5 Key Points – Contextualisation
1. John Piper: An Experience of Place. John Piper’s work “The Rocky Valley, North Wales” was the starting point to my subject work. Romantic Artist’s such as John Piper and Graham Sutherland saw an importance in Nature. They wanted to create an experience of a place and a connection with it. I started working with these ideas and under the influence of these artist’s progressed to exploring the relationship art and nature could have.
2. Anselm Kiefer Exhibition: Works incorporating Natural Materials with Paint. Viewing the Anselm Kiefer Exhibition in the Royal Academy really inspired my ideas. I hadn’t realised that he incorporated natural materials into the paints he uses and onto the surface of the canvas. Experimenting with ways of incorporating nature into art, I decided to explore mixing nature into paint myself which turned out to be unsuccessful as it wasn’t creating a deep enough connection but pushed me to develop my work and encouraged me to think about ways of integrating nature without art materials like man-made paint and aided my progression.
3.Stuart Cairns: Artist Tool Making The Drawing as experience field module introduced me to Stuart Cairns. He makes drawing tools out of found objects, sometimes natural materials other times not. I am highly influenced by his work and it encouraged me to explore making my own natural tools to paint and draw with which have turned out to be integrated into my final and most recent work. Exploring the marks that each tool makes and considering them as art objects themselves I have discovered a connection to nature by making marks with it.
4. Andy Goldsworthy: Realising the Potential in Nature. Andy Goldworthy gives me confidence in the fact that presenting art and nature together can emit a connection to a more natural environment. His work demonstrates the potential of nature and displays a connection with it. Even though he works out in the surrounding, his work is very inspiring to me and pushed me to use natural materials for Art Making.
5.Richard Long: Mud Paintings. Richard Long’s work relates to my work and ideas in a variety of ways. He experiences Nature, collaborated with it, brings it into the gallery space as well as producing land art, but the most influential area of his practice for me were his mud paintings. His work inspired me to explore making my own paint’s from nature and more deeply investigate the possibilities that nature has to offer to my art.
Art actually originated from nature which is highly relevant to my project. Cave paintings were the first medium based art dating back to around 18,000 years ago. People used natural materials to grind to make pigments to paint with. Cave painting paints usually consisted of pigments such as earth/soil, clay and charcoals mixed with a binder such as spit or animal fat. It is interesting that painting itself was developed out of nature and created using products from the natural world.
I am exploring a connection between art and nature within my work and attempting to incorporate the natural world and natural materials into my art making in a variety of ways. Grinding my own pigments would definitely make my work more deeply connected to nature because nature itself would be the components of my paints.
My tutor made me aware of an exhibition in Camarthen at Oriel Myrddin incorporating artists that work with natural materials and that are working with ideas that could be relevant and inspiring to my work. I thought some of the works were incredibly interesting and gave me an insight into how other artists are merging art and nature. I was particularly captured by the work of Christine Mackey, Jonathan Anderson and Adam Buick.
This artist uses clay, a material from nature and puts it back into the environment in the form of bio-degradable ceramic pots. The pots are photographed when they are in situe and then left to degrade back into the natural world. I like the idea of art being made from nature and then being put back into it. This isn’t something I am particularly interested in doing in my work but it is always beneficial to contextualise my work with artists working with nature in some way giving me new angles and ideas.
Christine Mackey uses the chromatography process to create dyes from natural elements like flowers. This work is highly inspiring to my project. I would like to make my own paints from nature and field has encouraged me to start experimenting with making tools to paint with but I was wondering how I would put across that pieces I produced were made with these items. Here, Christine has not displayed artworks she has produced using the dyes, she has displayed the dyes themselves in test tubes. This makes me think about the fact that the paints I make and tools I produce are artworks in themselves and could be displayed along side artworks I produce or as artworks in their own right.
Jonathan Anderson’s Pylon totems is a very powerful piece of artwork in my opinion. For me it addresses environmental issues and highlights our environment becoming more urbanised and man-made. The structures are made out of twigs and earth, using natural materials to make man=made structures. Urbanisation and environmentalism is something I have been thinking about,particularly in my dissertation. This work creates a connection between art and nature but also art and environmental issues.
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.
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?