While doing some research into using line as a way of representing the human body to exaggerate ugliness I came across a text on the National Portrait Galleries website about Lucian Freud. A quote on the page that was said by Freud caught my eye. “The simplest human gestures tell stories.” This is made obvious through the way Freud worked as he tended to exaggerate features in his portraits particularly. The use of thick brush strokes and dark sickly colours show an inhuman element to his portraits. This is an element which relates back to my own work and what I am trying to say.
For term 1 constellation I chose to look and study Mannerisms. During the term we looked at some sub categories, some i found more interesting than others. What I did like is that we briefly looked into 16th century art and more specifically Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. They changed the way power worked to a point as through artwork mainly Fine Art, one thing can evolve into another without any boundaries. What Michelangelo did was make man God by putting man at the front of the church, whether through paintings or glass windows. One point we looked at that really inspired me for my dissertation was when we looked at how both Da Vinci and Michelangelo wanted to show that there artwork was different and they could think for themselves rather than following what every other artist was doing at the time. Similarly to what I’m going to be talking about in my dissertation, Da Vinci wanted to show he could create his own style through how he worked.
When thinking about what I wanted to do for my dissertation I found it really difficult to find something that I would really enjoy reading and writing about. I started looking at the subject too broadly which left me with too much information, a lot I didn’t find interesting or relevant to what I was trying to get at. I also started looking to Indian art and culture to start with as I went on the Rajasthan trip with field. I came to the conclusion that looking at India was also very broad and I wouldn’t have had a very good judgement on where to start my research. This is when I started to look more into western art which lead me to my current idea. As part of my subject work I was looking at the human form and a painting by Picasso called Les Demoiselles d’Avignon 1907. I liked the unusual use of shapes and colours used to create a more rounded human representation. With this in mind I decided to look at how the human form is represented through artworks in two different periods of art history. On being the 16th century and looking at Leonardo Da Vinci in particular. He is a renaissance painter who painted relatively realistic figures and I wanted to use this as something to compare to Pablo Picasso’s cubic work. The other period is the early 20th century and looking at artists such as Henri Matisse along side Picasso. When I first started researching both 16th century and early 20th century art I wasn’t expecting there to be a link between my practice and my dissertation. When I tarted reading books for my dissertation proposal I ended up liking pieces of artwork and wanted to use them in my practice as well. Especially when it came down to Matisse’s artworks as he wasn’t an artist I was particularly fond of before researching his artwork further. Picasso’s piece Les Demoiselles d’Avignon was very controversial when it was first painted as it includes 5 nude prostitutes from a brothel in Barcelona. This painting suggests woman as more of an object to the man and used as a sexual object which is what the feminist activists were so annoyed about. I found looking into Matisse’s earlier cubic work really interesting as there was a lot of controversy about how his style represented the female form in particular. His work was seen by critiques and feminist activists as erotic and had a sexual meaning behind them which lead to three of his pieces being burnt, including the Blue Nude 1907. From reading books on Matisse’s work and his own notes written about his paintings I found that his work in his own words were a more rounded representation of the female form, including more than just the beauty of the female. He would rework the piece until he felt like it had a deeper meaning. The finished artwork would be a representation of his state of mind at the time. Which a lot of spectators and critiques took to be erotic and portray his sexual fantasies. I have also read a case study on psychoanalytical studies into the conscious and unconscious mind and how that would relate to an artist for example. Matisse for example may have been trying to represent his state of mind at the time of the painting consciously but there may have been an unconscious motive into how the painting ended up looking the way it did. Especially in some of his more erotic, disfigured works.
When it came to writing the proposal for the dissertation I found that the template which was given to use as a guide a bit confusing to use and had to get my dissertation tutor to explain parts of it to me before I could concentrate on actually writing the proposal. I found the fact the bibliography was in the middle of the template a distraction and made the essay come across as messy. I also found the background reading part hard to write 2000 words on as I ended up going into a lot of detail on some of the case studies I found more interesting but not going into as much detail on ones which didn’t have as much relevance. I feel like because I don’t have a finalised question for my dissertation title that it let me down as I had a larger range of reading material which not all will be relevant when it comes to writing my actual dissertation. It also made it hard to discuss my topic as I don’t feel like I’ve got a finalised title.
Part of final piece
My first clay attempt collapsed under the pressure of the joints before firing but now I seem to enjoy this piece more now that it is made up of separate smaller pieces. This piece from above seems to create a mixture of different sized stones that have tumbled. But from a side view it creates a miniature landscape. I also decided to coffee stain the clay sculpture as to take it away from directly being a landscape and giving it an almost human like structure. The gower project really helped me connect back to my earlier subject work of the human figure, and the use of landscape as a way of showing the human form is felt through this piece.
A mixture of stitched, choleograph printed and mono printed pages which was a turning point in my subject work. The stitched pieces I think work best and is what I am developing further with a meaning into a small stitched book.
With the idea of the human form in mind, Green makes the form abstract through displacement of limbs but also making it look like something else completely. I think this artist would be especially useful with my subject work as I’m trying to create a more abstract view of the human form using landscapes rather than just rearranging and enlarging parts. Green uses a lot of materials to make his models and this has inspired me to use more than just clay to create my models.
The way in which Damien Meade works is what linked my work to his. He is known for working in clay and other 3D materials then using them to create 2D works of art. During my field and subject projects I have used either 3D elements or rough 2D elements as a starting point before going on to create further 2D pieces. The idea of making something to then paint parts of it is a way of concentrating on something you may not have noticed if you had just painted from life. Ive found artworks that have come from initial research drawings first have been more successful.