power, identity and sexuality. In her early years as a artist, Kruger crocheted, sewed and painted bright and erotically suggestive objects, but later shifted her focus towards working with the techniques of advertising and mass communication. Kruger addresses issues of language and signs, all in order to explore universal subjects of gender and identity.
Another contemporary artist whose work is known for its sensuality within female emotions is Tracey Emin. Emin’s work is a great distance from the traditional potraits black and white photographs of women, sitting formally covered from ankle to neck. Seen here within this portrait of Whistler’s mother.
Emin successfully rose to fame in the late 1990s, when she gained a considerable media coverage for her installation ‘My Bed’, this piece consisted of her own unmade bed, littered with used condoms and blood stained underwear. Since then, Emin has been creating drawings and installations with neon text that tell artist’s intimate stories of love, desire and rejection.
From late 19th Century to the early 20th Century, where woman would need to uphold a certain standard within the home as wife and mother as well as show sexuality, one of the artists who painted women in this way and is recognised for this is Elvgren and his portrayal of the perfect all round American woman. An artist who began painting women in this manner before Elvgren was the 19th Century painter Harrison Fisher. Fisher painted ‘American Girl’ who was seen to the be ‘epitome of feminine beauty in America’ and this was his agenda within his art. How did this come about? Harrison attended an art college and it was here some of his work was published within the national magazine ‘Judge’, those early commissions brought him to light with the ‘San Francisco Call’, and he was hired as a staff artist drawing society functions, sporting meets, and illustrating news items.
In todays society there is immense pressure on women within the work place, as a wife, mother and to look perfection as the increase within the surgical world rises and lunchtime botox so readily available.
Taking further my piece from earlier:
Process journey of conveying a message:
Taking on board the influences and inspirations behind the work of Kruger, I wanted to make a piece with image only addressing gender, weaknesses and strength, adopting this way of thinking to my particular issues and struggles with todays woman.
Pitin uses layers and line to enhance his images giving depth and strength to his small haunted buildings and personal stories, even though the idea behind my work affects woman of all different background each of the issues is still personal. Taking this quality from Pitin and using it within my own, the piece will become less of an ‘advert’ style like Kruger and more personal with dark hues and layers.
As the collage developed with each influence taking its part, I photographed, photocopied, worked and re-worked the piece to enable new outcomes. Adding an element of 3d to the collage with use of kitchen utensils and materials, I felt it was appropriate to use these to ‘weigh’ down the small image of the pregnant woman.
Housewife – Mother – Employee – Perfection – Expectation – Success
All words which influenced my work and underpinned my decisions. A contemporary artist who works with this same topic is Louise Orwin, an award winning, live artist, researcher, writer and performer. Orwin’s project ‘Pretty Ugly’ explores the current pressures of our teenage society and their use of YouTube and other social media methods. Orwin looks deeper into why these video blogs are created – is it a craving for a 5 minutes of fame or is it a form of self-validation in a less than real reality?
An interesting watch.
Do my images convey a message? Is this subtle or blatant? Looking over my first college this image appears to have a blatant message which is based around women and the composition gives the impression of weight down on the female figure in the bottom left. As the collages develop, more layers are introduced, areas removed and paint and materials added, the message becomes subtle and abstracted.
This collage could develop further, using clingfilm to wrap images, tighten around them. Images have now disappeared into one single image of the pregnant woman which could then become central to the piece in the form of a Marquette. The work here could be the beginning of a series of pieces. It is interesting to the development of this piece, beginning as a collection of images, like that of an advert, colourful and unchanged like that of Kruger to a mixed media collage with hidden elements like that of Pitin.
Sketchbook work for this exercise:
This exercise asked me to use black and white acrylic and/or poster paints to create black and white paintings using found images. Using colour within my work is important, to me it is expressive and motivational, I find working with only black and white difficult and limiting, especially considering I would normally mix my grey tones using the primaries. However I am willing to give this exercise – and the next my full attention for the appropriate amount of time to gain insight into using only BLACK and WHITE.
Keeping Rauschenberg and Pitin in the for front my mind whilst undertaking the paintings, in line with the influence of Pitin I chose 2 images of buildings which I felt had strong perspective, as this would allow marks to flow more easily. Placing the two images next to each other across the page, this exercise involved a large amount of waiting allowing layers to dry sufficiently to ensure clean paint was kept where needed. I began by working freely across the page with a large bristled brush attached to the long stick, painting with black to break up the harsh composition of the dark crisp images on a empty page. Followed by a range of grey tones moving back and forth quickly layering the first initial marks and the found images. Approaching this exercise freely and expressively, I loved this part of the process as tones and marks get left behind creating interesting unplanned areas. The difficult area of this process was working around the images, this felt restrictive, it is very easy to lose the image or avoid the image. I wanted to pull in the images, sadly looking at the final image the right building has been lost, unfortunately lightening the area did not work it masked further. Pushing the image forward by using contrasting tones could have worked in my favour. Unfortunately the image now appears as a large, dark brushstroke, the image was originally sharp in line and using softer marks and shapes would of allowed this image to be seen more clearly. Using only black and white in conjunction with a black and white found image was interesting, and the tones did not work as expected, realising that the images which had been taken from magazines or printed were very different tonally from the acrylic and poster paint. Thus finding that the tones I used in the painted areas had a definite effect on the tones of the images. They came forward or receded according to the tones! Compositionally I feel this works, and as a result of the expressive marks other images can be formed by the viewer.
Other black and white images completed and their stages of progression:
This piece contained found images from magazines, ripped out and photocopied, initially chosen for their line qualities, contrasting shapes and the sharpness of the black and white together in the central image. Unlike the previous image the tones were kept fairly light so not to drown the images. Using sweeping brushstrokes to start the piece, changing the intimidating white areas and allowing charcoal to mirror the strong lines to create movement, shadow, repetition throughout the piece. For this piece it still seemed bare, I later added a thirst image to the bottom right hand corner, it required interest and slightly more depth without the use of acrylic. The curves within the image again contrasting with the dark central lines, ripping the edges of this third image to soften the cut out and incorporate the techniques used by Hain and Rotella.
A softer image with more translucent qualities.
Going lighter again, using a palette consisting of mid tones, starting too dark has pushed me down this path, whether this is a good thing I am unsure. This found image is a photograph I took of a smashed window, in particular it was the lined board patching up the hole and the texture of the frame that interested me, drawing on this I wanted to extent the lines outside of the edges of the image and feel that any material added to the image moving onto the A3 paper was working outside of the edges of the piece. With an image consisting of such light tones and delicate detail it would be easy to either overwork the image or use dark tones and push it forward, although this could have looked odd and disjointed, therefore I worked in keeping with the tones and shapes merging the image as a natural part of the painting. As a result I feel this painting is more calm, and flows across the entire paper, its lack of depth may support this.
A photograph of a back alley in one of my local towns, stickers on a window reading ‘Toyvegas’ an alternative take on ‘Trow-vegas’ a slang term used for the town, it captured me – as the word and the location of the building were completely inappropriate situated next door to an adult shop. I felt this image needed to be photographed and the strong perspective of the image drew me to use it for this exercise. Throughout this project I have used acrylic, poster paint, charcoal and chalk in different ways to imbue the textures and expressive qualities that I needed, ensuring the image is drawn into the paint and merged as one entire image. Looking back on the work of Wallinger he tends to use the found image/photograph as a recognisable form, layering but not at all merging or softening the edges or qualities. I wanted to draw on this method of working and continue to use the given tools to form a painting from the image but to allow the image to be seen as a singular form and the painting another. Over painting only slightly and using the charcoal and chalk to extend the lines of perspective from the image onto the surrounding materials, allowing the end of the photo copied image to be visible in areas and hardly deface the actual elements. Playing with another way of working, I like the rough, quick feel to this piece, it is not overworked but interesting and moves the eye around the photo and the outside material.
Looking back over my report and pieces for this exercise, I take note of the tutor comments ‘not enough light’, ‘no space for the eye to rest’, ‘all over’, ‘images of similar sizes’ approach.
Still Rauschenberg remains by inspiration for this work, although on second look of this work:
- Can I link the images in anyway?
- Instead of adding and adding, can I take away? Would this give strength to the piece?
- Express without overworking
- Keep a variety of tones and marks, as well as shape and size of image for a more interesting outcome
- Do not become lured into extending the lines of the found images
Before searching for new found images I began to look at my current selection, are there any links in texture? Subject? Shape?
I actually found some interesting images within the next exercise ‘adding line’ which link together in terms of line and shape. I copied these images and re-worked a mix of the 2 pieces.
I remember trying to find links between the found images and this being difficult, maybe its ok that there is no link… they are after all found images!
These chosen pieces I find particularly interesting as there is strong contrast, geometric shape and an interesting use of line. Due to these reasons I concentrated on thinking about using this as the connection; shape and visual textures.
I moved the images around multiple times before committing to this composition.
How can I use black and white found images to create an expressive image with a limited palette?
In terms of inspiration for this piece, Rauschenberg is without doubt the main influence and subconsciously I would be striving to create such expressionism for this exercise.
Covering the paper with gesso prior to painting, allowing the paint to stick to the paper and create more interesting textures.
I was concentrating on working loosely and gesturally, keeping in mind the shapes and my previous finished pieces, aiming for a more success outcome. Looking at texture within shape, how could this be enhanced and mirrored on the paper. Remaining conscious of that ‘all over’ look which could obliterate my found images completely, leaving some areas of the paper bare. I returned to this piece the next day, to add more line and texture through pastel. The interesting textures and layers could not be created purely with paint, this was made harder by the use of black paint, usually I would mix my own and this was so harsh and unforgiving.
Not entirely happy with the finished image, the rectangle composition is uninteresting, after viewing the work of Rauschenberg and Phillips especially. Phillips mixed media collages and the work of Wallinger came to mind.
Copying the painting into 4 separate images, taking time to look at them, I find these more interesting than once single large painting. Cutting these into smaller rectangles I thought of Phillips collages. Trying several compositions, I finally glued the pieces to white paper. Like posters on a community wall, could this be taken further? Phillips adds paint to his collages, Rauschenberg to… white paper was chosen to allow this possibility.
Working over the paper to draw back in texture and layer, the found images used were images from community walls, they were not perfect images, this stages brings me back to the rough and weathered images I originally found.
The lines and shapes guide me round the final piece… stuck in two minds whether to rip into this piece as I love the textured and worn edges of Wallinger and Rauschenberg…
I have found it easier to progress this piece through moving and cutting the images rather than adding medium. I will come back to it later and decide on what to do with this image.
I really enjoyed this exercise, more so than my previous work, keeping in mind building on a piece which is more interesting than creating singular paper pieces which do not amount to a body of ideas. There are a couple of other things that I would like to try out in the future, one is to use white paper as the support and just use black paint, utilising the unpainted paper for white areas, and leave until dry. Using grey tones felt so alien to me, a washed and flat colour I would never normally use. Or black for that matter, I prefer to mix my own and enjoy the colours within the black, but I can live with it for such uses as this.
Could this exercise prove more interesting if I used a limited colour palette, or even one single colour within the found images and the paint? Can colour effect the way I work and function throughout a painting?
The images have become so abstracted where I have reduced and reduced again within the final image there is only really one visible found image, I find I look to this to ask questions to of the rest of the piece. The found image has now become single and therefore the complete image has a completely different scenario, leaving the message or story to be identified by the audience. I prefer the unpredictable results rather than pre-planning as I tend to end up with a too contrived work when thinking too much about what I want. Sketchbook work and walking away from the images has allowed me a fresh eye and also a small amount of planning towards moving forward at each stage.
Pushing forward one piece and re-working this has given me more inspiration for different ideas throughout the work. Reading the explanations of Tom Phillips about some of his pieces proved inspirational.
Later on return to this collage, I ripped the edges and areas of the middle, wanting that worn image and texture …
Sketchbook work for this exercise:
Following my research on the work of Burra, I have been asked to undertake my own collage/line the exercise using black and white found images. I feel the use of line is expressive, interesting and the action of creating line across images and textures expressive and loose.
Working through found images exercises my first stumbling block seems to be finding images, that are black and white and/or interesting. Newspapers print in colour and I am now reproducing images in black and white or printing my own photographs to collate a varied selection. Choosing images is difficult, looking at a flat photograph of an image, does not excite me, especially an image with no colour. I can’t seem to make the decision easily, looking at an image as to whether it will ‘work’, it is hard to understand and I feel I am generally much more aware and responsive to texture, colour, pattern and how things make me feel.
This module has forced an awareness of starting a piece of work from a flat, found images and this seems like an unnatural starting point.
Looking at the work of Edward Burra I tried to work in the same manner within the first 2 pieces using black and white only, I felt I was moving through the motions and uninspired by this process and way of working. The work of John Piper and his use of collage and texture in his work resonates with me more. Using his work as further inspiration for the exercise I continued with line, but using colour and collage.
Studies 1 and 2: Working closely with the way Burra works, black and white. Allowing my pen to ‘take me on a journey’, this tends to work best for me if I work fairly rigorously and expressively. Concentrating on the images I let me hand work around them in the way if felt it wanted to.
Studies 2 and 3: Whilst away from home my materials were limited, I continued to work with line only here, adding colour and texture which I find more comfortable. Using charcoal, chalk and a sponge to apply the acrylic I worked expressively. Allowing my hand to take me on a journey rather than over think the end result. Allowing lines and textures to work together where they wanted to. I feel there are possibilities to take this way of working further and expand on methods and mediums.
Studies 4 and 5: Continuing my week in Cornwall I collected found materials from around the beach, pushing further I wanted to explore these in the same way as the found images but at the same time use what has been learnt. Reacting to the colour and textures using acrylic and brushes to create lines on and around the textured materials. Using textured found materials as an alternative to black and white images created more interesting outcomes and felt more natural.
Making the most of the surroundings I painted on the beach, allowing the wind and sand to affect my work. Using pastel, acrylic and charcoal to explore line and texture, layering and watching the elements take a part in the piece.
Moving forward with the concept of adding line and exploring different ways in which work could be produced, I have learnt so much. It would have been easy to keep producing black and white work with pen and image, however this was not me.
The outcome of this exercise is that you need to push forward to find your own language and this becomes apparent in the way in which the work is created, which excitement and exploration.
Looking over my work for this exercise there are two pieces that I particularly like:
For the worn, textural found object with text (1)
The use of line, layer and texture, after removal of the image (2)
Although I found the research of Burra very interesting, I did not identify any works that were particularly significant to my own ways of working.
What outcome is achieved by using black and white images from my collection and adding drawn lines, filling the whole page?
Selecting these two pieces from my previous work, I wonder how they would work as a combination with line joining them? How could they become more expressive as a pair through line?
Using white supports for this work I moved to a black support.
Both pieces were black on white paper, I decided to reverse the tones by using a black support and white pen as I thought the images would look better.
Cutting around areas of the line image and contrasting this with the rectangle of the found image, I feel this has given the piece more movement already. Can the line add expression to the piece?
I used white pen to draw from image to image and did this continuously without pauses, I wanted it to flow and connect the two. I did this until I felt enough of the page was used without overworking.
When the white pen hit the black paper I found that the line became pearlescent, which was interesting and created a ghostly look. However, no new story evolved throughout this work, although moving onto the black support and using a more geometric style line has made the image easier to connect with and more of a purpose.
Sketchbook work for this exercise:
This exercise has asked me to begin a collection of images of found objects, photograph, sketch and record the collection. My initial thoughts are, what can I collect? This is an exercise with a wide scope and it seemed difficult to focus in on a particular area, especially as I was unsure as to what areas / ideas would be appropriate! After days of re-reading this exercise and throwing thoughts around I decided the best way forward with this task was to choose a subject of which I have a large amount of materials to draw on. It made me reflect on the person I am and how this has moulded my life and choices, bringing me back to the history of the family, forward into how I live my life, priorities and value.
Being an extremely sentimental person I am surrounded by objects and belongings from the past, my partner often says I’m ‘too sentimental’, this is probably brought on by our home becoming cluttered by random, unused and unneeded objects. However to me their is hidden meaning, memories and dreams, and this is the area which has been triggered by the research of Joseph Cornell.
I started upstairs looking through and pulling out sentimental objects, some of which I can’t even remember why myself, but at some point they may have been important, they are part of my history or the history of my late mother in whose death changed the dynamic of the family.
A selection of the object I will use to create a narrative, these small objects have all been taken from my jewellery box, there is no other more appropriate place for them:
Being the sentimental person I am, of course I will not use the actual objects themselves to create work, So I started working from them using pencil and copies of the photographs.
Photographing, drawing and painting the selected objects. Looking at the colours, forms, and how they work together within a translucent envelope.
Selecting a few of the objects, paintings and drawing I placed them together on this single sheet of paper, stained with tea. The old, yellowing of paper and drying of flowers led me to staining the paper to enhance the age of the objects I am studying. I find that the envelope of items is far more interesting than this study or previous studies. This exercise has been challenging and uninspiring, sticking to only drawing, painting and photographing the images has been rather restricting, even though to me this tells a story, provokes memories and emotions, to a viewer… I am unsure how far this could resonate with someone? Thus could be a collection of random objects.
Rauschenberg used other methods to embed image within his work, which I will research, as I feel the current methods used here are not enough to capture me.
I’m really not sure what I was trying to achieve here…
I wanted the selection of objects to be organic, so I allowed the objects to become a piece of the work. However towards the end of this exercise they all still appear to be random objects…
How can I bring this piece together?
What links them and how can I revisit this to create a piece that actually creates a narrative by form rather than just with me?
A sentimental collector to the extreme (so I am told), from old useless pieces of metal, holiday receipts, pots too small to use, fridge magnets, beads, broken jewellery and everything and anything that is passed down within the family, useful or not! Now I may just have a use for some.
While going through my collection of objects, I noticed some objects fell into loose groups with a common theme, so decided to record them grouped together by photographing them and recording the theme. I then thought about each object in terms of its origin and possible way forward, brainstorming words associated with the group which I again recorded in my sketchbook.
Theme: Social Celebrations
Music, guitar picks, no longer used, memories, collection.
Corks, writing on corks to identify occasion and silver implanted… as you do!
Chopsticks, gift, restaurant birthday, never used!
Rose bottle, engagement day, small picnic sized bottle, no use whatsoever apart from keepsake.
Theme: Beautify with hangings
Items that hand around my home with no use other than decoration, more items to clean! All of which gifts, messages, text, sound, materials, miniature items I’m never sure where to hang. Wrapping a rope amongst the gifts, emphasis on hanging parts of the small and delicate items. Cheap ornaments, pocket presents, messages of affection and occasion. Items hang on a bedroom mirror.
Theme: Broken Embellishment
Beads, watch strap, movement, string, gemstones, catches, pompom, rabbit tail.
Old, pearls, fresh, white, shades and colours. bead pots, small and miniature items. Shiny, mirror, smooth, textures, silver and embellishment. All kept within a sewing box and keep for…. a rainy day!
Names of destinations, tickets, travel, Europe, Ireland. The beach, stones and shells taken from each holiday, typical tortoise shell gift from a beach gift shop.
Tattoo business card. Text, leather, stone, shell, paper, glass. Brown paper with rough texture more appropriate to holiday items – beach and woks with paper items.
Theme: Pots to small for most
All small and partially useless pots pulled together in one photograph. It amuses my partner I continue to use tiny pots ‘pointless pots’. Although highly decorative and attractive!
Glass, card, ceramic, wood, metal, plastic, marble, floral, painted, jewellery.
Dressing table components; hair slide holder, broken beads, bracelets, earrings.
Touching, circles, squares, rectangles.
