Throughout my education I have used collage and texture in different ways to create a range of artworks. However, I never felt totally content with my work because it was very heavily influenced by my tutors and didn’t reflect my personality. The consolidation project gave me the opportunity to explore different types of collage including mosaic, combining image and painting and textural works. This project allowed me to work the way I wanted because there were no boundaries and specifications like in school.
I decided to focus the development of my final outcome of the consolidation project on collages with a variety of different materials to create excitement and texture. As my theme was exploring female equality in history, I wanted my work to be textured but also have photos documenting history to give context. I decided to develop my skills of collage through this and used image, paper and paint to do so. Before focusing on my theme I produced collages with different themes and ideas to see how the collages turned out when uses these materials and techniques. This exercises helped me with my composition of the collages and how to create the right mood without overwhelming the work and covering up to much of the imagery. I focused on consumerism for the experimental’s, especially food consumption, because it was relevant to my constellation subject and has become something very important to me. I would like to explore and research this issue more throughout my degree. I wanted my collages to form a response from the audience as well as raising some awareness of the matter at hand, so I made the collages heavy and used a lot of red paint to create a harsh mood.
I feel my collage skills and techniques have improved through this project because I have been given more freedom to work in my own way and to explore and interpret the themes independently. My tutor gave us basic techniques which I feel I have bought on and developed into my own work. In the future, collage is a method of working which I may use because, it creates a busy interesting piece with lots imagery and emotions for the audience to look at and respond to.
Linder Sterling is a contemporary radical feminist artist who produced a range of very controversial art from the 1970s onwards. Her collages during the 70s and 80s included pornographic imagery of women along with images taken from domestic and fashion magazines. She combines the images to form a montage as a political statement. The work shows some of the things men would find desirable and attractive but Sterling has put them together to take away the attractiveness of them. I think the work is grimy. I do however, like the way Sterling has formed the montage because it takes highlights that what could be seen as desirable and take this away.
After experimenting with a range of different themes, styles and techniques, I came to the conclusion that I most enjoyed the create collage using a historical theme and using a lot of paint in the work. This is similar to the work of the Dada movement including Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns who use expressive brushstrokes and paint to create texture and abstraction to the work which is why I find it so interesting and engaging. As I was looking at the suffragette movement in the early 20th Century, I wanted to use red, oranges and dark blues along with black and white photographs from that time of protestors and the reaction of the public and police. Rauschenberg uses a lot of red in his work during the 1920s because this was a time where his work was much darker – representing the grim aftermath of the First World War and as I was focusing on a similar time in history I decided the red tones were relevant in my work. The red is surrounding the images of the protesting women because it represents the suppression and opposition they experienced when standing up for our rights and the hostile attitude of society. I mostly used a dry brush to form the expressive brush strokes to give a rough textural look to the work as well as dripping the paint down the paper to form a flow and some movement to the whole piece. I think the paint surrounding and integrating with the image brings the collage together and allows the audience to look at the whole time and limited the chance of a single focus point.
I want to continue developing and experimenting with collage and aspire to tackle political and social themes and views to create eye-opening and provocative art using paint and images. I want to continue the historical focus of the collages but also start to look at more current issues so I can use primary research and photographs. With big current news on Russia, the weather and Trump I have a lot of focus points for my work allowing me to broaden my own knowledge of current affairs as well as showing my views and opinions or possibly just give a sense of the atmosphere surrounding that news. I will be expanding my contextual knowledge by focusing on books and articles about the Dada movement and contemporary who have responded to it in the modern day.
I wanted to look at a few political events and issues in history so I started by looking into the suffragette movement because it something relevant to me as a young woman trying to make herself in the modern world which, wouldn’t be possible without their protests and efforts to get women the vote and begin the long journey to better pay and more freedom in society and the home. I am extremely interested in the work of Rauschenberg and Schwitterz, so I wanted to create some collages similar to their work. I am fascinated by the way they use images and items from the relevant subject and/or current time to give explanation of the topic as well as paint to blur and distort the images. This subject became the focus for my final piece but for now I wanted to experiment with a few other eras including the 1960s and 1990s.
