For the Contextualisation Formative Assessment: I was asked to highlight the relevant contextual references/artists and say how they have influenced my work etc. I thought it would be beneficial for my own understanding and for this presentation to go through my contextualisation and do so.
Starting Point: John Piper – Rocky Valley, North Wales, saw it at the National Museum of Wales Cardiff.
I started this project by identifiying elements of landscape abstraction and mark making in Piper’s work and researched artists that linked to this like: Paul Nash, Frank Auerbach, Anselm Kiefer and John Knapp Fisher. I also looked at artists that inspired John Piper such as Samuel Palmer, JMW Turner and Richard Wilson.
John Piper painted Landscapes he had a connection with, mainly west wales which encouraged me to focus on a landscape close to me – The Brecon Beacons.
However, After reading into John Piper and Romanticism more deeply, my work was no longer simply about Landscape and abstraction. The era of romanticism saw an imaginative approach to landscape painting. Piper adapted more traditional forms of Landscape painting and wanted to capture an experience of being in a particular surrounding, the personalities of the natural objects and a connection with place and nature. This I thought was really inspiring, rather than just painting a flat image, trying to capture a sense of the surrounding and a connection to place and so this is what I started exploring in my work. I looked into the work of Graham Sutherland an artist with similar intentions who wanted to capture an ‘intellectual and emotional’ essence of a place”. This research helped to direct my project rather than just experimenting with inspirations from the starting point piece alone.
Romantics saw the importance of nature and were distrustful of the human world, and tended to believe that a close connection with nature was mentally and morally healthy. Graham Sutherland went on nature walks and collected fragments from nature that he would bring back to the studio to work from. This was the first inspiration for me going out and collecting natural found objects, simply starting out by collecting twigs to draw with. This is where I became really immersed in my work and rather than connecting my landscape work to place and experience I started connecting it to nature and the natural elements within the landscape.
My Research started focussing on artist’s that incorporated nature into their artwork physically. I researched artists such as Paul Schick and Naoko Ito which inspired me to use twigs physically in my work rather than just as drawing tools. Katharina Grosse‘s work emphasised to me the possibilites of soil and how the texure is highlighted when painted. Anya Gallacio highlighted the need to think about ephemerality.
I have never been so inspired by an exhibition as I was after Seeing Anselm Kiefer‘s Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art. It physically showed me the possibilites of adding unconventional material into the surface of the canvas and mixed into the paint as is probably the biggest influence throughout my project, an artist that I have constantly referred to. I was particularly drawn to a vitrine piece where the foreground was filled with sticks and thorn bushes, and researched this style of work further and it confirmed to me that my work would incorporated and be linked to natural objects that I would collect and use in my art.
I also went to see exhibitions with a connection to nature like Pipilotti Rist and Berlina De Bruckyere.
Terry Setch‘s Estuary Paintings also inspired my inclusion of natural objects in painting. His concepts include an approach to nature and he uses found objects within his work like Debris from the beach and natural matter. Christo and Jeanne Claude’s wrapping of trees and Hamish Fultons ideas made me think about how nature is precious and should be looked after and I made a concious decision not to pick things, only to collect from the ground.
Settled on including natural materials in my work, I also researched and experimented with different ways of connecting with nature and came across the work of Tim Knowles who thinks of “nature as artist”, he sets up the credentials for nature to make art and I did experiment with this, putting drawings out in the rain etc but it wasn’t a key influence on my work and wasn’t as interesting or enjoyable to me as using natural materials.
The work of Stuart Cairns and Bryan Nash Gill inspired me to think of Nature as a tool for art making, creating a connection to nature by painting with tools made from it. This is something that is now integrating into my work and I think combined with nature included into the paint and maybe producing my own natural paints could make for an interesting and successful final outcome.
Environmental art and Land art has become part of my research in terms of the concepts and ideas and the use of materials. Artists such as Andy Goldsworthy and Richard Long made me think about the importance of a connection to nature in art and how it can expose people to nature and make them more aware of environmental issues and the benefits of being out in nature. It is such a shame that natural world is overlooked by many today and incorporating it into art might prevent it being overlooked so much. Also Richard Long’s versatility of ways of working with nature has been at the back of my mind throughout my experimentation. He has touched upon all the things I have worked with loosely, using nature in paint, collaborating with nature and displaying natural materials in a gallery/studio setting rather than just outdoors in the land.
