The last three years have been quite a journey. I have developed as an artist and as a person. I have experimented with so many different ideas and media which has built my portfolio and shaped my personality. Using so many different media including wood, metal, painting and ceramics but, I am so glad to have come back to the materials I have always loved, charcoal. My work has come back to the body in someway of another in most of my projects but, this last one has been the best. I have been able to express so much through it. Especially the last few months with such disruption in the world, I have focused so hard.
I couldn’t even suggest the most enjoyable part of my degree. It has been quite a rollercoaster with so many ups and a few downs. I cannot express the emotions and pride I am feeling for myself. Thank you to my tutors for your support and guidance.
I am so excited to start my next journey into Art Therapy and continue my practice as an artist.
In my current work, I am exploring gesture and body language, in particular I am interested in hands. I feel they are not always recognised as a powerful expression of emotion however, they have such a strong ability to do so. Hands can be a physical communicator of thoughts and emotions despite what the mouth might be saying. They are able to reflect conscious and subconscious thought through both intentionally expressed and automatic responses.
What is it about hands that make them so expressive? They move freely with the voice and the rest of the body; they are at the forefront in conversation. Hands can convey anger, can be pacifying, questioning, conciliatory and much, much more. The gestures illustrated in my drawings are powerful enough to convey emotion without verbal explanation. The monochrome effect of charcoal on white paper is dramatic and intense, and focuses the eye on the structure and pose of each hand.
My body work consists of charcoal drawing and video. These media combine contemporary technology with traditional materials to explore a genre that has been relevant in Western Art Canon and Cultural art practice throughout history. They are an ideal medium to explore the variety and versatility of gestures that reflect body language and emotion.
Life Drawing and Figurative Drawing Classes:
- Rubicon Dance School Class
- Charcoal Large scale Drawings
- Time Lapse Experiment
Charcoal Artist Research
- William Kentridge – Charcoal artist
- Alison Lambert – Practice and Inspiration
- Egon Schiele’s Hands
I have researched a range of different artists and platforms in reference to how I should curate my work. ArtSteps has provided me with ideas of how to use the platform and how other artists have used it. Some of the exhibitions have used the template layout and others have created their own space to place their work. It is clear from this platform that artists have used it for a long time but, it has been more active during isolation. Some student artists have used it as a method of showing their work but assessments. These different styles of exhibition have provided me with an array of examples to work from.
Blog talking about ArtStep exhibitions I have researched into
The artists I have looked at include Yvonne Rainer and Pablo Picasso as reference because they use similar media to create and display their art to what I am hoping to do. Rainer uses a projector to display her work on the wall in the Raven Down Gallery, London. The work is not displayed in a cinematic but on white walls in a boxed area. I felt this curation was very clever and suited the exhibition because by closing it off from the rest of the work, this piece becomes isolated and different from the rest.
Picasso and Paper Exhibition, Pablo Picasso, Royal Academy of Arts, 2020, Film Art
Yvonne Rainer Exhibition, Raven Row Gallery, London, Film Art
‘How to make a great exhibition’ by Paula Marincola references different arguments as to the importance of curation. Some suggest curation becomes part of the artwork and that the relationship between the viewer and the art itself is a key part of the display. Others talk about the importance of exhibitions simply having a purpose of display art and artefacts for viewers to see. These factors, I believe are both important in curation because as an artist who displays their work, the way the viewer engages with the artwork is just as importance as the exhibition being a way of viewing said art.
The drawings I am exhibiting in my work will not be framed because the torn edges are part of the pieces. I have researched into the way Alison Lambert and Williams Kentridge, two charcoal artists I have been using in reference to my art. These artists although not part of the exposure module and the inspiration, they still have a reference to how I should exhibit my work because of the media they use. Referencing these charcoal artists through how they exhibit their work has helped me with mine as a young artist.
As well as these artists, I have researched how hanging art which cannot be framed is the best way to display it. Many small artists have suggested on chatrooms and Pinterest that hanging the art from the ceiling or a beam is a great alternative to fixing it to the wall. Many exhibitions including the ‘Boys at Home’ by Girls Exhibition in the Library Space at Battersea Park is a great example of this. The art would hang just touching the wall or could be hanging in the middle of the space. By hanging art, you are giving the art a floating presence in the room rather than it being fixed to the wall which could give it a stiff harsh feel.
You can see on individual blogs the full details of each artist and one on the ArtStep exhibitions and their relevance to my work and exhibition.
What went well in my assessment:
My assessment was a great chance for me to sit with my personal tutor and talk about my work. I felt I was able to hear myself talk about my work which means I could clearly see what I was thinking about. I have
My tutor was really interested in my work especially my hand drawings. The intensity of the compressed charcoal and the ripped paper are really working for my idea. The collage I started was not so loved by her because she felt although the way I was distorting the body was interesting, it wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing with the charcoal and the coloured paper. Although, I have enjoyed the collage, we both agreed not to abandon my hand drawings.
Feedback on the hand drawings:
The feedback on the hand drawings was a lot more positive than the collage. My tutor especially liked the way the first hand in the hand sequence is finished on the ripped paper. I totally agree with this comment because I feel the connection between the ripped paper and the crawl movement completes the work in itself.
What to take forward with this feedback
The artists I have looked at are relevant to my work through materials and the concept of my work however, I have only used one contemporary artist so I need to look into a few more. Davida has given me an artist relevant to my work but I will be looking into a few more to broaden my knowledge and portfolio of artists.
