Category Archives: P1UPM Part 3

UPM Part 3 Review

Brooker, S., 2010. Portrait Painting Atelier. 1st ed. USA: Watson Guptill.

In the work you produce now you must demonstrate:

• an understanding of different painting media

Monoprinting, less about a different media, more a different way of using it, the consistancy of the paint has to be fairly specific for it to work

• an ability to choose the most appropriate painting media and ground for the image you’re making

The only way to layer images over in a way I find satisfying is to use acrylic paint rather than oils.

• evidence of visual editorial decision-making

Choosing the image to work from and then subsequent picture to work into is less about visual impact of the colour and the overall feel of the picture, My mind is working through the assignment piece and the impact needs to come from the content over the look.

• experimentation with media and materials

The exercises have been very specific, playing around these is difficult given the contents is also pre-defined. I’m playing with my sketchbook and imagery still and I’ve been looking at the use of oil paints courtesy of a book that isn’t the great masters. This book has allowed me to play with colour to learn more about mixing and the value of underpainting.

• consideration of the context in which you’ve made the work

I think the context for my assignment will be fairly self explanitory given recent events in my home city, as I’ve written, I’ve found the exercises quite tight to play around with.

• a growing understanding of what interests and motivates you as an artist.

However, the exercises have helped me to clarify what look I prefer to aim for, as has the experimentation I’ve been conducting with oil paints.


UPM Pt 3 Exercises 3.1- 3.4

Exercise 3.1 – Look in a mirror and make 20 A4 ink studies of your face. Have three cups to hand: one of black undiluted ink, one of diluted ink (with water), and one of water. Use a mid-sized soft brush and spend no longer than a minute on each painting. Remember to squint to see the tones. Try this in different light levels. Near-darkness can really help you to capture a lot of different tones. For inspiration you might like to look at the paintings of Marlene Dumas. HP watercolour paper is good for this exercise but, as these are sketches, cartridge paper, card, photocopier paper, or any other scrap paper, is fine. You’ll use these images as the basis of your monotypes in the following exercises.


1 minute isn’t very long, I know this as its a time we use as warm up at life studies. Its a gesture, or a hint to a person rather than a portrait. They are all still recognise-ably me though, mostly with glasses (makes my life easier with focusing and all) and towards the end, without. I tried painting in daylight, there are 3 windows in my studio space, 1 is westerly the other 2 north, need to get some blinds sorted, however, its not on my high priority list. Anyway, most of these ended up being painted after the sun had set, the standard lamp I use the most (lack of plug sockets till we get the studio earthed, apparently its too far from the house to use the main one, so the power is currently run from an extension socket from the garage. Finding electricians with time and the where with-all to actually communicate with the customer is like finding rocking horse shit).


Electrician has been, power is installed safely and I now have more sockets than I can shake a stick at.

My Tutor also suggested I’d better revisit part 3 of the course as it was lacking substance and practise. So I redid the portraits in 3.1, most were unsatisfyingly short, to make them look like me I need the eyes and nose, then I’ve run out of time for shadows.



I tried to work some monotypes off one and wasn’t happy so went back to the easel for 1 more, starting with a bigger brush to work shadow first and work line over, this has more potential to work from



Exercise 3.2 Choose an image to work from. This can be one of the ink studies you made in Exercise 3.1, a photograph, or a magazine image of a face. Try the monotype technique described above and see how it goes. It may take you a while to get it right so don’t panic if things don’t go well first time. Don’t throw anything away! While you are working think about the following. Do you need to mix the paint with more white spirit/turps? Or less? Where would you like to remove bits to create a highlight or definition? Which bits would you like to paint onto after you’ve created the print? Carry on until you’ve made five images you are happy with.

I initially tried it with oil paint thinned with spirit, it bled in the unprimed paper and of course the drying time doesn’t help, neither does the ‘what medium can I put over oils’ factor. So then I tried acrylic ink, which was too sloppy, the pooled liquid just spread into an unreadable mess on the paper. The answer for me was to mix acrylic paint into the ink, this produced a much more viscous mix

The bottom 3 I tried printing something onto the paper before I added the monoprint and then I worked into them because they where bland. the glasses on grey paper works on its own and reminds me of a slightly more informed version of that John Lennon self portrait sketch. I’ve worked over the right hand sketch in a blue ink painted on and the left with dip pen and ink (This is from looking at Kathe Kallowitz etchings at my local gallery, her mix of processes, lithograph, etching and tinting the paper produces much depth between the layers, however, knocking off £500 on a secondhand printer is also not in this years budget and getting to Southampton to use the printing shed would be a time/cost thing at the moment) I think this aspect can be developed further, a more complimentary monoprint colour possibly grey might help.

Also, printing on collage of found papers then adding the detail over the top would work, I think in which case, I’d need to work larger, a4 is too constricted to let all the processes work together…


I tried water based printers ink and it turns out the shed is too warm today to work it before it dries, so went back to oil, as thats what I’ve been sketching with in part 4 and Ex 3.1 anyway. My paper choice went to a slightly thicker standard white A4 printer paper, I wanted something with a smooth surface to seee if I could match the effect Anni Kevans manages and it failed, there is a slight photocopy to all the prints as there is a light texture to the paper. I’m not convinced a thinner paper is the answer without it falling apart under saturation of oil.

The flat 2 tone was unsatisfactory and I know how quickly the thinned with spirit oil paint soaks in so did shadows in burnt umber really thin with a big brush then after it was dry (not long, less than 30 minutes) went back to the black for a finer line, I also overworked a couple of really splodgy practise sheets and tried one on wrapping paper. I prefer the effect with the fainter shadows so will be sticking with the 2 step process, I decided to thin some black to do some prints.

I have picked these 5 because they represent a series of the same person each with a different feel, 1, looks to your right and the the emphasis is on the eyes, 2. is a rougher print from the first sketch and has merits because it has a raw uncertain effect. 3. the shading under the eye worked well on this on and the eyes are its weakest point. 4. is the best print, the gaze is equal and sure with a good balance between the brown and black. 5. is a bit weak in the shading to be totally happy with however I plan to work into this in 3.4 which should strengthen the image.


Exercise 3.3 Make five more portrait monotype prints, this time removing different areas of paint with cotton buds, cotton wool, smooth rags, rough rags or tissue paper.

DSC05583Top left, colours blended with a cotton bud, middle, thickness of paint removed by laying on kitchen towel to remove even layer then proper paper added to take off print. top right, scrunched up tissue paper, dabbed over. Bottom left scrunched tissue laid over, pressed lightly and removed. middle cotton bud to remove as is bottom right.

I think top middle as an impression thats barely there has merit, as does bottom left, good texture. The context of bottom right with the broken up image , fractures, behind something is reasonable.

But not much.


Texture on the shading over the lines made more sense, so I tried scrunched up tissue, heavy cotton canvas, a dish sponge. I tried marking the ink with a coctail stick and a cotton bud, I wiped out an area like Yuko Nasu, to make the face unrecogniseable.

1. (From the left) is just the under paint after a cover of cotton has patterned the ink. I have put this print in to represent the unfinished element that is barely recogniseable as a portrait. 

2. underprint was wiped at the eyes, the portrait cannot look back at you (In terms of Ways of seeing, this is a totally modern approach, the female view altered so it cannot make contact with the surveyor) .

3. A cotton bud was used to clarify areas and clean up the highlights.

4. This was created as a page of water-based printing ink (white over black, I hadn’t cleaned off the previous prints ink) and the face was scribed into the ink with a cocktail stick part of the reason I like this one is the mix of the 2 inks helped by the scratching through process. I w

5. This is a 2 step process print with the undercoat being treated to scrunched up tissue to pattern the ink before printing. As a texture creator, this appears to be the best method, the ink has to be plied on quite thick to show anyway.



