David Cushway is an example of an artist connecting nature and art, bring parts of nature into the gallery space by creating casts of it. Cushway created a cast of part of the summit of Snowdon.
“I was commissioned to cast the summit of the mountain, an icon of Wales’ national identity. I went to the summit and cast a small section of it; from the cast I made a model in unfired clay. Housed in a glass vitrine, it creates its own microclimate, representing the climatic experiences of the mountain. The piece refers to the mountains origins, as it began as clay on the seabed, and through igneous and metamorphic activity over millions of years it became the mountain we see today” – David Cushway
This artist also references the fact that the art material he uses originated from nature something that I have been thinking about through my artistic practice. This artist’s work showcases an example of how you can create a connection between art and nature and is relevant to my work.
What is my place in the world?
Do I belong there?
Caspar David Friedrich – Monk by the Sea
Comparing it to a classical Landscape – Richard Wilson, The White Monk 1760-65
Caspar David Friedrich – Morning in the Sudeten Mountains 1810-11
How does Friedrich’s painting differ from wilsons? Colour palette, mood.
How do the painters think about religion?
Wilson seems more distant from religion than Friedrich. Friedrich is thinking of religion organising our relationship with the natural world.
In Caspar David Friedrich – Monk by the Sea – What time of day is it?
Written about as a lightless dawn. For the monk, the dawn isn’t important as it is for the pair on the mountain in the other piece.
Do you think that this place is real or imaginary?
It is a culmination of experience . Long flat horizon. Empty paintings.
Jan Van Goyen – View of Harlem 1646
Alternating pattern of light and dark, Colours lighter in the distance, more full of colour in the foreground. There is more cloud perspective than in friedrichs work. Friedrich’s is much flatter. Distance becomes flatter and more immense because there are no markers in it.
Mark Rothko 1969 – Is there still distance in this picture? Does it look like a place to you? There are similarities to Friedrich’s work. It is stark and there is a fluctuation between flatness and deep space.
There is a lot of fine detail in Friedrich’s Monk by the sea. It makes it look more like a portrait of the place. When you notice a painting has fine detail, you walk in closer to it. Having an intimate relationship with the work. The artist must be thinking about where he wants the spectator to be. The monk isn’t entirely resolved in himself.
What is the relationship between these figures and their surroundings?
Caspar David Friedrich – The wanderer above the sea of mist
The figure is taking possession of a view, dominating the landscape. He wants to be there and he is in control.
The Chasseur in the Forest 1814
The landscape is dominating the figure here, he has no horse, he is lost and not in control. He’s french, the forest is german. Friedrich is a nationalist. German land rising up against the french invaders. Vulnerable.
Francis Danby – Romantic Woodland landscape 1824-5
Will nature accept us? Romantics think of nature in a more psychological way than an ecological way.
Anselm Kiefer, Varus 1976 – For Kiefer, Germany begins with Slaughter in the forest.
Marina Neudecker – Things can change in a day 2009
Models in vitrines suspended in liquid. Does the vitrine intensify the situation or distance you from it? Like a cinema screen, they encourage you to project yourself into the scene.
How does a group rather than a solitary figure alter the confrontation with nature?
Caspar David Friedrich – Chalk Cliffs at Rugen 1818 – less vulnerable, more people – However, not a strong sense of communication.
As I am using organic matter within my work, I feel it is appropriate to research artist’s that do the same. Anya Gallacio is a British Artist. Much of her work uses organic materials, with fruit, vegetables, flowers, leaves, branches and trees all featuring in her work. Sometimes these materials undergo a change during the course their being exhibited.
Even though she is a sculpture and installation artist, her work is still relevant to mine as it has made me more aware of the fact that some forms of nature that I may use within my work may die and change the appearance of the work.
In some of Anya Gallacio’s works the natural course of transformation is stopped. Sprouting potatoes and broad bean pods, branches and whole tree trunks are reproduced in bronze, their lives prolonged indefinitely. This makes me think about how the sticks and leaves that I have found on the ground have been given a new lease of life and purpose being part of my artwork.