Printing the photographs and placing these within my sketchbook, using background paper on certain pieces create a sketchbook box. Instead of placing the items in a box to photograph.
Thoughts about the overall exercise:
When thinking about how to approach this exercise and maintain a record of my collection, my concerns were to find a method that would be most useful and personal to me. Previously I began to paint and draw from the objects, I feel this diluted the strength and the objects were not strong in meaning or form to begin with.
Keeping the items grouped together in loose ‘themes’ creates more narrative and a stronger image. Having 4 themes to work with I need to select one to take further, how am I going to do this without diluting the interest and objects?
From my analysis and notes for each piece of work, together with my visual preferences I would like to develop this idea further.
Thoughts for further development:
- Inside and outside
- Small pots and boxes
- Visual and private
- Close composition
Emphasizing the personal, private – taking sections of the box?
Photographing parts and pushing these together to create a mosaic of boxes, the work of Tony Cragg springs to mind, fragmenting sections and then pushing them together to create further shape and object?
Add text appropriate to images, my partner describes my box collection as ‘an obsession with buying pots that are too small to use anything for’.
From my brainstorming for each piece of work, together with my visual preferences, I would select the above images as having most potential for identifying further development.
Sketchbook work for this exercise:
After researching the work of Warhol and Gilbert and George, I found it difficult to motivate myself for this exercise, as it is so different from the art that interests me… textural, layered, paints, mixed medias, tactile… The research was interesting and has sparked potential ways of working with this exercise however the art or ‘sculptures’ themselves I didn’t feel drawn to. Alongside this the artists Warhol and Gilbert and George were responding to public figures, tragedies/disasters and other elements of society and presenting this to the public, some more blatant and shocking than others and through the way of working there was a story and aim to their work. Politics, celebrities, disasters aren’t the subjects I wish to embark on, how can I create something relevant to the course and this exercise by expressing my interests within this task? Feeling pressured by the successful work I have researched which does not resonate with me and the course outlining a specific way of working in which I have to fit an idea to that topic. Where as in a recent project created for another course or in my own personal work you tend to flow with ideas, know what you want to say and express and following this select the mediums that will best express and fulfil your ideas, this is the aspect of the course that stops me in my tracks.
I moved forward with the last exercise ‘Using Multiple Images’ and this current exercise have overlapped, pushing forward my ideas for different ways to use image and make image work for me I research the transfer techniques of Rauschenberg and began to follow and use this way of working, I moved onto manipulating images using computer technology and apps. With art being created using ipads, I felt I should open my mind to using image with technology to see how the boundaries could be pushed, and create images and collages that would otherwise take a large amount of cutting, printing and sticking!
Given my slight overlap I will upload images from both exercises as both are within my sketchbook and repeat image.
Below are various examples of multiple and repeated images which have been produced on my computer and phone using different photographic software and apps, unfortunately the ipad was in for repair, a bigger screen may have been helpful to work from. I produced images and played with the effects available to me. This was refreshing, creating images from images so quickly and being able to change one image and repeat this to the point where it was unrecognisable from the original image.
Generally the use of this technology and apps are for editing personal photographs to make them better, enhance and crop, using the same apps to change, repeat, crop, twist and reproduce images in this way was enjoyable and the options and outcomes to this seemed endless. I already feel that by allowing myself to use this way of working it has provided me with more opportunities to be creative with my photographs and images.
Original Photograph of found objects
Section of the image repeated
Found image – movement, shape, repetition, colour
Edit colour to become harmonious, mirroring image exaggerating limbs
Pushing the image further, doubling the mirror effect, almost like a magic eye image!
Taking away line by blurring, water effect
I feel this was a natural way to start the exercise by incorporating elements learnt within the exercises leading up to multi-part image, unsure that these images meet the brief I started again with another project.
Working my way through a previous project written myself, I moved towards using videos as a way of sparking ideas, imagery and I found this worked well. So I moved back to this way of working, as finding static images proved difficult, I had made a short video whilst taking a summer break by the sea. A mussel, still closed and linked to a long strand of seaweed, textures, movement, life and line, I wanted to video this object when moving:
Found objects, moving and changing, not my usual source of inspiration however, this course is about new ways of working as well as new media. The only way to video this object moving was to allow the wind to catch it, and with only two hands the composition is not ideal but I had no choice. During this exercise of multi-part images I feel I can capture the movement of the object through photos, a visual timeline.
Study 1: My starting point – all 6 images of the object moving in different compositions, natural in colour.
Study 2: Adding grain, sharpness, red and black, the object is not recognisable here and the colour of the thumbnail stands out like the eye of a deadline object/living form. Initially the images looked relaxing and calm, however here colour alone has turned this upside down and I feel intense and uneasy viewing this image.
Study 3: Eliminating detail and flatting the layers, a sickly sweet colour palette, again here I feel the object is unrecognisable and the detail of the mussel pops here. Outlined like a cartoon or illustration, more pleasant to view compared to study 2.
Study 9: Double image, adding affect to study 8 and removing colour and detail, this image is interesting, layers and more variation within each photo. Colour reduced to only blue, red and black tones.
Study 10: Removing colour further and adding a sepia tone, again this image is more interesting than the first initial studies, even though there are 6 sections, the images merge and flow outside of the confines of the boxes.
Study 11: A bright and bold effect, limited to only these colours due to the application I was using on the ipad, however I felt the colours were reminiscent of the Marilyn images within my research.
Using the video I snapped photos from this each, different in composition as the seaweed continued to move throughout the short video. I used each photo to create different colours, effects, tones and compositions.
Constantly editing images, I created what I thought was interesting and a range of different images to look back on and take further. My aim was to push the image as far as I could, at points not recognisable as seaweed and shell, allowing the work of Gilbert and George and Warhol influence decisions.
It is important for me to work with images that having meaning or memories for me and therefore working with this image has been interesting.
My aims for multi-part images:
- Bright colours – opaque and translucent
- Eliminate detail/Flatten layers
- Overlap images
- Add black and white
Having a hands on approach to work is my preferred method of working, using an ipad and a printer seems strange and dull. I have quite limited means for reproducing images, just a printer, photocopier and an app on an ipad, my manipulation of images was limited by not having Photoshop.
Double image, interesting tones
I felt there was still more to explore with the seaweed image, diluting the exercise with too many ideas I moved back to my first image. I printed off several of the images and played around with composition in my sketchbook and on separate sheets of paper. Within my work it is movement, colour, layers and texture that resonates with me and this is what I wanted to return to, the seaweed had movement, but how could I make the texture and colour more exciting?
Pushing my idea further I wanted to improve on what was there, without masking the multi images. Eger to get back to another medium I took this image and used the Rauschenberg technique, transferring the image onto my stretched paper.
A good starting point to experiment further with whilst having structure. I think I’m probably moving this exercise in another direction from the original requirements, but moving forward using different ways of working with multi images. This exercise was completed as an experiment, beginning on A3 paper, stretched and layered with gesso for the transferred image. The outcome of this was exciting, all of the slightly muddy colours of the seaweed surrounds presenting as a faded image, appearing slightly scratched which created initial texture.
I wet the paper and began to extend the images with similar colours using ink, allowing the ink to bleed across the paper, adding black and brown ink to the edges of the images to add depth. Given time to dry the ink faded slightly, I preferred the depth, therefore added another layer of ink. Experimenting I didn’t have any idea or plan for this piece. Wanting the image to be used again within this piece I cut up the same image and placed 3 of the strongest images in a random pattern on the paper, just below the transfer.
Again allowing the additional images to settle into the piece, I walked away and came back the following day with a fresh view. Even though it was clear this piece would be abstract, the black/dark seaweed elements faded away and lost their presence, I began to extend and give them purpose with black ink.
Shapes started to emerge with the black lines, creatures and forms. Allowing white to remain gave the piece movement and worked with the waved lines of the seaweed, like reflection from the sea.
As a composition feel it works well and the piece does not feel overworked, it has emerged as something which revealed itself from found images, I have found excitement here, in experimenting, taking the exercise further and enjoying this. I felt I was trying something beyond the brief and possibly could be improved as skills are gained.
The Mussel and Strand piece is colourful and textural, however is it relevant? Coming back to revisit this piece and to give it a sense of purpose.
Contemporary Artist Darren Almond works with a wide variety of media including film. Almond’s photography work in particular is very calming, I find it enjoyable and easy to view, often based on the passage of time. My focus in particular is his use of composition, it is simple and flows even when sectioned. How can I take his simplistic use of composition and use it within my work?
- Use film stills – sparingly (unlike above – this is too many)
- keep the images flowing – do not overcomplicate
Artist and Film Director Julian Schnabel’s method of painting onto already filled canvases is interesting and I’ve not come across such a way of working within the contemporary art world. I would expect painting onto a flat and printed image to appear disjointed and stiff. Schnabel’s work is interesting, it brings yet another story to the printed image and I wonder how did he decide where to start? His love of white contrasts well with many of his film stills. Creating a negative area… or is it positive? It plays with empty and full spaces.
Video of Schnabel:
‘A picture can be the architecture of a painting’…. an interesting concept, using the architecture to create a reaction with paint and creating a whole new concept and artwork.
Using my film stills I want to react to the shapes, colours, composition and use the prints as the ‘architecture’ for paint. It is a different way of working, yet reminds me of found images, however this is my video, image and will be in colour which is important to me.
I worked with the printed stills from my short film, using yellow ochre and sap green to compliment the colours and shapes of the mussel and strand.
Working across each image would over complicate the piece and therefore like Schnabel I worked on the piece as if it were one single image.
Thinking of how to present this piece, I could mount on a small stretched canvas which would allow the image to stand freely, however wouldn’t bending the image be more appropriate to the negative film shape itself?
Subsequently I cut up circular card and painted this black, later adding my image on top and cutting to size. Here is my final Multi-Part Image.
Expanding on this piece has enabled me to understand how much further a piece can be worked without over thinking at the same time, a range of other outcomes can be identified. Keeping the image appropriate to its roots if necessary and becoming a bit more creative with size and format. I would usually be inclined to make this piece bigger, but negatives are small and why should my multi part image be made large through the pressure of filling a page rather than keeping it relevant and appropriate?
Using the techniques of Schnabel, overworking an image and keeping the composition as simple as possible after viewing the work of Almond. I feel the initial film is no longer lost to paint and ink, but paint now compliments the Mussel and Stand images.
Sketchbook work for this exercise:
Photos taken with an aim to creating something semi-abstract where possible; rose petal in an outdoor bowl, shadows on a wall and coloured power thrown into the air. It is a fleeting moment, captured in that split second.
Hunting shadows from around me with interesting shapes, watching the sun, capturing it at its brightest, crisp shadows forming an interesting pattern, just at that particular time of day.
Water, moving, will never repeat the same form, bubbling following the splash of a pebble within a pond, something that David Hockney was mesmerized by.
Pebble dropping into water
Light streaming through a patterned glass
Light mottling onto cork filled jar
Coloured powder being thrown up into the air, a celebration following a charity run; the first photo
a close up photo of the power packet with a hand shaking it up into the air. There is a good mix of vibrancy, movement and temporary image.
Tortoise eating – I suppose I thought of this as a temporary image as it wasn’t a person eating, viewing this as though it would be impossible to communicate to the animal to pose again!
In motion with strong shadow
Shadow on fence panelling
Red leaf in outdoor water bowl
Shadow on wall
Running water through copper pipes at a local art exhibition
Leaves floating within a bucket of stagnant water
Frogs within an outdoor bowl
Following the research of Jim Kramer:
Red food colouring into milk
Blue added with pipette
Black ink added with brush
Dipping paper into the bowl to capture the fragments of colour
I feel I could go on and on with an endless collection of photographs of temporary image, but I have to stop somewhere!
Exercise Added to:
Images and videos taken as part of the Temporary Image exercise.
What is a ‘temporary’ image and what does this mean? I thought straight away that the image would disappear in a short period of time. However the reason that the image could disappear may vary; such as a cloud affecting a reflection, a wet drawing on the ground, wind gradually moving a leaf.
With this type of temporary images it is not only time that is significant but other criteria to, time is only important in catching the image before it disappears. In other instances time is more significant, such as the cloud being in the correct place to affect the reflection when the image is taken.
Looking back over photographs uploaded for this exercise previously I do consider them… boring, photography is not a strong point for me, I see images and find it difficult to capture what I see in a way that does the image justice.
On a daily basis I use my mobile phone to take quick and considered photographs, so I made a conscious decision to continually think about capturing temporary situations where the image was only visible for a brief moment. Trying to capture the moment in a simple understated way which given my photography skills is probably the best way to go!
I found a lot of my images could be grouped together, such as the above, sea and sun. The wind and sun strongly influence these images, heavier winds or less sunshine and the situation would change. People and pet play a part in creating the shadows and central interest within the images.
The above images are less ‘instant’, again sun and environment strongly influence the photographs, but there is no immediate change here. A sense of stillness and calm in comparison to the above. The short video here is exploring the movement of a branch, from a still to a temporary and returning to a still. My step son had no idea I was recording him thinking and touching this tree.
Here I have tried to capture my skin after being in jeans all day, the imprint of clothing on the skin. It was very difficult to take this photograph myself, with help this image could have more potential. A time affected image, snap before the imprint fades!
This group of images were taken quickly, sometimes without knowing how good the outcome would be as the subjects are so temporary due to high movement.
During this exercise I considering the possibilities and/or issues associated with preserving and displaying a ‘temporary image’, I realised that the main way to preserve and subsequently to display a moment was with a photograph. An quick and instant process, Goldsworthy would capture moments that could then me affected by the environment, the video above is a branch being affected by environment, rather than natural, its me step son and the process is instant.
Other forms of art can also record temporary images, such as drawing or painting, but these are not instantaneous and therefore the image could change in the mean time whilst using the other method.
If a light, either natural or artificial is creating the temporary image then it will disappear when the light is turned off or gradually fade. If the light is only used to illuminate an image then the image will still be there. If an image is textured or three dimensional, the image could still be perceived with the light off by using touch, therefore alerting other senses than vision. One of these senses that allows us to observe, recognise and identify a work of art such is hearing, stimulated when you watch the earlier video.
Although with phone technology photography is now a daily part of our lives, we all (including myself) take endless photographs of anything and everything. I take numerous temporary images without actually thinking that they are, I have never really considered what a ‘temporary image’ might mean. It was interesting to consider why a situation appealed to me and why it could quickly change, what were the factors involved.
Secondary to this was thinking about the association of other senses being involved in terms of appreciating art. Again this is not an aspect I have considered, the senses I suppose, are taken for granted, even though they are highly important when creating art and ensuring art is appealing and attractive to other and not just the single tactile elements.
The assignment for the larger work is:
‘Choose any of the four exercises in this project for further development. Create a larger A1 work or two smaller A2 works that incorporate found images using any of the techniques that you’ve explored in this project.’
Starting this project using black, white, grey images and allowing line to take a journey around the found images, using only black to create my line slowly I moved to colour and explored line using other methods. I want to do some more exploration on the studies in my sketchbook on Adding Line with found images. The initial work within this section was particularly challenging, as I have talked about, working around a found image seemed to stop me in my tracks. Pushing though I felt I moved this exercise forward to an interesting level which could be progressed further.
The previous work for this exercise became interesting at this point:
Initially this exercise proved challenging using only black line and black and white images, as I progressed within the exercise I became more interested in different ways of creating line and slight use of colour. Moving into the next exercises the subject of memories, time, aging, and loss led me to exploring subjects more personal to me in ‘Creating a narrative’ and ‘Using multiple images’. So in this final painting I want to see how these two ideas come together, using images that are more meaningful than those previously used for Adding Line.
As I began to become more interested in time and aging, triggered by the loss of a family member I looked at a twentieth century artist who captured the face well, in an expressionist manner rather than idealistic – Oska Kokoschka.
Oska Kokoschka an Austrian German Expressionist, he died in 1980 at the age of 94, yet as an artist Oskar Kokoschka never lost his youthful passion and vitality and this is reflected within his paintings and drawings, full of energy and excitement. Kokoschka influenced many artists within different disciplines through his work of the figure and portraits. Kokoschka was a great exemplar for the ‘Neue Wilde’ artists of the 1980s; a group of expressive painters with bright, intense colours, bold and quick brushstrokes. Within this piece of work I am particularly interested in the way that Kokoschka paints the face in an expressive manner, he shows character, he does not idealise the figure, nor does he soften the face. Kokoschka used agitated lines to describe figures, which he would paint in relatively naturalistic colours. Kokoschka exaggerated certain features and gestures of the sitters to express their psychological states, which gives his work the expressive look, he works with the person as well as their physical being.
When I look at his work I believe he accentuates the character through bold brushstrokes and layers, expressing the light and dark created through line, sagging, wrinkles and features. Aging is an important factor within my work, and I want to feature a portrait of Kokoschka’s as well as other found images which represent time and age.
Feedback from Assignment 2:
‘If I were to make one criticism of your work I would say that there is a degree of repetition in it.’
‘the ‘graphic’ simplicity of some of these exercise might be something you want to develop further.’
Research artists that inspire me and allow them to influence my work.
Taking on board this feedback alongside other comments, I want to include and allow Kokoschka’s portrait work to influence my final piece. Adding in his self-portrait as a found image and incorporating figure into my usual abstract work.
Romana Kokoschka, the Artist’s Mother, 1917
The Painter Carl Moll, 1913
Another artist whose portraits interest me is Chuck Close, his simple compositions and intense faces tell a story.
Researching for ‘Adding Line’ I looked at the work of Burra, Schwitters and Piper, I will use John Piper as an influence because of his line I enjoy in all areas of his work, Schwitters I will use as an influence because of his use of multiple overlapping pieces of paper, cut edges, fragments to which he composes his work.
‘The Star Picture’
Combining these influences and the topic I will base this piece on have motivated me to select images.
Preliminary painting, working with line, found image and texture. Pulling images from magazines I was drawn to choosing textures, constantly keeping age, line, memories, time and loss at the forefront of my mind. Almost abstracting these thoughts into parts of images or shapes rather than a whole complete image which would portray an obvious message/theme.
Working with the tones already in the image I painted and moved line across the top of the images using brushes, sponges and my finger at some points.
The original Adding Line exercise requested black and white, however I tend to work with more determination with colour. Interesting tones and textures happening here and in regards to my final large piece of work using the tones of the images is an element I will continue. Working with the tones of the images has made me think about the images I work with. I have selected various photos and paintings from the internet, magazines and newspapers, which represent the words and meanings I want to portray. I think photocopied the images to ensure all were on standard white paper as working with gloss paper directly has given the paint a texture of its own.
This palette is taken from the tones of the Self Portrait by Oska Kokoschka. I want my palette to work with the images I will use and inform my decisions, improving colour mixing skills and inspire this work.
Within the portrait there are beautiful tones of blues, pinks and greens and I want to reflect that into the final piece. Mixing the tones in certain places and adding black only in the form of ink.
Working through the previous exercises I want to soften the hard edges of the images with paint, without loosing the image, I want the images to remain as strong as the colour.
Found images from newspapers and magazines, copied in colour and greyscale so that all surfaces are mat and work better with the chosen mediums and understanding why images have been chosen:
Initially I ripped from a magazine the image on the left, as the colours faces – to me this worked with ‘memories’ and the watch quite clearly represented time, however a commercial image with blatant message. The right hand image replaced this, a section of a watch, a subtle message, surrounded with cracked dry texture a much better fit for my painting.
As images enlarged the detail and quality of the image decreased, I took the decision to make a smaller painting and keep the detail of the found images, as this would be crucial when adding line.
Using found images has proved challenging throughout this course, not only because I feel it moves the starting point of the piece to somewhere that feels unfamiliar but the size and shape of the images can only be controlled to a certain extent. Therefore initial composition is important and I have done this by responding to the balance, shape, texture of the images and the piece as a whole.
