I have written this blog as a research tool so I am able to refer back to the various artists in the list as and when I need to. I have, therefore, included links to all of the artists work that I was inspired by even if I have not written any further information about how I connect to their work.
Slick, flat paint
This along with the photo-realist artists I find hardest to connect to in terms of my own work. I chose Sarah Morris to look into further as I have been heavily influenced by the geometric sculptural work of Gego, and also by the accuracy within Julie Mehretu’s work.
SARAH MORRIS – http://www.sarah-morris.info/paintings/pools/
Sarah Morris, Pools – Coco Walk [Miami], 2003, Household Gloss Paint on Canvas, 289 x 289 cm
How does it make me feel? Light, free, upbeat. The colours and the use of the geometric pattern draw me in, entice me. It’s an invitation and I want to go.
Do I like the work? I do – there’s a real beauty to the balance of the shapes – the feeling of space and the harmony of the colours.
What does it remind me of? It reminds me of Gego’s sculptures – the intricate geometrical patterns, the depth in space that they inhabit. The divisions in the piece also remind me of some of Richard Diebenkorn’s work – this piece evokes the same sense of calm that I felt standing before some of his work.
What about the composition? The piece is divided into three sections vertically and four horizontally. The white line that divides the first two columns brings my eye from top to bottom of the piece and then rests centrally because of the diagonal divisions. The larger negative space in the third column adds balance and a pause for contemplation.
What style is the work in? The work is abstract – it feels more of an innate response – it connects the viewer into something deeper than the literal.
What colour palette has the artist used? The colours are bright and harmonious – to reflect the location of the piece perhaps? I imagine it to be a warm country, and I have the feeling that I am relaxing on holiday when I look at the piece.
What is the subject matter? As the collection of paintings is entitled ‘POOLS’ I am making the assumption that the paintings are about swimming pools. What interests me is the lack of water depiction. These paintings are concerned with the feeling of space, of emersing oneself in the experience of water in a particular setting. I automatically think of David Hockney’s paintings that contain swimming pools – these are very different, they are about looking at the water, observing how it looks, what patterns and textures reveal themselves.
What’s the significance of the title? It seems an unambiguous title for the group of paintings (Pools) – however, when I search online for Coco Walk I find it is a venue to ‘shop, dine and unwind’!. It is described as such:- “The iconic CocoWalk, located in the heart of Coconut Grove, Florida is Miami’s ultimate destination for dining and entertainment. CocoWalk’s unique grounds and buildings were carefully designed to blend seamlessly into the surroundings of Coconut Grove, a bay side boating village.” This then gives me further background in understanding the painting beyond my own innate response and leads me onto further questions about the purpose of choosing such a location for this particular painting and what the connections to the other pools are that she has painted – is there a political comment or an underlying challenge with these works?
What medium has the artist used? – household paint – creating flat surfaces, even colour, helps create uniformity – and the depth is created with the use of the geometric form as well as the placement of colours rather than variations within each colour itself.
What’s the date? 2003 – on noting this I wonder who else is working with household paint at this point – Gary Hume is and is also paring down, using elements of abstraction and flat colour. Ian Davenport is also using household paint and working in an abstract way.
What about the support? The series are all painted on canvas – all in a square format.
Other artists that inspire me from the list:-
Ian Davenport – http://www.iandavenportstudio.com/artworks/
I particularly like the ritual element involved in the production of Ian Davenport’s work. There is such precision and beauty within each piece – for me it is like surrendering to a process – somehow the act of preparation and creation in Davenport’s work is like alchemy, the sum of the parts are far greater than the whole.
Jane Callister – http://www.artnet.com/artists/jane-callister/
I like Callister’s work for the unusual colour combinations and spontenaiety within the flow of the images. I am intrigued by them – they look to embrace the element of chance, however, there is a distinct air of control – how has she achieved two seemingly opposite ends of a spectrum within her work? I am interested in the process and how she has possibly learnt to control what at first appears random behaviour of her medium.
Beautiful simplicity – and by simplicity I mean the clean clear use of colour. The graphic style of image is not something I feel moved towards in my own practice, however, I am inspired by Alfred’s use of colour combinations, his ability to embrace negative space and the way each image has room to breathe – I am also interested in them as a printmaker – the possibilities of producing this kind of clean image with screen prints or lino. Unfortunately the website has no obvious way of finding out about medium used, size etc etc – something I will have to investigate further.
Loose thin paint
I find Annie Kevans and Cathy Lomas particularly inspiring. Their use of colour palette and thin paint is a style that I would like to learn. They also produce incredibly poignant pieces – so much is said without a multitude of marks – the editing and use of negative space is something I can start to apply in my own work. These are probably the two artists that inspire me the most, along with some of the work by Chantal Joffe.
ANNIE KEVANS – http://www.anniekevans.com/#!art/c1n0f
girls, 2006 http://www.anniekevans.com/#!girls/tkqy6
How does it make me feel? Disturbed, sad, wistful.
Do I like the work? Very much so. the translucent use of paint is something I aspire to be able to do. There are no unnecessary marks – everything within each piece is poignant.
