Sunday, 20 March 2016

Response to tutor feedback - assignment 1

 Maggi Hambling - I had forgotten about this brilliant artist. I prefer her recent wave paintings to her portraits, I like the use of colour, the turquoise and the grey and the captured energy of the wave. The Guardian has an interesting article on her background here My work has been criticised for being unresolved and not going to the edges of the paper. This may be a device to push me to work differently which is valid. I look at Maggi Hambling's drawings and they use the paper in a similar way. Maybe, like so many drawings it is because they are studies for finished paintings rather than works in their own right and only have artistic value because of the potential for the finished work. The drawing of Henrietta Moraes is both listed as a study and drawn larger than life size which will give it more punch in a gallery setting.

Julie Mehetru's drawings are an explosion of energy. I had to hunt around a bit to find decent online images but Wikipaintings have a number of reasonably clear images (you need to wait a moment for them to load if you follow the links) of which I am attracted to Free Range for the restrained use of colour, sepia and blue on a yellowy green background. Also the grid of lines creates depth which draw's you in (I've been looking at devices to create depth as part of Project 2) I also like the curved more organic feel of Excerpt(Riot) and Enclosed Resurgence. They are the sort of drawings that you could have on a wall and keep seeing new aspects and elements.

Paul Noble invented his own town and created huge detailed drawings of it. The drawings are a commentary on society, new towns and the  planning system. They are drawn in a style which reminds me of Where's Wally but in graphite (4b pencil or harder), the Tate biography says "Parodying the intense fantastical doodling of teenagers" There are many layers to his work, he created his own font and the buildings are drawn in the font to spell out titles and comments. The detail shows urban decay, rubbish and squalor but the overview is more attractive. It's enormously clever and time consuming to produce but feels seedy and depressing to me though I really like the idea that a whole world can be imagined and drawn like a visual Harry Potter. Am I being sexist to say that the work feels very male to me? Where I'm a bit depressed by the details Duncan McLaren wrote a whole blog about the drawings which explains them in great detail. They are drawn in cavalier projection which must be very difficult to work with. It looks like regency wall paper or a modern, monochrome post apocalyptical Hieronymus Bosch. The message is, draw bigger but also imagine things and have a narrative or a message in your work.

I really like some of John Court's drawings which are also reminiscent of teenage doodles His work with words and letters is somehow relaxing and reassuring. His early drawings are like mandalas and I wonder if this is something to do with his feelings of alienation as a teenager unable to read or write. I find his performance work harder to understand but maybe that will come.

Online pictures of Gosia Wlodarczak's drawings are difficult to understand and appreciate so it was very helpful to watch this video from the Gallery of Modern Art. I like the simplicity and confidence of her line and the way she uses the volume of simple drawings to compose her work. She doesn't use a studio or work from imagination, drawing only what she sees. This is very machine contrast with Paul Noble and shows the diversity of drawing practice. Again these are very large drawings. I like the feeling of depth and half glimpsed shapes in X Ray which was part of her Self Centred project.

I looked at the work of John Virtue as part of Drawing 1 although I haven't yet managed to see any of his work in real life. His landscapes are powerful, bold and atmospheric. I admire his confidence to use a monochrome palette. It's encouraging to see his preparatory drawings, which, although competently executed, would not stand out if set against the work of a group of urban sketchers and are not in the same league as his finished pieces. His work leaves a lot to the viewers imagination and depend on our innate need to make sense from chaos. Simon Schama has written this rather obsequious piece for the Guardian which describes the attraction of Virtue's work far better than I can.

Finally, before I rework my assignment piece, it was suggested that I look at David Hockney's Dog Days, a copy of which was kindly provided by my local library. There are a lot of paintings and I think that they are most impressive when viewed all together on the back cover. My first reaction was that some of the paintings are rather lazy. There is no doubt that they are very well observed, the poses are absolutely typical, but eyes and muzzles can be a bit slapdash. I know that they were painted at speed and that the overall impression is often prized over slavish detail but, for example,  Dog Paintings  20, 33 and 41 jar. However generally the juxtaposition of the 2 dogs is really nice, I particularly like Dog Painting 25. The drawings are for research rather than finished pieces but often capture the dogs far better than in the paintings. I think Robert James Clarke does dogs better. This collie is both a typical pose and a believable dog, and this sighthound is a believable dog even though it isn't a perfectly accurate drawing.

To try and understand the pictures better I copied Dog Painting 25 which I like,

and Dog Painting 15 which I don't like.

I used water-soluble crayons (but didn't add any water). Did I learn anything? It hasn't changed my opinion on the composition but the underlying anatomy feels right except for the eyes which is what I didn't like about the picture in the first place.

Currently pondering CliveW's comment from the coffee shop forum 
 " One begins by thinking of oneself as an artist, not a student being taught things; developing ones work by looking for themes and understandings, in it and of it."  This is for me a different perspective and requires some time to digest. 

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Part 2 Research Point

Angela Eames:
Michael Borremans: 
Jim Shaw:

The task is to look at the work of the 3 artists above whose work "both creates and denies three dimensions at the same time"

I was interested in Angela Eames aim "not to get lost in the shine" though I'm not sure she has achieved this. The work on her site is from the early days of computer generated art and needs to be viewed with that in mind, it was both a novel format and something that is naturally smooth, regular and shiny. Her on site drawings of the Huf Haus and the Dubai Arts Gallery are less shiny and use conventional devices of perspective and lines to suggest depth. The Daisy and Veil drawings are more innovative and play with the viewers mind. They use our desire to seek order and look for pattern to suggest 3 dimensions, because we expect to see lines, equal spacing and regular shapes we interpret the distortion as a 3 dimensional shape. I find it harder to see how her work denies 3 dimensions unless this is because it is in reality 2 dimensional. maybe this refers to other works such as the Water series?

My first reaction to Michael Borremans work is to feel slightly disturbed. The faces lack emotion and the figures are frozen in a snapshot of a movement. The china is smooth with a liquid surface like cheap figurines from an old fashioned fairground. On closer inspection I am impressed with the way he renders the shape of flowing fabric, a dress, a robe feel very solid. He has played with dimensions in work such as The Case, where the figure is less distinct in the distance, a sort of aerial perspective. Also in Tracy where the background shadows hint at rucked up background paper.  In The Louvre - The House of Opportunity the different sizes figures, smaller at the front, larger at the back, upset predicted perspective and create a tension in the picture.

Jim Shaw uses abstract lines swirling over a drawing to create depth in Untitled (Whole Dancer), 2010 and LeeAnn and Jim, 2012. In his Presence Sculpture series you have a 3 dimensional object with a 2 dimensional painting on the flat surface. This is not decorative art for pottery, the drawings and paintings have a narrative, cartoon figures or everyday household equipment and the 3 dimensional shapes are random and designed to display the pictures on them rather than the pictures being there to enhance the shape. This is 3 dimensional work that denies itself. I admire his draughtsmanship but don't understand a lot of the cultural references in his subject matter.

Angela Eames and Jim Shaw relate very closely to this project in that they were exploring new methods of creating drawings. I find it harder to see where Michael Borremans fits in but maybe that is because his work is just more traditional and subtle and less shouty, I guess he shows that you can still use traditional media to create new ideas.