Exercise 3.4 Choose three of the prints you made in Exercises 3.2 and 3.3. Work into these prints with extra paint to change the image. You could choose to pursue greater definition, a closer likeness or a more dramatic contrast. Think about how you could apply the paint to achieve these effects. Make notes as you work through the exercises, noting down the different effects you’ve been able to achieve by removing more/less paint, adding extra paint, etc.

Working into the oil paint version with either oil paints or oil pastels, for a different texture I’m going to try pastel, More dip pen and ink over the acrylics with light washes for depth. We’ll see how this goes today.

The first image was the oil paint with pastel over, this (and number 2) have come out reminiscent of Elizabeth Peyton’s portraiture, the depth of shadow in the eye sockets and the use of colour, however, they part company there. The ink wash and dip pen in number 2 and 3 add more detail, however, I’d say that number 3 achieves a vulnerability and believability whilst not making me look as haggard and old as the other 2.

Part of the believability is the monochrome colouring, however the emerging feel of the features from No.2 because of the red and yellow .

My personal preference is for number 3, as graphic as the final layer makes this, it feels the most painterly.


I have added watercolour to 3 prints to define the femininity much like Annie Kevans, I’m not sure if because I know I’m doing it it distances it from the historic use of women in art as objects or it is playing straight into it all as a self fulfilling act. 

I can see that the extra work has made this part of the course a bit more relevant

UPM Pt 3 Research into painting thin

Yoko Nasu. 2018. Portfolio. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 24 February 2018].

Eleanor Moreton. 2018. Painting Archive. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 24 February 2018].

Kim Edwards Painter Printmaker. 2018. Images/ Monotypes. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 24 February 2018].

Annie Kevans. 2018. The Muses of Jean Paul Gautier. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 24 February 2018].National Gallery. 2018. Eva Gonzales[1870] – Edouard Manet. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 24 February 2018].

National Gallery of Art. 2018. Girl With an Apron[1891] Berthe Marisot. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 24 February 2018].

Yuko Nasu

creates freakish portraits that she adds props to to identify the owner of the face or a situation she wants to place them in. Some of these pictures ( Like this piece from 2009) appear to originate with swirls of paint on the surface that are then given more detail. This leads to an anonymity in the images even as the tie hanging from the bottom gives us that extra information which is itself ambiguous as they all appear to have been painted in t-shirts. The three images of mens heads leave an impression of football supporters standing proud, tight lipped to support their teams, with the ties hinting at normal life and the method to pay for the tickets. I get a sense of fun in her painting, as much as the picture of a baby baring it’s teeth, its softened by the addition of the little hat and booties external to the painting., the face seems innocent and happy.

Eleanor Moreton

Moreton’s work is more recognisable than Nasu, and her collection entitled Absent Friends is as a result easier for me to connect too, the delicate lines show her affection for the people she has depicted in an obviously feminine style, her confident use of line and most basic of detail creates a softer image which hints at the unfinished, maybe because her relationship with these long dead women isn’t over as she remembers them.

Kim Edwards

Edward’s mono-prints Don’t do anything for me, the process takes away the life in the location. A reduced quality copy of a photo which is itself a reduced quality copy of the real thing is just too many steps removed from the real thing to have the value I think a work of art can give to it. Having said that I do like the dark pallet she uses and there is a sense of the elements within her work.

I think my issue is that an unworked over mono-print is a cheat, its an exact copy made through trickery rather than observational skill. I think mono-prints make good layers to work with, but don’t necessarily always work as the only layer. This is a contradicting piece I know.

Annie Kevans

Annie Kevens works in thin oils with a limited palette (her Girls series appears to be 3 colours)  her use of red in this grouping aids her comment on sexualisation of girls as the colour of passion and good lipstick. All the girls look at the viewer, the poses and sideways glances This is also the artist I looked at in part 1  although my meaning was missing due to it being an exercise.

I have continued to work thin, although I add drawn lines because its a good starting point to me, I also prefer to get a more finished effect. These are painted in acrylic ink, so have to build up in layers to get the final effect, the order they were done in was Hemsworth, Evans, Pratt, Pine and finally Eubanks, I’ve got plans to do Martin while the Calcutta Cup is on later

Hemsworth was 1 colour, Evans 4 (white, black, red and turquoise), Pratt essentially 2 and dirty brush washing water left over from Evans the previous evening, and Pine, as you can see, quite a selection. Eubanks, 2 browns, black and white and a Prussian blue to counter the browns. Eubanks is more in keeping with the work of Manet than Kevans though, the thin builds up in the area of focus much like Eva Gonzales, the paint comes on thicker when we get out of the background, However, its more like his sister in law Berthe Morisot, she had a quicker technique than I although I can aim at that with practise. Morisot had a full pallet  Young girl with an apron from 1891 showing her quick brush strokes obviously allowing us to see her process of laying on colour. There is little blending which I think g

ives an honesty to the work.

Painting thin has its place in my work, its just built up as lots of layers of thin so that it makes sense to me.

Painting: Documents of Contemporary Art – Terry Myers

Myers, T., 2011. Painting: Documents of Contemporary Art. 1st ed. London, Great Britain: Whitechapel Gallery Ventures Limited.

This is essential reading for my course and a neatly sized comfortable book to hold, its also coated in red wine due to an accident with my husband not putting down his plate and trying to move an unstable side table one handed, upon which was his filled glass. Its a small point, but I do like books.


Starts and ends with a quote from Eugene Delacroix from 15th May 1824, “What moves men of genius, or rather what inspires their work, is not new ideas, but their obsession with the idea that what has already been said is still not enough.” This is the motivating factor in the coming together of writings in this book, even after the announcement of the death of painting, the start of photography and the integration to the art portfolio of installations, modern technology and the moving image.

Douglas Crimp – The End of Painting (1981)

Crimp’s explanation of an article by Barbara Rose criticising an artist for having their work displayed in a museum, when they themselves had been critical of art in museums. Crimp “Rubin explains that museums are essentially compromise institutions invented by bourgeois democracies designed to reconcile the large public with art conceived within the compass of elite private patronage.”

Pretty damning in itself, although I don’t hold with all of Rose’s argument “[painting] is the product exclusively of the individual imagination rather than a mirror of  the ephemeral world of objective reality.” Painting is mostly the end product and to give all the meaning to a choice in medium  when it is possibly a repetition of a photo or a series of photos, possibly after a series of sketches and notes working out possibilities is giving paining too much credit. However, the fact that painting is still important, whether it is because of Rose’s input or a natural cycle of change is good.

Whether art should aim to be hung in galleries due to the societal views of those creating the collection seen, based on only the time in which the decisions to hang are made and the history leading up to that point is another question, and overall, its a bit of a big one…

Photography hasn’t killed off art, its made it more accessible to all and helps within its creation, it has changed the type of art that the public responds too, but its only a part of an ever changing process rather than its death-nell.

Giles Deleuze – The Painting before Painting (1981)

About Francis Bacons use of photography, whether he liked or loathed it, explains that he used it a lot but that he felt that as sight is a series of photos that they don’t allow for ambiguity which is where painting takes over. I’d go with this, a photo is a complete view however, as an artist to include all the elements of a photo without cropping in, and blurring, to adding only the aspects I find important to convey my image I haven’t used it to its full potential as my aide memoire. I am happy to create fiction from fact, partially because I am aware that the end product is my view of the world and events.

Thomas Lawson – Last Exit: Painting (1981)

This is a review of art in the late 70’s early 80’s that is waiting for the next movement of painting, its critical of post modernism and the artists creating pictures to become known rather than to make good art, complaining that their images historical roots do not justify the mismatch of styles that render them meaningless.

Its also critical of specific artists along the lines of a change in their (Salle) style heralding their exit from the world stage.

So what’s next?

Rene Ricard – the Radiant Child (1981)

signing grafitti, necessary because grafitti became “institutionalised” in the 70’s so the need to be individual within it leads to moniker. The act of signing as a cry for recognition.

