The universe. We know more about it than we do our own oceans and yet it is still one of the most mysterious concepts. The Earth is hundreds of millions of years old and humans have been around for around 200,000 years. You would have thought with all that time we would know more about our universe and whats outside of the world. I believe there is definitely more out there than just us but what else there is is a mystery. I think with improving technology and the developing scientific knowledge of humanity we will be able to gain a better understanding of the universe. However, I do think the mystery of the universe is interesting and maybe we shouldn’t know everything about it.
Many artists have explore the concept of the universe through animation, painting, draw and film. As there is little information on the universe, the imagination plays a key role in the interpretation of space.
Vincent Van Gogh’s painting ‘Starry Nights’ conveys the nights sky from his asylum room. Van Gogh was a very unstable soul but he didn’t create some very interesting work. This painting [below] shows his imagination of the universe. During his time there was very little information of the universe and life outside of our world. The colours and texture Van Gogh creates, portray a portal to another universe… or could it be to another world. The imagination can be expressed so well through art whether its about something we know very little about or something we now much.
It’s a great feeling coming across an exhibition of your most inspirational artists in the Tate. Jenny Saville, Lucian Freud, Giaccometti along with many other artists displayed a few of their pieces based on the human body and human emotions.
Jenny Saville is an incredible contemporary painter who focuses on the body, its image, as well as portraying a grotesque piece for the audience to experience. I was always taught to always work from life, where possible, however, Saville does the opposite and always studies from images. She mostly works from her own body so photos are the easier option for this because her work takes a long time to create and her body will easily change positioning and angle. This does give Saville a disadvantage in the fact that she is working from the interpretation of the camera and not of her own eyes.
Jenny Saville Reverse 2002-03, Courtesy of Larry Gagosian
Lucian Freud, another contemporary painter similar to Saville, is an artist I’ve enjoyed the work or because he captures the body and emotion using a mixture of acrylic and oil paint. Although I am not a keen painter I am fascinated by his ability to express his personal feelings in his work. He experienced many truma’s during the Holocaust. You are able to see the prolonged effects of this in his work. I am particularly interested in his figurative work because they really portray a sense of disbelief and tiredness which I find very calming and peaceful.
Lucian Freud 1996, Sleeping by the Lion Carpet
When attempting to convey a strong emotion towards a matter or experience, the work does not have to be aggressive and harsh but can give the impression of boredom towards the ongoing affect.
Alison Lambert is a charcoal artist I have used throughout my Foundation year. I admire her work because she uses the charcoal so intensely to form extremely powerful ‘in your face’ artworks. The torn paper adds to the atmosphere Lambert is creating by giving it the feeling of deconstruction and reconstruction. This could be interpreted into the deconstruction of the face and how life experience and the challenges we face can cause this. Lambert uses a lot of compressed charcoal to create great amounts of tone and depth to the work. The charcoal mixed with the ripped paper forms texture and a grittiness to her artwork. The use of white pastel and compressed charcoal forms tones and highlight to create a 3D life-like piece.
Andrew Salgado is an artist I discovered when browsing the Internet for painters relevant to my idea and concept. I was lucky enough to visit his three day exhibition in London on June 2nd. The exhibition was small in terms of the amount of work but most of the paintings were large scale and very powerful. Salgado explains how he’s work challenges the “deconstruction and reconstruction of identity” as well as the conventions of painting itself. Salgado uses bright colours to challenge these conventions and as an act of the progression of painting from traditional methods into more contemporary styles. I think this makes the artists work ethnically, racial and sexually diverse because the colours and markings he has made give a sense of peace and love. Salgado has used both men and women in his work although the exhibition is called ‘nature boy’ which may give the assumption of an all male show. His work reminded me of the struggles of female equality and how our identity has been suppressed and ignored by men in history. The work is very noble and peaceful which could be related to my project of female equality because it is also monumental and a mark of triumph.
I decided to visited the exhibition in person because I feel looking at work in books and on the Internet doesn’t allow me to truly experience the it but, standing in front of it does help me to respond better and develop my own personal feelings towards the art. This is how I enjoy working – allowing the audience to respond to my work and develop an understanding in there own way. I focused on his painting of eyes (these weren’t present at the exhibition) because they showed a lot of emotion. I was inspired by Salgado’s work because he uses very expressive brush strokes which promotes the emotion Salgado is trying to capture. Throughout his work, Salgado uses colour to tone and highlight the features of the face and eyes. Rather than uses blacks, he has used blues, greens and reds to tone and some white along with yellows and pinks to highlight and sculpt the face. This keeps the painting warm and welcoming which is an aim of the artist according to his explanations.