What does it remind me of? fashion magazine shots – particularly seductive ones, which is why this series of portraits are disturbing to my mind – girls that have lost their innocence
What about the composition? Each piece is uncompromising, there is no way of not being engaged. The gaze of the figure stares at the viewer intensely. They are almost beseeching.
What style is the work in? The work is figurative, but utilising the delicacy of translucent layers of colour.
What colour palette has the artist used? They are almost monochrome with touches of colour – as a series they work together well as the same colours are used within the set
What is the subject matter? Girls that have been successful in the media, such as Britney Spears. The images are sexualised – whether by the type of gaze, the girl wearing lipstick or her posture – the undertone is subtle but nevertheless intense
What’s the significance of the title? the title itself is challenging – these are all girls but they have been objectified and presented by the media (and, therefore, here) as sexualised individuals. They are no longer seen as innocent children.
What’s the date? 2006
Why do I like Annie Kevans’ work? As with Cathy Lomax, the use of thin paint washes and such succinctly described figures is something I aspire to. I struggle to bring negative space into my work – there is too much noise and Kevans is the epitome of the expression of a pure essence of a person – with as minimal number of marks as possible – and yet the paintings really look like the subject they are depicting. I want to understand how to do that – how to pick out the essential elements of a person to be able to capture them so sparingly. And that reduction in mark making adds more power to what is in the image – there is nothing there that is superfluous.
CATHY LOMAX – http://www.cathylomax.co.uk/pages/year/2015/2015.html
Opening Night, 2015 http://www.cathylomax.co.uk/pages/year/2015/OpeningNight/intro.html
How does it make me feel? Amused, challenged, questioning.
Do I like the work? Very much. I like the subject matter and also the way she has depicted the women. ‘Virginia’ is challenging me to dare to judge her. I also like the fact that the paintings in the series are inspired by a piece of writing in a magazine – this itself opens up a possibility for me as I intend to use magazine images for all of my found images and I wonder whether I could also use the writing from one to create some work.
What does it remind me of? 1950’s stereotyped women – but they are all presented in unexpected ways, they are the antithesis of what the ‘typical 1950’s Mom’ would be.
What about the composition? It feels as if the viewer is looking in, peeping at the women in the paintings. There is a secrecy to them – the composition very much creates that energy – we are voyeurs looking in at behaviour that doesn’t fit within the social ‘norm’.
What style is the work in? Figurative, thinned down paint washes. Lots of editing out, negative spaces to balance out the poignancy of the figure.
What colour palette has the artist used? Minimal, skin tones, black, white, blue, red.
What is the subject matter? Women, snapshots – moments captured in time
What’s the significance of the title? ‘Virginia’, ‘Myrtle’, ‘Gena’ – naming the paintings after the subjects in them feels personal – it adds to the feeling that I am seeing something I shouldn’t
What’s the date? 2015
What about the support? Oil on paper, 30.5 x 41
My response below to ‘Screen Magnetism’ and to ‘Virginia’ – some are drawn simply looking at the image and not the page.
Why do I like Cathy Lomax’s work? It appeals to me intellectually – there is humour in her messages, however, serious the message. She presents her work in interesting formats – eg. ‘Love Cubes’ and cites the magazine ‘Garageland’ as her inspiration behind the work ‘Opening Night’ – I have ordered the magazine via her website but have yet to receive it – This connection to the magazine intrigues me and is something I imagine incorporating into my own work.
I am also really impressed by Cathy Lomax’s use of thin paint – the ability to paint in such a pared down way but so succinctly – all the information that you need is there – it is something I need to assimilate into my own work. I need to work on my understanding on how to do this.
Eleanor Moreton – http://www.eleanormoreton.co.uk
I like the subdued tones and thin paintwork in Eleanor Moreton’s work. The images seem whimsical or mystical. They speak to me of possibilities and dreams. Interesting application of paint – more blocks of colour, also interesting choice of colour combinations.
Chuck Close – http://whitecube.com/artists/chuck_close/
I don’t find myself moved by many of the artists in this section. However, I am in awe of the skill required to produce this kind of work. It is a meticulous and dedicated way of working – and the commitment of Close shines through in all his work.
Robert Priseman – http://www.robert-priseman.com/projects/fame/
I was really interested in the ‘Fame’ series of work – both intellectually deep and presented in an interesting and unusual way. It is described on his website as follows:-
“Curated by Tony Guerrero, this project comprises 100 damaged religious icons from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, bought from e-bay and over-painted between 2011 and 2013 with the portrait of a twentieth century celebrity whose life has ended in early death through self-destructive life style or suicide. The process of over-painting seeks to mimic the replacement in contemporary culture of faith with fame and saints with ‘stars”. (link above)
This kind of context for work really fires my imagination – it makes me want to find a way to bring comment into my own process, to find a way to have meaning and purpose behind the work I produce. I also, again, like the connection this series of work has with the written word (as with the Cathy Lomax piece mentioned above) and I will be reading through the long PDF available on Priseman’s website about the ‘Fame’ paintings and will write notes accordingly.
