(Current Studies, by blog description (2015-16)) - Click on each label to see corresponding posts!

Friday, 30 January 2015

Review of the last week, studio practice 4, interpretation, adaptation, appropriation

It's been an interesting week.  At the start of the week I was feeling quite low and somewhat confused.  However having now had time to think about the project before me, and having reflected on some simple words that clearly had quite an effect upon me, - namely that I can be likened to a pub comedian, correction, a "very nervous pub comedian" who does not get a response from the audience, my mind is set to create a piece of art which I shall try to achieve with as much accuracy, depth of vision and technical mastery as I can muster.

The object that I will now research is tumbleweed...

I believe that the representation of this organic life form, which has no roots, is free from time, and in some sense free from dimensional constraints, but also lives out its existence in what can be imagined a two-dimensional plane, - (that being the Earth upon which it roams), makes a perfectly interesting object of my curiosity.

My declaration to study "Tumbleweed" is a little tongue in cheek, my real intent is to look at any airborne flotsam &  jetsam... Particularly organic, but not necessarily confined to that.  I think this links well with the concept of bad jokes, as I'm often left 'staring' at the tumbleweed moment, so why not play on that idea?

Michelangelo, 1505, Study for Battle of Casina
In the meantime I have done a couple of drawings of a study by Michelangelo, in preparation for his later painting, which was the Battle of Casina.

My first sketch copy attempt to get the flow

2nd Attempt, with more accurate shading, but legs are too thin!

I have also started to create a large drawing with the faces torsos of each of the students within my year of the degree course.  I want to continue to carry out such exercises, particularly of figurative drawing, throughout the rest of my term, as I said before, I think that drawing is an essential foundation to all my work.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Reflections on a one-to-one tutorial with Christian.

Following my assessment that I completed last week, (after which I must admit I felt quite deflated), my one-to-one tutorial this morning, with Christian, I'm glad to say turned me around and I am now re-energised to continue with the project, albeit in a slightly different direction.

In our conversation I explained that my assessing tutor had suggested that "when viewing your work it is a little bit like observing a very nervous pub comedian, who tells a joke to the audience and there is no response."

The suggestion was, is the pub comedian something worth playing with?  Can I unpack that observation?

An interesting sentence that was given was "give myself permission to draw… There is nothing wrong with copying the classical post-Renaissance artists"…
- What can I do in order to boil the classical down?  What can I do with this as an idea to take forward?  In other words create ideas within the classical environment but explore them in a new way, bring new ideas to bear.

Some suggested readings might be Richard McGuire and his book "Here" 2014.  Daniel Clowes and his books on graphic novels, Mick maddens 99 ways to draw, adventures in style.

Christians' view is perhaps, that my drawing whilst it is progressing, is not "measured" enough.  I need to explore some new material, by that he means I need to gather real material in order to draw from life.  It is perfectly acceptable to become a technician of drawing, but I need to bring contemporary ideas to that discipline. By creating graphic novels for example this may bridge the gap?

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Contemporary art practice In context; Martha Rosler: the Bowery into adequate descriptive systems.

Last week we discussed the work of Willie Doherty, and his photography based on the regeneration of Belfast.

In this lecture we will discuss photographic work by Martha Rosler, an American photographer we have come across before in a number of lectures held last year.  These were the work's frequent traveller and xxx?  Ex-mole.

Martha Rosler contrasts with Willie Doherty's view of post-conflict in Belfast.  Willie Doherty has a particular take upon how post-conflict report Irish should be made.  His work is the opposite of the classic news reportage which essentially is just an imagistic soundbite.

The relationship of photography in contemporary art is the, put to show in the adequacy of photographs.  Martha Rosler explores this through the use of specific texts, which are juxtaposed with the photograph.  The result is that each photograph is accompanied by a set of words, those words did not form a sentence, but are merely descriptive but not of the image itself but in some way relate to what could be found in the environment that the images have been taken in.  What this results in, as an exercise for the viewer to choose which item to look at first, is it the photograph?  Or is it the text?  And if it is either one or the other separate meanings can emerge.

This particular exhibition and 26 images and accompanying texts.  The title of the work and the exhibition as a whole, was only placed at the very end of the series of works, which required the viewer to look at all the pictures and all the texts before seeing what the title of the work actually was.

