A prominent theme that has occurred throughout my work is the idea of collections. Although I didn’t initially mean for this to happen in my final pieces, the use of collections is a concept that I really like to use. I like having several pieces of work that fit together to form a stronger meaning, and in the case of my ‘Life on Roaccutane’ subject piece and ‘Alzheimer’s Disease Series 2’ field piece, tell a continuous story.
In the Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, September material project I created a large span of screen printing and cyanotypes that I divided down into categories and sorted into different arrangements. I displayed each collection in different ways. Some were put up on the wall, others sat in handmade envelopes and some were hand-bound into books. However all linked together to create one large collection of prints.
It is clear that my heavy use of collections in Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, September that I found successful and was really pleased with, had a significant impact on my final pieces as each consist of 2 or more pieces of work.
I think it is fair to say my lino prints took inspiration slightly of Picasso’s portraits in the way that he simplifies the form and puts a distortion on reality.
‘Femme au Cheveux Flous’
After completing my lithography workshop I noticed some similarities between my portrait and the portraits of Picasso, with the use of simple lines and inaccuracy. I wanted to take this on further so for my final Field piece I decided to use a similar technique and produced simplified versions of reality. I didn’t want my prints to be Cubist by nature but I love the way in which Picasso enlarges certain areas so inaccurately, which leads to them being highlighted. Picasso’s technique translated into my own work, I believe, is beneficial for my Outside/Inside work in highlighting my Nan’s deterioration in mental health.
For my final piece I decided to do a progression of prints that went from bright to dark colours, where the image that can be clearly seen to begin with, slowly fades into the background. I wanted my final Field piece to link to my Outside/Inside work so I decided to do lino prints of my Nan. I took inspiration off of the Colour and Light project, where the bright colours fading away represent the mental deterioration in my Nan’s brain. The colour represents the light going out.
I created the fade by slowly adding the complementary colour to my original colour, this slowly turned each original colour into a variation of black.
I chose to carve 2 portraits of my Nan into the lino and 2 pictures of her hands, all my chosen prints were previous paintings I had done of my Nan. I chose to use lino as I wanted to move away from photo accuracy in my work. I came up with this idea after completing the lithography workshop and producing a portrait that was distorted and misshapen. I think it manages to give off the idea that the identity of my Nan has distorted.
If I was to further this piece I think I would pair the series of prints with audio recordings of my Nan talking to translate the idea further of her Alzheimer’s disease.
After completing the lithography workshop I started playing around with the idea of distortion due to the misshaped lithography portrait of my Nan.
I used this portrait as well as 3 other paintings I did of another portrait and 2 hands studies, to create lino blocks of these images simplified and distorted.
I then printed them on white card using black ink to see how they worked individually and together as a set.
I really like how they turned out and think they would work well together as a series of prints. I like them in white, but for my final Field piece I think I will print them onto coloured backgrounds in a progression of colours from dark to light.
I really like the morbid and creepy undertones of Quinnell’s mouth camera work.
In particular I like Quinnell’s solar grams, especially the picture he took in a graveyard. This ended up having a really close link to my groups’ work as we chose to focus our pinhole work around the graveyard and the idea of loss.
In this project we made a pinhole camera out of any object we liked, and by mixing together old and new image-making technologies, we were able to explore and understand light in a multitude of ways.
My group wanted to make the project link to the work we were personally looking at in our subject briefs. We decided to make our camera out of one of the ceramic students pots and took photos of the university buildings and Llandaff cathedral’s graveyard.
We had mixed results with our pinhole camera, some photographs such as the gravestone worked out really well whereas others were completely blurred and we were unable to make out what they were depicting. However, overall we were happy with the results of our photographs as they had a general eery quality that we were aiming for.
We chose the gravestone photograph to be the focal piece of our pinhole work as we thought we could develop off of it the most. We took photographs on our phones of words written on different gravestones and arranged them into a short film, pairing them with the sound of a church bell.