Allowing the images to dictate the palette and keeping the paint as transparent as possible at this stage to ensure the images did not sink or become overworked.
I felt the painting was developing well at this stage as I continued to work with the colours of the images, being careful to allow sections of the found images to show. I began using my finger to apply paint at points as I likes the way the paint would roughly mix on the paper rather than the palette. At this point the painting appeared with slightly too many tones and I felt the painting could result in an overworked, complex piece which would remove interest from the images. I began to simplify tones and soften areas.
Enjoying my search for the images and the portrait by Kokoschka I had completely forgotten to include line at this stage. This painting is at the stage where I feel I want to add line, extending the lines and shapes already provided within the found images through my concept of age, memories and time. The painting currently seemed to portray a different feeling, one of movement, strength, energy and at the same time beauty, depth and dynamic use of colour. I allowed the paint and ink to make its own lines within the piece through spraying the paper with water.
‘The turmoil of time’
Even though this piece tells its own story, in line with the exercise I continued to add line, there is a large colour palette in play and to enhance this without pushing the image to become too complex I used chalk and charcoal to extend the lines and shapes within the found images. Using chalk across the gouache and paper gave a texture fitting to the theme of age and the hands within the left corner.
It is interesting that I am starting to see other images within this final piece.
Close up photographs of final painting:
Firstly I look over the comments made by my tutor in regards to this piece:
‘is a complex work on paper. The work has a very “all over” feel to it.’
‘… little space for the eye to rest.’
‘The bottom middle image of roots/branches adds some visual interest.’
‘is there a theme a subject that you wish to convey in the work?’
‘lack of a strong theme/subject creates an intrinsic weakness in the work as the artwork is effectively a record of a process rather than a work about something.’
‘There is very little compositional sense in the work.’
‘There are no straight lines or blocks of tone, more importantly there are no areas of light within the work. What the work lacks is “design”’
Looking back over the exercise I can see how this piece may be lost in an undefined thought process. There is too much going on in my head and on the paper.
Defining this piece, reducing areas and adding texture that it craves could improve this piece, ‘Arte Povera’ is a movement that could inspire change here!
Previous work for ‘Adding Line’ concentrated on the use of layering, line, colour, texture and mark making, I then re-worked this exercise and pinned focus onto found image and using line to move back and forth from one image to the other. The play on the viewers eye was fun, continuous and interesting, it would be good to move this into the larger work.
My tutor mentions above that there seems to be a lack of concept and theme. The theme for this piece, is Ageism, Loss, Memories through the use of line and texture, how can I push this without loosing it? Did the work of Kokoschka take over this piece and dominant – taking away from my theme itself? Using the whole self portrait itself is too sharp and bold within the piece. Breaking this down to include the portrait as a section rather than in its entirety, the palette, brushstrokes and texture are of more importance to my theme than Kokoschka’s painting.
I’m using John Piper as an influence because of his very free use of collage and line which I so enjoy in his work.
The motivation for images for this piece come from the subject of Ageism this allowed me to select particular collage pieces. Working with found images reminiscent of aging in terms of texture in line.
The ‘all over’ approach and ‘misty’ palette are my largest enemies here, I believe this as layering and use of light is something I particularly enjoy creating in my work and therefore these comments fall hard.
To begin re-working this image, I look again at Kokoschka and his self portrait.
The entire work is made from collage, paint and ink. I want to create texture and line using an appropriate object, rather than only using paper and paint.
The paper petals I used in a previous piece come to mind… the colour faded due to sunlight, the material is fragile and aged with lines and interest.
Taking apart my work will be done via photographing and copying, I would like to keep the original piece in tact to ensure progression is achieved and visible.
Points of interest from my original work are removed and cut into geometric shapes to use within the re-worked piece. Moving them around with the paper petals and similar coloured tissue, I look at rough compositions.
I want to add another element of dimension to this work, my outcomes are generally flat and I need to push the boundaries. Tissue itself is easy to manipulate and I feel it compliments the theme; fragile, contains many lines, the colour mirrors the petals and their skeletal qualities. It enhances the line and brings shape to the work, burlap may also enhance this further – again with its lines, less fragile it would add structure to the piece for the dimensional aspect.
Arte Povera – Keeping in mind Arte Povera ‘Poor Art’ and the unconventional materials used, breaking down that barrier between types of art and artists and their backgrounds.
During my work on this piece I need to bare in mind that the viewers eye needs to rest. Risk taking is positive – STOP PLAYING IT SAFE. The theme of ageing needs to be in the forefront of my mind.
I much prefer to make abrupt decisions within my art, go with it and see it if works or not, I find sketching compositions very mundane, although I will admit, planning always produces a better outcome.
Painterly mark making, lines and space are important in these piece. Materials used fit with Arte Povera, which sums up a lot of my work. I want the theme to be clear and not lost within misty, layers of acrylic.
Piece to be on a substantial board to enable freestanding without bending.
An artist who follows the Arte Povera movement within his work is Pier Paolo Calzolari, he stresses the need for art to be involved in real life with living substances and demonstrating a commitment to constant change and experimentation. This, and making the experience of art more real, brings Calzolari into the world of Arte Povera. Using unconventional materials to make the experience of art more immediately real. Calzolari’s work combines organic materials such as tobacco leaves, rose petals, feathers, moss, ice, and even flames! Mixing these materials with manufactured ones such as metal and neon, to reveal the conflict between the natural and the man-made.
Tobacco leaves, neon, and lead
152.40 x 147.32 cm (60 x 58 in.)
Mixing organic materials with manufactured,
Sketchbook work for this exercise:
The exercise for this piece of work:
‘Using any of your found pieces, create a work (of any scale or form) with a sense of history. The narrative may stem from a very small and personal space, or point to a bigger, more easily recognisable history where signs and objects offer up a common, universal tale.’
My proposal for Creating Narrative:
For this piece I will explore further the subject of my family, in particular the history of my mother using found objects. Previously I used found objects with memories alongside a photograph. The objects were less successful than the photograph and even though I am not sure where this exercise will lead, I will narrow my path to avoid feeling lost and use photographs to explore personal history, change and time.
I have undertaken many exercises which utilise different techniques in working with found images, however my main influence has been Robert Rauschenberg and his transfer technique.
Looking through the many family photo albums I obtained my collection of images, limiting my choices to ensure my pathway did not become confused, discounting and images which were not representative of a significant element to the life of my mother. A large part of her life was as a mother and this is something she prided herself upon, so to capture this as well as her life itself, before a mother, a wife etc. This was my starting point, moving from the youngest photograph I could find to recent images to show change and time.
Before deciding on a composition and materials, as Rauschenberg’s technique is my influence here I will revisit his work.
Rauschenberg keeps the sharp edges of his photographs and images, however he was advanced in this technique and not all of my transfers will work this way. Some overlap in areas and the transparency of the images works well, adding another dimension and layer.
Gathering my photocopies of the images together as well as information from my father as to the order of adventures and moments of importance, I spent some time trying to plan the composition and while this was a good exercise in eliminating some photos which weren’t as strong, it wasn’t until I began to use the transfer technique that the image began to expose itself. The expressive and textural qualities of the transfer technique did not show themselves until I began the image and therefore the composition changed as I continued to work with each image, pushing the composition. Using a laser printer to collect colour and greyscale images as during experimentation with this technique I found images from this printer worked the best.
Naturally I began with the oldest photos around 1960s, my mother was a toddler and my grandparents featured within some of these images, working from the left side of the paper. Retaining the natural colouring of the images and size to instil the age of the photographs – fading and blurred quality. No two photographs react in the same way, no matter how sure you are that the same amount of gesso and water has been applied each time! However this is the excitement of the technique, as well as how the transfers are going to react to each other on paper. As I began I felt the sense of narrative increasing and rubbing the transfers to reveal the image further highlighted that I wasn’t in complete control, this wasn’t something to be wary of, I wanted the texture and image to present itself, how ever this may be.
Moving across to the right of the paper, I entered into the 1970s, travelling and work became a priority to my parents as they explored life in Berchtesgaden, Germany. By this time a few images had been lost and I added another image on top and transferred to bring it back, this worked well. There is a lot of water involved in this process and the paper began to rub and become thin in areas, disintegrating under the transfer. Difficult to clean the paper whilst working as any small rub could move gesso across the page of remove part of an image from the paper.
As I completed the central section with images of my mother as a young woman, learning from her mother, getting married and having a family, naturally the images became larger, contained a wider colour palette and finer detail. The right side became more full and I added a last image to the left of the page to balance composition. I spent a long time just looking at the work, to me the narrative is very personal and clear, to one other this may take some time to determined the story and influence. The message of my work was a life story, memories, glimpses of important occasions and stepping stones, moving from landscapes, buildings to family and people, my mother featured in nearly all images.
Looking at this piece, the composition almost screams photo montage, with faded qualities and texture, a pin board of images, a temporary arrangement of photographs. It looks disorganised with no pattern or structure, just the images themselves working with each other.
I really enjoy this final piece, it is unlike any piece I have produced before, it is raw. Resisting all urge to perfect, tidy and correct, I allowed the images to speak for themselves and the technique to show through and dominate the image. Moving forward with a completed composition I bled some of the colours from the photos, not all photos did this, each photo worked differently, therefore I used washed of colour to bring them together. Similar to my final piece for ‘Adding Line’ using transparent colour to push the image forward, but allowing the space to breathe.
In particular I feel the bottom right corner works well, the images overlapped and integrate well into each other, the different in size of the figures allows the two photographs to be distinguished rather than the space around them, the fade into each other just like a memory. This piece is like viewing the inside of somebodies mind, random images over a long period of time flashing up and being recorded and placed on a pin board.
As I look back at my proposal for this piece I spoke about using photographs rather than objects or photographs of found images, however I did not have the intention to complete the work in this manner. I am excited by the finished image for ‘Creating a narrative’, I feel I have created a narrative, a very personal one, which tells a story. Visually it is interesting, textural with a variety of figure and colour. By allowing the work to create its own composition working within a timeline of moments in history and the technique to take hold of the piece and avoid masking this I feel I have exceeded my expectation of the exercise. Rauschenberg has been a large influence on this piece of work, his work has vibrant colour and crispness to his images, but he may have used different inks to create his work, as my piece is about history, memories and ageing my transfer technique works well. This is a technique I want to use within future work.
Feedback for this exercise was to look at the way at Surrealists used collage, however it has less of that ‘All over’ feel.
Surrealist works of art are very insightful in the way they use collage and mixed media to convey a story. Surrealism triggers a strong instinctive emotional response from the viewer by carefully choosing images. Surrealism can capture a dream which is unexplainable or an emotion you cant put into works.
Surrealists used recognisable images and placed them in a juxtaposed position to create other meanings, known or unknown, a sense of mystery and thought it triggered, it creates almost a madness in the world of the canvas.
Rene Magritte explained the fascination behind the movements success ‘Everything we see hides another thing. We always want to see what is hidden by what we see. There is an interest in that which is hidden and which the visible does not show us. This interest can take the form of a quite intense feeling, a sort of conflict, one might say, between the visible that is hidden and the visible that is present.’
Creating narrative is not about producing a surrealist piece of art work as such, this piece is about exploring the techniques of Rauschenberg to create a narrative. However since re-working the original ‘Creating a narrative’ exercise the outcome has substantially changed.
Outcome of smaller Creating a Narrative exercise:
How can I take this piece of work and make it more successful?
I want to use my Rauschenberg influenced piece at the same time.
- Boxes too small to fit anything in
- Text as this informs the viewer of the reason behind the small scale outcome
- The box containing objects which are not objects as such – paper petals
- The box containing objects which are not objects – memories, family collage
- Family collage images – take on the shapes of petals and spill out of the box
- Giving the impression of a sentimental box which is too small and useless for physical object
As well as the influence of Rauschenberg for his transfer technique which creates interesting textures, Cornell would influence my mind with this piece. His use of boxes, telling a story within a box and use of assemblage with different objects placed with a reasonable amount of breathing space.
Thinking of the surrealism comments from my tutor for this original piece… Could I still be influenced by Surrealism in changing this piece completely?
Hiding sections of the work through layering, in a way that creates hidden areas to give the viewer the ‘We always want to see what is hidden by what we see’?
I began by copying my original piece and cutting up the different sections in a petal shape, keeping the significance of the petals from the earlier piece and the story of the family memories. Bringing in different forms and ways of working other than flatly and obviously.
Taking the information from the previous works for Creating A Narrative and working on a new outcome which has been more interesting and meaningful.
The previous pieces – a flat paper piece containing photographs of family history transferred to paper with Rauschenberg’s method. A pot containing an old faded paper rose and text given to me.
Linked by the idea of memories, hoarding small pots and in general sentimentality for objects and memories. In the past my work has tended to be flat and on board as opposed to an object or outcome of dimensions.
Taking the flat photographic piece, I retained the transfer textures and images by cutting petal shapes.
Petals are fragile, brittle, broken in places, they are old, small and useless, they fill the small pot as not much of any use can. The family images are transferred into petals by shape and stitched into a rose. Placing memories into the pot, the remaining petals are stitched with a machine to give more familiarity to the old, worn petals.
Pulling at the sections to ensure the delicate form of the petal is retained. I feel this imperfection works well with the faded Rauschenberg transfer technique.
Arte Povera in the for front of my mind, guiding me to make decisions on materials; burlap a common material of arte povera, although I used this in my last exercise I enjoy the qualities of it, perfect for wrapping the rose stalk to add strength.
The box itself remains useless and ‘too small to fit anything in’, yes it has a rose – of memories, not a physical object but sentimental images. Snippets of memories, the small scale shapes resonate more with me than seeing the entire rectangle image. I want to see more, I want to guess and imagine the remainder of the image. Like Magritte said ‘We always want to see what is hidden…’. This final piece may not fit the Surrealist criteria but it does work in line with play on size of objects and hidden messages.
Displaying – moving around this piece is key to enable the viewer to look into the rose and around. It could work on a wall, with petals attached with thread, creating movement and light through the broken areas, it could also work on a low table being looked down upon – this would emphasise the scale.
While thinking about evaluation of my final piece, I feel I have successfully portrayed my selected narrative to portray my memories of my family. I have considered the content to reflect the subject in terms of appropriate techniques and materials in a similar way to Cornell’s and Rauschenberg’s approach working.
I have included a variety of materials and carefully thought about their positioning to create a balanced composition that links with the subject. I have included different surfaces for interest and although overall materials are variations of paper. I have included a natural form with bold and modern text, found text with new and old objects. I have kept the palette neutral as this reflects my impression of a memories, partial images and how I see the qualities of delicate and fragile as a colour palette.
I used techniques appropriate to the subject to create some interesting texture, taken this and suggesting a petal shape, giving the original Creating a Narrative another meaning and interesting form. The skeletal areas and imperfections create good movement.
I am happy to have moved outside of the A2 paper comfort zone and that the work meets my intentions.
Sketchbook work for this exercise:
This assignment has been challenging and testing and my two final pieces show the improvement and development of skills in working with found images.
The first large painting focused on working around the found images with line and the qualities of Kokoschka’s self portrait within it. Using my sketchbook I spend more time exploring the found images from newspapers and magazines, with found images, playing with composition is something I find easier when working with the image on the surface I wish to use. Utilising a piece of work from another artist in this way was new to me, to gave a good stepping stone to steady the exploration of the images and to create a large painting. Once the images were laid out in their final composition on the A2 paper the paint, ink and marks flowed. The painting began to take its own form led by the images, adding different qualities of line subtly, allowing it to breath and have a life of its own. The colour palette led by Kokoschka pushed me to work with a different array of colours that work harmoniously together, dictated by the images. Choosing images which had a meaning and purpose made using found images from magazines less daunting and unlike other found image work I did not feel lost. I worked with energy throughout this piece and therefore to me I see energy, depth, interest, line, image and movement. I think this image is successful, pushing my way of working beyond the exercise and experiencing other techniques, colours and I really enjoy this painting.
My second painting focused on the transfer technique of Rauschenberg’s, an artist who has largely influenced my work throughout the later sections of the module. The narrative was very personal; memories, ageing and time. Starting with a clear line of enquiry, choosing family photographs based over a period of time, visually telling a story, this part of the exercise stays within the proposal, however the composition was dominated by the images and the subjects, a timeline in the form of a pinboard. Not concerned with perfecting and feeling pressurised with this collage, I allowed the technique to dominate and shine as much as the subjects themselves. It is a very expressive technique, the faded, worn images give the impression of memories, passing with translucent and solid areas. If I has chosen to cut and stick copies of the images I feel the piece would have appeared static, less interesting and overall not as successful. I feel this piece is effective and portrays the technique and narrative well.
Pieces of work completed within this section of the course, showing the variety of ways I have worked with found images:
Looking back on the course I feel I had a slow start, making uninformed decisions and allowing the course to completely dominate my work. Working through assignment 3 I can visually see progress and feel confident to move outside of the exercises and comfortable way of working. In particular the last two sections have been enjoyable even though they both fall completely out of my comfort zone, my interest in found images has grown. Pushing forward to find how found images can be motivating and inspiring for me. Images felt static, flat, feeling hesitant compared to paint, ink and other mediums. The two final images show that found images can move, be expressive and dynamic, these pieces in particular have given me satisfaction in completing this assignment, embedding the value of the course.
Research I feel has dominated this assignment, however this research was required to inform my decisions for the larger pieces of work. The importance of exploring different ways of working has been instilled during this assignment.
Each exercise has been explored and added to, moving through my previous work and improving on the outcomes.
I feel a wider variety of outcomes has been achieved with a higher level of creativity and exploration. Moving away from my work and returning months later has enabled me a fresh eye, to choose composition, structure and materials more wisely and with reason.
Looking back at previous outcomes (left) in comparison to the new outcomes (right), emphasises how important it is too push further and constantly question throughout a process:
This exercise asked me to produce sketchbook and sample pieces of work based on abstract composition, colour and pattern, using geometric shapes.
The starting point was a to work from previous videos taken of temporary image of the outdoors, this was a good starting point, quickly moving on as it felt stiff working from unclear images. Getting outdoors was the answer to moving forward with this study.
Moving around my local park prior to 7.08am when sun rise is due to catch the shapes, colours, how these changed and how it affected my work and how I saw the shapes, was an interesting, cold and wet experience!
Taking with me, ink, pen and pencil I allowed myself to work quickly capturing shapes and notes of my environment, creating a variety of images, line and mark. Thinking of the shapes themselves rather than the wider landscape surrounding me, I focused on the abstract elements. Reminding myself of the work by Malevich, his inspiration and how he captured environments within such simple form. The Suprematist ideal of reducing the painting to nothing but colour and shape, looking at blocks of colour and branches as geometric shapes, capturing the changes and colours within a much more simplified form.
Too conscientious, following the work of Malevich too closely, stopping my personal journey. Moving on…
Working outdoors, observing further than my garden. Using ink, acrylic and pen to portray the colours and shapes within the trees and landscape.
Sunset affecting the colours, shapes and lines.
Working with line only resonates with my, painting in shapes does not interest me. Concentrating on the line, hollow areas and the overlapping of the line is proving more interesting.
Adding in a wash of ink, allowing acrylic pen and acrylic brush work to bleed into each other in areas, mirroring the flow of the line as I draw.
My starting point was very far away from the last two studies completed, which I have enjoyed more and have a connection with.
The first two studies concentrated purely on shapes and making them solid, looking at semi-circles, triangles and rectangles. As I progressed work tipped more towards line, circle and triangle, later using only line, solid circle and triangle. As I moved towards my way of working the small pieces were dominated by line and hollow triangle shapes.