"The Bowery" is an area of down and out New York and is considered as the archetypal skid Row.  To normal American sentiments the thoughts of these areas or people to react in ways that are veering between outrage and despair.

In essence the photographs are about mood.  In the book "decoys and disruptions" in 2004, by Martha Rosler, her intent was to make a book that was a refusal to do documentary style photography.  Her intention was to do the opposite of earlier photographers such as Jacob Rees and an example of his work would be "children in Mulberry Street New York City", taken from the book by Jacob Rees entitled "how the other half lives" 1890.

Jacob Rees was actually a forensic investigation police photographer, so what his work is showing to the general public is "what is dangerous, but also what was real".

Martha Rosler was more influenced by another famous American photographer, that being Walker Evans whose work can be found in the book "let us now praise famous men" (library of Congress).

Also in the United States another photographer, Adam Clark Vroman, an Ethno-photographer, took pictures such as "Hopi towns, grinding corn in Teiwa" 1895.  Bristol at of photography object to find's differences between cultures.

If we now fast forward to 1964 and consider the other Belfast photographer Don McCullin and the photo "grieving woman and her family" 1964, this is a classic example where, whilst the photograph evokes huge emotion, at the time which was considered extremely skilled, it now attracts the label which is somewhat derogatory to documentary photography, of voyeurism and unethical or immoral reportage.

Again leaping forward in time to 1975 Michael be set in his photograph "the Bowery" has become the cover of Martha Rosler's book.

Martha Rosler once to create a "real view" and not the staged or exploitative photographs of for instance, Diane Arber's, 1967, and her rather freakish yet exploitative photographs of unusual and strange people of that era.  Rosler hates the work of our bus because of this glorification of the unfortunate people and this has been written about extensively by Steve Edwards.

Coming back to the exhibition piece in question, after Rosler's text is interesting because she is actually describing a state of mind, of being drunk, being inebriated like the cramps would be in that area.  The words describe the people, but the photographs describe the place.  It is shut down and run down and in reality could be in any cities backstreets, there are signs of alcoholism, but also these later start to combine with the words to very subtle references of the backdrops of the photographs.  

An interview of Martha Rosler can be found on vimeo at http:/vimeo.com/111924379

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Sunday morning doodling in Cheshire...

Just a little doodling for a concept, to build a dry stone wall for a friend of mine.  I had the idea of putting the name of his house into the dry-stone matrix as it was being built, - so I drew a sketch to explain myself, and how the wall might look together with his house behind it in the distance, upon the hill / edge....

The beautiful old horse chestnut tree had recently been trimmed and coppiced, so I just had to draw its imposing limbs still stretching out, like a yawn from its' winter slumber.  The twisted trunk must be at least 200 to 300 years old, and there are signs of the tree's regeneration and re-birth many times...

So much history, the drystone wall abuts onto the famous "Watling Street", immediately in front of it to the left, although this stretch is now discretely hidden, as a very minor 'B' road towards the old roman settlement at Chester.  The house wouldn't be there almost 2000 years ago, but maybe the remnants of the wall was!  I can almost hear the Roman Legions marching past!  (But the tractor tyre imprints on the edge of the puddle on the lower right bring the drawing back to modernity)...

Saturday, 24 January 2015

One to One project 2 evaluation with Prof. Steve Swindells

Following my assessment on Tuesday earlier in the week, I had the opportunity to provide Prof Stephen Swindells with an overview of the work that I had carried out for the second project.

I discussed my desire to try to study the great Masters works and at any opportunity to try to copy those works.  Prof Swindell explained that whilst of this approach may be laudable in a classical training sense, is view is that anybody could be trained to provide and create classical art by copying.  However this process can take many many years.  He recommended that I continue to practice figure drawing as my portraiture is good.  I need to practice drawing and painting people at any opportunity.

With regards to how I spend the rest of this new semester and the following 12 weeks, he recommended that I started to draw on a much larger scale, and create more gestural and flowing and dynamic images stop Prof Swindell suggested that I research the works of Stephen Campbell, (I recall some of his work that I saw in the Scottish national Gallery in Edinburgh some time ago), together with the works of John Bellamy.