The canvas is a limiting factor that shows ametuers, where as painitng the side of a train is impractical to those wishing to make money from graffitti art and become professional.

Judy Rifka, has a recogniseable style that acts as her signiture, all an artists work should lead to a point where their work heralds them and makes their name memorable, Andy Warhols style was linked to him and lives on after his death.

However, there are artists who get to have more than one definable style of their own, Richter has several, I’d like to not be trapped into one medium and be free to play with art whether my message is serious or not.

Peter Halley – Notes on the Paintings (1982)

This could be an uber short description of a gallery visit, where his overall feeling of the visit was a series of confinements, recognised in the geometric objects spotted in more than one picture.

He could be describing the gallery, likening it to institutionalised elements of our lives – apartment blocks, education, work etc.

Norman Bryson  – The Invisible Body (1983)

This appears to be reminding us not to forget the effort in making art. As much as it delves into the hows and whys of looking at art, its seductive capabilities, it deals with them as a point removed from the creation of the art. leads to the musculature memory and skill of the image coming out over the gaze drawing in the meaning of the image.

Art & Language – Victorine: Libretto for an Opera (1984)

About bringing art to life, a play in which the main character a detective is in conversation with Manet and Courbet about murders. He cannot distinguish between the actual murders and the painted figures, this does not work the other way however, he does not think of the real as a painting.

So, the allegory is in art as opening a real meaning/message in the viewer, in this story a close minded man. who does not believe this is possible.

“You don’t fool me. No one can paint ideas:

No work of art has ever pictured thought.”

I believe art can give you a look into someone else’s view of the world, I’m not convinced you can actually hide it as you paint if you are given the opportunity to paint what you want over pre-prescribed commissions. I think this view will automatically be clouded by the time you are in so is a given truth of a specific point as well as person. It is also not an absolute because we all show what we want to show at the same time as that which we show unconsciously.

Hal Foster – Signs taken for Wonders (1986)

Abstract art at the time taken apart because it couldn’t be the pure abstract art of old. Because it appropriated that art it lost the abstract in everything but name only and the act of the painting became the sign. Because for the most part they are not good enough, they cannot become the next level of abstract because they are not hyper realistic enough in the sense of simulacrum. or because they are actually good pictures, they are fooling people without adding anything to the genre.

So is this art being created because it is the next step in the cycle of art?

Essentially the commercial expectation is destroying the meaning of abstract art

Is this saying that it has now all been done before so because of that art has lost meaning or lost its way? Art is kind of dependant on a market to steer it, but the pictures should have a voice, its up to the artist to create all their ideas, even if they have no audience over just the ones that pay for a roof and food, otherwise there would be no forward motion.

Gerhard Richter – In Conversation with Benjamin H.D. Buchloh (1986)

I like the start of this, Richter has to defend using a big paint brush just because its a tool and he doesn’t mean anything specificly by it and Buchloh tries to make out it has some hidden meaning, then goes all verbose aboult the use of big marks and Richter doesn’t seem too happy about the empty message Buchloh is giving his big pictures.

Buchloh is desperately trying to pin more messages onto Richter’s work than Richter is allowing him too. Gerhard ends this by stating that his paintings are about bringing “together disparate and mutually contradictory elements , alive and viable, in the greatest possible freedom. No paradises…”

He is showing what exists, in his abstract work as well, without adding to it to make it its most beautiful self.

Thats an honst approach, but there are still elements to any image he makes that have more or less emphasis than in real life.

Lee Ufan – Robots and Painters (1987)

Writes of the invention of robots that will one day paint better than humans.

How the message/content is decided first then an emotional link by the artist to the content, this whole content, artist producing picture acts as a machine till its done. (fair enough, a machine only does what its told, in this instance the machine is creating a picture, its not necessarily allowing for the happy mistakes that make good pictures great though).

So whilst a robot cannot understand all the messages that go into creating a picture they also cannot predict the next art movement or the future? (a bit uncertain on this bit)

So while art creation is narcissistic, only artists can understand the moments of life that make great art.

Barry Schwabsky – Dreaming America (1989)


Likens the process of creating Aboriginal art to the pictures by Marilyn Minter. starts by linking all pointillist work, then decrees aboriginal art as a passing curiosity.

Finally gets around to stating that the author of aboriginal art is not necessarily the person who puts down all the dots, its the person who plots its journey and understands where the piece is going, much like Minter who after the original idea and preparation, is not necissarily the person who put down the dots that made up her work at the time.

It kind of loses itself at this point, there the similarities end. Minters work heraled from Pop art, Aboriginal artwork stems from a point so far removed on a continent far away and from a different time with a different cultural history…

Jim Shaw – Thrift Store Paintings (1990)

This is a list of paintings from thrift stores, some of the list has attributed ownership which means they have been bought.

The descriptions don’t dress them up to sound good and the owners collect on an obvious theme.

Is this a list of themes not to create pictures of? or is it a challenge to make them into pictures that sell?

Is it less art because its ended up in thrift?

It hasn’t ended up in a skip so someone has valued it and decided it is worth more than 0

is the list art?

Shirley Kaneda – Painting and its Others: In the Realm of the Feminine (1991)

The difficulty with deciding if something is feminine or masculine comes from the historical point we derive our view upon.

This chapter is not about women being treated fairly in art, it asks that a picture be feminine without needing to know the sex or gender of the artist. this is a fair point, right up to deciding between a Newman or a Rothko than the masculine is the un emotional logical response while the feminine is the opposite. I resent that. I don’t get emotional about it, I argue that its wrong and based on the thought that the female is an illogical emotional response over a nuanced look at more views than just the one correct masculine.

We are incomplete because we lack power. I’ll accept that, we lack the conviction that we can handle power, we are not backed up enough to believe we can and will succeed.

Taafe is a feminine painter because he deals with pattern and Heilmann deals with geometry which is masculine.

Why are we deciding that these are based in one camp or the other? I don’t get why Kaneda is deciding whether the content of a picture over its use of human form is decipherable as male or female. If we reach a point where we are brought up equal it won’t matter what we create.

Given this was written 27 years ago, I would hope that we have moved passed a point of deciding if a line is masculine or feminine. Only if a picture works. I realise the system is still geared to a patriarchy and that women still do not fair as well in the market, Also that as a subject it comes up, I’ve got a string in my inbox from OCA discussion group about masculine or feminine styles in photography.

I guess my work is feminine, because I tend to go complimentary in my pictures, I don’t do raw images (Like Freud, Saville et al) I would need to paint more than I do to worry less and get a model that isn’t one of my children (I’d have to have more materials too, I am aware of my financial obligations this year and its keeping me from buying supplies at quite the rate I need too). I’ve started a sketchbook of portraits up and my goal is to keep going back into the images adding layers so the work is more finished, and see if in that process the pictures become less processed, which would take them away from the feminine I think.


Meyer Raphael Rubinstein – The Painting Undone (1991)

Support/surface artists. A collective from France who exhibited together (mostly 60′-70’s) They chose there focus partially around American art themes of the time and only complained about the prominence of American art after an American artist won a grand prize at a European biennial. This is a condensed history around the who’s and whys of the group, with a theory made from the French philosophers of the time, and the background ideas taken from the US, the premise to take art back to the basics of the canvas unsupported and start from the imagery rather than the support.

That seems to be all this chapter is.

Vija Clemins and Chuck Close in Conversation (1992)

About how Clemins feels her work affects viewers? this is her feelings surrounding the lack of distance she gets from her work, sucked into it till its so closed up she worries that it is inaccessible. Close argues that it is very personal because she feels so close to it and Clemins responds that maybe its just closed rather than by closing it up it is somehow more open to interpretation.