Observing one tree outside of my window in particular I challenged myself to stay with this particular subject, looking at the negative shapes between the trees, each time the negative shapes would display themselves different and keep my attention. These were mainly triangular and very random, working loosely, unlike my initial pieces for this project, allowing for the freedom I enjoy. Adding a wash of ink towards the end on the last 2 studies, mirroring the changes observed throughout different times of time. I used a variety of media – oil pastel, acrylic inks and pens, charcoal and pens across two books to ensure rigorous working. Working within a small and larger book worked well, even more so when enjoying the latter pieces.
It is clear that Malevich has been an influence within this exercise, however looking back at the work it is somewhat meaningless to me. The outcomes are interesting to a point, however the inspiration is not memorable.
The research I have carried out into Malevich and Stella is interesting and I want this to inspire work without loosing myself as an artist.
Given the previous and the vast majority of my work and outcomes it is clear that the use of geometric shapes and hard lines is not my preference and tend to move towards layers, textural qualities and colour with soft and cloudy edges. How can I ensure that this exercise does not ‘loose me’ but allows me to grow and explore? Using the same paper rose as the previous re-worked exercises for assignment 3, I ignored the three-dimensionality of the object. Having drawn 2 pairs of shapes/objects I thought they needed to be connected in some way so I added some lines which worked, pulling them together and still allowing for the white space to work the image.
I had obviously been influenced by Malevich’s Suprematism work and this image shows little of my own ideas so I decided I would not continue along these lines and pursue another route at this point.
Again working with the rose I worked quickly and in a single colour, playing with shape and speed as such.
Another new starting point was to use papers, adding in slight texture, an element making any project more interesting for me and visually, in my opinion. I can still see the inspiration and influence here, the lines on the card give a little more texture and dimension in terms of pattern.
Again… another starting point; using the discarded paper from previous work I wanted to explore what I could produce by using pre-cut shapes that I found. With no particular direction, it organically formed. I actually like this I feel a wrapping movement happening, the card and paper could wrap further and become weaving. The lower circle instils the wrapping as it curves around the purple. Could I develop this further influenced by only the movement and relationships of the papers with each other?
Another idea for a starting point was to find previous work of mine to influence an abstract study. I based the next study on this sketch I came across that I had made while at the coast. It shows the breakwaters sectioning off the beach, together with the sea and concrete walkway. I thought the geometric shapes looked interesting and offered potential as a development starting point.
Drawings based on the bridge drawing:
None of these appeared to offer any major advantage, simplified shape and composition are the only aspects when working through these drawings,
Moving forward I used textiles to begin looking at further shape, texture and line to give the shapes more meaning.
Using materials appropriate to the subject is important, I searched my stash of materials to find some materials with lines representing the elements of the drawin; water, stone, trees/bushes, uneven pathways. There are no shiny, manufactured, perfect lines. The spots on the green material are representational of the overall shape of the bridge circles and reflection, without cutting circles I could use a different shape of the 3 mini bridges. The paper with embossed waves reflects the ripples on the not so hot and sunny day the drawing was completed, I did not want to represent the river with this paper exactly as I felt I would be translating too closely, I used this material to look at the shapes outlining the bridge and river itself. The embossed papers and straight lines create movement and draw the eye around the piece. Bubble wrap is the textured and curve of the background trees and bushes moving over the bridge. Keeping in mind appropriate colour, unlike the previous work which is bold and clashing colours.
I am quite pleased with this idea, it has given me a further element of looseness, it has made the geometric shapes more interesting compositionally and texturally. I could develop this further by really emphasising building a variety through layers.
Researching Malevich and Russian Suprematism and influences, as well as reading about Frank Stella, I now understand more about his work and the movement.
Overall I think the exercise has been more beneficial than first though, trying different techniques to experience composition, working fast, slow and with simple and limited materials. I have considered the compositions by observing the positioning and colours of the shapes but also realise that the surfaces and textures can be significant. Effects are generated by the relationship of shapes to each other.
As expected it has confirmed to me that I do not like hard edges, moving towards collage and other materials to soften the pencil lines of the geometric shapes. To further develop this idea pieces of work could be completed to explore the contrast of soft and hard edges, as I type I look at the brick fireplace and the line the fluffy rug makes against the hard line of the brick.
Robert Mangold (1937)
Mangold’s work appears quiet, restrained and simple, behind the scenes it is cleverly building to its execution. Saying this, I feel this could be many artists I am writing about! Colour and form are mutually dependent for many other artists; with Mangold his colours are generally muted. It is true that he seems to have given vast consideration to the painted outcome of his work. There seems to be an architectural quality, moving from painting to sculpture. Through the use of line Mangold develops the idea of asymmetry in squares, distorted shapes, circles which cause the image to move and change when viewed in different directions, but very subtly. Similar to a problem solving image it provokes the viewer to move their head and view the shape in different ways, a natural investigation to – which way up?
Mangold’s work seems to be the response of his own ideas rather than to ask for an emotional response of the viewer. His work is closer to conceptual and minimal art than traditional.
In essence Mangold’s work comprises of simple elements arranged and composed of complicated means. Muted colours and free standing constructions against walls in his early work and then during 1970 he began using shaped canvases.
‘Curved Plane/Figure Painting’
October – November 1995
An abstract minimalist painting that again works similarly to Mangold, producing art work on shaped canvas. Hinman influenced by Suprematism, his wall pieces hint at geometric, hard-edged and sculpted shapes, this was a style that was introduced into the design of car bodies during the 1980s. Moving hybrid developments into art and vice versa.
Much like Mangold, Hinman leaves the viewer with interesting concepts to juggle with visually, as the shapes consistently move and contrast with each other. I feel that Hinman takes the idea of wall sculpture one step further, whereas Mangold is more subtle in this area.
There is a rhythm to his work that is almost musical, concerned with movement, light shadow and more complex dimensions, alongside this Hinman uses a bright palette. Hinman and Mangold have similar views, uses of dimension and complex thinking to produce their art, their outcomes are similar and both artists are as equally interesting to me.
‘Night Day Passage’ 2013
‘Raspberry Cluster’ 1983
Richard Tuttle (1941)
An American artist who combines sculpture, painting and poetry. Tuttles shaped canvases and wood reliefs began during the mid 1960s. Tuttle creates a wide range of shaped canvases, un-stretched, dyed and painting with unusual colours.
Tuttle always had an intense interest in textiles and this is apparent in his work with use of material and textures formed from loose areas and choice of material. From research Tuttle seems to be a bit of a controversial artist, he is known for small, subtle and intimate works, I think this is what resonates with me.
“Textiles and their respective processes bring awareness to a structure that becomes more and more invisible as it transfers the physicality of the hands to the spirituality in the head” Richard Tuttle
The White Chapel Gallery says:‘Tuttle makes layers of textiles, reveal and conceal. The over-under structure of the weave created by warp and weft can be compared to language with its vast possibilities for expression.’
‘Monkey’s for a Darkned Room ou Bluebird’ 1983
“Village V, No. II, 9″ 2004 – balsa wood, sawdust, acrylic and graphite on paper
Abstract expressionist painter, an early experimenter of the shaped painting. Clark is known for his powerful brush strokes, large canvases and the use of vibrant colours. Following the year 1951, Clark began working with shaped canvases. The large tools and way in which he physically worked standing over and moving around his canvas, it is not surprising his allowed his brushstrokes to progressively form the physical shape of his canvas. A natural progression, why should he be limited to the shape and size of a single canvas?
Another 20th Century artist who produced shaped paintings where colour and form are mutually dependent is Ellsworth Kelly. However I have to be honest, if Id have looked at Kelly’s work prior to Clark’s this may have seemed to capture me more… but it doesn’t. The texture, colour mixing, layering and all round way in which Clark works is fascinating and Kelly’s work now appears so flat and uninteresting to me. It is mixing the texture and expression that I crave when viewing paintings. I have made notes on my research of Kelly:
- No evidence of artists touch/movement/hand.
- Relationship between the ground and work is interesting.
- Flat pieces – wanting more, no sense of dimension or story?
- Pieces with shadow – give more, sense of representation; the curve of a hillside near his home, the shape of a door. More interest here.
- Challenges difference between painting and sculpture.
- Concerned with the viewer experiencing the art itself and the reaction to this as opposed to a hidden meaning.
Richard Smith, 1931
A painter and printmaker associated mainly with colour field painting.
- Paintings sometimes extending into dimensions and other physical space
- Painterly approach, visible evidence of artists hand through brushstrokes
- Relationship of colour and shape
- Clever and subtle use of line
- Stretched and suspended surface
- Relationship between ground and painting, sometimes linking the two
- Earlier work is more in keeping with Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art
What problems have to be overcome when creating a shaped painting?
During my research of Mangold, Hinman, Tuttle, Clark and Smith, my first consideration in regards to problems with creating shaped paintings, are – how are they constructed? The shaped paintings are between painting and sculpture; paintings on canvases and sculptures are designed and constructed differently.
The materials chosen could mean that some are easier to construct than others, the other question is – why choose to use a shaped construction rather than the traditional rectangle? Working mainly on the flat surface of paper, board or canvas myself it is difficult to understand this decision and choice. Composition is key, underpinning the concept of the piece.
Having researched shaped paintings, I can see how this way of working gives the painting a sculptural identity, it is different and unlike the conventional flat, stretched canvas, as a result it does not blend in with the other paintings on the wall. Dominate in its own right; it tells its own story and entices the viewer to move around it. As well as encouraging others to move around the painting, it moves itself in many ways as there is such a large amount of dimensions (artist dependent).
As well as being able to have the correct support made to begin a shaped painting, there are other practical issues such as ensuring the personalised support fits the design of the piece before working on the shaped canvas. Another would be the transportation of the canvas which would require more thought than a flat piece of work.
What difficulties do shaped paintings impose during their exhibition?
Looking at the way in which shapes paintings present themselves I can image that in a group show, it could be difficult to combine them with the traditional paintings. They have such a large impact and/or scale that similar to a sculpture they would require space around them. Without this space it the shaped paintings could be suffocated and misinterpreted as the environment is cluttered and rushed. The paintings need to be viewed almost in isolation with few distractions. Tuttle, Mangold and Hinman allow white space around their large constructions, in line with the Suprematist way of working. Hinman at times requires less space, as his work can be on a small and more intricate level. My research shows how the work is displayed within galleries, and how they are photographed, which again is just as important.
Lighting is another factor in displaying within a gallery setting, light, shadow and creating further dimensions with this is important. If the shaped canvas is not lit in line with how the piece was designed then it could appear too flat and not have the effect the artist was hoping for.
What is the role of colour and form in these works?
These are the two most important factors in creating this type of art. Perspective and tonal values are not the concern of the artist when working on a shaped canvas or in the Suprematist style. Colour and form create a marriage in this art works. Unity is the key.
This part of the course has asked me to adopt a similar approach to Mangold, and undertake the process of creating drawings, maquettes (small scale models) and construction. Moving a flat object into a physical object.
This was of working is a new experience and I feel at some point during the creative process it will become more clear how complex an area this is, I have no experience in this kind of construction. From my research of other artists it has enabled me to see that the shape of a the final canvas is dictated by the image on it and also by the expanse of wall behind it.
I began by reflecting on the previous exercise, working with trees and exhausting many options of how to create form from a single subject matter, I enjoyed this process and felt that narrowing my subject allowed me to spend more time working on how I wanted to work with in alongside the exercise. Continuing along these lines and baring in mind that my shapes during this assignment require more variation.
I took some time to think about shapes and forms that interest me, being Autumn and having a long process ahead of me I wanted a subject that was easy to access and in my own home. Drawn to organic shapes and forms, changing shapes rather than simple forms of square, line or rectangles. I found inspiration within the many vases of lilies around me, all at different stages of their life, looking at how the petal shapes and formations change, evolve and adapt through aging. An organic form I felt I could enjoy working with.
I began to work on the shapes and lines which were presented by these flowers, moving from detailed, to simple and then line drawings, appropriate shapes began to form.
Photographs of subject, strongly lit from the right:
After working with some ideas in the sketchbook, I started to construct these first in white paper and then in modelling clay, a material used within Exploring Concepts. Making small scale maquettes to convey my ideas and shaped painting composition.
Series 1 became a little too complex, at the same time I did not feel the unity between the different shapes and layers. For series 2 I decided to remove some of the shapes and create other forms still working with the opening and changing of the petals as they age.
Taking the Marquette a stage further and creating one of the less complex compositions using modelling clay.
Moving forward this composition could be more refined and work together more successfully, working with the clay has allowed me to see and work with a more solid shaped painting. In a way, it is easier to work with then cut paper. Photographing the clay whilst lighting at different angles allowed me to see the different qualities shadow and light could add to the shaped painting. The pieces which receive less light, more shadow are particularly interesting, changing the form of the clay more so, I enjoy how the light and dark is captured and pools within the leaves.
This exercise has given me ideas for larger pieces of work.
This exercise has completed its journey through stages and gives enough for experimenting with shaping using paper and clay. I do feel there is another stage, after extending and refreshing my mind with the work of artists Richard Smith and Edward Clark my work is missing important elements.
Colour, line and painterly touch, moving through this next stage I look at how the original petals can be brought back into this piece whilst still maintaining form and the influence of the maquettes I have created with clay.
I would like to take these ideas forward and develop them further.
Making quick sketches of the previous shapes, I thought the shapes would provide an interesting continuation point for this exercise.
Having made small quick sketches, I thought about the best way that I could use this idea to push the flat lines towards a more physical object, shaped painting…
One way would be to cut and fold card to create a bold, simple formed shape. The outline of the shape as a whole would suggest the petals and form of a flower with an abstracted manner. As my objective was to adapt a similar approach to Smith and Clark, I look back through my process so far with drawings and maquettes I know want to complete that three-part creative process with a construction. I thought I would keep this exercise as simple as possible, knowing this would not entirely prove simple!
The form on the far right is in keeping with my preferred shapes of the drawings with a curve forms with straight lines, my dislike for hard edges seems to be diminishing during this exercise.
Exploring this shape further with planning.
Fracturing the picture plane is a fracturing technique which creates a fragmented image and fragmented support at the same time.
The Tate describes a picture plane:
‘In traditional illusionistic painting using perspective, the picture plane can be thought of as the glass of the notional window through which the viewer looks into the representation of reality that lies beyond. In practice the picture plane is the same as the actual physical surface of the painting.
In modern art the picture plane became a major issue. Formalist theory asserts that a painting is a flat object and that in the interests of truth it should not pretend to be other than flat. In other words, there should be no illusion of three dimensions and so all the elements of the painting should be located on the picture plane.’
The folder shows an example of Michele Whiting’s work, an artist featured earlier in the work book.
A contemporary, New York based artist who looks to fragment the plane of many art works in a variety of ways to strengthen her work and create a different physical form.
‘Apeel’ 1983, Acrylic on canvas
‘Color Field’ 1990, Acrylic on paper
Weil continues to use work as the new base support for further work, she has been known to weave like Whiting, however I am drawn to her variety, it adds another element to the work. Free, loose, strong and continued are the words that come to mind when viewing her work.
Lucio Fontano (1899 – 1968)
An Italian artist, Fontano founded the ‘Spatial Concept’ or ‘Slash Paintings’, this movement stated that art should embrace science and technology. Fontano would make marks, cuts, slashes on the surface of his monochrome paintings. Ensuring the canvases were pre-lined with another material, slashing to allow the surface underneath to show through. The lining would usually be a black gauze. Black is in complete contrast to his choice of canvas, the marks would allow for the shimmer of gauze behind the open cuts to create the illusion of depth, shadow and mystery.
Viewing his work you can see how science and technology work together to create a different approach to the canvas, he opens the door to another world and allows the viewer to see the work from different angles in the way he presents the work. Fontana later went on to use this way of working in his sculptures.
Rouan was a French artist, Rouan was not an easy artist to find out about, the internet contained a large amount of information, but the majority written in French.
Rouan’s method would be to take paintings already finished then use these to created the fractured surface and another painting/image in themselves. A clever way of mixing previous work to fit with his fracturing planes method.
Within Assignment 3 on my blog I spent time researching Joseph Cornell, in particular writing an interpretation of Taglioni’s box, a favourite of mine. (See Assignment 3 Mixed Media tag within blog).
- Cornell’s signature boxes have glass fronts
- Cornell’s boxes contain Victorian bric-a-brac, old photos, trinkets and other elements, they are called ‘shadow boxes’
- Influence on post war art was immense, Cornell’s assemblages inspired both Installation art and the box assemblage works of the Fluxus movement:
‘Fluxus was a loosely organized group of artists that spanned the globe, but had an especially strong presence in New York City. George Maciunas is historically considered the primary founder and organizer of the movement, who described Fluxus as, “a fusion of Spike Jones, gags, games, Vaudeville, Cage and Duchamp.” Like the Futurists and Dadaists before them, Fluxus artists did not agree with the authority of museums to determine the value of art, nor did they believe that one must be educated to view and understand a piece of art. Fluxus not only wanted art to be available to the masses, they also wanted everyone to produce art all the time. It is often difficult to define Fluxus, as many Fluxus artists claim that the act of defining the movement is, in fact, too limiting and reductive.’http://www.theartstory.org
Christian Boltanski (1944) an installation artist who used many methods and materials to create his installations, during the 1970s photography became his favourite tool to support his art work. Using old found images, puppets, tins and lights he creates a number of large installations with multiple boxes and images. Boltanski liked for the viewer to created their own personal response to his art work and therefore he tried not to have personal links.
Boltanski has created an interesting series of 7 large scale monochrome photo portraits of young girls. These photographs are lit with 7 lamps and resting on and sit above biscuit tins which appear aged/worn working well with his choice of photographic tone.
His work brings the appearance of a shrine, a wall dedicated to the memories and faces of a family. The mature appearance of the boxes and the spotlights used pushes this thought. The photographs have no text and therefore there is no indication as to who these people are of if in fact they relate to each other. Each person remains anonymous to the viewer and Boltanski takes his images from magazines. The tin boxes have been aged by process, not time itself and the fabric that’s been placed in the tins has no real significance to the installation.
All the elements of the art work have been used to work towards the overall symbolic effect and it has been left to the viewer to bring interpret the piece themselves.
In an interview Boltanski talks to Irene Borger:
‘A good piece of art must be something very open—that’s why it’s so difficult to speak about art. The work of art is something that stimulates memory. You look at it and you remember something else.’
‘You see all the photos of a normal family album. What I wanted to say is that we all have the same kind of family album. In fact, we don’t learn anything about this particular family, we learn about ourselves. When we see the little child on a beach, for example, we already know this photo. We remember our first time on the beach or the photo of our little brother. We learn images very early and thereafter we have plenty of images in our head. When we see reality we always try to match the image that we have with the reality before us. I think we don’t see reality, but we always try to recognize reality.’
Allowing me to understand Boltanski’s inspiration and journey of is art work.
Robert Rauschenberg is an artist whose transfer and collage work I enjoy, within Assignment 3 I touched on his boxes. A large part of Rauschenberg’s box art is using cardboard and detritus from his own studio. Rauschenberg would call these installations ‘Cardboards and related pieces’, leaving the story of the box visible – stickers, tape, writing even marks and stains.
Rauschenberg was famous for his ‘Combines’ during the 1950’s and it was within the 1970’s that he became well known for his ‘Cardboards’. Using materials you have to hand that aren’t the ‘norm’ can be the most inspirational mediums you have to work with, Rauschenberg worked with the left objects of his studio around the same time that Minimalism was taking over the art work – you could almost say Rauschenberg took this on board when working with his ‘untouched’ boxes.