I focus should also be to develop my own language of drawing, try to work less illustratively, whilst at the same time improving my draughtsmanship.  He recommended that I still have lots of inhibitions and anxieties about my work and recommended that I should create more vibrant and potentially colourful works on a much larger scale.

Learning to paint from the great Masters takes years.  I need to put my existing strands together to develop my own signature and recognise ability, but at the same time to make it easier for myself especially as I have less than 18 months of this degree.  If I continued to purely study the great Masters without developing my own signature and my own personal in expression, it is unlikely that I would get a good degree studying contemporary fine art at this university.  Nevertheless if I carry on with the pursuit of learning, or trying to learn, a technical and classical type of painting from the great Masters I may eventually get to a level that I'm happy with that I will not have expressed my true inner creativity.  I therefore need to reconsider my approach to this self-directed project for the next 12 weeks

In my own words I need to keep developing my own draughtsmanship, but before I can try to run I first need to learn to walk.

I also need to think about my eventual career post degree stop in order for me to be in a position to commence training other people, I must have become a freestanding art practitioner or at least a few years before the outside authorities and agencies would employ me.  In other words I need to stand on my own 2 feet for a few years at least.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Assessment & reflections upon initial feedback

Following my assessment in the studio yesterday I was initially deflated by some of the comments that I received.  However now that I have had time to stop and think, and reflect on the comments that were actually quite constructive, I thought that it would be prudent to record as much as I can remember about the conversation. This is in respect to the evaluation that was written at

The first project was assessed briefly, - the original drawing project where I chose St George's square in Huddersfield as the subject my enquiry.  The feedback was that this project was well drafted particularly as there were really many ideas that were moving forward together with concepts that were attempted in practice.

With regards to the second project, I spoke about a number of my paintings, - and I made the comment that each of the pieces were not full finished and I considered them as concept pieces.  My tutor recommended that I should be careful about calling these pieces concept art concept pieces, because in generally, and in art parliance "concept art" is really about fantasy paintings and fantasy drawings, which traditionally lie in the illustration discipline.  Therefore I should avoid using the phrase "concept art".

My tutor felt that in the second project, I did not have the technical ability in trying to emulate old Masters paintings in the way that I have done, to carry it off successfully.  She was nervous about telling me her true feeling, but I did press for it, and the response was "I think I can liken your paintings in this second project, to a really nervous but comedian, who rather awkwardly tells a joke to an audience but there is no response."  A tumbleweed moment.

Initially I was a little taken aback by these comments but I now understand what was being said, and I have perhaps been trying to make people smile, but not break out into laughter, - which is my mistake.  I think I need to ditch the idea of humour in my paintings and get a little bit more serious of the rest of this degree work.  I suppose the reason for my original position, goes together with my own temperament and personality, in which generally my demeanour is a little facile or asinine, at times, as I do enjoy my own feeling of making people smile.  Perhaps I am trying too hard in this area and are not trying hard enough in creating the real art that I'm perhaps capable of.

On a positive note my assessment tutor commented on the strength of my draughtsmanship, which is very good.  She recommended that I continue to develop this draughtsmanship and explore different areas to practice my draughtsmanship in a much richer and detailed fashion.

  • For example look at how the question arises, "is culture out of control?"-This would be an investigation into relationships of this functional culture which has potentially been written about in many novels, and compare it with the culture we find ourselves in now.
  • Advice was given also to create the three-dimensional technological style objects or images, but make them so that they are incapable of working.  This would be very suitable me to explore as an ex-engineer as I have the logical and technological experience make something look really authentic.
  • A further advice was to keep drawing and painting as a discipline, but I must try to use the latest technology to exercise these skills in a new domain.  The recommendation was that I should use more media in my next project.  This fits nicely with my own ambition to gain a much deeper understanding of the open software application "Blender" which I notice is now available within the University environment too.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Studio practice 4, adaptation, interpretation, appropriation. - Notes

This module develops independence which started to emerge through studio practice 3.  The project will allow the students to create connections which can be made with external organisations and other professionals.

This is about self positioning.  To gravitate toward where you are heading in your own contexts and practices.  This allows students to test some of their ideas out before committing to the in the wider world as a postgraduate.


Develop two strands of your creative practice that responds to self negotiated projects and also one external project.

