I think that through my final peaces i have been successful in achieving what i first set out to do which is creating an ambiguity of relationship between the figure and ground. Through colour combinations and gestural marks i have created a distribution and balance of form. The compositions of the ink drawings are all inspired by collaged photographs of my own body layered over each other and i believe the sense of the amalgamated androgynous forms are apparent in my drawings. The ink drawings then lead us to the oil paintings which they inspired. I also think that the pieces are successful because although they are based on my figure that is not inherently obvious and the universally recognisable language of the human form asks the viewer to consider their own body and become aware of self.
I believe the way i have chosen to display my work also reflects this, the viewer is firstly confronted with a grid-like layout of a colourful, visceral, dismembered and emerging bodily imagery which is effective because it allows us to view them all at once, like a body of work or a study, this then directly leads the viewers eye line to the four large paintings on the wall which in contrast offers the viewer breathing space between each complicated composition. The paintings and drawings are hung at quite a height since i wanted the open and sexual compositions of the figures to confront the viewer at eye level, thereby having a more dominating and engaging effect. The colder paintings were placed in the sunlight as they could handle it without it reducing pictorial depth, the portraits of each pair of painting complement each other and the lilac branch of the light pink painting leads the viewers eyes to the lilac in the top left corner of the last painting which offers space before we enter the complexity of the last composition.
It is important to me that the viewer still gains a sense of the human figure in my painting. I don’t believe that a depiction of a body can be as objective as that of a chair or object. Both mediums of painting suggests figures engaging in the drama and tension of a human experience. The inks wet on wet look ad to the concept through it’s gestural fluidity and dynamism whilst also giving in to chance and accident. The oils show a stronger ambiguity of narrative and gender through the tonal balance and discord of complimentary colour and forms, this creates a confusion of pictorial depth with regards to the figures relationship to the room.
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.
Making The pink and green painting was really important for the development of my creative practice and the overall aesthetics of my final pieces. I was really struggling with my last composition and was going to just display 3 as i couldn’t work or develop the composition and i had gone to dark with the colours to see how it could progress. It was a last minute decision to block it all out and start again trying something drastically different in my approach to painting. Considering De Kooning’s pastel colour pallet i decided to work mostly on the ground allowing me to be more gestural with my mark making and work with very subtle complementariness of pink and lime tones, with some greys and lilacs. The subtle tonal gradation is really successful in suggesting an ambiguity between figure and ground relationship. The diagonal two toned branch complicates our understanding pictorial space whilst highlighting the diagonal line of the composition.
I feel as though the lighter tones add a freshness to my over-all colour pallet and therefore i have decided to work into my other three paintings. In the orange and blue painting i added some lighter peach tones to breakup the figures further with objects of this hue as well. In my warm red piece i lightened up the purple colours with a paler, lilac tone.I also added it to areas of the background to give the viewer more breathing space in the painting and allow for more expressive marks to contrast the intense area of interacting shapes and colours. Overall creating a better balance across the surface of the canvas.
I wasn’t completely happy with my purple drawing to be displayed in the exhibition. I felt the composition of the figures were strong but it was much to illustrative. It almost seem to give to much away to the viewers. Therefore I decided to work on a new one however with this one I focused less on being descriptive with the pen and let the colour describe the figure. The pink oil painting influenced me to keep the hues and tones subtle, working with pinks and purples mainly and keeping the change in tone to a minimum.
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.
Rego considers her self a drawer rather than a painter, she explains that she does not like the way the paint brush bends when pressed against a canvas however enjoys the violence in pushing a pencil or a pastel against a surface. Her works are connected to childhood memories and folk stories however are still very much ambiguous and fantastical in their narrative. She finds beauty in the grotesque and in the act of transgression. Her work is also very feminine in her protagonists. She depicts a world where women are stronger than men. I’m excited by the female dominated world that she creates but also by the androgyny of the characters that are depicted. This is something I feel I could create through using my own figure as a source of inspiration.