Rauschenberg is quoted as saying ‘A desire built up in me to work in a material of waste and softness. Something yielding with its only message a collection of lines and imprinted like a friendly joke. A silent discussion of their history exposed by their new shapes. Laboured commonly with happiness. Boxes.’
The idea of working with everyday objects and making these the subject of art ‘art objects’ was initially founded by Marcel Duchamp reflected in his piece ‘Fountain’ (a urinal). Rauschenberg explored the idea as to whether there is a distinction between ‘art objects’ and ‘everyday objects’ whereas Duchamp’s ‘objects trouves’ are designed to be anti-art.
Working with limited material and utilising its dimensional qualities mixes sculpture and painting, minimalism and box work.
Boltanski and Rauschenberg’s box works are in contrast to each other, Boltanski uses a selection of carefully founded objects, electricity and processes to change the form and look of metals and tins, whereas Rauschenberg uses natural and legitimate cardboard. The history and uses of the cardboard are strongly evident and he uses this to tell parts of his message. Boltanski wants the viewer to create their own link to the art by almost ensuring there is no previous story behind the images and materials chosen.
Looking further into the Fluxus movement I found this interesting poster for an exhibition of Keith Buchholz, his work mainly dated 2008/09.
Buchholz is currently one of the Fluxus artists and works strongly within this area of work. Buchholz is part of a permanent collection at the Flux Museum in Colorado and continues to input large amounts of work here.
Definitions taken from the Flux Museum Website:
Fluxus – proto-fluxnexus artists, their networks and their various works that grew out of dadaistic, duchampian and merz tendancies.
Flux – a word whose definition remains in a state of Flux other than the general meaning of “to flow or flowing”. Often used as a prefix to fluxify the root word.
Fluxnexus – a self generating, self validating, loose association of artists, non artists and anti artists who work independently and together in the study, production and lifestyle of a Fluxist.
I keep moving back to Fluxus Movement as it is different and it is so hard to define as the artists involved within that movement want to be so independent of ‘definition’, an interesting concept.
Mohamed Larbi Rahhali.
A morrocan contemporary artist who works on a small scale, creating drawings, collages and mixed media work within Match Stick Boxes. Rahhali created a series called ‘Omri’ (My Life).
The work of Rahhali I find less interesting, maybe its looking over the versatility of all the materials and forms of boxes used within the work of Cornell, Rauschenberg and Boltanski. The work appears flat and unfinished, moving onto other artists…
Rosalie Gascoigne (1917 – 1999) a New Zealand-Australian artist. Gascoigne first began working with natural products by flower arranging, slowly she would become restless of different ideas and creative ways of making. She became to collect scraps and materials found on her walks and hunts within the landscape of Australia. This is where her box work came into play.
Gascoigne’s assemblages are collections of everyday objects and life. A bachelor of literature she enjoyed poetry and would describe her art works by quoting Wordsworth ’emotion recollected in tranquillity’.
Gascoigne only created art for 25 years, she would say that she cannot paint and nor was she interesting in learning to paint, her fortes was arranging… ‘…But I can arrange. I want to make art without telling a story: it must be allusive, lyrical.’
Her work is that single piece she has created, she loved the battered and broken and assembled these objects together from memories. Gascoigne is true to the surroundings she loves and she creates art assemblages from objects inspirational and natural to her, her work is responsive and dedicated without trying to be clever or tell a story.
This research has proved difficult at times, especially to find contemporary artists using boxes. Saying that boxes is a fascinating research topic and completely different to anything I have researched, even after extensive research into Rauschenberg. Which shows continued learning in unknown areas of known artists. Using boxes seems to be more sculpture and assemblage rather than painting, and working with boxes again is new to me. I am unsure how my work will fit within the subject of boxes, especially due to the variety of ways of working experienced within Assignment 4 so far.
Chris Dorosz is best known for his intricate figurative sculptures made up of dot-like paint drops. Dorosz interest lies in deconstructing and reassembling images in a way that challenges our visual assumptions. Painting on ascending materials allows the visualisation come into play to make an image which is essentially colours and paint building a larger image. His images, mainly figures, seem to materialize while floating in space with a focus on planes, colour and space.
Dorosz’s drops of paint are very carefully placed, merging in the same way as historical pointillism and the groups of figures represent todays version of Seurat’s modern life leisure groups. Captured and made relevant to our modern life. In both the Stasi series and the monofilament installations, the images come and go as the viewer moves.
I personally view this work as a sculpture within a box formation, I can only imagine how mesmerizing this work is when viewed within a gallery. The title of the piece tells me what the subject is but my eyes are not isolated to this image only, I see other figures, movement and ideas the longer I look at this piece below (‘Vampyre’).
For this exercise I have been asked to make a pictorial box like object. Prior to this exercise I have worked within the course to use found objects and found images, which until I found a preferred method of how to make them work for me, paused my creativity. I feel using again ‘found objects’ could lose my interest here.
Looking back over my work during the previous month spent on assignment 4, I recap on which exercises have been the most interesting and those that have captured me. I have focused on fracturing images, line and abstract. There has been such a variety of different exercises it is hard to pull on just one and push this forward into a pictorial box.
Drawing on other inspiration: my creativity room, a small room within my home, crammed with objects, bits and bobs, hoarded items that I will keep due to liking one single aspect of them. This room is my motivation and excitement to make, whether its painting, sewing or crafting. Within this room is numerous tangled threads, it is impossible to step in and out of the room with dragging a thread real
I put my ideas and thoughts to paper within my sketchbook in the form of a word storm.
Gascoigne and Cornell have been the most inspirational artists, whose work resonates with me, their way of working and the outcomes. Arrangement is important to Gascoigne ‘…But I can arrange. I want to make art without telling a story: it must be allusive, lyrical.’
She works from her surroundings which is exactly what I will be doing.
Cornell works his chosen objects well together purely to create mystery and fantasy.
Following my focus on line and using colour and drawing to convey the chaos and disorganisation, I decided to use actual sewing thread to draw with, capturing the movement and shapes within the room and put this into my boxes.
I used coloured thread, familiar thread that is always lying in the corners, using my hands to manipulate the thread, roll it and knot it, as separate colours and mixed together.
The actual boxes are simple, card boxes painted with gesso to give it a more solid and white form. Simple boxes as I do not have the tools or materials to make them, but this piece is able found objects and the pre-folded boxes fit with this way of working. Starting with a very small, non-complex composition and two colour threads I worked within the box positioning the thread displaying knots, straight lines and loose elements. Taping sections of the thread with masking tape to hold in place.
The second box is larger and more complex, rolling the threads between my fingers to mix up the colours before placing within the box, I wanted to create a slightly more complex composition and play with movement and line. Being able to move around the box, changing the composition was interesting, yet left so many options.
Still wanting to continue with portraying my environment within another box as I felt there was much more to use and more complex images to create. I went on to complete another box, but this time the focus was on a less abstract method, choosing objects and images from my room/environment and using the random collection to create another piece. Moving along the lines of less silence with white and more chaos and representing the feel of the environment. This piece tried to express more visually the use and feel of the room with clutter and disorganisation. Following Gascoigne as an inspiration for this box, her work is made from objects found within certain environments, the environments are not mixed within the boxes and there is a certain amount of organisation.
Taking the desired objects from the room, I primed the box with gesso and began to play with composition, giving random objects of choice a certain organisation, this took manual construction rather than drawing composition as this exercise is almost a sculptural one.
It took a few days moving the object around, changing them and changing the design before reaching the final pictorial box.
Photographing the progress of the ‘room’:
As the box developed I found myself wanting the background of the box to become more representative of a the room on a smaller scale, therefore I refer to this box as a ‘room’.
The room contained elements that gave it dimension, the room itself remained fairly tidy and well kept, this is the purpose of the room. Reality is different and it has become a ‘junk’ room, I chose to portray this part of the room in another way. Wrapping the box with string, allowing tangling of the thread and adding single buttons to the web of thread I continued to layer across the top of the box. Creating a mess which prevents the viewer getting to the ‘room’ as easily, this makes the box become more interactive and representational of the ‘room’, at the same time the viewer is able to interpret and create their own story.
Adding the small silver frame to the figure image completely changes the purpose of the image, I now see this as a photo framed on a wall of a couple. Myself and many others can relate to this part of the room, we all have photographs which are important to ourselves and our partners hanging on the wall, this could be a wedding photo, casual image, significant moment captured. This particular element evokes feelings and memories for viewers linking them and connecting them to the room.
The room contains a mix of objects, some of which may resonate with viewers and others not, looking at the room I feel the outcome is quite feminine and this reflects the purpose of the room/junk room. Female viewers may relate on a deeper level than male.
Having completed 3 different pictorial boxes, I move on to create another. Wanting to take further the idea of thread and buttons into a contrasting box.
Using a small transparent box I used coloured threads and beads, taping the ends to the sides of the box using cello tape, purely for its transparency. Creating a web of thread, visible from all angles with and without the lid of the box. Removing the white background representational of the calm, this is now replaced with whatever surface the box sits upon.
I photographed the box within the room on alternative surfaces, including holding the box up to the window, capturing the view from the room:
The qualities of the box allowed me to change the images of the box due to surfaces and amount of light entering the box and creating reflections. Reflections made the box difficult to photograph.
The small abstract box is a non-complex piece and could resonate with a viewer in many ways as there are no distinct personal links. When the box is photographed and moved around in front and on top of other surfaces this is when the box becomes more textural/visually interesting to a viewer.
These boxes being a series on the room, I feel this work could be developed further. This exercise has allowed me to respond to using painting, sculpture and textiles within a box form. An unfamiliar way of working and I am pleased with my personal response.
It seems unlikely that anyone looking at the boxes would have any idea what they were about unless I gave them a meaningful title. But the idea that the viewer would have their own personal response to the pieces seems to me to be far more interesting and would be more meaningful.
This outcome require more attention to meaningful/substantial materials, the box used could be more interesting or made as part of the work.
Using the photos of my previous box work, I cut them up, stuck them into my sketchbook and drew lines to pull them together in the same way that I used the thread. I felt uninspired. I decided to change direction, as an alternative to looking at one particular room, I would use the box for multiple rooms, looking at a home instead.
Photographs taking from around the house. How is my home relevant to the box? I spent a while thinking about the similarities between a home and a box:
- The rectangular form
- Personal space
- Chosen objects/possessions
- Providing protection
Looking at the photographs, a home is created by the objects and possessions within it, this mirrors the person that lives in the house. A home is a series of rooms with (most of the time) a set of stairs. Represented by the walls and top of the box.
Thinking of the box representing a home, this could be multiple boxes displaying photos of each room, inspired by the moving boxes of Farrelly, however I decided this was a little too ambitious and with timescale the box could represent the entire home, using a side for chosen rooms as there would not be enough sides to represent every single room.
Taken with the idea of constructing a box to represent a building, such as Han Feng’s imaginary, Floating City and more specifically Rachel Whiteread’s Embankment, as opposed to using a ready constructed box which I used within my original work. Feng’s and Whiteread’s work is delicate and continuous. With my box I cannot create on the same scale in terms of multiple boxes and mass! But I can create a box with more delicate form.
I considered constructing a box from material and creating a skeletal structure for the material to rest on, I looked at delicate materials, however I have in the past used a large amount of tissue paper to create work and didn’t want to fall into this same area of work. Cotton canvas seemed like a good idea – a material I work with regularly, unprimed and therefore able to manipulate and have a certain extend of delicate values about it. After thinking about how to use this without resorting to wood and stretchers I remembered a product called Paverpol, an art material I have used to weatherproof and harden art work/sculptures in the past. This medium would be able to harden the cottom canvas.
Taking some time to figure out the possibilities and realised this could provide me with a great way to construct a box, without the requirement of wood, props or sticks!
Laying the fabric over a cardboard box I began to spread on the paverpol, leaving to harden over the next day. I wanted to be able to remove the cardboard box after it had been used to mould the fabric into shape as the box was irrelevant to the work.
After 24 hours I removed the box as planned, slight sticking to the box at the top however the paverpol mainly rested here but after a heavier hand this could be removed. The box was hard, a structure without need for the card box! There are plenty of wrinkles, creases and imperfections however I feel this adds to the character of the box.
I then began to think about how I would manipulate and attach the images to the box, I wanted to preserve the imperfections of the box and therefore allow the images to be moved by the creases.
In colour I felt the images would be to obvious, as much as colour draws me to art I felt that the previous boxes could almost be too much and this box could be improved by removing colour and working in black and white only. This would also intrigue a little more as the black and white would remove some finer detail from the images. I printed my images and began to look at ways to make them more interesting.
Working with fracturing, weaving and shaped paintings recently I allowed this knowledge to inform my working. Cutting, weaving and drawing the images together through acknowledging the perspective within them. How can I attach these images to the box?
I felt thread was no longer relevant to my new box and did not want to use it for structure or to create ‘chaos’ therefore I tried gluing and Rauschenbergs transfer method. Transferring was not successful and my box was not strong enough to add pressure to the sides to create a better transfer. I decided to go with gluing (PVA).
My findings on some of the fabric that the box was constructed from:
Having decided to use images of ordinary objects in the rooms, I took several photographs, exploring viewpoints; objects; and perspectives, and decided to use an image of a whole wall and a whole staircase on two sides as these photos had the strongest perspective and light and dark, creating interesting images.
The sides represented the rooms, but how would a ceiling look interesting? walking around the house looking at all the ceiling fixtures, this would need to be more dynamic!I thought I could use a photo of a lampshade and weave this in with the photograph of the same room. This would be our nursery, the main room of our house at the moment, an important room with many features.
Spending a long time, printing, re-printing, changing the side, angles of the photographs I began to stick them together in different forms for my box/home.
Video of finished piece:https://vimeo.com/222516497
Overall size 24x26x12 cm.
Ideally should be displayed on a white structure, allowing free movement around the home.
I am pleased with the outcome of this exercise. This box is representational of a home, not just the house, using images of the interior of a house makes it personal and brings the private to the exterior of the box structure. At the same time the images are then de-personalised by the use of black and white. influenced by Boltanski’s work. Allowing viewers to relate further than if the images remained in colour.
My previous work was looking into a very personal box, designed as a single ‘room’, uninspired by the actual box, this new ‘home’ is formed by a box created specifically to work with the concept of the exercise. In terms of the specific point in the course book, various objects evoked particular memories or feelings for me that could become part of the meaning for a viewer:-
The ceiling (top of home) and the high chair within the dining room would indicate a new edition and give information about life changes. Purposefully allowed the photographs to show rooms as they naturally are, allowing objects to indicate a number of different things, this may change in the eyes of the viewer – dependant on the viewer. For example; numerous chairs and seats could suggest an large/close family. The contents of home room could suggest a creative environment, a lots of projects on show and a collage wall of wallpaper.
I feel this exercise takes another step forward from my previous outcome, following further research, a fresh eye and changing direction to a certain extend. I have looked at works by Whiteread and Feng, allowing them to influence my ideas but continue to focus on my own ideas, preferred materials, interpreting what I have learnt to engage within my ideas of using a box.
Throughout this project I have lessened the materials used, but feel they are more dynamic and appropriate to the work. Stretching into the world of Paverpol which has not been used within my coursework to date. Using digital to create physical work and allowing the imperfections to bring further character to the work.
With previous work I feel this has influenced this piece, working with shaped paintings and weaving has been within the back of my mind throughout this exercise. Using perspectival viewpoints is a new area of looking for me within this project. During the past exercises within assignment 3 and 4 I continue to enjoy using the digital and physical manipulation, especially to produced repeated images and the use of recording to show completed work.
‘Use any (or a combination) of the media and methods used by the artists discussed above to create an ambitious ‘fractured’ image. Document and reflect on what you’ve achieved’.
For this piece I will explore further the process of weaving, taking this to the next stage by using canvas in replacement of card. I will continue the theme of the tree from my fractured image work. Francois Rouan’s method of using finished paintings to create the fractured image will influence my work.
My first large painting captured energy, line and confusion using mark making, I enjoyed the use of line and crisp contrast of colour. With this second piece I want to continue with a use of line in a representational manor capturing my response the tree in two different ways – the morning and evening. Using a mixture of appropriate mediums, exploring more than pen and acrylic.
Photographs of the tree:
Preliminary studies working with line, mediums, marks and colour palettes. Capturing the tree previously within another exercise was an immediate response onto paper and the mark making was captured quickly, I want to ensure the same response here. Therefore planning to a certain extent but ensuring lines are able to flow.
Washes of paint, pastel and charcoal will give an immediate response on canvas.
I began by working on the morning tree, looking at the colour, line, form of the tree and responding to it in a manor which felt shape was used representationally. Using a limited colour palette to ensure that the final weaved painting did not become too complex. Responding to the canvas, the tree and the surroundings I gathered the information quickly.
The second painting I used the same working technique, working outside just before dark, capturing the movements and different elements of lights which were more due to the time of day. Ensuring continuity between this painting and the first with composition and palette. The final paintings were fairly large, allowing me to be expressive in my approach to the piece, sweeping paint and pastel and allowing the ink to run and capture the entire tree and shapes and light as they occurred. My concern with these pieces was colour, movement, shape and atmosphere, rather then creating a final finished painting, as this is the achievement of the weave. Throughout this process there were stages at which I felt I lacked variation in the marks, it was at this stage I layered the pastel onto the paint and ensured that a variety in ink marks were placed onto the canvas.
These paintings were fairly large in order to create a large weave. Looking at the two paintings I enjoyed their colours, differences and similarities. The process was enjoyable and I felt the tree was captured successfully using organic lines.
Cutting up both paintings into strips ready to be woven, I looked at the work of Rouan, enjoying how he has achieved areas of the weave that are similar in tone allowing continuity and creating a different image within an image. For me to achieve this (on a smaller scale) I needed to ensure that areas of colour met where possible within my weave.
I started by picking out colours of the weave that I felt were the most dominate – Blue and Orange, I used these areas to link up colour and this hopefully achieve a cohesion. I wanted other parts of the image to remain distorted and a mix of mark and colour with small areas of cohesion, as this would still represent the changing environment and movement from the outdoors.
Cutting the canvas was slightly more difficult than the paper, weaving the orange areas first, this part of the process took a large amount of time. Trying to keep cohesion with colours and the dominant area of black ink, but still allowing the rest of the painting to move and become a scatter of marks. The strips were cut at an inch measurement which I felt were an appropriate size, the paint had fixed the pastel itself and therefore cutting and manipulating the strips was not an issue.
Through weaving, colours and images were starting to emerge, I allowed this to happen as this was part of the process and learning with this technique. It was a slow process with moving and repositioning strips of canvas.
These two pieces, I feel have captured the changing environment of the tree outside of my home. I am becoming more aware of how to capture objects and sounds using a mark making technique expressively. The finished painting appears three dimensional, the areas of colour help to move the eye around the piece, I feel it is complex in areas and more relaxed in others. I cant help but think about Picasso’s cubism when looking at the painting, the muted brown/orange areas reminiscent of Picasso’s palette within his work dated 1909-1912. An interesting and new experience, taking the work of tree forward from the abstract painting through to a fractured image.
Fractured Painting – Re-worked
The final piece lacks the overall tree element and once the image was fractured I felt this dispersed too widely. Re-visiting my work for this course I decided to re-work this piece prior to formal assessment.
Using the initial concept, tree and environment I returned to work outdoors in the same spot.
This piece is about the process of weaving and using cotton canvas to do so, but equally the tree and the contrasts of the two different environments and times need to be reflected within the final piece. Previously this may have been lost within the final image as the tree cannot be seen or recognised at all.
Capturing the morning and evening, working quickly using a limited colour palette and expressive movements.
Using ink and acrylic to represent the tree in an abstract method of line and mark making.