Referring to her work as inspiration for my own, I will continue to incorporate natural matter into my artwork. Her work is so confident and colossal that it makes me worry less about the outcome and think more about process and the organic matter than I am sticking onto the surface or mixing into my paint.
Many of Terry Setch’s works are themed around the coast near Penarth in Wales, where Setch is based. These works act as a witness to his surroundings, in the literal sense via the materials he uses and the layers he creates within them, but also in the wider issues his art works often raise.
“Setch is well-known for utilizing varying materials in his analysis and interpretation of the conflict between nature and society. His huge painted canvases are often augmented with materials and debris found on the beach, a combination of both man-made and natural matter. This contrast in itself creates a tension, raising questions on pollution, mankind’s apathy, the forces of nature in the weathered objects, inadvertently representative of demise. This juxtaposes the notion that there is new life in the objects used to create such histrionic representations of the world around us.”
Setch’s work is highly relevant to the ideas that I am looking at within my own work at the moment. His concepts include an approach to nature and he uses found objects within his work like Debris from the beach and natural matter. I have experimented with including natural matter within paint and I am going to embark on producing an abstracted Landscape painting containing natural elements within the paint and on the surface. Terry Setch’s work will be an interesting reference to refer to when producing work within the areas I am currently interested in.
Setch’s subject matter enables the onlooker to fully experience the world created within it, via the use of textured materials; such as encaustic wax, melted plastic and polypropylene, however it is not through realism, as his works require the viewer to suspend disbelief in order to fully experience what each piece evokes for them.
Similar to the work of John Piper, Setch’s Landscapes capture a sense of the place. They are highly interesting in texture and evoke the mood and atmosphere of the surroundings, to the point where you could imagine yourself being there. It is interesting to come across an artist where their abstract and less abstract works are relevant to the ideas I am working with and I am sure his work will influence my project highly.
Searching for artists that paint nature itself or mix it into paint as I have recently been experimenting with, I came across the work of Katharina Grosse.
“Grosse typically designs intricate but ramshackle constructions using mounds of dirt, found objects and fabricated abstract shapes in wood, Styrofoam or plastic. Once the tableau is in place, she dons protective gear that resembles a hazmat suit and wields an industrial spray gun. She moves through the environment—usually on foot, but sometimes on scaffolding or suspended from a crane—covering almost everything in her path with brilliant, saturated color. Occasionally, she coats the gallery’s furniture, walls, windows and ceiling, incorporating the architecture into the art.”
I am intrigued by the fact that the texture of the soil is highlighted because it is painted. This is also evident in my experimentation work. Visually I think this work is very fun and appealing, I feel it relevant to my work in terms of material and the concept of combining paint with natural objects. It inspires me to be confident in what I am doing and keep experimenting.
Within this Lecture, Jon Clarkson talked about the relationship that time can have with video art.
Camille Henrot, Grosse Fatigue 2013
On a computer Desktop. History of the universe, Within the piece, many different computer windows are opened showing different moving images. What shape is time in this video? Screens being independent pockets of time. Coherent within the window but unrelated to one another. Pockets of order within a greater complexity. The relationship between images becomes more difficult to determine.
Our everyday Model of time is Linear – Past, Present, Future. We also think of time as being circular but there is no reason why we shouldn’t use other shapes to describe the passage of time. In fact some shapes may be closer to our experience of time. We like to think of ourselves as moving through time while the world stands still.
Art is an area where alternative ideas about time can be explored. In video art, time is a necessary part of its content.
Laocoon 200 BCE – 70CE Drawn from a narrative. The sculpture represents one moment in time from that story. The moment where the past and the future can be inferred. The moment of maximum intensity. Making us read the story forwards and backwards.
Painters have an art of space and not necessarily of time.
CLEMENT GREENBURG – The notion that visual art is simultaneous. he has the idea that understanding modern art is instantaneous and you either get it or you don’t. Narrative art refers to time and requires time to be understood.
Giacomo Balla – Dynamism of a dog on a leash 1912. Not a single state, depicting a short moment in time. There is more truth in this image than if it was capturing a still moment of a dog walking.