Black and white
Gia Edzgveradze – http://www.artnet.com/artists/gia-edzgveradze/past-auction-results
How does it make me feel? Free, inspired
Do I like the work? Very much – there is a freshness about the piece
What does it remind me of? the sculptures and prints of Eduardo Chillida, also the work of Alexander Calder. It is the energy and space around each of the marks within the painting that brings me to make this connection – the balance of the positive and negative, the black and white.
What about the composition? There is something exquisite in the placement of the marks and colour – it is balanced but not dull, indeed there feels to be a lot of life within what appears to be a simple image.
What style is the work in? Abstract – very much done in a drawing way
What colour palette has the artist used? only black on white – it is pared down and reflects the balance in the piece
What is the subject matter? No idea! The title says ‘Meeting’ – i can only make assumptions – what was abstract now becomes strangely like looking at someone’s desk – is that a pair of scissors and an exclamation mark?! No, I don’t want to go there with this piece as I preferred it without any reference to normal life!
What’s the date? 1988
What about the support? Oil on canvas, 150 x 169.5cm
Why do I like the work? because it has lots of elements of the rawness of drawing. There is also the ritual of repetitive elements within some of the work, reminding me of artists like Joseph Pentheroudakis. There is also a reflection of Zen-like qualities – of the spiritual, of yin and yang.
Colour and pattern
Peter Doig – http://peterdoig.mbam.qc.ca/en/gallery/
Édouard Vuillard – https://www.artsy.net/artist/edouard-vuillard
DANIEL RICHTER – http://www.artnet.com/artists/daniel-richter/
I like the print-like qualities of Richter’s work – there is something dark and challenging about them – perhaps surreal or other-wordly. They challenge me – I can’t say exactly why but I am uncomfortable taking them in. Having said that I am want to keep looking, to try and understand what the message is – it feels important.
DENIS CASTELLAS – www.deniscastellas.com
(image number 6 in ‘Paintings’, then ‘Selected Works’) Oil on canvas 2006, 230×190 cm Private collection
How does it make me feel? Disbturbed, amused, intrigued. I want to know more – it piques my interest.
Do I like the work? Yes – there is darkness and humour – I am interested in the way that the figures are depicted in three different ways. It disorients me, and I then see there’s also three almost abstract figures in the background too. I wonder where I am – I’m high up, looking down at the figures. I want to know what they are doing and why I am there.
What does it remind me of? It makes me feel I am spying, trying to observe surreptitiously but the third person has caught me out – it is interesting that she has been painted in most figurative way – she is the person I, as the viewer, am meant to connect with the most. She holds my gaze. She challenges me.
What about the composition? Again, another piece that has lots of negative space – there is no extra noise to distract from the figures and their purpose. The angle – the viewer being poised above the gathering – adds intrigue and is a little disquieting.
What style is the work in? figurative but in a slightly linear, abstract way.
What colour palette has the artist used? skin tones, greys, white, black, outlines in red, yellow – it is muted with elements of colour.
What is the subject matter? A gathering of people, perhaps a meal, is it social? What are they grouped there for?
What’s the date? 2006
What about the support? oil on canvas, 230 x 190 cm
Cecily Brown – http://www.gagosian.com/artists/cecily-brown
Really interesting abstract work – and yet I find it difficult to connect with. Perhaps it is something I need to revisit and see what emerges.
CHANTAL JOFFE – http://www.victoria-miro.com/artists/19-chantal-joffe/
black sleeveless dress, 2005
How does it make me feel? It is amusing and challenging in equal measure. The woman has a strange look – is she up to something she shouldn’t be. I particularly want to know what her obscured left hand is doing. Is it hiding something? Am I a witness to something or is she with someone and her gaze is directed at that person?
Do I like the work? Yes, because the longer I contemplate the piece the deeper it becomes.
What does it remind me of? Witnessing a secret act, or being part of an illicit act.
What about the composition? Being slightly raised makes me feel I am standing looking down at the woman, although she has strength and the position does not in any way diminish that. In fact, it feels as though she is the one with the power in this piece. It feels like she’s in control.
What style is the work in? Figurative, simple, areas of abstract representation in the background.
What colour palette has the artist used? skin tones, black, greys, small amount of blue. It is subdued but not dull or dark in any way.
What’s the significance of the title? ‘Black sleeveless dress’ – it adds connotations of context by mentioning the dress, which in itself is far less than significant within the play of the image. It opens up a dialogue about what the woman is doing/about to do.
What’s the date? 2005
What about the support? oil on board, 183 x 183 cm
Having bought a copy of P2 I used one of the Chantal Joffe pieces to produce some responses to her work. When I first looked at her style I imagined that it would be easy to replicate but having tried it was completely the opposite. To be able to pare down the use of colour and marks was incredibly difficult for me. The simplicity turned out to be highly complex and an area of painting that I am not familiar with. Again, her work reminds me of my need to start editing out – to start being able to draw something with fewer marks, to practice my observational drawing so that I can start to see what it is that defines a person’s looks so that I can start translating them into my own work.
(I tried a variety of responses, painting a sketch, sketching with pencil and charcoal and the final two pieces were done not looking at the page to produce a response that wasn’t related to copying in the same way).