In terms of my work, I need to look at the relationship between the hand itself and the drawing. I will start to build a portfolio of drawings of hands in different positions and even draw the hand drawing. By doing this I will being to build up the relationship between the two. Also, I was advised to used different materials to charcoal was depending on the image in the drawing, the charcoal can be too intense and heavy. She recommend I begin to think about the material I am uses for each study for example, use a lighter amount of pencil or charcoal for a gentler study and keep the dark intense charcoal for the more aggressive studies. By doing this, I am creating that relationship between the image and the gesture.
As a Fine Artist, I focus on exploring the body and human existence. I mostly look at the body anatomically rather than conceptually. I have study life drawing and working with dance schools to explore the body and how it can be distorted in order to express oneself. I have explored the idea of our existence in a range of ways including, the universe and societal issues of body shape and anorexia.
My current work looks at the hands and how they can express emotions. I am interested in the way hands can reciprocate the different states of mental health. I am working on a portfolio of hand drawings of different positions and movements. I am using my own hands because I want to explore my own state through my hands and how I see myself. Along with this, I am almost exploring movement through the continuation of life drawing and attending dance schools to record the dynamics of the body. These studies, both hands and life drawing are being incorporated into collage using other coloured paper and old work found around the studio.
I am fascinated by the way the body moves naturally in day to day life but I want to look at how we can purposely distort it through collage by changing the shape and contours of the figures in the drawings. The purpose of this is to create a piece of art which combines the ideas I have has with my drawings along with how I want to distort and create my work.
What have I done well in my essay?
My dissertation is an interesting subject because the definition and ideas behind it was still somewhat unknown and there are many approaches which can be explored to try to find an answer. Many psychologists have expressed their own ideas based on the knowledge already known as well as their own experience of the subject. I was really interested in investigating a range if different psychologists and explore their approaches because it would help to broaden my own knowledge of the topic. It was really interested especially the views of Kramer and Naumburg because of how they perceive art therapy. Whether ‘art is therapy’ or a factor under psychotherapy is a debate which I have investigated in my dissertation because they are two views which present different ideologies. Each idea is bias to itself but having looked into them I believe they both hold strong factors which strengthen the definition of art therapy. The broadness of the definition is what I believe makes art therapy a fascinating subject to have picked for my dissertation. I wanted to explored a range of psychologists including the two above as well as Sigmund Freud and Elinor Ulman. The really interesting part about most of these theorist is, they are also artists who have either experienced the ‘powers of art’ or have seen the effects all those around them. The different experiences and study range in all ages, abilities and cultures which makes the subject more diverse.
As well as exploring these ideologies from psychologists, I also wanted to explore past and present artists who have suffered with mental illness and had/have evidenced it in their work. The reason for this chapter of the dissertation was to give evidence for the subject and to explore the different ways different artist have express their feelings and emotions. I wanted to include real examples of the topic and provide some supporting evidence for the different uses and ways of showing it. Their artwork paints a picture for the audience and conveys a range of emotions. I think this is interesting because it is evident in the work where they gain their inspiration from and how they are trying to make said inspiration visual. The visual depiction helps the painter, sculptor, to create the emotions and to almost give them an identity. I decided to used four different artists in the piece, past and current artists because I think it gave a wide enough variety of different people with totally different experiences. Van Gogh simply conveyed his mental state at the time in his paintings and choice colours, tones, shapes within the painting which he felt were right at the time. Tracey Emin however, using art as a reminder for her reckless antics in her life. The reminders are not there to bring back that moment on time but to express the importance of remembering the good and the bad times in your life.
What would I do in the future to improve my essay?
I want to continue exploring the subject by researching more psychologists, art therapists and artists who may not necessarily express they are using art as therapy but, who I think could be. I will also be carrying out work experience which will help me to understanding the subject more and have first hand involvement in a therapeutic setting. In the future I want to research the work of Naumburg and Kramer because I believe their different approach hold interesting and very relevant ideas. This will also open me up to more researchers and expanding the knowledge on the topic. By obtaining more information, I feel it will help me with different clients and enable me to adapt my guidance depending on the client. Whether I want to approach the client in a more ‘psychotherapeutic’ way or to focus on the idea that the art making itself is therapeutic. The more detailed exploration of psychologists will help me in the future with my own career and give me the base line to potentially publish my own ideas which could be the basis for someone else.
Updated Artist Statement
- Large Scale Drawing
2. Life Drawing/dance class
3. Drawing with both Hands
- Alison Lambert
- Francis Bacon’s Life Drawings
- Francis Bacon’s Life Drawings
- Morgan O’Hara
As a Fine Artist, my work focusing on the exploration of human existence, looking at it anatomically as well as conceptually. I have explored the idea of our existence in a range of ways including, the universe and societal issues of body shape and anorexia but currently, I am looking into the expression of the human body through movement and distortion. I believe distorting the body enables you to truly see it. You need to look deeper, really seeing the body.
My current work looks at different anatomic parts of the through through the use of charcoal. Currently, the large scale static charcoal drawings I am producing are helping me to explore the physically and strength required by myself to produce such pieces. Along with this, I am almost exploring movement through the continuation of life drawing and attending dance schools to record the dynamics of the body.
I am fascinated by the way the body moves naturally in day to day life but I want to look at how we can purposely distort it to expose more and to begin to question emotions within the movements. Our bodies move, distorting our shape and contours forming interesting positions. I used charcoal and chalk in mist of my work because with the use of long fluid marks, you can begin to form movement in the work.