Thursday, 30 April 2009

5 days and counting until this project is handed in

This blog, which I actually started for my PDP work is supposed to finish on Friday (Handing in time) However, I have actually enjoyed writing things down and reflecting upon things I do in life and also being able to engage upon other people's Blogs and receive support back. Which means that I shall be carrying on with it.

Right back to matters in hand. I have been really ill since about saturday - Had the flu and the addition of an ear infection which had left me tired and unable to sleep, therefore not in a fit state to work the next day. Which has meant that I am fairly behind with all my work, I do not wish to delay the project and so will probably not per-sue an extension.

My main piece is started, I will upload a quick sketch but it is basically a portrait of the upper half of a woman (Side view) which will have various parts of the skeletal frame visible. At the moment I have decided upon the jaw bone, spine and hand to be bone.

One thing I am unsure of is how to display these skeletal parts. I am hugely interested in old medical pictures and anatomical drawings with all the latin words surrounding the drawings and I am contemplating developing my painting in a similar way. So far I have done the face and hat the woman is wearing - I am using Oil paints which I am very new to, so this is a challenge for me to begin with. However it is going better than I anticipated and I have had a couple of positive remarks on it so far, now I just need to finish it!

I painted a light background last night, I had originally wanted the board cut in an oval shape - much like the old style photographs -however as I have already started painting and do not wish to ruin this, I have decided to paint the background and darken around the edges to give the illusion of an oval.

My second painting which I have started is taken from a photograph which I have found in a medical textbook. The textbook itself has amazing photographs in it - colour ones of the human body. This particular picture shows the muscles of the face and even though I should feel disgusted by it, it just fascinates me entirely.

I am then aiming to combine ideas I have discovered through looking for artists who involve the human body and anatomy within their studies. Kate Street's work, in particular, excites me as she produces work wherein the subject is debatable. 
Kate Street’s botanically themed drawings play on bizarre taxonomies and classifications, creating new hybrid forms that simultaneously recall anatomical studies and mutated Victorian etchings. The Orchis series, which evoke an ancient Greek belief that orchids sprung from the spilt semen of mating animals, once again illustrates Street’s interest in notions of desire, longing, and the absurdity that often accompanies it. These considered drawings, which can be read as a beautiful Memento mori, reflect once again parallels between nature and artifice.

I wish to experiment with combining nature to my anatomical studies. However I wish to use larger parts of the body, not smaller parts which become entangled with the botanical drawings.

I believe that I have come to a good point within this project. I feel as though I have direction, which sometimes, for me, is quite hard to come by. Being such a short project, I believe, has made this achievable for me. Longer deadlines mean things become spaced out which means that often, the lack of pressure equals an inability to produce large amounts of work as I become lost in the project.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Lanchester Gallery Project

Well the last three days I have spent doing a group 'mini' project. The exhibiton has now all been put up in the Lanchester Gallery within the Graham Sutherland building. Just one group has yet to complete their pieces.

We were lucky to have been able to work with Ben Cove in order to produce the material for this exhibition. He asked us to research and make a piece of work relating to the city (Coventry) and exhibit it as a group show.

This was separate to our regular studio work and he wanted us to experiment and try something new. As we were only given 3 days for this project (one of research, one to make out piece and one to exhibit it) I did not want to create something too different or new so instead of changing media, I changed the subject of my piece. I am a people person (well I like painting people) so I thought I would try my hand at a more landscape piece. I did, however, wish to use a lot of found material I sourced on the internet. This material included old postcards, photographs and also, people's memories of their past in Coventry. These I found really interesting and wished to use them somehow. Then I found a photograph of the Cathedral just after it had been bombed so there was a lot of rubble in the picture - I thought it would be appropriate to tear up the memories and place them as the rubble at the bottom of the painting.

I am really happy with my idea but I felt that I just did not have enough time available to me in order to produce a great piece of work. It wasn't bad, it just didn't feel finished and definitely not ready to be placed in a gallery space. However, I do understand that everyone was in exactly the same position as me and so I'm going to try not to fret so much. On that note I shall upload a picture of the painting (not great quality - I was in a rush) and shall prepare for criticism :). I would just like to say that this has been a great opportunity to work with a practicing artist and being pushed to do something different has definitely helped my confidence in my work.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

New York, New York!

Well, my trip was amazing! I did all the usual site seeing. We stayed in a lovely hotel opposite Madison Square Garden so everything was walkable. We managed to walk everywhere, only resorting to getting a taxi home on one of the evenings - I blame the high heels I was wearing!

