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Part 3 Expanse

Part 3 Expanse

Project 3 Research point

In this research point, we were asked to compare contemporary artists working with landscape with earlier artists.

The example given in the course text was interesting and linked up with my recent reading of Margaret Davison´s book on contemporary drawing.

I liked the idea of comparing the works of Tacita Dean with Seurat because it made clearer to me the idea of INTENTIONALITY. Seurat was the first artist to intentionally make a drawing based on the surface/mark relationship (see his drawing above).

Tacita Dean´s blackboard drawings are large and her choice of medium dictates this as chalk would be difficult to manipulate on a in the same way on a smaller scale. Her subject matter works well in black and white – with the smooth matt support in black. She is able to use a full range of tones – the feel of her work is cold and stark – equal to the subject of the glaciers depicted. Other works in the series include waves and heavy seas – also cold and bleak – life threatening even. As in life one has to step back to appreciate their awe.

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Tacita Dean, Chennie Huang – Chalk on blackboard (Detail)

In comparison the work of Seurat is more intimate, warm even and made on a smaller scale – one would have to inspect the drawing up close to appreciate it fully. Less detail, impressionistic but with full range of tones present. Surface of the paper used is rough and is used to assist in his impressionistic approach.

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Georges Seurat, Factories by moonlight – Conte crayon on paper (23.6 x 31.2 cm)

In moving forward with this part of the course, I will need to think more carefully about my approach to intentionality, use of surface, scale and selection of medium to support and enhance the subject matter.

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Part 2 Intimacy

Project 3 – At home (Research Point)

Find contemporary artists who focus on domestic interiors and analyse their choice of content, medium, format, etc. Consider how their work reflects its context in terms of era, fashion, mood, current issues, and so on.

Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940)

This is an artist I wish to study more – I love his complex, tranquil, intimate interiors.

Edouard Vuillard drew and painted many interiors during the course of his career. Many of his drawings include a window – almost certainly for the effect created by strong sunlight entering the room as in the pastel drawing (above) – As well as a single or indeed multiple light source for the interior. I deeply admire his interior painting of people reading, taking breakfast (not a mobile phone or even a TV in sight!) – as in the oil painting below:

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Artists mother taking breakfast

In each of the rooms we are allowed to share in all of the intimate details of his home and his mother looking out of the window, eating breakfast etc.

In the painting of his mother taking breakfast, the busy table is balanced by the very decorative wallpaper, the open door/dresser and the wallpaper are counterbalanced spaces. The artist has used a limited palette to mantain harmony which has resulted in a very tranquil, quiet space. The subject is looking down at the table aparrently unaware of the viewer. A wonderful painting.

John Bratby (1905-1992)

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An image of interior with fireplace and window at Greenwich
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Interior with Monopoly board

These contemporary paintings by the British painter, John Bratby are busy and full of life – crowded spaces with recognisable items such as a woodburner, open fireplace, childs highchair and floral curtains. These rooms are on display with the viewer given a ‘circle’ seat from which to view the scene. The viewer is invited to see very nearly the whole room with all its clutter – the upper image displays living room, dining table, bed and what looks like a cooker in the background, whilst the lower painting shows us just the kitchen/diner with a person playing monopoly in the nude (was it a very hot day?)

Both paintings have used many triangles in the composition, along with strategically placed chairs.

Alberto Giacometti (1909-1966)

During the course of my studies so far, I have joined many other students wondering what defines a painting and what defines a drawing – Giacometti has very much blurred the answers to that question.

I will explore and investigate further Giacometti`s work in the next part of the course and in Part 4.

Studying the two images above it is interesting to note that in the LH drawing Giacometti uses darker lines in the foreground and lighter lines in the background to create depth, also the diagonal emphrasis of the table and other object to the front RHS draws the viewer into the picture, whilst in the RH painting darker tones are used to represent background areas with lighter areas in the foreground. Again there are diagonals in the placing of the stools and door frame/table legs.

Part 2 Intimacy

Research point – Positive and negative space

For this research I checked out the work of Gary Hume, Patrick Caulfield and also encountered the work of Elsworth Kelly (an American minimalist artist) who also created some interesting positive and negative artworks.

After looking at the work of these artists I decided to make some thumbnail sketches and ideas – copying and imitating their work.  See below:

After starting my thumbnail sketches – trying to imitate paintings by Patrick Caulfield – I realised just how difficult it is to make a satisfactory image – for me the RH middle sketch was my most successful.

I then made some more sketches from works by Ellsworth Kelly and Gary Hume:

 

Again it was very clear to me that these artists used their substantial experience and skill in the composition of their paintings and in their minimal use of colour. I will return to their work again when experimenting in my sketchbook and in the following still life exercises within Part 2.