Using the Aurasma app to finish off our project, we connected our video with our ceramic pot camera to make a final piece. When you scanned the pot, the video of the gravestone words played, tying together the idea of loss.
Overall I really like the effect of pinhole camera photographs and it is something I want to carry on. I really like how the curved surface of the pot made the photographs have a fish eye effect. Our choice of subject had a significant link to my Outside/Inside work with the idea of loss; therefore I plan on taking a few pinhole photographs of people’s faces to link further to my Outside/Inside work.
Van Gogh has always been one of my favourite artists and his work has a profound connection to what I am currently exploring in my Outside/Inside work. I found the museum highly inspiring and I was surprised to see such a variety of styles used by Van Gogh as opposed to his usual swirling brush strokes.
“They remind one of the earth, sometimes appear to have been modelled out of it” – Van Gogh
In ‘Head of a Woman’, with thick brush strokes, Van Gigh underscored the character’s angular build and wary eyes. In doing so the expression in the face became more important that a correct rendering. Looking at it, your can almost see fear and exhaustion in the woman’s eyes. Van Gogh did a series of these paintings depicting Neunen peasants, these heads are not portraits but “types” as he referred to them. This style of painting by Van Gogh was completely new to me.
In paintings such as ‘Self-Portrait with Grey Felt Hat’ a significant change in style and colour emerges compared to ‘Head of a Woman’. I really like this style in which Van Gogh works with his use of shorter brushstrokes (inspired by the Impressionists and Pointillists) as in my eyes it creates more of a disjointed depiction which could loosely relate to his bad state in mental health. The short strokes making up the background are painted in such a way that they create a halo around his head which is something I could adapt into my work to signify my Nan’s Alzheimer’s disease. His use of colour and brushstroke in this painting is something I want to explore in my Outside/Inside work.
Within the Van Gogh Museum I came across this sculpture by Rodin which I found highly inspiration for my current studies. It depicted an aged woman, hunched over. The deterioration of the human body in this study is key. The old woman’s twisted pose underscores her frail, gaunt frame. Up until now I have only been focusing on the face of my Nan and the mental effects her disease has caused. However after seeing Rodin’s sculpture I will now explore other parts of her body to show the physical deterioration as well as her mental deterioration.
Other Van Gogh paintings I found inspirational:
‘Cafe Table with Absinthe’ 1887
‘An Old Woman of Arles’ 1888
‘Head of a Prostitute’ 1885
‘Garden of the Asylum’ 1889
‘Two Hands’ 1884-85
“Ah, if I’d been able to work without this bloody illness! How many things I could have done” – Van Gogh to his brother Theo
Van Gogh suffered with mental health problems throughout his life but his diagnosis was unclear. It is believed he suffered from psychosis or bipolar disorder. Whilst in the asylum his condition went from one extreme to another. For Van Gogh, drawing and painting was a diversion from his problems. This is what I will try to convey in my Outside/Inside exploration.
I found the Van Gogh Museum highly inspiring for my Outside/Inside work, and he is definitely an artist i will further look into for my work.
I went to the Foam Museum which is a contemporary gallery and found a collection of work by Stéphanie Solinas which really appealed to the question of memory, mental health and identity I am looking at. The collection of work was title Dominique Lambert.
Dominique is the most common gender-neutral first name in France and Lambert is the 27th most common surname. Solinas documented every Dominique Lambert in France over 7 years. She found 191 men and women with this name. In her collection she had several methods to discover their identity including questionnaires they answered, written character sketches, computer-generated portraits and mug shots. Solinas manages to keep their ‘true’ identities hidden despite all the information about the Dominique Lamberts.
I find this idea of the unknowing of identity really interesting when I pair it with my work and this it is a technique I could incorporate into my own Outside/Inside work.