Umberto Boccioni – Unique forms of continuity – idea of the body moving forward
Marcel Duchamp: Nude descending a staircase. Seeing the whole process and finding a way to capture the motion of the happening.
Jackson Pollock 32 – 1950
How much is it to do with the final picture? and how much is it to do with the process of making a painting? Jackson Pollocks paintings are direct. He usually paints on the floor on a large scale. So he can walk around the piece and work from each side and be in the painting himself. He uses mixed media as well. “a painting has a life of its own and I try to let it live”. The process of him creating is very rhythmical so is the picture the outcome or are the movements he makes a performance piece and the final picture a residue of the performance?
Robert Rauschenberg’s Pelican 1963 is an example of video being used as a documentary tool. We get iconic images from photography but we do not actually know what is happening and so video opens our eyes to it.
Joseph Beuys – I like America and America likes me… 1974
For a while not much happens, the artist is in a cage with a coyote. It is an incredibly long videoed performance piece but a very powerful photograph of it represents it. The image looks aggressive but the video shows it to be far more playful. At this time, performance was most known from still photography.
Yves Klein – A leap into the void 1960
Promoted a mythology about this performance but of course it is a trick photograph. Dishonest.
HISTORY 1: VIDEO IN ART
So far three topics have been discussed, The split between space and time, The notion of overcoming that and performance art and the residence left.
The history of video as an artform itself begins with Wolf Vostell’s German View created in 1958 as he was the 1st person to include a tv screen and video within his work.
HISTORY 2: VIDEO RECORDING
Nam June Paik – Zen for TV 1963 – video is being used here to record an event. His first video recorded the pope. A great break through.
HISTORY 3: FROM VIDEOS OF ART TO VIDEO AS ART
A movement happened to making videos that were themselves a piece of art.
Gerry Schum – Television gallery 1968.
David Hall TV interruptions – video as intervention, played between TV programmes with no explanation. Unaccepted and unexplained.
HISTORY 4: THE VIDEO PROJECTOR
Tony Oursler: Guilty 1995
Dolls with Pillows for heads with projected faces on them, creepy element.
Coo 2003 – a piece where the human face has been distorted by only taking certain parts of it and then putting them together.
SURVEY 1: FAST MOTION
The lecture continued to talk about ways that video artists have used time as their subject matter.
Sam Taylor Wood – Still Life 2001 – stop motion – traditional subject matter – time lapse.
Tehching Hsieh – one year performance 1980-1
Marking the passage of time – photo taken once every hour. Is this film really adequate to represent what the artist has done.
SURVEY 2: SLOW MOTION
Douglas Gordon, 24 hour psycho 1993 – a mismatch between your knowledge and the visual
Bill Viola – Ocean without a shore, 2007
Video screen on 3 alters. A sense of the people as aspirations. Alter being a portal to another dimension.
Pipilotti Rist – Ever is over all 1997
SURVEY 3: BACKWARDS
Mark Wallinger – Angel 1997
Footage played backwards – speaking backwards intentionally
Bill Viola – 5 angels for the millennium – figures leaving water.
SURVEY 4: CIRCULARITY
Pipilotti Rist – Be nice to me 2008
Produces a trace of the body
Yinka Shonibare – Un ballo in Maschere. – repeated, The whole thing is circular without time being reversed.
SURVEY 5: “REAL” TIME
Bill Viola – Nantes Triptych – Wife gave birth in the same hospital that his mother died in. Birth and death – in between is a self portrait – figure in water, what passes in between is kind of a dream.
Gillian Wearing – 60 mins silence 1996 – as the viewer, you are watching nothing happen and you are doing the same as they are doing.
Mariele Neudecker – Another Day 2000 – Real time used peculiarly. The same sun rising in one part of the world and setting in another. Planetary perspective. A view only technology could give you. Interferes with conventional time.
SURVEY 6: ABSTRACT TIME
Christian Marclay – The clock 24 hours 2010
You can tell the time from the installation but it is fictional. It is measuring real time but made up of extracts from fictitious films. A sense of time being abstract..