We were going to go on the boat trip over to Liberty Island but the queue was a few hours long and we just didn't want to waste that much of the day so instead we got the free Staten Island ferry and managed to get close enough to the Statue of Liberty to take a few pictures.

Times Square was simply amazing at night, to come home to Birmingham/Coventry is just, well, boring haha! I have decided that if I ever receive a large amount of money I would love to travel around America - In my dreams haha.

The Guggenheim was such an interesting building and the works of art on display there were fantastic. Unfortunately I was with my Mother who just does not understand art so she was just sat down - really! I would have loved to have been able to discuss things with a like minded person but there we go. 

This first image, a piece by Charles Caryl Coleman was the first to catch my eye in the Guggenheim. Absolutely beautiful and so intricate both from afar and up close. Something similar would be lovely as a backdrop for one of my portraiture pieces.

Abbott Henderson Thayer is another artist I discovered whilst browsing The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia. His piece which was untitled, I have unfortunately not been able to find on the internet at the moment =[.

Another piece which intrigued me was The Tramway by Mary Cassatt. Having done a bit of research on her I have discovered that she was given an invitation to exhibit with
 the Impressionists by Edgar Degas - surprising being that she was an American and only one of two women in the Impressionist group. This piece is so subtle yet it speaks so much to me. The colours are quite sombre yet there seems so much warmth in the image due to the tenderness between the baby and what must presumably be the nanny. I love the simple lines and block colours. 

Further Artists I saw to research further: Kenneth Callahan, Phillip Guston, Sam Francis, Timothy Leary, William S Buroughs and Brian Gysin.

I also went to the International Centre of Photography where there we
re two amazing exhibitions; Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, The Condé Nast Years and Weird Beauty: Fashion Photography Now. Both were interesting as I was viewing them both as a Fine Artist. I am not normally interested in 'Fashion' as such but these pieces were pieces of art in my mind. Not disputing the fact that the image serves to sell clothing and accessories, each piece was uniquely imaginative and amongst the photographers was one of my favourites, Cindy Sherman. 

Excerpt about the Weird Beauty Exhibiton taken from the official website:
"This exhibition, organized by Carol Squiers and Vince Aletti, will present the most innovative fashion photography of the last few years, from photographers who draw on a range of influences, including art, sexuality, narrative, digital media, and youth culture. It will also consider the impact of graphic design on the way that fashion photography is presented. Along with original photographic prints, the exhibition will feature hundreds of tear sheets and magazine covers from both mainstream and independent publications, by a range of photographers including Steven Meisel, Cindy Sherman, Mario Sorrenti, Nick Knight, Steven Klein, Miles Aldridge, Paolo Roversi, and Sølve Sundsbø."

Absolutely stunning images, I really did not have time to take them all in properly. I definitely must research a few of the other photographers and put the research in my log book.

The Edward Steichen Collection, again an excerpt from the wesite:

"An exhibition of 175 works by Edward Steichen drawn largely from the Condé Nast archives, this is the first presentation to give serious consideration to the full range of Steichen's fashion images. Organized by the Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne, and the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, Minneapolis, in conjunction with the International Center of Photography, the exhibition will open at ICP after an extensive tour in Europe. Steichen's approach to fashion photography was formative and over the course of his career he changed public perceptions of the American woman. An architect of American Modernism and a Pictorialist, Steichen exhibited his fashion images alongside his art photographs. Steichen's crisp, detailed, high-key style revolutionized fashion photography, and his influence is felt in the field to this day—Richard Avedon, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Bruce Weber are among his stylistic successors.

Edward Steichen: In High Fashion features the finest examples of his fashion and celebrity portraiture made for Vogue and Vanity Fair. Much of the exhibition is drawn from the Steichen Archive at Condé Nast, which contains more than two thousand original vintage prints. A select group of prints from the George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester will be shown only at ICP. Some of the images in the exhibition are well-known, iconic images in various histories of photography. Never before, however, have more than a modest selection of these prints bee

n exhibited or published. The exhibition will be accompanied by a book devoted to images from Steichen's Condé Nast years. The book's authors are William A. Ewing, Carol Squiers, and Nathalie Herschdorfer, co-curators of the exhibition along with Todd Brandow, and Tobia Bezzola. The exhibition is traveling to ICP after presentations in Paris, Zurich, Madrid, and Reggio Emilia, Italy."

Again, I just did not have time to properly appreciate each individual photograph, I did however purchase a small book of his works because although they are photographs, they feel like intense paintings. There is so much atmosphere and emotion in his photographs which I wish to gain in my artwork. I leave you with my favourite photograph from the exhibition: