Assignment Five (Option One): Project Three: Artist research to fill perceived gaps in knowledge:

Following on from the points I highlighted through self reflection in this post, I began to research artists to specifically help me within those areas of study.

You will see through my previous post that after reading over the OCA notes I felt that there were a few areas I could explore, especially as regards drawing and sketchbooks.  I have already considered the issue of scale, thus I will not comment on that but focus here on the more materials:

To recap:

  • Inks
  • Charcoal
  • Watercolour
  • Gouache
  • Collage
  • Crayon
  • Biro
  • Pencils in varying tones

Examples of artists who can inject inspiration to myself at this point:

Jerry Jeanard

American artist, who I can identify with for collage aspects. I love the way he uses personal materials on hand, weaving through his work in a juxtaposition of paper based memorabilia.

‘I have always loved paper. Newsprint, graph paper, kraft paper, wrapping paper, book paper, construction paper, any paper plain or printed. That goes a long way to explain the drawers full of it that I’ve collected, some of which I’ve owned for fifty years or more. But it wasn’t until I started saving laundry tags – the colors! the numbers! – that I began to think it was about time for me to do something highly constructive with my highly diverse accumulation. And so I began gluing them together into collages, at first abstract compositions driven by shapes and colours and textures.’

Screen shot to convey the scale of his pieces. Note they are not large.

Any example of his practice. Often themed with collage material bearing the theme.

I like the polished look of his pieces. I could be inspired by the use of personal memorabilia here.

Mersuka Dopazo and Teresa Calderón

I love the collaboration of collage in a fine art way, shown by these artists.

They create mixed media collage which proves exciting as it mixes fabric resources as well as paper..

On the Rebecca Hossack gallery website I found this description rather informative: ‘Often densely patterned, the papers and fabrics are juxtaposed with gestural line, pigment and areas of gessoed white canvas, the collages exploring the balance of colour and the relationship between positive and negative space. Unexpected connections form between clashing textures and motifs and between the regularity of pattern and the free form of broken graphite and improvised colour. Contrasting modes of creativity are illustrated – rhythm and order versus sinuous spontaneity’ 

I glean from this that theres more to their work than a put together piece without thought. Planning has been orderly to provide this relationship between negative and positive space. In order for me to picture the sizes of the pieces, I did some research and found that each one is about 200cm x 200cm. 

To my eye, the pieces above have a painterly quality and seem to depict more ordinary every day life. I live the mix of textures, I’d love to actually get up close and feel them, without glass protection. I observe details such as lace fabric used for the trousers of some characters. Painting methods with paint seem to overlap and merge with the collage.

I myself have emalgamated the methods of stitch and collage on paper, in this course. Yet I have not explored it lately in great detail. Thus it is something yes I have showcased but feel I could polish and create “better” and more “exciting” materials.

Above: one of my own outcomes from Assignment two of this course. 

Allyson Reynolds

She has just had an exhibition at the Rebecca Hossack gallery this month. Her method is fine art painting in the main, with oils: ‘She has developed a highly personal technique ideally suited to her subject. By painting ‘wet on wet’ with thinned down oil paints on fine linen she is able to achieve effects with unexampled delicacy.’

She tends to focus on still life and nature. 

It’s her subject matter which interested me, especially the way it has been photographed on the Rebecca H gallery website. The website initiates flow between subject matter and finished piece. 

A selection of her pieces above. I’ve chosen this selection to convey the large scale and the concept of subject matter and outcome being placed next to each other at exhibitions, which I really like and feel that it creates clarity. This is something I can inject within my own photography of my work. Her method of watered down oils, gives her work a translucent quality. Thus in effect she bends the paint choice to her needs, she is in control rather than the traditional context of oil painting in a historical format

Ross Bonfanti

I was drawn to his method of clay/concrete and how he combines this material with what seems the opposite, namely the fragile:

When exhibiting at the Hossack gallery, his work was detailed with this information:

Bonfanti’s concreatures are created from cement, hardware materials and found soft toys, all collected in the artist’s native Toronto. But even as he redefines their sumptuous bodies and studs them with nails and screws, Bonfanti deliberately retains the toys’ fluffy seams, their felt noses and their glass eyes. The sculptures stand in a striking state of in-between: Fortified for modernity and urbanity, the charm of a bygone age still lingers.’

His work is representative of a good example of mixed artistry, combining materials and themes we would not associate together. The crash between the fragility and the hardened tough surfaces strikes a surprise, which was obviously a risk for the artist. 

Could I implement somthing similar in my own way!? 

Peter Clark

Discovered through his wife’s work (karen nicol) I find his collage material set into particular themes worthy of researching.

He often exhibits with one particular theme, displaying it in a number of formats and types. For example one exhibition was just types of dogs, yet all were individually made into their own character, using carefully chosen papers. The Blank Space gallery said of his practice:

‘ From fashion to beloved pets to portraiture these collages magnificently exude character and wit. English artist Peter Clark creates three dimensional images out of his collection of old stamps, maps, buttons, love letters, sewing patterns, playing cards, and more. Peter first draws the outline, then carefully chooses from his collection of found ‘things’ to find the right texture and colors to ‘paint’ his collages’. 

This is why I notice that his pieces seem so neat and uniform in final appearance. 

One point I gleaned from him that actually is rather rare, is the ability to view both his and his wife’s work together. I wondered if there were similarities?

Although Nicol deals largely as the designer, she has exhibited at the same gallery as he has and also when viewing the works along side each other, we can note that both do work in collage at times and hold that “magpie” status.

The both tend to be inspired by the same sources, often nature based. Here are a few of Nicol’s pieces, so that the likeness can be observed:

I would love to observe this couples every day life and see them inspired and discuss their work with them.  I would love to observe Peter drawing his pieces and planning them, before executing the collage.

What’s clever is how both artists are just that, artists in their own right. Both have ventured down different paths, yet collide in some material and thematic contexts.

I can be influenced and appreciate both artists methods, taking Clark’s use of collage and Nicol’s use of combination between collage, embellishments and embroidery.

Elisabeth Blackadder

In respect to the watercolour category, one artist I have discovered is Blackadder.  Yes, her work can, when seen in an isolated context be categorised as Botanical, perhaps restrained.  However when viewing the wider picture of her work, I find that she has experimented with many materials over her career.  It can taken her time to come to where she is…after the experimentation and exploration of years.

 Her studio.  I notice behind and surrounding her, she has collections which are obviously inspiration to her.  This shows to myself, how important it is to reflect, pin up and visually display your points of inspiration.  Thus they are there to turn to and remember.  I must keep up this practice also.

Having read books about her work, this image is one to remember:

Image (104)

Some works have a fresher more “on the moment” feel.  This is one of my favourites, a combination of charcoal and watercolour wash.  I was able to view it in real form at the Royal Academy Summer exhibition this month.

There is more to say about her work than looking at a neat floral outcome such as the one seen in progress above.  Here are a few examples:

  1. She  allows the flowers to progress in form and shape during the work and prefers to leave tulips and irises until they gain a more interesting shape. This means she may paint the same flower more than once during the course of a painting.
  2. She focuses very much on the negative space (between flowers) when composing her paintings.
  3. When painting flowers using watercolour she often leaves the background blank (i.e. white) or uses a very light wash in the background.

Reflecting back, it is the use of charcoal (of course there are many artist who use it in a greater extend too) watercolour as a wash and the collections she builds in her studio, to surround her with artistic nourishment.

Final notes:

Within the above selected artists, I have touched upon a few of the materials I may use in my future work, observing how they have used them themselves within their own practice.  I will use this post to reflect back on.


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