Elizabeth Hess – Spiritual America: Sue Taps a Vein of Female Anger (1992)

Essentially a look at an exhibition by Sue Williams with a mix of paintings and sculpture, the theme is looking at sentences and events that surround women and portraying them in there worst possible element or in the opposite extreme to draw more attention to them. This was an exhibition shouting about in-equality of life and as such was a call to arms for women. Looking at brutality in relationships, rape, birth and using loaded sentences to justify the action she showed, gave the show a specific focus about the relationships (be they long or short term) between men and women.

The writing also referenced a parralel exhibition by Richard Prince that showed the Marlborough man also as a parody, but without the vitriol. as a step before or removed from Williams work.

I suppose the question is does it work? It asks questions, it provides answers, but I don’t think Williams exhibition would actually reach her target audience, I don’t believe that the person who acts the way she depicts would go to her exhibition. To have an effect, she would have to drip pieces into shows with other questions. Its not that she’s using a sledgehammer to open a walnut, I just don’t think she would have any walnuts to hit.

Micheal Corris and Richard Nickas – Punishment and decoration: Art in an Age of Millitant Superficiality (1993)

A conversation about describing art with really long words…

linking the figure to the ground, (showing its weight and position?)

Discusses degradation of the canvas by the artist with tools, torturing the paint and then brings in Warhol who believed “that there is no difference between what the picture says and how the picture says it.” which isn’t true, there are many ways to get across a message through art, be it through messages containing love hate anger or humour (or more than one as in Williams work in the last chapter, using humour and violence) it can mean looking at the extreme opposite to draw attention to the question you want.

Marlene Dumas – Woman and Painting (1993)

Dumas explaining how she justifies to herself her choice to paint. even though she is a woman who has faith, blond hair, pagan views and a career choice that isn’t clean.

And it pays for her roof and food and she isn’t ashamed of any of it.

Good for her.

Mira Schor – Course Proposal (1993)

How art is written about because it fits into what the writer want to write about, how exhibitions are curated on a pre-decided theme, how artists are looked at by critics who don’t like paint.

Fashion and being at the right place at the right time counts a lot for take home pay in the art world, I understand this, either you catch onto the latest zeitgeist and you can discuss it coherently or you lose out even if you paint well. I’m still learning to paint, still don’t have a preferred medium, I am way behind the drag-curve.

Writes of learning painting through touching paintings like braille, because it would help understand the process of creation (a Rembrandt self portrait is the example to touch) so you could get a firmer grasp of painting, photos of Mondrian’s work don’t give an understanding of the brushstrokes visible in the real.

This is about accepting ability with paint does not necessarily lead to success? Because the people with the money and the language skills are the ones in charge of the market, no matter how we would like it to be different.

Adrian Searle – Unbound (1994)

Looking at an exhibition touted as a return to painting and noting that the experience of the art is also an experience of the situation we see it in, curated by a gallery. noting that works look different when hung in these spaces, as Gary Hume put it after having drips and splodges  in his work pointed out to him “Don’t worry about them. Once they get to the gallery, they will look like nuances.”

If your only purpose is to have your work in galleries, this is the approach to have, my personal desire is to have my work hanging in peoples houses, which means closer scrutiny, however the paradox is my challenge to accept the mistakes I make over perfect pictures because I’m not sure I see the point in painting photorealistic over owning a photo of whatever…

Piece ends with painting not being dead, it is not a religion.

Philip Taaffe – In Conversation with Oleg Grabar (1994)

About how we as artists want our viewers to access our art, Taaffe admits that part of the response is about the technique he uses to create his art, however, he also wants the viewer to have a different response depending on the distance they are from it.

Also that Matisse and Rouault had different expectations from their viewers, Rouault didn’t produce his work with an expectation anyone would view it it was a “prayer” and Matisse wanted you to feel comfortable and relaxed looking at his, it was always for observation.

I want people to look at my pictures, Some I make because they bug me till they are made, some are an instant ‘this will make a good picture’ feeling, I can’t say I am always comfortable with everyone looking at my work, partially it depends who is looking and how much of myself the picture reveals. And as earlier written, I’m not making raw pictures yet so my expectations of views are of a positive emotion in response. It isn’t wrong to make art that elicits a positive response.

John Currin – In Conversation with Keith Seward (1995)

Discussion over the impetus of his work, he denies that its ironic, that it can be seen as cliche, but he doesn’t mind that over the cliche of using weird objects to paint with. Would rather be an honest painter.


I’m amusing myself with portrait practise while I read books this month, this is my 3rd Chris (after Hemsworth and Evans), the irony of looking at feminist questions while drawing and painting male cinematic fluff is not lost on me. I’d like to fill the book with portraits and it would be kind of amusing if they where all Chris’, which would be cliche but a worthwhile exercise in portraiture. I think I’m with Currin on this one.

His assertian that there are no American painters, only illistrators, whilst stating that Europe has painters is wrong, all painting is illustrative, its a followed through finished thought in comparison to the initial sketches, but it has a trail to an idea or an emotion the artist is trying to portray, which is the definition of illustration isn’t it?

Julian Schnabel – Basquiat (1996)

Part of a script from a film on Basquiat, this is about the creative relationship with Andy Warhol and their collaboration in art. Basquiat questioning whether he is still a validated artist ie, the art establishment thinks he is old hat, even though he has stopped taking drugs. However, Andy assures him he is still relevant by agreeing with his painting choice on their shared canvas.

Do we need validation to be practising artists? can we be relevant without an audience? I can’t see a point where I won’t return to art, its my creative release, everyone does, writing, drawing, photography, making music.

Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe – Cabbages, Raspberries and Video’s thin brightness (1996)

You remember back when tvs where big enough for the cat and her mates to sleep on? Before HD? Before 4K? Before OLED tvs with a miriad of jewel bright colours, with clarity so sharp the effect is dazzling?

Well this piece was written 22 years ago and technology has moved on a bit. Video content still moves, implying no beginning, no end, because of the rich colour, the hint of electricity is closer than ever, the size of the average home TV has more than doubled and in the front room, a picture has less notice taken of it than the box of moving images.

Whats my point? It is difficult to look at an argument on lack of focus and colour like oil paints when the devise for comparison is now more akin to fluorescent spray cans and can show every detail clearly in well represented cinematic format (take Blue Planet II) The constant motion is still prevalent, but the screen now has an anti glare to it so the sun doesn’t ruin your viewing and the frame around the edge has all but gone, in fact the next generation of screens will either be a part of the furniture so you can’t distinguish it from a cupboard door when its off, or you will roll up your super-sized screen and chuck it in the corner when you have guests around.

We’ve moved on, like the constant stream of photorealistic art that the paps show as the best thing since sliced bread. Painting needs to find its niche in this world, and keep re-finding it as the tech improves.

Lara Pittman – In Conversation with Terry R. Myers (1996)

Lara, discussing the immediacy of a painting, it is created at a point for a point, not to be discussed as history or looking into the future

Lara had her last reviewed work described as eccentric and here she is arguing to be included instead of separated but a definition that stands her apart.

I can’t say the same for all my sketching, it represents the now as it is done, however the larger works created on the back of a sketch are a remembrance of the past, they are history as I make them, there is a nostalgia about them from the moment I begin. Maybe, with those pieces I am asking someone to look at the picture and get a tiny sense of what I felt as I looked at whatever it is I’ve re-created on a surface.

The question is, if I should seek out situations to observe, or situations to remember myself? My favourite painting is Eduard Manets bar at the Folie Bergere, I first saw it while doing A levels, and its terrible ennui struck me of this woman watching life happening but not participating, she can’t afford to, she works for their happiness, and only participates on a periphery. Which leads on to why I paint and draw what I paint and draw, the act of creating takes me away from participation into the role purely of observer which isn’t the best place to live, photography helps because it can pick up those instances to be dealt with later allowing me to take part in my own life. Maybe being an artist is about observing from the periphery constantly, a world apart?