Starts this program by simply making and doing.  Pick up where you left off on the development of say "Atelier practice" or "studying the great masters" or perhaps by using animated design software such as Blender or other open software, or any other ideas, which can either be linked or separate from the work that you have done so far.

The place to start may be through the use of the Venn diagram created by Christian in a lecture last year.

Simply tye together, "what are the main themes in the project" together with "what do you want to make", and the outcome will be your project.

Do not feel hampered by trying to think of a project on its own.  Just about anywhere and see which place and where your thoughts that come from making things, take you.

A book perhaps?

The second activity in this project is to commence work on an external project.

External projects provide an opportunity to work on live projects with real life clients, communities or other groups, to place your own work into a gallery, to create a publication, or any other appropriate context.

This is aimed towards developing the practice but can include real people in the process or outcome in some way, or to test your abilities within a competition brief, for instance.

It is up to you to identify potential external opportunities, to develop the relationships necessary to make these projects happen, and then to undertake the work.

Www.DanDad.org/EN/new-blood-awards.  This competition is open to any student in the UK and the deadline for submission is 5 PM on 31 March 2015 at this website you will be able to find this year's brief.

The RS a Royal Society of artists, student design awards.  This competition challenges designers for social problems, to bring solutions to them under a number of categories such as
1) creative conditions 2) the daily dialogue 3) moving pictures 4) human by nature  5) water for all 6) Fair play and many others...

Also is the Sheffield International artists book prize, (they will shortly be announcing plans for 2015)

Other external works and projects that will be considered are

  • Client briefs, commissions
  • Developing a project with others
  • Contributing to publications and exhibitions
  • Setting up your own publication and exhibition
  • Getting involved in existing projects
  • Involving other people in your own creative projects

Essential to all of these is having an audience.
Another angle on this would be to create an archive?  Get involved with local history organisations?  Invite local people for interviews?

All of the three projects will require an overall commitment of 300 hours in total.  In other words one hundred hours of effort in each if equally split.

The assessment criteria will be:
A - evidence of self-direction informing your practice and development
B - conceptual and contextual expertise is demonstrated in studio production.
C - an understanding of appropriate contexts.

There is a new lecturer called Dale Holmes who will become our lecturer for contemporary art whilst Bob Partridge will be off for a short time.  Gill Sampson will continue in her role for illustration students.

find the outcomes based on the assessment to work out the next steps for research
see www.drawingroom.org.uk/
this is the first public not-for-profit Gallery.

Monday, 19 January 2015

The grain of the image; a poetics of future history in some new photography, by Willie Doherty. - Contemporary art practice in context

This was the first lecture of 2015 by Dr Alison Rowley.

In the first year we covered key concepts in communication.  This year we will be concentrating and looking at key works by contemporary artists and looking to understand the compositions made by the artists, they contexts, their reasons for the composition, political and cultural background in which the images were created, and so on.

In this lecture we will look at a series of six photographs by Willie Doherty, created in Northern Ireland, in Belfast were an exhibition was held in 2008.

Our encounter with art, very much depends on where we stand in context of the current culture that we live in.  In October 2008 when Willie Doherty took these photographs originally, there was, concurrently, a vital summit meeting going on between the political parties of Belfast and their political masters on the mainland of the United Kingdom.  This summit meeting was generally aimed at the future of Belfast with regards to its need, in fact desperate need, for a re-generation.

The first photograph to be analysed is called McKibbin's Court, Belfast.  This image is of a corridor style backstreet somewhere in the city.  It is like any other backstreet in any other northern city of England.  It comprises of shuttered loading bays, graffiti on the walls, general dilapidation, a dusty road surface, and generally un-cared for appearance.  But it also has a spire of a Victorian steeple from a church, behind a derelict warehouse.  The composition has been chosen to include the church spire in the background seemingly touching (in the brief of this sense), the top of a lamp-post.  This device of the church spire in the distance touching foreground lamppost in the middle distance completely compresses the image.  If one was to compare this with another piece of work from the famous photographer William A McCutcheon who photographed much of the 1960s through a survey of Belfast, (which documents the degradation of the fabric of the city).