Luke Roberts has responded to the idea of human life and how the human conditions is seen through both the physical experience and the emotions of a person. Roberts used oil paint to create texture and form a realistic depiction of the human skin. You are unable to identify each painting because they are all close up of the skin which creates abstract expressive work. This has also enabled Luke to form the emotion to the work and able the audience to see the representation of this physical life experience he is attempting to create in his own way. The paintings are mounting on the wall in a way which draws the audiences eyes across all of the artworks rather than just focusing on one piece. They compliment each other.
I am fascinated by Lukes work because he has used different thickness layers of the paint to form texture and materialisation. I find the pieces appealing and aesthetically pleasing because they show some emotion and are as though they contain a story or history. Roberts uses tone to produce a mixed mood and highlight that internal emotion associated with every person. Our emotions and life experience are what make us unique and shape our personality and character. Roberts is uses this to convey his own understanding and interpretation of this theory. I found this fascinating because as well as giving his response, Luke has allowed space for the audience to interpret the work in their own way. I believe this is a key factor in Fine Art because is challenges a concept or theory in a more expressive creative way.
The Women in Focus exhibition is a two-part exhibition. Currently, the first part is on display which focusing on ‘Women Behind the Lens’ which celebrates a range of female photographers throughout history and some pioneering female photographers in Wales. This exhibitions including the work of Clementine Schneidermann and Mary Dillwyn. The brief at the beginning of the exhibition gives the audience an outline of it to help them grasp an understanding of the work whilst exploring through the different works, themes and representations. The brief also stated that this exhibition is to celebrate the first stage of progression for equality – the right to vote for women in 1918. Over the last 100 years men and women have become more equal especially through the arts.
I was particularly interested in the work of Sian Davey’s who displays two pieces: Martha and Alice which were two series of photographs she produced. I mostly focused on the piece ‘Martha’, an artwork which involved 10 young women, the artists’ daughter and her friends posing with a range of attitudes and reactions to their exposure. I over heard from another visitor in the exhibition that Davey’s spent almost two years gaining the trust of her daughters friends for this photoshoot. I interpreted this photo a trust and confidence photo because you can see from the positioning of the girls and each of their expressions they all have different levels of security and willingness to be visible in it. When looking at this piece of art the question “What if it was a male photographer’s work?” comes to mind which would change the response of the audience and possibly make the work into an objectification piece. At first glance, the image looks as though the models are being exposed and documented behind the lens but, when you begin to look more closely at their expressions, you can start to see a softer, more insecure representation. This made me realise the work was not to objectify but to gain the trust of the models.
I feel I responded well to this exhibition because it conveys similar subjects as my theme of female equality and, made me question the common reaction it is getting as well as how it could be very different if the artist was male.
“Therapy is the treatment of a physical, emotion or mental disorder”. Art therapy is an up and coming form of the treatment to help individuals express their feelings and emotions. It is widely used for people with different types of mental illness including depression, anxiety and PTSD as well as behaviour and learning difficulties. Sitting down and talking about your feelings can be very difficult for some people because the questions can be very direct “Why do you think you feel this way?” “Where do you think the feelings originate from?” This can be very difficult for some people so, I believe using art to express those feelings can be very helpful because individuals can become more connected with their emotions which may help them to take control of their illness. Art therapy helps the person to use their right side of the brain more than the left side. The right side controls their creativity and art awareness and therefore the patient will learn to channel their emotions through this rather than overthinking and analysing the problems. The art may also help them to understand the cause and therefore learn to live with it and be in control.
Many artists today use art as therapy for themselves which you can see though their expression. Yayoi Kusama is a famous artist who had a trouble childhood with a “physically abusive” mother and father who had multiple lovers. She states she experienced hallucinations at a young age which is evident in her work. The poke-a-dot pattern originates from the hallucinations of talking flowers when she was a child.
Francisco Goya is another famous artist who is historically known for having mental issues. It is evident in his work because around 1819 they become very dark and disturbing. It is said that Goya experienced a nervous breakdown and question his own sanity which may be a reason for the torture paintings. They were found on the walls of his home – his personal space, the heart of his isolation – and I think must have given the founder and those who visited an insight into his mental breakdown. The paintings show only darkness which links to his mental state. There is no evidence that art therapy was used in this time but from his work I can take he used it in some sense.
As I have family serving in the military, I have strong emotions and connections with matter of depression and PTSD. After looking through much research and talking to Royal Marines I understand art therapy is becoming a bigger form of treatment in the military services. After my Fine Art degree I am hoping to get a work placement with a therapy clinic – the location is not yet decided – or with the Royal Navy, Royal Marines Charity who work with serviceman and their families to support in many ways. In order to do a Masters in Art Psychotherapy I am required to carry out at least one year of work placement in a relatable field or a significant mount of experience working with a range of ages and abilities. If I am able to work with the RNRMC I am hoping it will give me some great connections for my future career.