Catherine David and Robert Storr – Kassel Rock (1997)

A conversation about an exhibition and artists choosing their work to go in it and the organisers (I guess the 2 in the conversation) getting to curate. Richter is discussed as is his photo collection over his paintings.

Bernard Frize – In Conversation with David Ryan (1997)

different processes in painting used to create an image, Frize plays with paint and accepts the anomalies he creates. He likes to see a painting become closer to the series he is producing. His work is like Fleming’s penicilin, an accident on canvas while experimenting. He wants to redefine the conversation on colour and paint because his process is different, he thinks the language we use is fixed and a new one needed.

how “art produced in a given context, reaches a point where it becomes universal.”

When it is produced in series surely? the moment there is something to compare it with?

Lane Relyea – Virtually Formal (1998)

Links painting to computer technology of the time, shows differences ie physical presence over easily deletable pixels. This is another difficult piece for me, abstract art doesn’t translate to computer generation as easily, the effects of gravity would be much harder to replicate, also some of the work discussed is done by people who create huge canvases or strips of paint that take over rooms, the capability of computers at that time doesn’t correspond in scope or scale.

However completed on a computer the formalism approach is accurate. Do the artists excape it on canvas? they set there own rules, so probably not.

Mary Heilmann – Looking at Pictures (1999)

short text on Mary’s thoughts on her arts creation, how its autobiographical in reference and how she looks at art as planes.

Howard Halle – Photo-unrealism (2000)

Looking at the photos of Andreas Gursky which are immens detailed observations of places and close-ups. These are geographical in detail, and whilst showing order, also show difference, the text is talking about them as paini=tings rightfully given the content as an interesting, arresting series of spaces that invite further exploration in their obvious order.

Geeta Kapur – Dismantled Norms: Apropos an Indian/ Asian Avantgarde (2000)

derogatory text about the state of art created in India/ Asia as a series of signs that just create objects and that multi media isn’t helping. Also that art is gendered and that gendering is leaning to more objectification or “public concern” either or. Pretty damning.

Looks at the portrayal of Gandhi by 2 modern artists, discusses how they take mythology and construe it in a modern take.

Midori Matsui – New openings in  Japanese Painting: Three Faces of Minor-ity (2001)

Starts with history of Japanese arts, from introduction of western culture, while the indigenous art tried to either intergrate the new or reject it totally, discusses Takashi Murakami’s work pulling away from new pop and painting large original canvases.

Deterritorisaion, good word to discuss Japanese art placement today, articulation, used to describes how “ideology discovers its subject”

So what we have is a colonialised place finding itself through a thread of art, in this instance, through a cartoon like genre that is subverted to look other than its innocent beginnings expect, using the ‘cute’ element and in some cases making the pictures behave in a slightly scary way.

Albert Oehlen and Andre Butzer – In Conversation (2001)

Oehlen states there is no difference in his work on and off the computer, they should both elicit emotions in the viewer, mostly through repetition of the emotion displayed.

Pictures also show a bit of all the pictures that have come before. Butzer, “The picture is a living being and conversational material is everywhere.” so all art creates an emotional response that creates a dialogue between viewer and artwork.

Daniel Birnbaum – Where is Painting Now? (2002)

Turning the river in Stockholm green and staying anonymous because the act is the important thing, not ownership of it, but about “our perception of public space.”

Francis Alys Belgian who walks around with a hole in his bucket dripping paint as he goes, recording his journey in a way no different to any other painting, while using the medium in a new way.

Using stained glass windows as a painting, architecture etc. However other mediums to paint with isn’t something new to the new millennium.

Katharina Grosse – In Conversation with Jonathon Watkins (2002)

Discussing her distance from her work because of her chosen medium, spray paint, so she never has cause to physically interact with the canvas.

marking her space.

Ulrike Groos – On Paul McCarthy Painter (1995) (2003)

brief description of video ‘Painter” by McCarthy about the caricature  he creates and its relationship to collectors and gallery owners, parodying those relationships. The irony in that in moving the whole set to another gallery it was broken and an argument ensued over responsibility which  probably is echoed by the caricatures in the film.

Jonathon Lethem – The Fortress of Solitude (2003)

Extract from a story about time and art.

Glenn Brown – In Conversation with Rochelle Steiner (2004)

Rochelle asks about his use of other artists work as a starting point for his own, he explains that he uses images of the original that have lost so much of the fell of the original that its not really copying(?) How he feels about copyrights and how he feels about his sculptures (seemingly made of piped paint defying gravity).

Jordan Kantor – The Tuyman effect (2004)

Now this is relevant, my current exercises on the course are about creating prints with thin paint and working into them, my current quandary is how to get a more definite line given I can’t use anything other than oil paint or oil pastels over oil paint.

This piece is discussing the work of Luc Tuymans and Wilhelm Sasnal et al who have a loose thin painting style. It discusses it not as a technical inadequacy, or failure to paint.

the artists use photography, cropped in and a reduced palette to render the pictures hinting at the restricted planes viewed from the photo.

Beatriz Milhazes and Christian Lacroix – in conversation (2004)

Millhazes who’s work uses pattern and circular forms like mandalas, painted onto plastic, then transferred onto the final surface and the plastic peeled off. leaving a very smooth  finish.

Her work contains the patterns of a lower social class from her country of origin, Brazil, this culture appropriated some of its elements from Spanish invasions centuries ago, however both the language and patterns have remained.

Milhazes says she is scared of many things, however I would argue that those are the things she is distant enough from to observe for her work.

Observation versus participation again.

Cheri Samba – In Conversation with Andre Magnin (2004)

Discusses the origins of his work from the place where he started, then explains that as much as he is still based there, he travels to places like Europe to talk about his work and sell it there.

has an open studio back in Kin (Shara) that is open to everyone at specific times in the week, overseas travellers and locals alike, but acknowledges that his work is financially out of reach from the locals who used to buy his work for the price of a loaf of bread.

So he is distanced from the people from his career origins. As much as he says he is an ambassador for that region of the Congo, his choice is not to do any community art?

John Kelsey – Stop Painting Painting (2005)

A critique of the work of Micheal Krebber, whose exhibition of bedsheets on stretchers lacked paint and where propped up around the gallery, sometimes with flyers for the show attached. Explains his history of appropriation, including readymades, then suggests that he is re-evaluating the gallery space with his un painted work and re-invigorating the potential for readymades of Baselitz.

How the artist is elusive and talks little, how he is an artists’s artist.

He sounds like a diva.

Jerry Saltz – The Richter Resolution (2005)

Asking to have a break from using photos and mechanical projection devices in art, just so artists can go back to exploring the media. Camera Lens is different to the eye, we see differently to each other, painting should reflect those differences.

I agree.

Isabelle Graw – Classics of Modernism: Jutta Koether’s Treatment of Canonical Painters (2006)


Koether reproduces the works of impressionists in her modern style, because she is appropriating art, she is changing its message, as a female painting female nudes, she is objectifying the object, which while ironic isn’t any different to the original? In which case its been done before and is now old hat.

A quick look at the internet implies she has moved on from this. Not a bad thing.

John Tagg – Vanessa Jackson: The Private Persistence of Public Art (2006)

Looking at the availability of art given the market that surrounds it and hides it away and talks about it above the public.

Svetlana Alpers And Matthew Collings – The Painter (2007)

Well thats a depressing piece. A conversation about the end of meaning in painting, from deciding there is no interest in painting, to there is no knowledge about painting to it having suddenly broken, to hoping that it hasn’t and will carry on, to waiting for the next thing after painting.

There certainly isn’t much painting in overall art exhibitions, 1 painter got shoe-horned into British Art Show 8 around photos and multi-electronic-media, however, how relevant is a hole room installation to someone buying art for there house? homes aren’t getting bigger. So the question is more who is my art for?