In 1988 William Doherty continued photographs with the second image in question today, which is called Donegal Lane.  This is an image dominated with a background view of what appears to be a recently constructed post-modernist facade of a large building.  This represents a feature of the city's recent reconstruction in 1988, but it is juxtaposed with a scene of another street facade in the foreground of more typical dilapidation and degradation, with boarded-up shopfronts and the feel that the community spirit of that area seems to have been ripped out.

In "Strategy; Sever / Isolate", 1989, which shows the separation of the Catholic Falls Road area and the Protestant city centre.  This is essentially a photograph of a wide bypass road cut deeply across those two areas.

The third image allows us to consider William Doherty's "West link" 1988, (but only printed for this exhibition of 2008) which is an exhibition piece displayed with the footbridge over the West-link bypass, which interestingly is juxtaposed with this piece "strategy; sever isolate", which was actually taken in 2008, which shows the time when there was a vilification of a much different minority within cultural Belfast.  This is evidenced by the gay and lesbian graffiti which can be seen in the image painted on the ground in the foreground.

In all these images, they show "no clear means of exit" of any of Belfast's alleys and walkways.  This is a kind of device that has been used by other artists and photographers such as Ade Russa (American) and Thomas Struth (1978), - a German artist who photographed much of the streets of New York.  Thomas Struth's work includes use of  Düsselstrasser, taken in Düsseldorf, in 1979.  In this image Struth puts himself in the centre of the street, in order to aesthetically "reprocess" between the pre-and post-war (in other words War conflict), and is the same strategy that William Doherty incorporates in his own "temporal disjuncture" of his photographs showing 1988 versus the architecture of 2008 in his photos.  Interestingly the technique to create these photographs are both through the wet analogue black-and-white photographic technology (in other words, chemical photography) which was available in 1988, taken on FP 4 film, and then in 2008 taken on FP five film.  By using this older technology with the gelatine silver print basis, but then also by using digital techniques to print the images, creates a new temporal disjuncture, and creates a new strange feeling of displacement for the viewer.

Next, consider Don McCullin's reportage photography of the Bogside in Derry Belfast in 1971.  This was taken on bloody Sunday (and then again after the Saville enquiry of 2007).  Consider this with another photograph taken by Don McCullin's, of the Bogside Derry in 1971, which shows the breakdown of civil order.  It is very grainy and shows photojournalism at its best, nevertheless is assembled by sights of destruction.

It should be pointed out however that Willie Doherty "hates" these older photographs, because arguably, the photojournalists at the time were only there in 'those spaces' for a few days at most, and the photographs that they took did not show reality.  However these photographs (of the troubles during the 70s), must have influenced Willie Doherty.  Don McCullin's photographs seem to almost haunt Willie Doherty.  (This haunting goes on, so much so, that Willie Doherty created a video installation in 2007 entitled "ghost story").

This idea of a haunted feeling been present in Belfast's streets re-occurs in Willie Doherty's 2008 exhibition of the series of six photographs at this lecture is specifically concerned with.

Bizarrely, Belfast now has six quarters... 6/4?  Two new quarters are the Cathedral Quarter and the Titanic Quarter, which is the regeneration area of the dock sides.  I agree with Dr Rowley, that this is a particularly stupid title for a regeneration area of Belfast, as the decline of it is almost inevitable, just like the Titanic itself which by the way was originally built in this dock.

The next image in Willie Doherty's series is that of Franklin Street Place, Belfast, which shows again, the corridor style entrance to the galleries which again symbolises 'temporal displacement'.  The "then and now" are of reformulation of the images, as a strategy to cause the viewer to relook at the true history of the area.  This is completely intentional.

The overall key to these six photographic plates taken in this series, is the very subtle detail that is in each of the photographs.  You have to study them very carefully indeed to see all the artist's intentions, but there is a richness of work that shows how careful he has been in composing these views.

The next lecture in this series will investigate another photographer Arthur Rothberg, who will be the subject next week will stop

Friday, 16 January 2015

Term 1 Assessment - Synopsis of the project - Narratives on Culture, Class & Taste.

