Distorted figures and the visceral quality of paint.

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the imagery for this piece was inspired by Paula Regos’ work. As I have mentioned earlier, I realised that I wanted to capture human form as the imagery would contain much more of a narrative. I felt since Cezanne’s landscapes were so isolated and void of humanity and I was so excited by documenting the busy culture of Marrakech I thought i could apply what I have learnt from Cezanne’s landscapes to depicting the human form. Still focused on his ideas of achieving the truth in visual experience, and the truth of experiencing perspective.

I was inspired by Rego because the female characters in her work have an extremely raw and animalistic quality but are also very strong and powerful, i find the combination very exciting. To represent this I used a distorted contraposto pose and enlarged aspects of the body like the feet and knees. I wanted to portray movement in the figure in the same way that Cezanne would make art and life the same. I used conflicting viewpoints to an extremely exaggerated degree and played with the visceral quality of paint, I added some spectrogel and with a loaded brush I started to paint as if my medium was flesh. I believe the tonal modulation of colour succeeds in suggesting a solid figure but the fluidity of the paint gives a sense of traced movement

Final piece of the shaped canvas project


the imagery for this piece is inspired by Cezanne’s still life studies, however I have exaggerated the distortion of angles that can be seen in Cezanne’s paintings in order to push a more cubic quality. This is most obvious in the legs of the table, we see much more of the leg than what would be visible from one perspective, as if our eye is moving around the objects, the fact that the canvas is shaped not only makes this distortion more obvious but also creates a more three dimensional quality which helps make the painting look truer to reality.

5 key points of contextualisation

Here are the five key point of contextualisation that have had a direct and profound influence on my practice,






Key points of documentation

I chose to create a body of work in response to Cezanne’s ‘Francois zola Dam’. I chose this artist because I believe his ideas and paintings offer enough depth and substance to create a body of work from. My premise was to explore how successfully Cezanne portrays the truth in visual experience. I wanted to do this through exploring the artists use of colour, composition, perspective and form.

From visual analysis of the painting I could see Cezanne used directional brush marks and the tonal modulation of similar hues to generate form. He cleverly uses warm and cool colours to draw our attention to certain objects. These are all techniques that manipulate our perception of distance in perspective. Composition and subject are striped to their most basic geometric form, this creates harmony within the image depicted. The ambiguous outline between the subjects which also creates a harmony within the composition of nature. https://mablijen.wordpress.com/2014/10/21/wheres-the-definitive-outline/

I’ m interested in how the artist represent the experience of perspective, the way object seemed to be depicted from two different angles, it could be argued that this was cezanne’s method of depicting the truth in visual experience. I realised when replicating his landscapes that an obvious way to extenuate his methods of achieving was to exaggerate them completely  https://mablijen.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/a-cubist-cezanne-2/

The colour theory module changed my handling of paint, I realised colour is an integral aspect of his work, the way he plays one tone against the other to manipulate our retina. https://mablijen.wordpress.com/2015/03/13/breaking-down-the-definitive-outline-through-colour-theory/

Once I began using oils the colour became less muted and more vibrant, https://mablijen.wordpress.com/2014/11/05/section-of-cezanne-landscape-using-oils/

Not only did Marrakech allow me to appreciate the importance of colour but also the importance of narrative. I decided I wanted to document the human form however I want to apply cezanne’s ideas of making nature into art to my realisation of the human figure. Using directional brushmarks, tonal modulation of similar colour, contrasting view points. I also wanted to represent truth through showing the movement of the figure through the visceral quality of paint, I added a spectrogel to the paint to give the medium more substance. https://mablijen.wordpress.com/2015/06/09/distorted-figures-and-the-visceral-quality-of-paint/

Encaustic painting

Also known as hot wax painting it is a process that involves using heated beeswax to which colored pigments are added. The liquid or paste is then applied to a surface—usually prepared wood or canvas. The simplest encaustic mixture can be made from adding pigments to beeswax, but there are several other recipes that can be used—some containing other types of waxes, damar resin, linseed oil, or other ingredients. Pure, powdered pigments can be used, though some mixtures use oil paints or other forms of pigment. I think this process will be an effective method of thickening my medium and give more substance to expressive brush marks, my intention is that using this medium will allow my figures to have a visceral quality of motion and distorted perspective but also give that narrative quality that seems to be lacking in the works of Cezanne.

Cecily Brown


I decided to look at Cecily brown as I wanted to experiment with my choice of media when painting figures, although she succeeds in creating total harmony within her composition and the barrier between the subject and background are totally abstracted unlike Cezanne her paintings are full of a human presence. The artist uses bold and expressive brush work, there is clear influence from Willem de kooning and Bacon. The thick visceral quality of the paint she uses gives her work movement and fluidity. Sexuality and attraction are important themes in her work, which she explores through semi-figurative and abstract means. Im immediately drawn to the confrontational nature of her composition and if I want to explore Cezanne but push that sense of human presence I believe I need to exaggerate that sense  of movement and work with a thicker and fleshier medium.

George Baselitz


It was suggested that I look at Baselitz work. In the 1970s, Baselitz was part of a group of Neo-Expressionist German artists, occasionally identified as “Neue Wilden,” focusing on deformation, the power of subject and the vibrancy of the colors. He became famous for his upside-down images. He is seen as a revolutionary painter as he draws the viewer’s attention to his works by making them think and sparking their interest. The subjects of the paintings don’t seem to be as significant as the work’s visual insight. Throughout his career, Baselitz has varied his style, ranging from layering substances to his style, since the 1990s, which focuses more on lucidity and smooth changes. I find this helpful because its another interpretation on how we see perspective and how artists break down forms within nature. The artist also used to paint upside down which is something to consider when working in order to concentrate on the piece as a whole image and separate the notion that you are painting many forms within a composition. There are still strong links with Cezanne, we can see tonal modulation of colour to create monumental forms.