Cutting the morning tree vertically and the evening tree horizontally I was able to weave the two paintings together whilst keeping the tree image in tact and this is visible within the final painting. I feel this outcome is more successful than the first painting, the weaving process works in conjunction with the tree as it delicately moves and fades upwards throughout the painting. This piece will be submitted in replacement of the first weaved painting for formal assessment.
Following tutor advice this large painting will not be submitted for final assessment. As an alternative I wanted to take the weaved canvas and place it within my Word Painting work.
The main elements to this piece:
- Weaving technique
- Light and dark
- Surroundings affecting the object
- Fracturing using a weave
How can I bring this piece into my ‘maybe’ work?
Word painting has already led me to a number of different outcomes using paint and tissue paper, flat work, using tissue within its sculptural elements, weaving tissue and elevating this from the flat surface. Here I already have the weave but did not want to ignore the purpose of this piece which was the tree and the surrounds.
Sat looking at my fractured image.
The tree shadow is stretching across the canvas and giving me visible light and dark areas created by the branches.
With an experimental head on I used pastels to write across the canvas, using light tones in the bright areas and dark in the shadows. Allowing the tree to dictate how the words move and create line, pattern and colour on the canvas.
A video showing the process and speed to which the light and dark was captured and fractured with words across the weave:
Working quickly to capture the shadows as the sun is moving. Breaking the words in places, overlapping so to fracture and layer the text. Working rigorously, making quick decisions I wanted to relay the movement of the tree, light and dark within the text.
Choosing colours for the text was easy, I didn’t want the original fractured image to be overworked. Allowing the weave and fracturing to show through the text. Working slow can in ways halt my creativity and overthink plans for exercises.
As I work my way through this piece and explore other work over a period of time whether intentional research or just visiting small galleries and exhibitions, it takes my art further. By bringing a facelift to previous work this has become satisfying and more steps have been taken creatively.
I am happy with this piece, it is the result of a fractured, weaved painting on canvas, following the light and dark of a tree and how changes occur during the day. I have now worked with the light and dark in a different way, using it as a stencil as it moves. Incorporating my ‘word painting’ by using ‘Maybe’. Again bringing uncertainty through that word can only emphasise the movement in the tree and its casting shadow. Working rigorously with the word ‘maybe’ and pastel to lay this upon the canvas, showing light and dark to be captured quickly. Bringing the work back to the original inspiration of the change and movement throughout the day within one single spot.
Choosing lighter pastel for the light and darker tones for the shadow has created a colourful text layering on the canvas – another dimension to a flat painting.
A combine painting is a piece of work that includes both a painted canvas and objects, creating a mixture of painting and sculpture. A combine can include a variety of clothing, photographic images, newspaper clippings and other three dimensional objects.
Marcel Duchamp was probably the first artist to introduce the found object with his piece ‘Fountain’ which displayed a urinal signed ‘R Mutt 1917’, not surprisingly rejected from exhibitions. Duchamp moved on to create further pieces with found objects within ‘The Large Glass’ within his kinetic series of work which was a combination of semi-sculptural objects on or within a flat surface, therefore combining sculpture and the visual image.
However the term ‘combine’ is very much associated with the artist Robert Rauschenberg who used this term to describe his own work. Throughout this course I have looked and discussed the work of Rauschenberg and his transfer technique used mainly in his collages, enjoying his work I will firstly look at the work of Rauschenberg now as a Combine artist.
Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008)
‘It is neither Art for Art, nor Art against Art. I am for Art, but for Art that has nothing to do with Art. Art has everything to do with life but it has nothing to do with Art.’ – Interview with Andre Parinaud, in the catalogue of the exhibition, Paris New York Paris, Pompidou Centre 1977.
Rauschenberg’s developed an individual style through his ‘Combines’ which play on the relationships between art (as we expect to see it traditionally) and the every day world (how we recognise it). Rauschenberg believed that neither art nor life can be made, this thought building the structure for his artworks that move between both of these realms. Rauschenberg had always played with the idea of – what is a work of art? and what is the role of an artist? This explains Rauschenberg’s historic use of varied techniques and materials throughout his artist carer and his adoption of the traditional media and found objects within his ‘Combines’.
Combining the two aspects give the viewer multiple planes as opposed to the traditional plane of a singular canvas hung on a wall. Rauschenberg opened up the artistic space into the gallery and off of the wall, as a consequence art became more accessible. ‘Off the wall’ became a phrase that was used within our language, as it is meant – quirky, alternative or unusual. Alongside the quirky outcomes of his ‘combines’ came the viewers interpretation of the work, Rauschenberg wanted the viewer to consider the work independent of the influence of the artist. To ensure his placement of the objects did not influence the viewer he would leave an element of chance when determining the placement and combinations within the art work. There were no hidden meanings behind the chosen images or objects.
Following the collages of Braque, Picasso and other artists associated with the Dada collage assemblages and taking influence from the Abstract Expressionists, Rauschenberg began to create his ‘combines’. Abstract Expressionists pushed artists to call for the ‘real in art’, Rauschenberg’s art brought the very real into art in literal way which demanded attention and secures a connection with the viewer.
An influence of Rauschenberg’s came from earlier artist Sari Dienes.
Sari Dienes (1898 – 1992)
Dienes was a Hungarian / American artist who had a long and successful career which utilised a wide range of media; paintings, drawings, sculptures, prints, ceramics, textiles as well at set and costume design, sound-art installations and mixed-media. Dienes work moved from Abstract Expressionism towards the combinations of environment, rubbings and exploration of outdoor textures.
During 1947, Dienes made a trip to the United States which altered her pathway, leading her onto new ways of working within her career. Prior to this visit she had solely concentrated on two-dimensional paintings, her experience of the American landscape alongside her personal interest in Zen Buddhism, caused her to reflect on art itself and how she interpreted her new surroundings. Dienes spoke about life changing experience ‘experiencing the natural formations as pieces of sculpture changed my whole attitude to life, to art.’ clear and honest words, and with this she began to explore the use of objects in her work using the method of assemblage.
Dienes’s work has been described as ‘…a touch of yeast in the cauldron of the avant-garde movement in America’, an exhibition of her work was on display at the Garner Arts Center during 2011.
Her work, ‘one way 2’ included wood, aluminium cans, a sign, discreet painted wording ‘holiness’ and ‘love’. These words link closely with a sense of self, deep and meaningful and again like Dienes herself – clear and honest.
“My life is an art. I have given it a form that I may understand what is happening in the world.”– Sari Dienes.
LeWitt is an example of an artist who uses sculpture and image as a combine in his variations of incomplete Open Cubes, where these objects are expressed as small and simple sculptures which he photographed and drew onto walls.
When asked ‘What is the relationship between your wall drawings and your sculptures’ in an interview with Phyllis Rosenzweig, Sol LeWitt responded ‘I work with a woodworker and architects in Italy, to make complex structures of wood whilst the drawings and gouaches I do are of cube-like forms’.
Sol LeWitt took a more conceptual approach whereas Rauschenberg moved away from these within his Combines work.
In comparison to Rauschenberg the work of artist Martial Raysse appears less complex in terms of composition, the object element sitting directly on the face of the painting as an attachment rather than as a separate object within the vicinity of the painting.
Martial Raysse (1936)
A French artist which during the 1960s started expanding the canvas into three dimensional forms, he created assemblages that presented the world of glamour and consumerism. Unlike Rauschenberg, Raysee created his combines with a clear path as to how he wanted to portray his work and how he wanted the viewer to react to it. The outcome was a clear story or image. Using various every day objects such as powder puffs, peacock feathers, hats, high heels, scarves and artificial grapes. Raysse combined image icons from both art history and the present world, mainly female icons, with neon tubes and desirable objects such as jewellery, shoes and hats. Viewing the work of Raysse, in my opinion there is a large emphasis on image, reflection and high society.
‘I’ve always thought that the purpose of art is to change lives. But the important thing today, it seems to me, is to change what surrounds us on all levels of human relationship. Some people think that life is copying. Others know it is inventing. You don’t quote Rimbaud, you live him.’ The words of Martial Raysse, printed within the ‘Monographic exhibition dedicated to French artist Martial Raysse’, curated by Caroline Bourgeois in collaboration with the artist.
Lily van der Stokker (1954)
A Dutch artist based in Amsterdam and New York, Van Der Stokker’s work examines the notion of femininity and usually takes the form of a decorative wall drawing.
Van Der Stokker found her main expression using the method of objects and combines within the 1980s/early 1990s, it was during this time she began to exhibit in larger exhibitions.
Her work begins with quick, preliminary compositions on paper with marker pens, coloured pencils and ink. These are then transposed onto the wall allowing them to expand and fill the space. Van Der Stokker developed a style she refers to as ‘nonshouting feminism’, using subjects she feels are not discussed or presented within art and included within that thought are the decorative, sentimental and nice.
Van Der Stokker’s work have a child-like innocence, playing on beauty, love, relationships, family and the everyday with excitement and energy.
Cornelia Parker (1956)
Parker is a sculptor and installation artist who uses found objects in innovative ways. In terms of medium Parker is particularly drawn to the use of metal, she hangs items on invisible lines to display them so that the metal object becomes fundamental to the display. Parker works with the materiality of the metal rather than the purpose and original state, the objects are flattened so that its original purpose becomes unrecognisable.
Jessica Stockholder (1959)
Stockholder is a sculptor and installation artist who has holds exhibitions in Europe and America. Stockholder uses plastic in a similar way to that of Parker, except that she uses plastic as opposed to metal and creates sculptures involving colour and form. The plastic objects are more recognizable but their environment is different. Her use of colour is bright, attractive and in a block like manor. Stockholder use of paint allows her to relates and connect one part of her work to another allowing the colour to take over the objects and engulf them.
Following the research of twentieth century and contemporary artists working with objects and combines to create a range of art with an ‘off the wall’ form, I conclude with the main points taken from this information.
Purely with this current level of understanding of course there is room for error in my interpretation. Where as the Abstract Expressionists gave primary focus to the action of painting and the importance lay within the stroke of each brush, expressing the emotions, the actions and the internal of the artists. Abstract expressionists were concerned with size as too were the artists who worked using objects and combines, again expanding beyond the or the wall. The scale and structure of the work almost draws the viewer into the entirety of the piece, by working in a range of dimensions. Moving from a canvas to the wall, the floor and the surrounding area, the environment of the painting then becomes part of the painting. This gives multiple meanings, experiences to the viewer, merging painting, sculpture and installation into one way of working and expressing.
Adding more to research – Looking at contemporary artists
The work pictured above is eclectic, however what else is out there? And can any of it resonate with me? Artists working with a combine in a alternative way? Nature?
Whilst reading about Combines I stumbled across Harold Klingenberg, a contemporary artist working with nature, in a very alternative way.
Klingenberg’s project ‘Baroque Worlds’ is the outcome of previous experiments that he continued to investigate, his first inspiration for the series; A book named “The Sensitive Chaos” from author Theodor Schwenk.
In it, he describes the formative forces of water and the interaction with elements that flow into it.
‘The edge of this concept compared to others, is that in most art expressions, the artist has complete control over his work. On the contrary I wanted that chance also had its opportunity and that these creative forces of water could express themselves, restraining my contribution only to mixing pigments with oils and other different media, select a combination of colours, throwing them into the water tank and finally taking a photo of all that. And at last, choosing the few pictures that look good!’
Not at all what you expect to see when you look at the work of an artist influenced by nature, not the obvious. He is also influenced by chance, movement and how natural materials can work with manmade materials to create art.
Capturing art which is created in a split second and then gone, the end result is a colourful abstract piece which on first view looks like a collection of materials and medium through texture and shape.
Is this work a combine?
I believe so, the canvas is the origin of the materials and the object captured is the photo is the dimensional form, the photo is the evidence of a combine, due to the nature of the work this is the only way we know what has happened and only the artist can view the actual work in motion.
Nature is so temporary and ever changing, using very contemporary materials of oil and water Klingenberg has been influenced by nature and its movement and its unpredictability.
Could this be filmed and ran alongside the photo so the viewer can get closer to the work and understanding it?
Goldsworthys work is temporary, due to the subject of natural elements and again we only witness this within photographs, however there is a slower disintegration of his work and photographed over time, allowing nature to evolve and ‘own’ the work as such. Goldsworthy’s handling of material is so delicate and sensitive to the subjects themselves to create such eye catching nature sculptures. In contrast Klingenberg’s work is fast moving, colourful and appears heavy handed, although both artists explore nature and the qualities of materials and use photography to display their work and exploration.
Looking back as some of my temporary images using photography and nature, for example the drip into the pond, I can see how adding another element or material could mix nature and manmade, influencing my forthcoming work.
This exercise asks that I produce a number of sketchbook/sample combines following my research of artists that work/worked with Combines. After gathering research from a range of artists, I have decided to use Rauschenberg’s combines and way of working as inspiration for this exercise. Throughout this course Rauschenberg and his explorative processes have been a large influence and inspiration over my own work. Rauschenberg developed a style of combines in keeping with his other works; visual interest, texture, layers, a range of techniques, mediums and an element of mystery.
In the last assignment I worked on the play between sculpture and painting and bringing these two elements together, which has prepared me to a certain extent for this piece of work. However this piece feels considerably larger in ambition due to the outcome required being that of an installation piece.
I wanted to continue the ideas I began in the last exercise looking at the tree, using the environment and the structure of the tree to explore medium and alternative materials to create the fractured image. I feel there is more to explore in this area and during assignment 4 have only just touched the surface of this subject matter. Inspiring me to use this as my subject is the effect of one on the other, the contrast of the environment with the tree, as in their physical state – movement and stillness, coming together to two different elements and the qualities of these.
This exercise required the planning and creation of combines using any of the researched artists as inspiration.
My starting point was to explore the tree structure and surrounds within my sketchbook, firstly focusing on the painting part of the combine. Capturing sounds, colours and movement are my short videos of the tree, the sounds and movements.
Having these videos of the tree has enabled me to work both outside and inside, refreshing my mind of the subject whilst facing the blank pages of my sketchbooks. Playing the videos, listening, seeing and reflecting I started to put pen to paper and getting some ideas down in response to the sounds.
Listening to the videos I began to work in the sketchbook, making marks as responses to the sounds and colours. I experimented with ink, acrylic washes, paint and pen. Repeatedly playing the video, listening to the overall environment and again concentrating on one layer of noise at one time. Stripping back the different elements of the scene. In terms of verbal sounds and communication, there wasn’t much that could be picked up on my videos, I focused purely on the organic noises.
This stage took quite some time but it enabled me to think about the approach to this piece and connect with the subject. Given my past work tends to move towards abstract I wanted there to be a recognisable form within this combine, I started to explore the moving figure and the vehicles captured in the video. These two elements are visual representatives of the environmental world and explore movement which is constantly playing with the tree.
In my research of other artists who produce combines, I found that the object dominated the work, becoming the work and the painting as a compliment. I have focused on the painting and gathering information and ideas around how I can put this together, materiality of the mediums and appropriate images.
I now need to focus on the object itself and what would best express the environment and what I want to convey. I do not want to over work painting and ensure that visual restraint is apparent in this combine.
Working with actual wood and bark could add in the tree to the painting but in a literal way rather than using this within the painting and risking this becoming overly complex. Prior to this exercise the tree has been used to explore an abstract shape compiled of line and mark making, looking closer at the tree I dig deeper into the interest of this.
Noting Rauschenberg’s use of texture within his work; recreating snippets of this within the painting I want to use the bark itself.
Creating texture with ink acrylic whilst focusing on a closure up of a branch, I had the urge to use the bark further, painting it and using it as a printing tool to create further texture. Then again I took another step – fixing sections of painted bark to the page allowing me to view the colours and textures at close range, playing with the materiality of medium.
I want to add a figurative element into the painting as this represents movement and sound into the painting, which in turn creates an environment. Taking colours and textures from the tree paintings could work into the painting to instil further movement. The contrast of the stationary and strong tree and how it remains whilst others revolve around it is my interest in the tree and this needs to be portrayed within the combine.
Looking back over my preliminary work; chosen mediums and images, could these be more emphatic? Could I push them further? Can I allow Rauschenberg to influence my work further? – Yes!
Beginning work on the object…
Gathering branches of trees I began to draw them together, creating lines of the negative and positive shapes. Beyond the materials this piece is about seeing, listening, sounds, movement and the environment beyond the organic, still object – the tree. The contrast between the two in terms of movement, sound and organic and geometric shapes.
Creating a form which is not overly complex, still, strong and representative of the tree. Instead of using string or rope to tie the branches which may have looked discreet, I used a material which linked in with the theme. Man made netting, brightly coloured, taught and contrasts with the natural form and aging of the wood. Drawing in the environment of the tree, on to and surrounding the tree to keep it strong – this was my initial thought, however looking at the photographs the tree could be suffocating and restrained by the human surrounds. Maybe this could be a question provoked to the viewer?
Materials should enhance the meaning and story of the work. Given this I want to keep the branches as organic as possible in form and create geometric, strong, still shapes. A splash of colour will tie the tree to the painting, allowing the painting to expand beyond the paper, unlike Lily Van Der Stokker I do not want the colours within the painting to engulf the object or to be linked by the viewer purely by colour association. The textures of the bark create sounds alone.
Gathering found images for my painting, I began to assemble images which were reflective of the sounds and movement from my videos and observations of the tree environment. Car engines, car horns, birds, people walking, moving. Allowing Rauschenberg to influence me further in this exercise I used Rauschenberg’s transfer technique to compliment the collage.
The next stage was to select images and build these into the A2 card. Firstly I responded to the branches and environment by adding the texture of the bark as a starting point to the large blank area.
Trying to respond to the sounds captured on my video I worked to this, whilst keeping in mind composition, texture and being open with the mediums used. Pushing myself further away from the preliminary studies with the use of collage, charcoal and even sticking small areas of bark to the paper.
https://videopress.com/embed/GatS2ayf?hd=0&autoPlay=0&permalink=0&loop=0Using collage and paint in conjunction with each other, thinking about Rauschenberg’s combines and his balance of simplicity of block colour with the texture of collage and image. Working on the card, seeing what worked, knocking back the colours and images and adding others, with an aim to not over work the painting or create an ‘all over’ feel.
Images were found images from a variety of sources, chosen appropriately with the sounds and environment in mind.
By this stage I was pleased with the progress made on the painting, the images are not overworked and those I felt I could push back into the painting has been. Textures representing sounds have been created, more strongly so on the right side and the pen and charcoal adding line whilst listening to the different layers of sound. Avoidances for this piece were: Over working, ‘all over feel’, misty/cloudy layers, following exactly my preliminary ideas. Given this I feel this painting has been successful, translucency of layers of sound and image are clear as is space for the eye to rest – untouched areas of care and allowing the images to dominate without feeling the pull to over work. Adding the two segments of bark on the left side of the painting add a different layer of texture, depth and interest to the piece which is meaningful, rather than adding different papers or images for the sake of adding other elements.
Movement is created mainly in the way the paint, pen and charcoal have been applied to the paper, enhanced by the image of the small figures. Sounds is created by the large sweeping motions and in contrast to the small more controlled pen marks. There is a feeling of movement both fast and slow dependant on the area of the painting, which is reflective of the changing environment studied.
There are many options for how the wood should sit with the painting, like Rauschenberg – this does not require over thinking, the link of the two can be made in many different ways be the viewer.
‘Nature Combined’ Object and Image.
This exercise has taken many weeks of looking, taking a step back and re-approaching the work to get to this stage. I have the urge to move further with the painting, amending and adding, but I know this will add complexity and potentially overwork the piece. This is a feeling I need to compress as I am not looking to achieve an aesthetically pleasing art work.