SURVEY 7: FICTICIOUS TIME
Ragnar Kjatansion, The end 2009
Mona Hatoum – Pull 1995
SURVEY 8: MULTIPLE TIME
Kutlug Ataman – Twelve 2003
Each screen is an interview with someone who has experienced reincarnation. A past that continues as a new form in the present.
Susan Norrie – havoc 2007
A culture being submerged by mud, videos of different angles and viewpoints and all displayed together.
This lecture has encouraged me to think about the concepts at work within a video piece and to not only judge it visually. When I go into a gallery and see a piece of video art, I tend not to try and work it out and if it does not appeal to me visually then I tend to disregard it. Now, I will be looking for some of the key theories that Jon Clarkson has talked about in this lecture and I am sure that it will help me understand new video and performance works that I come across a lot easier. Thinking about the concept of time and how it can be played with in video is a difficult thing to get your head around. Having it explained and thinking about whether time has been manipulated or changed in anyway has definitely furthered my understanding of video art. However, these notions of time do not only have to be applied to video art, and within my work I will now be thinking about whether there is any relevance to time in my work. I will also be thinking a lot more about how my items are created rather than just the creations themselves. I was really captured by the question of whether the artist making a painting could be a performance and the actual painting just residue of it and I am sure I will be revisiting this topic.
Whilst in London, I went to quite a few art venues and saw really great art and some not so great.
Anselm Kiefer – The Royal Academy
Anselm Kiefer’s exhibition at the Royal Academy was definitely the highlight of my visit. Not only was it visually incredible but it was relevant to the work that I have been producing too. The sheer scale of the pieces that I viewed in this exhibition was highly impressive. I have always been a fan of Kiefers work and I have never managed to see an exhibition of his until now. What I find most interesting about his w0rk is the wide range of media he uses and the unconventional mixed media that he mixed into the paint or adds to the surface of the work.
There are so many different textures and surfaces within his work and seeing it in person has really inspired me to be more experimental with mixed media and to maybe play with mixing unconventional materials into my work. I am highly inspired by the confidence of his work and I am hopeful that one day people could view my work and think it was bold and confident. Also, I am looking at nature and a connection to place and landscape surroundings and nature is a recurring theme in Kiefer’s work. I will definitely be revisiting Kiefer’s work in relation to my own.
Gerhard Richter Exhibition – The Marian Goodman Gallery
I went to view Richter’s work because of how much I am interested in it, more than for my project work. However, upon visiting the gallery I came across some photographs that Richter had taken and had painted on top off. This strongly links to the pieces that I have made where I have added abstract shapes on top of my own photos. I had no Idea that Gerhard Richter was interested in Photo Manipulation and so this was a valuable reference to my work.
Richter’s abstracts as always were visually interesting but I was very disappointed that there were no large works where he had dragged the paint across the canvas with a squeegee. I thought the glass effect with the paint behind definitely brought his work up to date and gave me a modernist feel.
Tracey Emin – The White Cube Gallery
I must admit that everytime I have been to see Tracey Emin’s work in the past, I haven’t been that impressed but this exhibition was completely different, I felt like she showed her true self, her experimentation and the things that she really enjoys doing and making. It was like looking into her artistic life and her drawings were incredibly gestural and influential.
What impressed me the most were her large scale nude embroideries. Mostly because I don’t really enjoy textile work or sewing, nor do I consider myself to be very good at it. However, Tracey Emin had used the thread to make marks to make up the body like a fine art ink drawing.
The Turner Prize 2014
In my honest opinion, considering that the turner prize is one of the most prestigious art awards around at the moment, it didn’t do the art world justice at all. If I was not a creative individual or studying art at all, I would have walked in there and thought the current art climate was very pretencious and have maybe considered the fact that art is no longer a skill that not everyone could do. I thought the variety of work was incredibly disappointing and definitely not explained well enough. After walking around the exhibit, I looked at the comments board regarding the turner prize and it was very difficult to find positive feedback which makes it clear to me that I am not the only one highly disappointed by the prize.
Visiting London was definitely incredibly worthwhile, I have never felt so inspired as I did walking out of Anselm Kiefer’s exhibition in the Royal Academy and linking Richter’s work to my ideas is incredibly encouraging. Undoubtedly, This trip will have an impact on my work.