The 1960s was an era of big change including black protests, the first landing on the moon and the development of music. Martin Luther-King and Malcolm X are the two famous personnel who protested for racial equality and integration however, there is a big difference between the two, Martin L-King was a peaceful protestor who preached to thousands of people to inspiration and change behaviour whereas, Malcolm X was a activist who preached violence and racism. I focused on American history for this collage because it has some interesting events and issues which arose – the assassination of J.F.K. and the start of the Vietnamese war so I decided to use reds and oranges when I was painted so represent the trauma and hardship millions of people experienced during this time. For the lighter events (music and landing on the moon) I tried to keep the overlaying of then paint to a minimum to highlight these events so the audience is able to see that there was still positivity during that time of opposition and sadness.
Rauschenberg is a collage artiestes who I am particularly interested in because he creates work which looks into a range of themes and issues. I am particularly interested in his work which look at political views included the work about J.F.K and the 1960s. During this time man first landed on the moon and J.F.K. was assassinated along with a number of other factors and events/. Rauschenberg has taken this events and collaborated them together to create a final piece. As the events aren’t exactly related, Rauschenberg has used paint to bring the images together to form one. The use of paint has also highlighted important parts of the work for example, J.F.K.’s pointing finger during one of this speeches – an iconic memory of the president.
I felt Rauschenberg was relevant because he used similar materials as I do in my work. The colours and images present in the collages represent a certain about of time in history i.e. the 1960s or 1980s. The collages are very busy because they contained a lot of imagery and are bright and welcoming. The artist uses the paint to draw the audiences eye around the whole piece and so they don’t focus on one area. This also means the whole collage is brought together to collaborate it into one artwork.
I started to look at a few collage artists who primarily use paint and shapes to form abstract expressive pieces, such as, Henri Matisse and Ken Kewley. Kewley uses the shapes to create figurative paintings which are mostly nude whereas, Matisse uses the shapes to create more comical and simple artworks. I think Matisse’ work is seen in this way because it gives a very welcoming feel. The work could be interpreted as hallucinations and a wide imagine making them also child-like. Matisse’ work is more random than Kewley’s because I feel he doesn’t necessarily try to create a perfect image but to form abstraction and expression. Kewley’s uses duller more nude colours in his figurative work whereas, Matisse has a strong sense of boldness when it comes to colour.
Henri Matisse Ken Kewley
I responded to these artists and their styles of work by experimenting with different shapes and colours which gave different feelings and views to the pieces. Triangles gave a dark grim feeling because the sharp edges made me feel uncomfortable and create some tension for the audience. For this piece I used darker colours and tones and made the background black to add to that grim edgy atmosphere because the background colour is the most dominant and really sets the scene for the audience. I also produced a few A2 size collages using squares and circles to create a more welcoming imaginative feel which created more flow and movement to the work. These collages had a lighter background (blues and greens) which again set the scene for the audience and made it easier to grasp the concept of the work especially for someone who may not have an artistic eye or really understand art. By doing this I am making my work more accessible for a range of groups and ages.
Many of the artists I looked at include different shapes in their work. They set the mood and atmosphere of the art i.e. triangles and other sharp shapes set an aggressive, dark mood to the work whereas, circles and squares create a more gentle mood. This was introduced in the early 20th century by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque who both use paint and collage to create a 3-dimensional effect.
Picasso is one of the artists I looked at who used these different shapes in his work. The colours used and the shapes in the image of the left below form a dark, depressing atmosphere whereas, the image on the right was a lighter more welcoming view for the audience. Picasso’s work is categorised under cubism which blossomed in the early 20th century and was part of the change and development of modern art. The work attempts to overcome the boundaries of flatness in paintings by layering materials or different paint tones to form a 3-dimensional effect.
I decided to take this technique and use it in some of my collage studies because I wanted to experiment with creates works depending on my current feelings.
Angie Grapevine is an artists I found on WordPress who creates poetry by highlighting certain words in a piece of text. She seems to enjoy jumping into a piece of text and blocking out and rearranging the words to form beautiful artists poetry. Grapevine talks about how you can get a newspaper or book and begin to highlight words which stand out to you. They don’t necessarily need to be ‘beautiful’ or make sense yet but you would be able to make interesting magical sentences using the most jarring words to you. This exercise is great for creativity and experimenting with typography and other types go word art.
I decided to use pages of text which relate to the topic of the collage and them pull out words to create sentences that are eye-opening and intriguing. This makes the audience look more deeply into the art and also maybe learn something. I have decided to use this method as a way of raising awareness on a subject or theme i.e. global warming, scientific development or current social issues.