Project 2 - Narratives of Taste, Class & Culture

Following the introduction, (which, perhaps through serendipity, I took my wife to see it a few weeks before the announcement of the second project), - with study of Grayson Perry’s homage to William Hogarth, (1697-1764) and his series A Rakes Progress (1733) with Perry’s resulting works “The Vanity of Small Differences”), I was excited to see that this project would provide such a rich source of material. It is also interesting that Hogarth was himself a cartoonist, and his own works are a reflection of the narrative of culture in the middle classes during the 18th century, so my own assertion, that art in itself is a reflection of culture at any period in time holds true.

My initial thoughts were to try to structure the production of work to maximise the ‘Research through Practice’ approach. I acknowledge that tactile epistemology is a central concept to the current teaching of contemporary art, and my intent was to shape this approach to make the whole experience work for me in what may be a uniquely personal sense, but nevertheless compliant with the core outcomes of the module and the wider degree.

After assimilating information in the brief and noting that Perry has used a great number of old masters for both inspiration and in particular, his homage to Hogarth, I chose in some ways to emulate the learning methods of the old fine art academies of Europe, pre- the Coldstream Reports (1960), where students progressed through studying and copying Old Masters' works. I feel that because my love of the classics and post Renaissance art needs to be satisfied, then this can form part of my learning experience. I have very little experience drawing portraiture and none in painting it. By attempting to start to copy such works I hope to gain a grounded foundation of technical skill that can continue to be built upon.
I created simple a plan of approach and used a Gantt Chart to help organise the appropriate stages and intended tasks of gathering research material. By creating a plan early, I was able to play around with ideas y production of some concept pieces as a result. These first drawings enabled me to reflect and reinterpret the Gestalt, project brief and my own aspirations. 

I considered Johannes Vermeer, 1632 - 1675) as an initial master for research. He too provided a commentary on 17th century middle class Dutch society. One of his most famous paintings, Girl with a Pearl Earring, (1665) struck me as a very "high class" painting. My treatment of it, by adding a symbol of present day culture, was to replace the earring with a "spacer" style; - a very fashionable adornment of today's youth. The title also hints at the current vogue of over-exaggeration "Girl with the Mother of Pearl Earing"...

(Anyone wishing to look further at Vermeer's work can find a good source at Artsy.com below;)
Artsy’s Johannes Vermeer page
This was my first serious attempt at portraiture, and the act of copying Vermeer certainly helped. me My image is a little chubbier, pastier and with a bit of a sneer, in keeping with the current feeling of masked aggressiveness in our contemporary English society. In an ironic twist therefore, my deconstruction of the culturally high class and tasteful painting has become a 'lower' class symbolism of contemporary culture, and hints at a image of 'bad' taste, if perhaps viewed by an upper class spectator. I’m quite pleased with the result, however it lacks the grace (although this is a happy accident, which I intend to keep), but more importantly, lacks the tonality of the original.

I also explored other Vermeer paintings through my own sketches. One of which shown here is a sketch of ‘Girl with a Letter by an Open Window’, Johannes Vermeer (1657). I tried much harder to wrestle with the problem of tonality in this sketch, and used freely available Google Picasa application software to artificially add warmth to my pencil sketch.
(It is worth noting here that I am a keen supported of open source software and one of my main summer projects was to gain an understanding of a particularly good 3D open source application, ‘Blender’ (www.blender.org). I think it’s 3D modelling capabilities through a methodology of sculptural techniques is an extremely useful tool for me to create conceptual pieces from in future, prior to 3D physical work commencing).
I then selected Hans Holbein’s (The younger), (c1497 - 1543), painting “The Ambassadors", (1533), as I feel it is one of the most famous landmark paintings to represent Class, Culture and Taste. Hobien’s original has the subjects staring at the viewer in a dominating gaze as symbolic of that era. Merzoeff, (2009), p63-67.

I chose to transpose the original subjects with the current celebrity icons of Angelina Jolie and David Beckham, (both also being official "cultural ambassadors" to the United Nations).

Initially I explored using a new location, perhaps at a Polo meeting, but then I decided to use Holbeins’ original background, but with the trappings of contemporary life now on a coffee table, rather than the two tier shelves that Holbein had. That’s a satirical hint that whilst Holbiens’ De Dinteville and De Selve were highly educated in science, art, music & mathematics, I feel some modern day celebrities "lack something on the top shelf", hence its omission. However, I have chosen profiles of the subjects with a ‘gaze’ away from the viewer, alluding to a ‘contempt through our superiority’ behaviour that seems prevalent amongst some in this current era.