Philip Tinari – Original Copies: On the Defan Oil Painting Village (2007)

I have heard of the Dafen village before, it is a place to order paintings, that will arrive in bulk repetition and at a reasonable price, think of it as commissioning on a grander scale with less research into the artist, So the same thing the Flemish artists did, but more modern, no actual contact etc.

Artists have used this space for there own ends above the actual painters, mostly to look at the exploitation of the people while in essence, exploiting them themselves.

This model isn’t that far from what being an artist is about, most artists do not get their work in high end galleries with a price tag that has more than 2 zeros, so by modernising the system it is merely keeping more roofs over heads.

However, I get the point, this is a dumbing down of the meaning and value of art. It just means that the pictures we end up seeing in charity shops will end up being of a better quality, and something had to make up for the loss of Athena on the high street for those in rented accommodation and low funds…

Joan Key – Pavel Buchler: Painting as Praxis (2007)

“Life is not determined by consciousness, but consciousness by life.” – Marx and Engels

“it is not necessarily the painting that fails. Rather the failure occurs in the social destination.”

Buchler’s paintings are the painting over of previously done work, the peeling off and then after washing the canvas, gluing the painting fragments back on. The resultant patchwork under a name of a hidden contents meaning that it is a reborn thing. The expectation that it will not work is a form of melancholy Key writes as visible in the work.

He is less worried about the final image than the process and ordered habit of creating it.

“Society needs the labour of artists more than it needs the art.” the artists give value to the objects being sold.

So the painting has no value without the knowledge that it was done by an artist. So the low value of the work at Defan is because their value as artists is lower over their ability to perform art, which is high.

So, to have value as an artist, I just have to be an artist and my work will have value, as long as I pitch it at the right person.

Thus proving you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

Sebastion Egenhofer – Figures of defiguration: Four Theses on Abstraction (2008)

Iconoclasm and Monetary Abstraction

Iconic abstraction – destruction of iconography This gives it its energy and direction.

Critique claims that the direction of art is now linked more to commercial enterprise and results than art for arts sake. The notion of starving for my art comes up here, not content with the fact that without an audience, the next stage in art would never be seen and progress happen.

Because abstract was separate from icon, the art was supposed to be able to be read no matter the social history of the viewer

However, because a picture has a value, these abstract forms have acquired meaning that becomes iconic.

Critical Refiguration

Art looking at imaginary vacant people, (Sherman’s film stills) is a sign of abstraction because these representations are representations of no-one specific.

So icon-ess art using generalised imagery is abstract, but generalised characteristics (ie two eyes a nose and a mouth is a human) is not icon based for people? contradicts itself there.

Modernist universalism based on this imagined person.

ok, “its is articulated in the rupture, the gap between the identification imposed by the imprinted mask and the non iconic support.” So the 2 are not linked.

Historicity and Production

Painting as a medium grounds the picture in the time it was made as much as the contents of the image. there is evidence of the hand of the painter.

The painting is its own history

And use of collage around 1910 was the start of abstraction as it removed the trace of the brush and some of the history of the piece.


I’m having difficulties with this last bit, I think its saying that because of our faceless identities (presumably through social media) and a lack of perspective in pictures that the non identities in the art are free? But I could have that wrong.

David Joselit – Painting Beside Itself (2009)

excert from another interview where Martin Kippenberger posits that everything is art from the picture to the wall in the gallery it’s hung on.

That there is a network at play for all art, the network that sees it onto the internet or onto a wall in a gallery and then into storage, the image has a journey.


This has been an eye opening book, asking the hows and whys of producing art and the whos and emotions of an expected audience (if there is one) whilst also discussing the markets at play and the value of art as well as how it achieves that said value.

I’ve only read 200+ pages, but my understanding of my perspective in art has moved on a galaxy’s distance.

As an artist, making pictures, I need to understand why I make them, from a personal perspective that has to include how much it takes from my life in the shift from participation to observation that is the birth of the idea for a picture, photography is my savour here, I don’t project my images to copy, and I accept my mistakes in fact the act of correcting them on paper leaves a historical trail of my observation and progress as an artist which I don’t think of as a bad thing.

Who am I creating for? I don’t want to make pictures that aren’t looked at, and I don’t have a strong enough link to most of them to say I object to them passing out of my hand and into someone else, I hope that my images spark a recognition in the viewer which leaves a positive response, I think that pictures that leave you happy are under-rated.

I may change this view before the end of my degree, however I think that when I’ve finished the last course I should probably read this book again to see if my answers are still the same.

I don’t do imaginary people and places, I don’t think I need to, there are enough people living on this planet to show real people living real lives and even if they don’t know I’ve painted them, my pictures are a record of them, an added history to the image. Which means I am not working abstractly (which is good to know) I also understand that my work is of this time and probably feminine (partially because of my desire for a positive emotional response).

My art has a value, currently as an artist it is greater than the sum of its parts but it’s mostly because the pictures are good over the fact they have been made by me, my ability to network and create supportive relationships is the bit that will add value, my increased artist-ness.

If you get the chance, I’d probably recommend reading this…



Art & Today – Eleanor Heartney

Heartney, E., 2013. Art & Today. Reprint. 1st ed. London, Great Britain: Phaidon Press Limited.

This is a big book, my notes are the info that popped out at me shrunk down into the least possible words, there is a really small amount of my opinion in this, and a basic reference to the artworks I think I need to remember.


Explains how previous methods for evaluating the progression of art movements around the theory of Clement Greenberg are redundant as its difficult to place some work in a niche area. Book is set over 12 chapters that define art by what its reacting too and that it can be a reaction to more than one thing.

discusses women in art and feminism (Linda Nochlin 1931-2017 who’s obit from the times I have bookmarked), reality tv and the desire to be a part of a community that doesn’t exist.

I like the idea of aligning your art with its inspiration and purpose rather than a movement that’s tied up like a family tree of previous generations ideas. It seems a more intuitive explanation to a place in art and allows for cross-group work.

Art and popular culture – The Andy Warhol effect

Greenberg was derisive of pop art however Warhol prevailed. “The way in which our aspirations and self images are homogenised to better serve the market”.

Gilbert and George, themselves a part of their art, much like Warhol and his wig and entourage.

Julian Schnabel, brash and great at self publicity, may have been better at that aspect than Warhol, its just I’m fairly sure if Warhol wanted to pop down the shop after he had returned home to his mum, all he had to do was change clothes and take off the wig.

Damian Hurst and Tracy Emin as YBA shows reputation as the lead in to the art. Although with social media working the way it does, an emerging artist has to sell a bit of their soul online to garner interest.

Emin’s work revolves around her personal history and as cathartic in the long term as I’m sure it is, must be like an open wound for her on opening night. I’m hoping we come to another link in the book for Emin because her actual work over the way she portrays herself is much more inward thinking than the overtly kitsch repeats Warhol was famous for.

Baudrillard and simulacrum followed from McLuhan “the medium is the message”.

Ruscha “The idea of the idea of the idea of the mountain.” observer projecting their internal view of a mountain onto the painting, its cubism in a modern version, the symbol of the mountain is the recognisable thing even if its cut up and shown from every angle at once, or just a generic mountain or many mountains all meaning the same thing.

Prince shows the symbols without the emotion to show the culture around it

Are artists today selling out by pairing up with products to inflate the value?

Art & the Quotidian Object – The transformation of the readymade.

Marcel Duchamp and the urinal, acceptance of the object as a form of art or the knocking off the pedestal of art to everyday objects?

It becomes art not because of anything within the object, more in what we imbue in it

careful construction of objects to look like everyday things as a craft (Jasper John’s Painted Bronze).

Koons again Three Ball 50/50 tank. the floating basketballs perfect in their tankas a thing no longer touchable by observers, taking them apart from the everyday objects they are? remaking kitsch objects and putting a high price on them so the art colllectors descend and buy.