Contextualisation is really important in pushing ideas forward and I would not have made the body of work I have and experimented as much without these influences backing it up.
Modernism and Feminism
Alexander Rodchenko, Make way for the women 1935 – Geometry symbolising fairness and rationality. There is a socialist/realist element within the work. Making a statement about men and women but from a mans perspective. Male photographer, positive image, portraying a solution to womens equality, but the women are still kind of objects for the men to look at, being seen through the male gaze. Womens action is at the centre of the image. Propogandistic intention.
If the photographer was a women, the image would be viewed really differently and there would be no thought of the women being objectified.
Questions of Identity
Marc Quinn – Alison Lapper, Pregnant 2005 – It is a sculpture of a working class disabled single mother produced by a middle class able bodied man. Which of these facts is most important? He chose her as an image to sculpt. There is a valued place for women in the world. The sculpture has a heroic element. Bringing equality of women, people with disabilities and single mothers etc. Using language of classical sculpture to comment on the place of people with disabilities in society.
Sarah Lucas – Get hold of this 1994-5
Sarah Lucas – Where does it all end? 1995
What are the signs of masculine and feminine in these images? Feminine – Pink, red, lipstick, the opposition between white teeth and red lips. Look like womens arms. Masculine – Snarl, gritting teeth on a cigarette. Takes offensive elements of male culture and asks how poerful it is if a woman does it.
Post-feminism as a term, often comes up in the 1990s.
Feminism and Post-Feminism
Katy Deepwell – 3 popular mis-conceptions about feminism-
That Feminism = Women + Power
That Feminism = Bra burning lesbian separatism
That Feminism = is only a question of gender.
(These are only half truths)
Julia Kristeva outlines the 3 moments of Feminism-
Feminism = Equal Rights
Feminism = Advocacy of a separate women’s culture
Feminism = Total re-evaluation of Ideas of Masculine and Feminine
One strand of feminist art avoided images of the sexualised female body because in the past these images have been objectified and exploited.
Mel Ramas – Miss Corn Flakes 1964
Barbara Kruger – What are you looking at 1994
In small print it says “This is not a mirror”. Targeting the women that look at fashion magazines, saying that you are not looking at what you should aspire to become, it is just another woman.
Another strand produced generalised images of the sexualised female body.
Judy Chicago – The Dinner Party 1974 – 9
Strong Statement of the cultural status of women. All of the crockery in this piece is stylized female genitals. Falic symbols are normalised in culture, female ones are not as normalized and so she is putting them out there. The idea that Biology is destiny is hindering on Women. A lot of art uses imagery of the female genitalia within it. Is that all that women have in common then? They all have vaginas? Virginia Wolf is one of the women at the table here, aren’t her books and achievements more important than her vagina?
In the 1990s, many artists started using highly sexualised imagery again.
Pipilotti Rist – I’m not the girl who misses much 1986
She is using the language of titilation, but using video technology to prevent that happening. Wants to deflate through humour. Slowing and speeding up time up to get a state of conciousness. Pipilotto Rist is interested in an innocent sexual experience, a bodily experience. Her work doesn’t talk a page three language, more like a dream state.
Re-evaluation of Masculine and Feminine?
Jenny Saville, Passage 2004-5
Collier Schort, untitled 2011
Is it possible to transcend ideas of gender in art?
Maybe in these images, the intention is that they are not labelled as a particular gender – equalizing man and woman?
This label remains problematic, it suggests that it comes after feminism and can be used in several ways:
– It comes after feminism because feminism has been successful
– It comes after feminism because feminism has failed
– It comes after feminism because it is the antidote to feminism
– It comes after feminism because it is the opposite of feminism
– It comes after feminism because it is the continuation of feminism
There is no definite answer and so the label Post-feminsim is still difficult to determine.
Nan Goldin – Nan one month after being battered 1984
Sarah Lucas – Two fried eggs and a kebab – The male and the female rediced to sexual symbols.
Sarah Lucas – NUDS 2010 – Bodily experience
John Carran – The Wizard 1994
Lisa Yuskovage – Day 1999-2000
Does knowing the gender of the artist change the significance of the painting?
Lucy Lippard in Deepwell p.157
Does the fact that a woman paints a woman neutralise the pornographic source or is it still pornography?
Lisa Yuskavage – Half Family 2003
This isn’t an image directed at men. It gives off a feelnig that is significant only to women. About the feeling of having a body, not what it looks like.