Once engaged in this concept piece, it dawned on me an almost timeless allegory of Class, Culture and Taste, that being the drapery depicted in each of the Great Master's paintings studied thus far, (including a return to study Hogarth’s ‘Marriage a la Mode’ (1743), but which still hold the same symbolic power today.

I chose to create the final pieces on canvas, as I believe this in itself, hints at a cultural message. I have never used this medium before and I found the affect is very different to my attempts of using acrylics on paper, thus far. I particularly wished to develop tonality again in this series.

In time I will progress to using oils on canvas, but I want to improve my accuracy in mark making before committing to this further medium.

Dexter, E.  (2005),  Vitamin D: New Perspectives in Drawing, London, Phiadon Press.
Hogarth, W. (1733)   A Rakes Progress - The Soane Museum, London
Hogarth, W, (1743)  Marriage a la Mode - The National Gallery, London.
Holbien, H. (1533), The Ambassadors, The National Portrait Gallery, London. Retrieved from Nationalgallery.org 25/03/2014
Mirzoeff, N. (2009), An Introduction to Visual Culture (2nd Edition), New York, Routledge.
Petherbridge, D, (2011), The Primacy of Drawing, New York, Yale University Press.
Vermeer, J. (1665), Girl with a Pearl Earing, (Mauritshuis, The Hague, Netherlands). Retrieved from Vermeer-Foundation.org, 26/11/2014
Vermeer, J. (1657), Girl reading a letter by an open window, Retrieved from Janvermeer.org, 7/12/2014
Vitamin D2: New perspectives in drawing (2013). London: Phaidon Press.
Picasa, free photographic management & editing suite from Google Inc. (http://picasa.google.com/)
Blender. 3d Modelling and rendering Computer Aided Design & Graphic Art application, Blender Foundation (a not for profit open source organisation) - http://www.blender.org/

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Putting the finishing touches to my 2nd Project, ready for Assessment

Wow, time really does fly.  I've been thinking hard as to what I'm going to do for my final piece for the Assessment over the last month.  Time has really flown by since commencing the Christmas and new year break from University.

My journey (well, this little sojourn in particular) started with Grayson Perry and his wonderful works of "The Vanities of Small Differences", viewed at Temple Newsam near Leeds about three months ago. I was committed to continue to use the study of the works of the Great Masters as a back bone for my self driven learning, whilst at the same time trying to satisfy the project brief too.  This took me through some of the works of Johannes Vermeer, I chose Girl with a Pearl Earing as my first study and applied theme, through to Holbien's Ambassadors (a favourite classic), Gainsborough's Mr & Mrs Andrews, and then back to Hogarth (whom Grayson Perry was originally inspired by for TVoSD).  However, instead of A Rake's Progress I chose Marriage Alla Mode as inspiration.  What hit me in the eye through studying all of the above Masters' works was the concept that Class, Culture and Taste had been staring me in the face... It was the drapery and curtains!... So this is my final subject matter to create the narrative I've been looking for...

So my evaluation and synposis of my work is pretty much done.  The final three pieces, which are very Kitsch in practice, clearly reflect a narrative of contemporary culture, class & taste. 

The Upperclass narrative is based on an aristocratic sense of drapery, together with matching cushions and the Louis XVI chair to the side of the window, which complement the blue inner black-out curtains.  These would be 'at home' in a stately home.  The view from the window would be of Lancalot 'Capability' Brown manicured planting, with trees forming part of the frame.

The middle class representation, still defined in a rather kitsch style of painting and in object too, I decided to leave with the appearence that it is 'unfinished'.  A work in progress.  This is an allusion to the 'new' middle classes, where they seem to be on a constant voyage of change.  The class often in engrossed in domestic building works, extensions and so forth, so I decided to hint the same through this painting.

 The final, working class piece is practical and simple.  There is still some elegance in decoration to be found, but it's purpose is to shut the outside world out, to shut the work out, which is hinted at through the view through the window.  The window too is a practical utilitarian uPVC modern style, with the ceiling lower than the upper class lofted space.  The inclusion of the box of drawers to underline the utilitarian practicality of this status.