Contemporary Commercial Galleries:
“I am super inspired by the rhythms and patterns music can create in my mind’s eye, they do translate directly to what I make visually and I respond so deeply to music.” – Maya Hayuk
I really like the bold use of neon colours and geometric shapes in Hayuk’s work, especially in ‘Kaleidoscopic Patterns’. I think it shows a significant relationship to the use of colour in the Light and Colour Field workshop. I may take inspiration off of Hayuk’s work for my final piece of work for Field.
Les Deux Garçons:
Les Deux Garçons’ work shows a morbid humour where they work with taxidermy. Their work definitely has shock value, however it also represents reflection, especially with consequences of actions.
‘Du Premier Coup’ 2014
I found the piece titled ‘Bambirette’ particularly shocking as it was a combination of a chihuahua head and the body of Bambi from the Disney film classic. When you think of taxidermy you think of wild animals that you have no immediate interaction with, however the use of a chihuahua head, a common pet, makes it all the more shocking. This along with the body of Bambi, which reminds many of their childhood creates a morbid reality to the viewer. I found this idea of a twisted memory quite intriguing.
Thunell focuses his work on human physiognomy and its significant variation between each person. Thunell piece was tens of miniature heads all positioned together in rows. It was quite a creepy piece as they are all staring back at you, which makes you feel quite uncomfortable. Thunell depicts ugly rounded faces with physical flaws which was a nice variation to everything you see in the media. I really liked the idea of creating multiple heads all lined up, and it may be something I explore in my Outside/Inside work.
What I found most interesting about Mondrian’s paintings was his play with colour and his attempt to achieve a perfect harmony of shape and colour.
His compositions remind me of our Colour and Light project as he mainly uses primary colours; I may look into these paintings further for my final Field piece.
‘La Tête Model’ by Tinguely was probably my favourite piece in the Stedelijk and showed the most significance to my Outside/Inside work. It showed a resemblance to a face with metal constructions surrounding it. I couldn’t work out wether it reminded me of the deterioration of a face or the building of an identity. Either way I found it really inspirational for my own work and definitely want to incorporate this style someway into my work.
William De Kooning:
The idea of deterioration in human form is what most interested me in ‘Large Torso’. It reminded me of ‘She who was Once the Helmet Makers Beautiful Aid’ that I saw in the Van Gogh Museum. I will try and create a similar effect of physical deterioration in my own work.
I found Vasarely’s ‘Banya’ really useful for the development of my Light and Colour sculpture. It consists of a combination of squares, triangles and rhomboids, painted in complementary colours. In areas that the reds and greens touch your eyes see a black line between each colour, this idea of illusion really interests me.
My finished sculpture shows subtle links to Vasarely’s ‘Banya’ through the use of cubes inside bigger cubes and the heavy use of complementary colours.
This workshop was heavily focused around colours, and how light is colour. We used screen printing to express this.
In this second workshop we began by mixing two colours from 2 complementary primary colours. I used the colours lemon yellow and magenta to create a deep purple and mustard yellow.
In groups we then created screens to print with by creating geometric forms and exposing them. My group decided to go with two designs. On one we used only circles to create a pattern, overlapping them heavily. I was really pleased with the effect this created. On the second screen we decided to go for an opposite and used only rectangles to create a pattern. Together they complemented each other well.
We then began to print in a variety of colours with our screens, overlapping and angling the prints to create interesting patterns.
From these prints we then made practice maquettes to experiment with what we could create:
We were really pleased with how this maquette turned out so decided to make a bigger version but have it in 3 different sizes, with the smaller cubes inside the bigger ones. We made the cubes double sided and cut out sections so you could see through and are hit with an array of colours. We hung the cube sculpture from the ceiling using invisible thread so the cubes spun around and looked like they were floating.
I was really pleased with the final outcome of our project as I think it worked really well as a piece. I really like the bold colours and contrast between the geometric shape of the installation compared to the circles of the print. The use of colour is a technique I want to pursue in my Field work as I think it would be a more conceptual and less obvious way of portraying my Nan’s deterioration in mental health. I could choose to fade the colour in my work to symbolise the fade in identity.