Moving around the painting with the branches, repositioning and photographing became interesting and I could have continued to do this, watching the play between the two. As this project has been about the influence of Rauschenberg and how he invites the viewer to engage in their own concept, I want to revisit this piece later, with a fresh eye, I wonder if other concepts and images will emerge?
Still really enjoying the movement and the natural element of the tree along side the use of artist mediums to create a number of outcomes, fresh in my mind is the woven piece of work I recently re-worked with the word ‘Maybe’. Using pastel in conjunction with the movement and light/shadow of the tree. This exercise was something new, fast paced and I found it motivational working with the unknown movements of the tree.
Above with this combine, the work is static, both in its outcome and in its process. The work of Klingenberg and his use of colour and liquid is exciting, colour and again working with the unknown, in terms of outcome.
Keeping this project close to nature I think about how to keep my art relevant:
- Filming – process / changes
- Liquid – paint / water / bold
Beginning to form an idea of how I would like to work with the tree… (see sketchbook for further ideas).
What is my enquiry?
To work closely with nature, allowing it to affect my work and place its mark on the canvas. Using gravity and environment to aid me in my instinctive mark and decision making.
Emotionally responding to the tree and all factors that come as part of this.
Art and nature working together to create a combine, working in an action painting manor to explore expression and work to the fullest of my physical being.
Each exercise film is at the forefront of my mind, it shows working, captures sounds and light. A large part of this piece is to work with nature, listening rather than seeing during the process of making combining nature.
Working within the environment is essential to capture the essence of the surround, how does this affect my work? The outcome? my feelings and mood when painting?
Beginning my painting as closely as possible to the wet outdoors and the tree; the original influence within many of my pieces, getting into the studio at 7am to capture the wet and wind. If I am working with nature and how this affects my work and takes control over it, I want a good wet day!
Using a palette similar to my original work, yet influenced by Klingenberg and his brighter tones, after revisiting research taking note of Stokker’s vibrancy too, after all this is bringing me back to what inspires me. Using the original cerulean and yellow ochre, mixed with a cadmium red and lemon yellow to move closer to that rainbow like palette of the ‘Baroque Worlds’ project.
Beginning in the studio I wanted to listen and work with the rain, the sounds and the movement that I saw outside, on the window panes and the nearby objects, working with the brush in a way that mirrors these motions and sounds. Unconcerned with final outcome, aiming for movement and partially the pleasure of working to such a fresh wet morning.
Listening and using my phone to record sounds, capturing anything else that may occur, a bird, a dog, cars… Although the camera was recording me working (this is purely to show the process) the recording is also to record sound. Rain, splashing, dripping, birds, background traffic noise, echoing. Sounds are repetitive, loud, soft, delicate, quick, some more clear and others indistinguishable. I here no people, there is no sense of human presence apart from my own, which is preoccupied with the movement of the brush, gathering sounds, the noise of the brush on the canvas, the feeling of excitement.
This work is responsive to the sounds, I play with moving my brush in the way that works in conjunction with the rain and the tree. Washing, lines and marks using acrylic, a medium which can be altered by water and retain its vibrancy. This is challenging as I am emotionally responding to my environment and therefore working instinctively, working to try and widen the ‘vocabulary’ in the palette and marks to respond to the changes in sound. Using a variety of brushes and paint textures supported me in doing this.
Finishing up in the studio I took to the tree, suspending the canvas on chains and string to allow movement with the weather and allowing rain to catch the canvas at different angles. I couldn’t help but remind myself of the delicate works by Goldsworthy and how he allows nature to take hold of his work, his masterpiece and make it even more brilliant. Suspending the canvas was allowing nature to take hold and complete my work. I let it remain for a number of days.
Straight after suspension of the canvas:
Working in the studio / outdoors / showing the painting working with nature:
How will this canvas become part of a combine?
I feel that using the chains as part of the combine would insinuate restraint and a harsh element to the work, which is not the case at all. How can I give the impression of the importance of nature within this piece?
Vines? Branches? If I were to display this work at home it could be left outdoors within the tree itself but this cannot happen.
The chains were the best choice to secure the canvas overnight but in terms of meaningfulness a more natural material would have been in keeping with the process of the canvas painting.
Canvas weathered by the rain, wind and the tree and other surrounds, removing it from the chains I felt like the canvas became one single element, where it began.
A combine could easily consist of the canvas and the chains… but how would this be interpreted? The painting needs to be linked with nature and the importance this has played within the final outcome.
Pushing forward I sliced the canvas.
Immediately this gives the painting the movement it needed, its original inspiration within the paint, the branches and Klingenberg’s work.
Slicing within strips rather than holes like Fontano.
The weathering of the canvas is beautiful, textures and marks have been created that I could never create with a brush. Excited and unpredictable, unlike the action and movement captured by the medium like Klingenberg, the medium has been altered slower and over time. The movement is more within the actual canvas in conjunction with the trees rather than the paint itself.
Disappointed in the visual movement whilst working on this piece, unfortunately this was not captured within film, only in images following movement. Bringing this back through slicing the canvas and allowing free movement. Keeping the canvas on the stretcher allowing for wood to hang, I began to try settings for the canvas which allowed me to move closer to this piece as a combine.
Overall Project Thoughts
In revisiting this project I have explored another way in which I can combine working with nature in an outdoors setting. Following my research into various artists I wanted to pull my work closer to the palette and movement of Klingenberg, whilst being realistic with my photography and video skills.
Through the process of my work I have become more admirable towards artists who use movement and the effects of the outdoors within their work. It takes careful planning to set the area, be able to film and capture the correct environment which is most the time unpredictable. In keeping with certain aspects of the previous work I wanted to work within the same environment, but move in the direction of letting nature affect the work, inspired by the movement of Klingenberg and the work of Goldsworthy. Unlike the previous work there is more concern with the unknown, colour and movement rather than transferring of images and texture.
I started the project by thinking about how to select the surface for the paint, I used a primed canvas that would continue to hold the paint on the surface during heavy rain. Acrylic was the obvious choice as the weather would be able to alter this medium. Without being too constrained, whilst the weather was heavy rain I began work in the studio, allowing the noise to influence my movement and speed of working. Listening to nature was key to creating this canvas, areas were left thin and others thicker and brighter allowing the water to create texture within this area.
Moving underneath the tree I explored ways in which I could hand the canvas, allowing the strongest movement possible yet for it to be secure over night. In keeping with the vertical lines I kept the portrait composition.
Like a lot of the artists I looked at, my intention was to be able to provide an association or link in some way between the objects without attaching a meaning, thereby allowing open interpretation. I think I have been successful in this while still moving away from a flat plane surface, moving into a more sculptural realm.
Learning about three-dimensional tableaux or diorama’s, it immediately poses questions; ‘Are three-dimensional scenes more engaging than painting scenes’? ‘What effects can the surrounds of a three-dimensional scene or diorama have on it? Such as lighting etc’?
Looking at the work of the artists mentioned and others there are very different outcomes, some artists were concerned with creating scenes and drawing in the viewer whilst others focused on the three-dimensional affect and form of the work. Here is the work of artists researched under these topics:
Franz Roubaud (1956 – 1929)
A Russian artist who focused on creating large, panoramic paintings, Roubaud would recreate scenes and paint onto a cylinder shape base.
The size of the paintings would be up to 115 metres in length and 15 metres wide, due to the size of the paintings they would need to be hung in specially built pavilions.
Roubaud would explore the subject matter of famous battles, in particular he ‘The Seige of Sevastopol’ (1854-1855) which can be viewed from a platform curving in unison with the painting, allowing it to be viewed at close range which works well given the size of the diorama. It becomes an interactive experience, looking closer at the diorama, you can see that Roubaud has used appropriate objects such as; cannon balls, cannons, logs, glass, fortifications and the actual painting sits behind. The angle in which Roubaud has chosen to paint is from a top view, looking down over the scene as a distant observer, it is similar to a photograph or scene you would expect to see on a documentary, as well as art, it could be seen as educational due to its depiction.
Jake and Dino Chapman, also known as the Chapman brothers are English born visual artists. Similar to the work of Roubaud, the Chapman brothers create shocking images, delivered in a way that it unlike any other. I personally find their work disturbing, they are blatant and unexpected, in this way their work can be seen to be in contrast to Roubaud’s, as he paints famous scenes of war and politics. The Chapman brothers touch on war and politics but add a contemporary twist and branch out to other themes such as religion, morality and the use of iconic symbols and characters.
An example of their unexpected work is a series of three-dimensional pieces titled ‘The Sum of All Evil’, these pieces are based on the well known food chain – McDonalds .
‘We’re making work that contradicts the idea that art is inherently good and based on idealism.’
Jake Chapman in conversation with Sarah Kent.
The works are miniature three-dimensional scenes, created with models of the famous chains icons and throwing them into a work which represents the affects of consumerism. Focusing on the negative impact the company has on the work and resources. The scenes are unmistakable, and the use of well recognised figures allows all viewers to relate on some level to the work. This series of work plays on the viewer, provoking feelings of controversy, hostility and moral with room for humour. It almost makes me think of a child’s bedroom with miniature characters involved in imagination play.
Jean-Pierre Vasarely (1934–2002)
Varsarely, known in the art world as Yvaral. Yvaral was a French artist who focused on Optical Art and Kinetic Art from 1954 onwards. His father also an artist – Victor Varsarely.
The above artists focus on three-dimensional and dioramas, whereas Yvaral focuses on planes using paint and optical illusions.
Yvaral studied Graphic Art and publicity in Paris, later beginning to experiment with geometrical abstract art. He produced paintings which would suggest movement using effects such as projection and recession.
Julio Le Parc (1928)
Another artist who focuses on Optical and Kinetic Art and a significant figure within Argentinean modern art. Le Parc was the founder of GRAV (Groupe de Recherche de l’Art Visuel). GRAV emerged during the 1960s in Paris, GRAV believed in anonymous and impersonal art, they rejected any form of self indulgence within art and therefore rejected abstract expressionism. The starting point was that art was not just visual but was also sociological. They sought to break down the distance between the art and the public, the movement brought the public closer to art, GRAVs intention to involve the viewer was successful and the public now felt a greater influence over exhibitions, participating within the art work more activity. As part of their plan to involve the public within the art world, Le Parc provided questionnaires to the public at his exhibitions, dropping the barriers of egotism and separation which they detested.
Reaching this point in my research I can see that GRAV require less emotion response than the three-dimensional and Diorama works. Optical art requires an individual response whereas the work of the Chapman brothers ask for a rollercoaster of emotions whilst viewing their pieces.
Bridgette Riley (1931)
Riley developed her Optical Art during the 1960s, giving the viewer not only the colour and shape, but a visual effect to par take in when viewing her work. Their are many images of her work over time showing progressing and moving towards Op-Art, I find her journey interesting, as the start is so very far away from where she remains now.
Riley continues to explore the visual image for its qualities affecting sight. The visual disorientation of movement, dynamic interference and shimmer can be achieved by her black and white as well as her coloured paintings exemplifies this style. This is clear by viewing in books and online, her work can grow to a fairly large scale and I can only image viewing a piece in person can have an even stronger visual effect.
Michael Kidner (1917 – 2009)
‘Unless you read a painting as a feeling, then you don’t get anything at all’
Kidner based his work on theory, numbers, shapes and distortion of his work in order to extract reactions from his viewers.
Contemporary artist Laura Mabry, creates ceramic sculptures, she calls them paintings. Paintings with dimensions. Enjoying the qualities of surface textures with the ceramic base as her canvas and the bright colours and glazes as her decoration.
Mabry’s work is abstract, sculptural, colourful and minimal, although still expressive and very intriguing.
Circular paintings, displayed on plinths and floor surfaces allowing the viewer to walk around and look into them. There is physical and visual access to more than one side of the piece.
Her work reminiscence of traditional ceramic work with its cylinder shapes, yet closely linked to abstract artists like Mangold, using circle and coloured lines in conjunction with each other.
Like Mabry I want to engage my viewers with visually striking work, which also contains subtle layers of meaning. I need to engage with my work in the same way I would a painting.
Exploring the work of artists creating Three-Dimensional Tableaux, Dioramas and optical art it is clear all of the above are based around creating illusions in different ways.
Illusion in art can be added in many different ways, from subtle perspectives allowing play on the subject matter to distorted shapes continually stimulating the viewer drawing them into a web of optical pattern. Shadow play, distorting mirrors, obscurities and perspective are all ways in which illusion can be incorporated into art to create a Diorama.
Drawing on the research completed on various artists I cast my eye over each one of them, I feel there is a personal element to their work, by this I mean that the work create provokes strong personal points of view and feelings from the viewers. The Chapman brothers used commercial companies and ethics to draw this from there viewer, this subject could touch many given the well known characters used.
Roubaud uses world events, in a cut throat manner, making it impossible for a viewer not to relate on an emotional level.
Riley and Kidner strip this all back and approach the viewer differently, reaching out to them in a purely visual sense, provoking a different emotional response which could be more personal? Less fuelled by the scene set by the artist.
The common factor here is the emotion and personal response by drawing in the viewer to what would seem a ‘personal viewing’. My piece needs to have this affect and as researched, there are many ways in which to do this.
My starting point for this exercise was my own personal experience I have had recently during the physical and emotional changes of pregnancy, something that affects a large amount of the population, in terms of new life – everyone. Everyone can relate to this subject in one way or another, so why not look deeper and embed this within a diorama?
Physically what I see and feel is different, it is unique and it has had a profound affect on daily life. Emotions are high and low and with that comes the movement from within, new beginnings being created and grown, there are so many elements to this subject which I am experiencing first hand. This can be a positive and negative story for some, but how do I respond this this idea?
Looking back on the artists I have research, none of which give direct inspiration for the idea. So I looked deeper, there are artists which I immediately draw on for inspiration in recent exhibitions; Dragomir Misina, Peter Dickinson and David Moxon, contemporary artists who explore texture, colour, mark making and the process of painting itself. They work with a balance of chaos and order, creating layers and marks which allow the viewer to open gateways when viewing their work.
In particular Misina bases his paintings on a narrative, which informs the course of his paintings. However, during the process of painting, he uses marks and layers to escape from the world of this particular narrative, to allow the viewer to observed them for what they are rather than what they should mean.
I want to tell a story and open up a private world, exploring abstract layers, marks with an element of figure due to the nature of the story, ensuring a certain amount of distance is kept between the story and the diorama allows viewers to connect on an emotional and personal level.
The previous exercise was a very open piece in its physical structure and meaning, therefore to work on a private piece will allow further exploration in terms of structure. Private elements which can be explored within this piece are other dimensions which may have been experienced through memory, sound or through different levels of consciousness. All of these are private to the artist but are open to the viewer for interpretation and experience.
I began by capturing my private experience on paper, drawing and painting. Capturing something of the experience I have had and the journey I continue to have.
This consisted of mixed media sketches, a wire drawing of a figure entwined in the flowers and further wire and mixed media ideas incorporating a figure.
Hints of figures captured in pencil and then using watercolour to layer marks and texture on top.
Watercolour allows for the pure essence of the figure to show but allows for further work to appear. Watercolour is not a medium I have utilised fully within this course, it has subtle but powerful qualities which reflect my experiences within this exercise.
Not concerned with the colour palette at this stage, focusing on the media and figure, shapes and marks.
Tonal figure study.
Choosing a subject which is more private than visual could make this exercise more difficult than it needs to be. However the artists dioramas did not inspire or provoke thoughts and I have to explore topics which are interesting and motivational to me.
Capturing the experience of energy, physical change and anxiety I used a wide range of media to put this within my sketchbook. Using cotton to create the outline of a figure, curves and knots were important to convey feelings of the change. Using hessian and wool to add texture, knitted elements and complex marks. The figure entwined in in marks, mixed media in a subtle manner.
Thread and wool to convey energy, feelings and emotions, exploring other media.
This subject inspired an oil painting, exploring the rich saturated colours, texture and many layers. A dreamy visual image, concentrating on the positive feelings and thoughts of the subject. An enriching time which explores new ventures and excitement, bright and bold colours enhance the positives and the mark making creates a base for the negative. Bringing the colour palette forward into my diorama, watercolour would be the preferred media due to its translucent qualities, visually allowing marks to move back and forth.
Moving to liquid watercolour rather than solid to improve saturation and contrast. I was focusing on the figure moving to a more abstract way of working. At this stage I have only explored media and ideas around marks and the abstract use of the figure.
The subject explored is extremely personal, in a less direct way than some of the artists I have looked at, I want to reflect this in how the work is presented. A closed and private form? The figure is used subtly and it would be interesting to use elements of the figure in a three dimensional abstract form within the piece as a way of drawing in the viewer to the private diorama.
Wanting the diorama to be fairly private the size of the piece should be fairly small, intimate and allow the viewer to just look into the world of the piece.
A small folded piece of cardboard – how can I use this to create a private viewing of my diorama? A box could close the small diorama off and prevent light and shadows which could add interest to the shape.
The final Diorama needs to present in a professional manner more so than within previous exercises, it needs to stand alone and have impact. Is cardboard the most emphatic material or could this be strengthened?
Working on watercolour paper would prove the most suitable base for the watercolours. Bending the paper around the three sides of card would create a curve appropriate to the piece, similar to the shape of the work of Roubaud.
Creating more curves of paper within the card could draw the viewer in more, moving the eye back and forth in and out of the diorama. The subject of the piece has many feelings as well as the physical aspects.
After sketching designs for the diorama I have naturally moved towards creating an overall curved piece, the card seems pointless and does not add anything of meaning. Looking at media used within my preliminary pieces I wonder if any of these elements could be used to strengthen or add to the piece externally?
I began to work on watercolour paper with a bold palette, strong, feminine and reflective of the subject of the piece. Using my life drawing figures I wanted them to become part of the painting but not to dominate the story, this piece is abstract with elements and hints of figure to indicate presence and to allow the viewer to determined their own emotional and visual link to the work.
Using mark making to find a solution to this exercise relating back and forth to my preliminary work and thoughts for guidance in creating this final piece: My experience, in myself, physically, emotionally and changes, another place in my consciousness, a private experience. Enclosed, looking in to, changes internally overpowering changes externally. Putting this into a piece in an abstract manner… So I decided to put together a reasonably small scale piece, plain on the outside, busy on the inside, allowing the viewer to peer in discreetly.
Mark making would create texture, movement and the hint of figures throughout the cylinder of painted walls. I wanted to reflect the outer changes of the experience by adding curves and movement. Moving further from my preliminary work I decided on wire, stronger than wool or thread, keeping its shape and more emphatic.
I wanted the paper to be encircled by the feeling of change, I wrapped the wire around the cylinder painting curving it, knotting it and allowing it to strengthen the overall piece by adding support.
Enjoying working with the wire, yet still allowing the outside of the diorama to appear fairly simple.
Whilst painting the inner areas I simply painted what I felt, marks, changing colours drifting into one another, some areas more overpowering than others, I was conscious not to create a piece with an ‘all over’ feel and stopped when I felt the image could easily become too complex and loose its way.
Neither did I want the piece to become too overwhelmed with figure image, as the physical has become slightly more abstracted.
I placed the piece onto mount card, however it seems empty at the bottom, this is far from what this work is all about, therefore I began to paint the bottom piece and attach this. A plain white base is not appropriate to the subject and drops away from the viewer instead of continuing the story.
Wrapping the final piece in white card, adding the bottom layer of colour and mark and allowing the wire to spill from the outside into the cylinder. After weeks of perseverance with this exercise here is the finished Diorama ‘Unspoken Journey’.
