Sunday, 26 July 2009

And now for something completely different.

I hate Monty Python. I hate that I quoted it, but hell, it fitted.

I recently had the end of year show for my art course. I am nothing more than an A level student. In September, I will begin attending a foundation art course at Coventry university, which I hope to take onto illustration. The big dream is to work in the fantasy/gaming industry, but I am leaving the doors wide open at the moment!

Anyway, below are a few photographs of my work that was shown, amongst the essay I wrote for the final piece.

“From the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made”
Emmanuel Kant, Philosopher

This quote got me thinking quite strongly about humanity, it’s themes and it’s strengths. I think that this quote is easily perceived as quite negative, damning us, as humans for never being the same. Never acting as one which leads to all of our flaws as creatures.

However, to perceive this quote in a positive manner is also important. The quote is actually quite refreshing and it helps strengthen the concept that we are all different by an act of nature. It is completely natural to be different and to me, showing these differences make little things we have in common with other human beings that much more exciting. Perhaps this is what leads us all on to do what we want to do, we are guided by our own thoughts.
It is this sense of individuality that I wanted to bring out from my work. To do this I wanted to look at portraits and how we perceive different facial expressions. I also looked at different artists work relating to this and also just ones I thought worked in a manner that no other did but I still found interesting.

Throughout creating work for this project, I visited a variety of galleries, including: Saatchi, Modern Art Oxford, The British Museum and The Tate Britain.
The exhibit at the Saatchi gallery (The Revolution Continues: New art from China) was a truly great and awe-inspiring one. The huge variety of different mediums used and the variety of different meanings were important in making it such an inspirational show. Zeng Fanzhi’s painting ‘hospital series’ was quite an inspiring piece. Taking such a harsh subject matter and painting it in such a hard way. I painted a representation of it in my sketchbook and found it so useful in creating a new style I have been unfamiliar with.

I also went to the Exhibit at the Modern Art Oxford, ‘The House of Books has no windows’, though this was neither a long visit nor a particularly exciting one, it was a little eye opening. I prefer art to be crafted carefully and for the artist in hand to have taken time in it’s creation. However, by opening my eyes to something as unusual as ‘the killing machine’, I could draw more inspiration from it. This entire exhibit was great in proving my point about individuality and disagreements. It is very different from anything I would normally see or do. I did not agree with it at first, but by accepting it as just ‘another form of art’, I can look past it and say that yes, I did enjoy it. This is something people should try in reality, accepting individuality for what it is and moving on.
Another exhibit I saw was at The British Museum. It was a collection of art created by British modern artists including Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst, Ron Mueck, Noble and Webster and Marc Quinn. Some of the pieces I got to see are quite iconic in today’s art world. For me, the best parts were Ron Meuck’s huge realist sculpted faces and Marc Quinn’s ‘Siren’ sculpture of Kate Moss. Marc Quinn’s faces are good at portraying the flaws of a face and Marc Quinn’s ‘Siren’ mocks the ‘supermodel’ ideal in portraying Moss in an uncomforting position.
The last Exhibit I saw for the ‘Journal’ project was a collection of work by ‘Francis Bacon’ at the Tate Britain. This is work that I would have definitely let go past me last year had I not gained confidence in more strange pieces of work and artists in the past year. I am incredibly glad I went, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how the artist has applied paint thinly and thickly to create different textures in the piece as you stand back or see a smaller version of it. There is no doubt about Bacon being a huge individual, being an artist working with the theme of homosexuality in such a diverse and quite horrific manner. The artist took no lengths to hide his blemishes (or perhaps what others perceived as blemishes), though those that pointed out his problems created nothing but more problems for the artist in hand. An abusive alcoholic he may be, but an inspiring artist he was, and I am sure he will continue to be.

I have painted a large self portrait, this image was entirely posed and painted in a very different way. I think the size has created a very imposing image and the use of black in all the shaded areas has created an uneasy sense about the image. I toyed with the idea of writing song-lyric around the edges, but I have come away from the idea.
I then went on to paint another 4 images in monotone. The subject of these images is again my face and each is of me pulling a face. I chose to paint these images after being told I have a ‘plastic face’ in that I express my emotions very strongly through speech. I believe this to be because I live with deaf people who rely on such small details to determine the context in which I am speaking, making it easier to determine one word from another very similar word. This is one of these individual things that has made me different. Many others will look past, or not even know about such details.
I took the expressions even further with sculpture. Earlier on in the journal project, I looked at a pair of very simple heads sculpted by a local artist, Adam Griffiths. I like his idea, and I like his rag-tag approach, but I prefer a cleaner cut approach. I have created a series of these at a slightly smaller scale, but large enough to make very caricatured faces. Making these has been a chance to play with my sense of humour and also look at how we envisage certain parts of the face as larger to convey these different emotions.
I have since then painted a series of 6 very fast painted images (in a similar vein to the styles of Bacon and of Zeng Fanzhi) of a ‘Napalm Death’ gig that I went to in Camden Town. They are a very uncelebrated band choosing to express strongly political and atheist beliefs in a very harsh manner. I chose to paint the images fast as I took the images from stills which were blurry, but I also thought this fits in well with the theme of their music. I painted the images over the top of the bands lyrics typed out with a label-maker which has made the lyrics very hard to read another factor of the bands’ music.

In the end, I think I have made my point clear with my journal. We are all different and we should celebrate not only our own differences, but those others have. Different tastes, different beliefs and different inspirations. Everyone has the drive to go on, but how to go on and where they go on to are totally different matters.

Hope I haven't bored you too much.
Back to something else soon.

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