My practice currently involves working with the relationship between the human figure and its environment. I work from collaged photographs of myself to create drawings and paintings that suggest an ambiguity of gender and narrative which are further abstracted by the distortion of the surrounding scene into the figure. I attempt this by disrupting and balancing form, the use of discordant colour combinations and expressive gestural marks. Through the universally recognisable use of the human form the audience is invited to reflect on their own corporeality and physical presence in the world.
I have noticed that both Jenny Saville and Cecily Brown choose to hang their paintings quite highly from the ground to the point that the central area of their figures is at eye-level with the viewer. I believe this is affective as the viewer is faced with a confrontational composition of what is usually the subjects crotch, in a highly sexual pose.
This is how I want to hang my pieces, rather high off the ground so that the central areas of the figure are eye level with the viewer, this in effect forces the viewer to further engage with the painting whilst also having an dominating position on the viewer. I would also like there to be plenty of space between each painting as it then gives the viewer a chance to breath between observing the abstraction and complexity of each piece.
I want to show my ink drawings in my exhibition as they show the journey as to how I came to the final pieces and I think the drawings strengthen my ideas and capture an element of fluidity and ambiguity that aren’t as obvious in my oil paintings. I will place them on a wall as you enter the gallery space therefore it will be the first thing the viewers see and it will naturally lead them to the oil paintings, showing a chronological journey. I feel as though displaying them in a grid like format would be appropriate as it will allow the viewer to experience them all at once or they can move in closer to appreciate them as individuals. This will also be a strong contrast to the way in which the paintings will be displayed (with plenty of space between them). I also feel that a grid like format would be effective as it will have more of a feel of a study, like pages ripped out of a sketchbook, something slightly less precious that inform my oil paintings (not that I think the drawings are less effective than the impact of the oil paintings). I would like the grid format to begin from quite high up so that the viewer is confronted at eye level with the confrontational composition of the figures in the drawings.
Unfortunately i feel as though i have now worked into the figures with too much detail and there is now a greater separation between figure and ground and i feel as though this has happened due to the bright shocking tones of pink that I’ve added to create an outline. I feel as though i should work into the background with lighter tones to create less separation between the figure and ground. I also feel as though i should create more confusion to the relationship of space between objects in the foreground and background by maybe placing an object that intercepts the figures joining them together but also creating an uncertainty as to wether the object is in front or behind the figures, this will be done by subtly changing the tones of the object (most likely a branch), as it passes over the different tones of the figure. I feel i should refer back to my latest ink drawing to influence my piece. It was also suggested that i drastically change the hue of the arm that comes across the central figure in the front so that it is clear that it is an arm from a different figure rather than just the badly painted arm of the figure in front.
I’m instantly drawn to the fluidity and emotion that is attained in Moran’s pieces. Her work inspired by rituals, from religious practices to more secular interactions and routines reserve in them a sense of spirituality “Funerals and Marriages, seances and love affairs can all be considered a transcendent experience to a person, regardless of how others prioritise them.” Through complete abstraction Moran’s work shows the mystical connotations behind such events. I love the way she works into her canvas with large brushstrokes which completely distorts the subject matter thus allowing the viewer to interpret her work in a much more abstract way. They become “visual riddles to be deciphered.”
However what i find powerful about her work is that without knowing Moran’s affiliation with ceremonies and rituals, her work is instantly captivating emotionally engaging. Her dominating canvases instantly conjure a feeling of serenity, her work seems to suggest an experience on a different level. This is something i would like to find in my own work,a representation of figures involved in a conscious experience.
De kooning’s abstract expressionist works show a vigorous and gestural style. His work has been described as the fusion of Cubism, Surrealism and Expressionism. What i find the most inspiring about his paintings of women is his balance of depicting the figure and his use of gestural abstract marks.I think his portrayal of the relationship between figure and ground is extremely powerful, they merge into each other through dismembering and distorting the figures.
His work is a record of an intense encounter with the canvas, there is also a sense of dynamism in his work and a feeling of incompletion. Part of my feedback stated that my preoccupation with making a painting ‘finished’ was making my work uninteresting. I feel as though that De Kooning’s style of painting is an answer to this problem.
I love the way in which we can still recognise a figure unlike many other abstract expressionistic painters. Through his use aggressive brushstrokes erotic shapes begin to emerge from the canvas.
The way i work involves my entire body and i feel that for me this creates a stronger relationship between me and the canvas. Action painting has been described as “at a certain moment the canvas began to appear to one American painter after another as an arena in which to act—rather than as a space in which to reproduce, re-design, analyze or ‘express’ an object…. What was to go on the canvas was not a picture but an event.” The term describes the work of an artist that paints with their entire body, or more specifically with more than just fingers and wrists. It is to paint with the full use of the arm, shoulder etc.
The viewer can see traces of his movement in the painting, through the use of broad brushstrokes. I would like to show the kinetic energy that went into the making of the painting to correlate with the dynamism of the figures i depict.