Ashley Bickerton Le Art (composition with logos #2), box covered with logos of what it was made from, this art proves that the value of the work is a sepurate thing from the object.

Sherrie Levine’s reprints, fully credited to the original photographer but sold as her own work because as she had rephotographed them they were now new…

Artists using rubbish to create sculpture or installations, repurposing waste.

Jason Rhoades manages to get Lego onto a piece that “touches on Islam, sex and consumption.” part of this one is word association through foreign languages and slang. So unless you read the blurb next to the art, you wouldn’t be clued into the link…

Sarah Lucas uses objects to show how we view genders, suggestively arranged beer cans and pairs of tights.

Notes that without the wall labels you wouldn’t get the impact of the ‘art’.

Move back to craftsmanship elevating the household into another obsessive realm, followed by the oversized creating a different atmosphere.

I will state my nervousnes over any art that has to be seen alongside a 500 word essay that explains it. As interesting as it can still be, to me it has failed.

Art & Abstraction – Retreat from Purity

Abstraction started with Kandinsky in 1911 followed by Malevich and Mondrian (although I’ve always thought Mondrian was more a concentrated look at negative spaces than anything else, an earlier picture of his of a tree in silhouette focusses on the different colours between the branches). Either embraced as a new thing to go alongside the nuclear age or in resistance to it as “non-objective” (precursive name for abstract).

Charting its history its easier to understand? Either geometric or organic forms (plato and underlying forms for geometric). Theosophist Madame Blavatsky metaphysical /mystical nature of colour and geometry.

reduced pictures to simple forms to encourage a life itself more simple? Now that was never going to work, humans once there are more than one of them in a room become a complex thing.

Both parties believing they had found the answer to freeing us from “extraneous” content towards spiritual realities. “feelings and ideas exist independently of the visible world.”

Then comes Greenberg and “art for arts sake.”

By 1960, younger generation thought of abstract as old hat thus the rise of pop art.Leading to Minimalism. Judd admits to using the shadow of a door or the bit between 2 buildings for inspiration, so something physical has triggered his creativity.

Modern abstract doesn’t base itself on the theory behind the geometric or organic types, but can still use the views in the art.

(the pictures in this section show works that have a starting point of order that either finish in the same way or veer off into an organic movement. They are visually beautiful in their abstraction, Richard Deacon,What could make me feel this way[1993] Bent wood, cable ties, screws as installed in a huge room in Germany is a mesmorising coil of craftmanship through woodwork that shows an obsession with the form even while it shows its mistakes in its creation.)

Op art as almost experimental visual stimulants.

Al Held, oil paintings that resemble digital art using rennaisance techniques.

“embrace opposing tendancies as necessary tools for any exploration of a complex world”. refering to no fixed use of formulas and abstract style taking what it needs to help the modern artist cope.

Art & Representation – The Fiction of Realism

Is realism immoral? brings us to Richter and his photo paintings…

Abstract thought was supposed to be the way to the truth, realism was held to be hiding the truth that as an imitation of an imitation wasn’t what was real.

Photography heralded a get out clause until people realised that photos could also be manipulated although Barthes did hold that a photo had at least seen the scene an artist could have painted without ever looking at…

Vija Clemins does photorealistic pictures and claims the subject isn’t the nature she is depicting, but the photos she is working off. (interesting point of view) Also, they remain clinical works un-romantisized.

Chuck Closes oversized portraits start with a grid to both close up photo and surface, pours are enlarged and the photo’s lack of focus at the edges replicated in grand size.

After paralysis his technique had to change and the immense size of his canvas didn’t, A coherent image from the distance becomes squares filled with circles of cleverly chosen colour.

Richter and his blurred photo paintings. His subjects not necessarily visible or their importance known until you delve into the written work that accompanies the pictures.

Peyton and her paintings of friends and lovers, they always seem to have an air of incomplete and youthfulness to them (to me).

Casebere and Wall create scenes to then take photos from, Wall’s battle scenes with wounded and Casebere models of interiors that (for example) are flooded. Playing with the real (the photo) and the staged/unreal scene. All believable until you look closer to see the discrepancies.

Barthes myth with Komar and Melamid who’s childhoods of Soviet era artwork permeated their view of the world and the nostalgia they had growing up, their art contains these images.

collections of images created to catalogue something too vast to collect. Richters 5000+ photos as source material.

Art & Narrative – Postmodern Storytelling

Paintings tell stories. They have back through to cave paintings.

Historical art described in 1838 Makepeace Thakeray in the Times as” pieces of canvas from twenty to thirty feet long, representing for the most part personages who never existed… performing actions that never occurred, and dressed in costumes they never could have worn.”

Historical narrative art went out of fashion for a while during the last century (around minimalism and pop art) then the narrative came back and has remained through pastiche or allegory. Barthes said that it wasn’t the story imbued by the artist that was important, but the story recognised by the viewer (In Death of the author). I get this, it comes back to my pet hate of the essay next to the work explaining it, as the artist we have to accept that what we felt as we create may not be the message the viewer gets, so the dialogue should be open to hear what the viewer sees.

This chapter is predominantly about photography and film, clips both long (Mathew Barney) and short, but in a loop (Rodney Graham) with narrative that runs through truth like Pierre Huyghe’s The Third memory about an actual event (a Brooklyn bank robbery) only filmed from 3 different perspectives, the third film of one the actual robbers out of prison, who’s version matches more with the cinematic movie (Dog Day Afternoon) which had previously come out about the event than the facts from the day, which is more about not trusting all the narratives to be truthful.

Photographs feature set ups that ask questions over giving all the answers, and documenting real life, the author asks if this close documentation of her life was in fact detrimental to the health and well being of Nan Goldin.

Cindy Sherman features, her early work based on recreating movie stills giving the viewer a style to enter the photo from even while trying to work out the exact plot.

The key here is manipulation of the viewers response in a known way.

Art & Time – From Real Time to Reel Time

Andy Warhol made a fill that lasts 6 hours. Its of a man sleeping. this is every minute, no gaps footage. The modern equivalent is reality TV and some shows, like 24.

Paragraph on perception and theory of time (and reality), concludes with Henri Bergson “”Lived time” as the experience in which past and future merge into present.”

Muybridge slowed time with stop-action photos (Matrix filming technique of multi HD cameras for slow motion action).

Russian filmmaker, Sergei Einstein played with film, “distortion, strange camera angles, abrupt juxtapositions, and mirror reflections to dispel the illusion of linear time.” as a political tool to change peoples perceptions alongside the rise of the new Soviet era. I’m not sure that unsettling people is going to have that effect, or how many people his work reached?

Use of these real-time concepts meant (boy the 60’s) artists could sit an audience in front of musicians not playing their instruments as the work is to imagine them doing so, or as a concentration on the audience itself.

“Technology can make past and present coexist” Especially till Facebook insist on changing my feed to top stories over most recent.

Reel time is something we can manipulate and we are the creator of. Real time, we have less control over.

Since the 1960’s, On Kawara has painted a picture a day of the date, if the picture isn’t finished, it is thrown away, if it is, it is stored in a box with a newspaper cutting of the day it was made, when displayed, the picture is used without the cutting or box, so there is no link to the events at that time, there are currently over 2000 pictures. Fantastic concept, as a store of collective art, but unreadable as a record of time if there is no link at the time of viewing. its just a number on a wall.

Roman Opalka who since 1965 has been creating canvasses where he is attempting to paint to infinite numbers. in 72 he started adding more white to his black numbers, so by 2000, he was painting white numbers against a white background, only visible in the right light. This huge body of work is obsessive?!? he takes a self portrait at the end of each day, which is much a show of the passage of time as the increase in number on the canvas or the loss of visibility of the numbers over decades with the increase of white paint. As a statement of life continually moving forward?