Achieving the following;
- More complex on the outside then inside
- Privacy – in size and shape chosen
- Figurative element
- Areas of rest for the viewers eye
- Series of marks and media
- Change – continuing story
- External shape with wire
I will return to this exercise later and look at it with a fresh eye in regards to improvement and learning.
Arte Povera springs to mind when I look at this work, although upcycling daily objects for use within art interested me and will always continue to inspire me with the outcomes that can be created. I feel the finished painting requires attention, something is missing.
This piece is a personal painting in which the structure reflects privacy and intimacy. The wire and line is representational of changes and movement. When I look into the diorama, I almost feel disappointed…
The central area is empty, this piece is about far more than emptiness and nothingness.
Working with drawing, painting and maquettes as a 3 step process has worked will the past and allows for much more exploration. Making a small maquette to fit inside the diorama could give more meaning to the piece as well as draw the eye down into the diorama which would make it more successful.
Looking at the work of Mabry has pushed me to start working with clay again and to give this piece more form.
I sculpted a clay woman, slightly abstracted.
This woman is small enough to fit within my current cylinder, although after looking at the work of Mabry I feel a little deflated over my use of card!
Cutting up the work to see if it could be improved I quickly decided to scrap the paper and move onto something else.
Using canvas I created a hard cylinder, wanting the viewer to move around it, but to keep that small and personal element, to remain with only one access point to the painting.
I began to paint the cylinder of canvas, using delicate marks and similar to my earlier painting, bright colours and allowing the medium itself to take over in places.
Earlier painting of abstracted woman:
To inspire this project again using the oil painted woman I created a casting, using the bump of a woman to create a sculpted oil painting.
Creating this casting using Mod roc plaster and continuing to sculpt once dry with loose plaster, prime and paint. This exercise was interesting to bring to life my previous flat painting, inspiring a new approach to fresher outcome of this exercise…
… Using a material able to keep its form yet receive colour and pigment I used a substance called Paverpol to strengthen and harden cotton canvas. The feeling of peering down into was kept in mind when gathering the canvas and forming this almost cup like shape. Privacy and personal elements seem to resonate with me as small and confined pieces. Keeping in mind that this shape is a painting, not just a shell, box or box for the maquette.
Using my oil painting as a reference and the work of Mabry, I need to create a painting that is relevant to the piece, yet striking, working in conjunction with the material and shape, minimal yet expressive!
This canvas is the cup for the maquette and embraces the privacy of the piece. Mirroring the colours of the original oil painting I want to bring them together to show how a painting can be taken into a diorama using the same medium and materials.
The calm of the piece lies within the centre of the painting, unlike the previous piece which seemed empty, here the plain clay maquette will sit within the natural untouched canvas. Upcycling the wire to use as a push pull effect on the painting and moving the eye around the be used to hang the piece as well?
This piece would hang low, allowing the viewer to look inside the small private piece.
OVERALL PROJECT THOUGHTS
I was actually surprised at how interesting and different the results were, considering my previous work and the outcome of the exercise originally.
Re-visiting the same exercise once given time to digest and view the learning and original work supports me in making slightly braver decisions.
Given the large paper element to the first outcome it is nice to look at the new diorama and not see any paper or card. Learning to create shapes and different ways in which art can be presented.
The diorama, painting and cast all tell a story which is obvious with all 3 pieces, however with only the diorama the story is much less obvious, which I like. Showing my journey of how a message can be abstracted and taken into different dimensions keeping common materials – oils and canvas.
All 3 pieces have different supporting materials an techniques have varied because of this. I have used a variety of techniques such as casting, sculpting, suspending, wrapping and smoothing, all requiring accuracy and precision in measuring; cutting; positioning; and fixing.
In focusing on the work of the Op artists, combing visual planes with physical and spacial elements, I have explored different ideas prompted by my research point.
The exercise has given me ideas that help produce a body of work rather than one singular outcome and confidence in materials that have not used before.
What is a ‘work of art’?
As I delve deeper into the Mixed Media course the research and exercises seem so far away from what I have previously known and studied throughout Painting 1 and Exploring Concepts. This course takes me further from the and I feel I visualise within a different manner, feeling, responding, building relationships with work as well as seeing.
This has triggered questions throughout the assignments, as to what constitutes a work of art? Why do I like particular art and not others? What is too distant for me to connect to?
Prior to this course I was content to paint, work on a flat and single plane to create something that is representational, beautiful and though provoking – this is what I would have called art. This is still art in some respects and in my personal work I enjoy becoming inspired and painting with freedom and vigour. However I now see this is only a small part of art, in particular fairly abstract installations such as object paintings, combines would not have drawn my attention. But in essence these works are just as expressive in other ways and I feel a new found sense of appreciation for the visualisation which occurs outside of the box. When I view work, in which ever form it presents itself, there is now a process behind it which enters my head – Concept/idea, how this has been researched and explored, the presentation of the idea into a form, why has the artist chosen this form? and finally the information entering the viewer – what is triggered? is this how the artist wants the piece to be viewed or have they left it to interpretation? A circle of information processed when viewing a piece of art is intriguing and clever, to me this achieves success. This is what art is all about.
Where is the work of art?
The work of art can be anywhere the artist feels is appropriate to the work. The location of art work can completely change the expression and perception, if the work is moved into a gallery or eventually framed, is this taking away any information from its original location? We are so used to seeing works of art in galleries, online and in books, this has become almost expected. If the art work was originally created elsewhere in a location appropriate to its being (not a studio as such) then aren’t we going to miss something? The place could have been the inspiration for the work and could have directly informed the work, at the same time if this were to happen, the art would remain only with the artist and subsequently a limited circle of information passed through documentation. Again more questions, surely this is the decision of the artist and their inspiration behind the work?
Once the original work is gone, can a copy (its likeness or image) replace it?
Given the nature of this research and the temporary factor, no I don’t believe it can. As in the folder, work can be documented, discussed, photographed or reproduced, if the work is time or environment sensitive then documenting is important to capture but this cannot be seen in the same form as the viewer itself, particularly in cases of Andrew Goldsworthy and his outdoor, environmental temporary art works.
If all art works had a temporary nature, where would art be today? It would be far less exciting for the viewers as documentation would become the majority of art, even though the temporary pieces are intriguing and inviting, reading and viewing photographs of them could only reach a certain point in comparison to stepping close to a physical work.
What is the art work is not documented? The work would only remain with the artist themselves, if this is the case? Then how can the circle of information possibly happen? It can’t, there is no viewer that is not the artist therefore there can be no other interpretation, leaving the artist stuck in their own thoughts and ideas and essentially a finished work but viewed in a blinkered fashion due to them being the creator. This raised the question – is the viewer essential to the art process? I believe so, or would art be a purely egotistic work? There are so many questions here and it is all down to personal perception and preference…
I believe so and I am sure many would disagree, but part of the circle of information is to foresee how this works information will be processed by the viewer and what this will trigger? Isn’t this part of the excitement of creating? For the artist and those that view the work?
Andrew Goldsworthy (1929 – 2001) a British sculptor and photographer producing art work which is site-specific (within its own environment – an environmental artist). Goldsworthy created sculptures and land art in natural and urban settings, constantly working with the temporary image requires a certain attitude of thought and insight into the world and there is not doubt that Goldsworthy epitomises this.
In the Guardian Goldsworthy was interviewed and was asked ‘You must be an optimist to make art that vanishes?’ He replied ‘Working with change is to also work with the future. The work doesn’t necessarily predict what will happen but does embrace change whether it be growth or decay. This is an act of optimism.’ Rather than implying he is an optimist he talks about his work being optimistic.
Looking deeper into the inspiration of Goldsworthy:
‘I want to get under the surface. When I work with a leaf, rock or stick, it’s not just that material itself, it is an opening into the processes of life within and around it. When I leave it, the process continues.’
Reading the words of Goldsworthy underpins his excitement of working with his chosen materials and in conjunction with the rhythm and flow of everything. He clearly understands time, change, growth and development in an alternative way to other artists. Allowing his work to develop naturally, including the possibility of disintegration over time takes an insightful mind.
As discussed above, he records his work through visual images, he does not require words or permanency to convey his work and its development – photography is his record.
Watching videos of Goldsworthy creating, altering and ‘understanding the land with his hands’ enable me to understand the work and his processes further. I am pleased that he has made these recordings as well as his photographs.
Francisco Infante- Arana (1943) was one of the leaders of Russian Kinetic art. The Russian artist, made work which uses mirrors in the landscape, the mirrors have a transformative effect. In particular he used geometric shapes with his objects in line with his influence by constructivism. Infante-Arana foresees the natural environment and the surrounds, similar to that of Goldsworthy, this allows him to create sculptural land art which with the use of the mirror is able to reflection the natural features restructured the land.
The mirrors are installed in the landscape and the resulting image/art is documented using the form of photographs, this allows the viewer to see the large scale art and its effects on the landscape.
Walter de Maria (1935-2013) An artist connected with minimal, conceptual and land art.
This piece is created by the careful placement of 400 steel rods within the New Mexico desert. The rods were placed during 1977.
The result was captured by a photograph in which the sky is vibrantly illuminated by the electricity drawn down into the field to the rods. De Maria’s aim was to find a new way to express nature in an impressive manor. De Maria accomplishes this, the light flows over the field lighting the sky and its surrounds showing beauty in an alternative way whilst capturing nature in essence which is rarely seen.
Kaarina Kaikkonen a Finnish Installation artist.
Kaikkonen works on large installation pieces and has taken part in numerous private and group exhibitions in Finland and internationally.
Kaikkonen takes used clothing from the mountains of rags residing in Prato’s hangars and uses this as her artistic material for her public installations. The clothes are hung from elements of the environment such as windows, displayed on the stone walls, draped on cords strung between walls or over water. There is interesting contrast between the old, empty rags which have been found and the vivid colours that they still portray. The clothing is connected to one another at the sleeve, appearing flat and as we would recognise it. At a glance the clothing gives the impression of small figures holding hands, unity and continuity is created.
The transformation of clothing to art is mesmerising and interesting. Kaikkonen’s work is vibrant, textural, temporary and based on environment. She brings the remnants of one environment, recycles them, places in another and uses photography to effectively capture her installations. Her work is about more than this, the way in which the clothing is positioned gives emphasis on unity and relationships.
More research added
Julie Brook, 1961, enjoys working in extreme conditions in hospitable conditions. Sees her art as a response to her environment, as well as expressing the environments affect on her.
Brook has used film to record her experiences and process as well as photography. Also draws and sculpts on the land and paints on the paper.
Located of the island of Jura, W Scotland, concerned with making rhythm and marking time by using elements of stone, water and fire.
Such dedication to creating the stacks, fuelling then and lighting them while battling the freezing cold weather conditions and strong sea.
But the reflections of the flames on the surface of the sea are so worth it. The sea quickly reclaims its status. Reminding me of how powerful nature are and how they work together to resolve their normality.
Having never created a site specific piece of art before, I feel there are so many snippets of ideas within my head that need to be put down on paper before working out where I need to begin with this exercise.
Looking at other areas around the garden that would be suitable to use as part of a site specific piece of art.
Interestingly I found lights still tangled in the tree from Christmas, links me back to my – how does the environment effect nature question.
There seem to be so many options of different environments to use for my site specific piece, I feel I am becoming absorbed by the image of the tree rather than the actual environment and how this can represent my idea.
However – one question I need to answer is why?Why am I making the choices that I am? I move back to my sketchbook in order for me to find a route to explore as there are so many pieces of information I am thinking about in relation to this project.
After looking back over my thoughts I pick out the elements which are important to me:
Kaarina Kaikkonen – Her use of recycled, appropriate elements mixed with struggles of daily life within their environment.
Garden/Studio Area – Personal to me; the studio is where I work and am at my most productive. Usually a calm area but at the moment it is in chaos, physical upheaval and this effects myself, disturbs the calm of the natural environment. A reminder of how natural this really is, in a way it is processed by human for enjoyment, yet we preserve it as nature.
The contrast of the two interests me, the restriction of one to another, the need of one for another. The seen and unseen.
A number of elements stand out at me, a fairly small tree – enclosed between 3 different fences, the broken wood lying around it, as well as the other various items of debris which have been moved here due to the upheaval – Decorative garden items, pots and bamboo sticks.
We restrict the tree even more so, disregard it, suffocate it.
Human Vs Nature.
The broken wood is interesting, it is a processed wood which has been snapped or sawn for use inside the house, jagged, slightly colourful from remnants of paint. Nails still remain.
Like Kaikkonen taking the wood and using these as a physical element to show daily life and its effects on the tree.
How can I do this?
Suffocation, strangling, surrounding, strength, as well as the contrast in physical qualities of the two woods.
What I need the site specific art to show:
I began to examine the processed wood, connecting with the material and knowing its physical qualities as a starting point to creating the site art.
Using methods explored in previous work, firstly to design my idea, secondly put together a maquette – this allows me to work with the idea physically before moving onto the actual piece.
Working within the environment of the garden I created this maquette using air drying clay, wooden sticks and wire. A simple tree form with broken, processed wood surrounding the trunk and moving up the tree. Undertaking this process allows me to look deeper into the form and use my hands in a more practical way, stepping away from drawing and photographs within my book.
Connecting with the site for my land art further, by videoing the area, I can hear nature, the rubbish and visually examine the surrounds of the tree. The tree is fairly isolated as it is, even more so with elements of work debris and manufactured objects at its base.
I began to work to using the manufactured wood which had been sawn and left within the vicinity of the garden, jagged with nails remaining, it was in contrast to the tree. Initially for the maquette I used wire to bind the wood, a man made element, but is it the most appropriate and emphatic material? Gathering scrap materials from around the site – would they work? Plastic carrier bags used to move rubble and an old towel to wipe feet when moving indoors? More appropriate and in keeping with my project of Human Vs Nature.
Again working within the garden I pulled the wood together using the rags and bags, weaving and knotting, not concerned with being neat as the whole environment of the garden/site/building site is messy and unrefined. The wood reflect this.
Working closely with the tree to tie the wood around the lower trunk, the part of the tree which is mostly suffocated and exposed to human access. The trunk was fairly slim and I used two rows of wood to cover a larger area, giving more coverage and thus further impact.
The overall piece is fairly subtle – wood on wood, the materials used to tie the planks of wood together draw attention to it.
The materials that I chose to work with were restrictive in their physical qualities when bound together, this made applying the materials to the tree fairly difficult and again less able to move around into other positions.
Looking at my site specific piece I am pleased with some elements and not others.
- Materials were appropriate and relevant
- Held its position on the tree
- Contrast of leaves and trunk to plastic, rag and processed wood
- Restriction and tension are present
- Using the drawing, maquette and making process
- Connecting with my environment, working within it and listening to it
What is not working:
- Scale – fairly small, could have a larger impact on bigger tree
- More wood – an other layer added could have further impact visually
However, using a larger tree would result in going to the local park in an area surrounded by greenery, which is not in keeping with the concern for this piece.
You could say the privacy of the garden reflects the privacy of the site piece and has a personal meaning rather than a larger, public piece of land art would convey.
I am not finished with this yet, I want to leave the art, see how it progresses and changes with its environment over time.
The small clay maquette with wire and wood is something I cherish from this exercise, I like the contrasts and the scale of this.
Given the last projects have been working together with nature this somehow goes against the grain a little…
Using film has become more engrained within my work, especially within combines in which the outdoors in particular a tree which has been the subject of a lot of my work. Taking a different approach I wanted to explore the movement in which the tree gives alongside film.
Different compositions, textures and lights combined within film. Not all site specific art requires a physical piece of art work to be creating, taking inspiration from Goldsworthy and Brook who recorded their processes through photography and film.
I would like to use this short piece of film to create work from at some point.
Creating shadows and allowing the environment to create others on a large canvas with outdoor light, strong shadows, lines and range of movement.
The first two exercises ‘Objects and Combines’ and ‘Diorama’ are two pieces in which I have utilised a range of working and show two very different outcomes and forms, so I’m submitting them as the two substantial pieces to demonstrate my understanding of the multi-dimensional image or scene. The posts for each work within this Assignment section fully explains the process and the work entailed to reach these outcomes.
Assignment 5 has shown to be very different to the other sections in terms of ways of working, outcomes and more of an emphasis on ‘making’ in dimension.
I have explored personal, private and interesting subjects within this assessment and although the initial ideas have taken a while to reach me, once I have proceeded the exercises have flowed. I feel I look too far ahead, judging what is not made or created yet, this in tern cuts out creativity, natural pathways and progression.
Looking at the pieces that have been created for all three exercises, they seem to work well together in terms of shape and materiality. Each exercise demanded a full investigation into the form, details and execution, I was not able to just take the ideas so far and leave them. I worked through the ideas for each until the final complete piece of work. Doing this involved use of video, photo, maquette, drawing to sounds and very private thoughts and feelings conveyed within a range of mark making.
Further larger piece of work added
Taking my earlier video of the shadows on the white canvas I wanted to work from this to create a large piece of work.
Using a projector to cast the film onto my large canvas, I took inspiration from my previous weaved canvas ‘maybe’ and used the same palette of pastels.
As I was using the projector the canvas needed to be white to allow for the shadows and movement to be seen fully. Starting with a blank canvas and a film, like the ‘Maybe’ weave I used movement to create the work. Following the movement and using shades to convert to the depth of the shadows I worked quickly and in the dark!
Having worked from a projector with pastel onto canvas from the comfort of my own studio, I took a canvas outside in the cold night and worked straight from the shadows to the canvas. Following movement with a brush using a darker palette of acrylic.
Working just underneath the leaves I wanted to experience that outdoor work to mirror the short film.
After completing this work I thought it would work well in contrast to the larger pastel piece, however after weaving this through the larger canvas I later decided against this. My original thought would be to add the weaving process to the canvas whilst creating movement, cutting the canvas with a knife in a line that suggests branches and leaves.
Reflecting the weather and elements of the outdoors I took a large wet brush to move across the canvas where the larger branches cast their shadows. Giving more large areas of wet pastel colour, an alternative to taking my canvas outdoors and hanging in a tree which I feared my wash it completely of all colour and line!
Adding material to my canvas, weaving it though the canvas, twisting and looping to create movement, similar to the way in which the branches were moving.
Pastels aren’t usually my first choice of medium, however learning is all about moving outside of your comforts and exploring. It was hard to create depth with colour with these particular shades, the ribbon adds that depth, whilst not halting the free flowing lines with static or geometric still shapes.
These four pieces move together on a journey. Fragmenting, weaving and exploring with a range of materials to create, layers, movement, exploration in materiality and form.
‘Maybe’ has been the word that has inspired me through the push/pull movement in material handling and movement with my subjects – Trees and outdoor environments.
Following my weaved canvas and feedback with regards to the black and this being rather heavy and dominate throughout the painting, this has subsequently been removed from my larger painting with ribbon.
The colour palettes chosen for this work is delicate, exciting, bright and interesting with subtle changes as well as contrasting areas, this palette is very enjoyable to work with and the clashes of the blues with pinks is exciting.
Exploring a range of materials and combinations, fragmenting each section into 9 squares of tissue and paper with paint and pastel allows for the broken painting to be viewed within sections/fragments where each piece tells a different story. The weaved canvas mixed two stories of night and day, bringing them together through the mutual subject of the tree and later re-working with movement and ‘maybe’ through shadow movement and allowing the tree to dictate the outcome.
The final larger painting is completely dictated to by film, working in the darkness was thrilling, working quickly without seeing the outcome being concerned only by the film rather than the visual outcome. This was an experience which I completely enjoyed, it abstracted the work entirely and gave vast movement and layers. I feel this work was more about the process of using film to work with to create a painting, rather than creating an abstract work influenced by the tree…
3 different outcomes using fragmenting and reductive in nature.