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.
The Discomfort Zone exhibition was based in Three Doors Up, a space in the middle of Cardiff. A group of Level 5 students included objects and videos which made me really very uncomfortable and even cringe. As you entered the exhibition you were immediately hit by high pitch sounds and the disappointment that the so-called Buffett was in fact a piece of art – quite disturbing sandwiches and salads contained in jelly. The further you travelled into the exhibition the more uncomfortable it got because there were different features added for us to process. This made it difficult to focus on the work but develop a response from the audience which I think was an intension of theirs.
I really liked the way the artists made the exhibition interactive; there were many activities for everyone to do including popping balloons between someone, hitting a piñata and revelling secrets and confessions. This made me think about how I could make my work more interactive using my common themes of politic and social issues. The thought of installations are our of my comfort zone but I think in some way I could produce something using my themes and this style of work. Tracey Emin is another artist who produces socially interactive art so I will be looking into her art in more detail.
This exhibition has made me think about how certain behaviour i.e. playing with particularly body parts, changing sandwich fillings and scaring others can cause such a disturbance in our feelings. I thought it was very interesting how they used very common disturbances which would affect everybody. When talking to others in the exhibition as we walked around there were some mixed views; some really enjoyed it, some couldn’t wait to leave and others didn’t really know what to think of it.
Out of the three exhibitions we visited throughout the day this was definitely my favourite because it provoke a strong response from myself and my fellow class mates. This is relevant to my practice because I to create work to give rise to a reaction from the audience. My work tends to be political, social and emotional related which provokes thoughts of my audiences on the matter at hand. However, I have no yet explore installation art making the visual presentation of the work very different to my own style. The interactiveness of the exhibition was very interesting and helped me to understand the concept behind it. My response to the exhibition was light-hearted and humorous and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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.