Masculine and Feminine
Helen Chadwick – Piss Flowers 1991-2
They peed in the snow and cast the imprint. Some represent the male and some represent the female. The longer, more falic like stamens actually represent the females, this is because there is less movement in the female pee stream. Stereotypically we would think that the more falic sculptures represented the male so this piece is clever and interesting.
Images from the Bad Girls Exhibition 1993
Helen Chadwick Glossolalia 1992
Contrast of Hard and Soft. Small Falic Symbols, Making a falic symbol in the middle. An image like this would be picked for an exhibition called “Bad Girls” because there is an appeal to the body, Tongues and fur. The togetherness of hair and tongue is often quite repulsive. We reject it without thinking about it. Unconcious Reaction.
Before this lecture, I had never really considered issues of gender very deeply before. I certainly had not discussed whether the gender of the artist changes the way that the art work is viewed. I have been encouraged to think about certain connotations that certain materials and imagery has in terms of masculine and feminine and been shown how art can cause a divide in opinion. To me, it doesn’t matter whether the artist or subject n an art work is a man or a woman, I would consider the art work itself and the concepts behind it. It is always interesting to learn how art is used to convey messages or comment on a life situation. Within this lecture, we talked about whether Jenny Saville’s Passage piece equalizes the rights of a man and a woman, I can see the evidence for this opinion, but for me it highlighted the fact that individuals are scrutinised for being different in some way and that she was making difference accepted and depicting it in a aesthetically pleasing way, Similar ideas were running in Marc Quinns sculpture of Alison. Feminism has been portrayed in art for many years and it was interesting to learn how it has changed.
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.
Is the Visible World enough?
Classical Landscape is a name given to a type of painting – developed in the 17th century. Related to History Painting. Some have narratives and some don’t. Mood and atmosphere is conveyed within the paintings
Is the artists job simply to record the appearance of the world, or to transform it?
Nicolas Poussin – Landscape with a Calm 1650-1. Based in Rome. Peaceful/neutral. More movement in the sky, contrasted with a static lake and a still and calm foreground. The people are small and insignificant in comparison to nature. A vision of an ordered, harmonious society.
Nicolas Poussin – Landscape with St.John on Patmas 1640
Is the relation betweeen humans and nature the same as in the Landscape with a calm? How is history represented?
It is more like land left behind. Have humans taken advantage? Have they moved on? Even though, John is sitting, he is not really entwined into the work like the people in the other piece.
Nicolas Poussin – Landscape with the body of Phocion – carried out of Athens 1648. This has a narrative. Alternatiing bands of dark and light. Neverending path it seems. The city is close enough to be important in the painting, but far enough away that we stop being able to see how we could get there. There is a complicated visual access to the city
Nicolas Poussin – A Roman road. An announcement of technological Power. Political, This kind of depth, perspective is highly technologically advanced for the 17th Century
Charles Sheeler – Classic Landscape 1931
Where is the nature in this Landscape?
It has gone, However: there is natural organisation in the pile of earth and sand
Charles Sheerler – American Landscape 1930
Is he being ironic calling this a landscape? Even though there is no nature within the picture, it is a man-made landscape. Does he want us to find these scenes beautiful or ugly? Brighter lighting, reflections, some bright colours, making it look more appealing but very geometric.
George Shaw – Scenes from a Passion: 2002: Paints areas where he grew up. A question is posed about the conventions we use to describe reality
George Shaw – The blocked Drain – 2010
(not a version of Poussins roman road) but does our knowledge of it affect how we view this?
The first road seems new and innovative. George Shaws seems barren and disregarded.
Gregory Crewdsen, The madison 2007
Takes still photos, but like a hollywood movie. The road is always the same road continuing. Imagining the thoughts of the landscape from the figures perspective.
Gregory Crewdsen, untitled (Beneath the roses) 2007
What is the relation between nature and culture here?
Organic elements separate from man made, degraded nature. The nature is not lush greenery, it is weeds. Could be hopeful after destruction, is nature reclaiming it?
Gregory Crewdsen – Beneath the roses 2006
Beneath the surface, looking deeper, a metaphor?
Relationship between the two people – could they be lovers? Could be an attacker and she is a victim. Soothing or disturbing? Degraded nature again and disturbing elements.
Nicolas Poussin – Echo and harcissus 1630
Eduardo Manet – Le dejuner sur (l’herbe 1863)
Do these paintings change the way that we look at Crewdsen’s photographs? In what way?