Gordon played 2 films on opposite sides of a translucent screen, Bernadette one side and The Exorcist the other. somewhere in the middle, the viewer is hearing both films at once upsetting the flow in drama of both. as an exercise to show the tools Hollywood uses to engage us, or “manipulate reel time.”

This chapter is about our exploration of the importance of time, film is stretched out, cut short, looped doubled up and effects added to to suspend our notion of time. It ends poignantly on Staehle’s piece 2001 of a web cast of the New York skyline, it showed an image in the gallery that changed every 4 seconds with what was happening outside. He recorded the crash into the twin towers and it remains as a record of the event. As Heartney writes, “Certain events reveal that time can also be brutally indifferent to the effects of man.”

Art & Nature and Technology – Remaking Land and Body

Art as a reaction to technology (futurist), technology creating issues that then have to be reacted too, land art as a reaction against the commercialisation of art headed for the hills and is sometimes hiding, whereas UK land artists like Goldsmith, Long and Fulton use elements of the landscape delicately (use leaves, photos of piles or lines of stones, in comparison to some American artists using boulders)

The question of whether something is art over science comes up, Mel Chin had grants questioned as to whether her plans to plant specific genus that cleaned toxic soils was art.

Art has been used as a political tool, NY employed Ukeles (unpaid) to improve the image of the Department of sanitation, which she did by opening up the people within it to the public and educating the people of the city that waste management was just another part of city living, next to commerce and work.

Art that deals with mutation and genetics, asking if it has a place, through mutations and machines that make us question if we’ve gone too far or far enough.

Art & Deformation – Celebrating Human Imperfection

The human body was represented as perfect (eg. David, Venus de Milo etc) however, whether due to feminism and understanding of the “male gaze” the human form has now become a thing with mutations and imperfections (Cindy Sherman gets another mention for wart covered hags)

Term grotesque used to describe these created blighted bodies or carnivalesque, a word first used in 1940’s to describe action based on medieval carnivals that were days when usual law and order and modesty was overturned and base aspects of humanity came to the fore and were celebrated. Abjection now refers to artist who’s materials such as excrement, hair, menstrual blood and dead animals. as a loss of self due to seeing a dead body, “vomit, or other signs of our own materiality” (Julia Kristeva).

USSR and East German art could not cope with less than perfect form in pictures, USSR artists work dried up and Eastern German artists defected. In the west, artists like Giacometti with his stripped back forms with rough serface, “suggest bodies that have been eaten away.”

Francis bacons example of the screaming pope as a show of the breakdown of “civilisation and lament the failure of religion to provide an effective moral compass.”

So is this art as cathartic? embracing that which we don’t normally expect or allow to ask questions we would not normally feel comfortable asking?

An attempt to get us used to bodily functions, to accept ourselves and human nature?

Or artists rebelling in a childlike stompy fit to get attention?

Art & The Body – From Object to Subject

Chapter deals with the body in art as a gender issue, artists using bodies to give a sensual message (Schneemann), or to push comfort aside over performance (abramovic).

Berger, “men act and women appear, which leads to Mulvey and the male gaze in cinema. I studied both of these in UVC1 they have very effective theories that have squewed my world view beautifully.

However, its about why women are portrayed in art, either as something coveted, owned or loved, and the last one is quite rare.

Joan Semmel in 1970’s painted pictures of herself and her lover from her view at the head end of the bed, the poses are intimate and angles not necessarily flattering however, they are a more real view of the female form than a lot of male artists. Sylvia Sleigh took it a step further by changing a classical work by Ingres of naked women to be a pose by naked men, with the faces of -current to the time- art critics. Freud painted people in the raw, including himself, the paintings are like the HD image that shows the warts, not a sexual picutre.

Jenny saville is much in this vein, her pictures show foreshortend squashed forms from odd angles, skin sagging flesh putty-like.

So gay artists portraying nude males are taking the male gaze in a different direction and with Mapplethorpe and Ligon, how skin colour affects histories and perception also becomes important. Stereotypes around black men commented on by Ligon in words next to photos of standard nude poses to question this.

Pornography in art as a cultural display? Araki showing photographs of old woodcut positions and fetishes at odds with the view of that nation as puritanical.

Fischl paintings of middle class western society with a twist, mixed clothed and naked people of all ages hinting at incest, peodephilia and rape. They have a hint of hopper to the technique of  painting and use of light, almost as if they are showing normal things, which helps them to be even more perverse.

Araki Untitled(Kaori)2004 C-type print of a young woman lying back on a bed in a submissive pose. Dark hair down but neat arms at angles to the body, hands at head height, the kimono she wears, still tied at the waist covers her upper body and arms, below the waist, the fabric has been parted to show her naked from bellybutton to feet, legs together knees bent, toes on the floor. A plastic dinosaur sits in the folds of the garmenttouching her leg staring at her crotch, she does not chose to move, her emotion is uncertain. She is displayed for someones pleasure. Heartney has it as “the demure and the wanton”.

Walker as an African American artist can look at the black female body from the male gaze and then the white gaze, Sexual stereotypes shown in silhouette on the wall.

Renee Cox re-envisioned Manet Le dejeuner sur l’herbe as cousins at pussy pond, the naked black women now poses next to 2 gentlemen in tribal clothing next to a body of water, they are also now unclothed from the waist up and look at her, in not looking back at them, the power seems to be with her.

Dumas paints as a white woman in South Africa having been there through apatite. Her figures mixed race in relationships that would be uncomfortable under apartheid, the children she painted, seemingly not untouched by the views they are growing up surrounded by.

Art & Identity – The Rise of the Hybrid Self

David Hammons How Ya Like Me Now(1988)Tin, Plywood, sledgehammers, paint and American Flag. Created by an African American to “expose the racism of the white establishment”, torn down by African Americans who did not understand this element of its creation. The race of the artist was really important in understanding the message of the piece.

However, Kramer & Hughes felt that the “high culture” of art shouldn’t be mixed with politics…

In a multicultural world, identity art is attacked “Viewing it as an oversimplification that reduced artists to a biographical fact.” Henry Louis Gates (Chair of Harvards Afro-American studies Department looked at the question “Does race exist?” He argued it doesn’t, it has no science base, stating instead that “racial” categories end up being used for “Wildly different cultures, belief Systems and economic interests.” that “Once institutionalised, this categorization becomes a construct.” (P242)

The feminist debate arising in the same way (with a bit of biological science thrown in).

Linda Nochlin and “Why have there been no great women artists?” argued that it wasn’t the inferiority of women over social issues that held them back out of the eye.

(P246) argument between essentialists and deconstructionists about search for identity over social construct informing that identity and using it for political gain.

Trinh Y. Minh-ha middle ground of every culture having first and third world parts, including first and third world cultures, there is always someone at the top of the heap, sometimes the heap is pillows, sometimes the heap is shit. “The false superiority and universality of mainstream culture is best attacked by positing the instability of all identity-” so identity isn’t the problem, how its represented is.

The chapter looks at feminist art, cultural art, gender art (including aids posters from the 80’s that were as much about education as anything else) identity fluidity, germans dressing as Indians as photo’d by Robbins and Becher or Morimura (Japanese man) dressing up as the nude and the maid in a re-imagination on photo of Manet’s Olympia. “In the process of giving back to the West a fractured, Asianized version of its most cherished fictions.”

Then finishes with 2 artists that hide their identity to become others Lee infiltrateds and has her photo taken with people who’s culture is not her original one, as a small Korean, bleaching her hair and sitting on the arm of the chair of the gun toting American next to his Confederate flag was brave.

Art & Spirituality – Rediscovering Transcendence

Reformation killed off religious painting in western culture, religions today rarely have the funds to pay for large images/sculptures showing spirituality writ large.

As in the previous chapter, and How ya like me now, spirituality discusses the contraversial art of religion, and its artists who believe in it. Ofili and “The holy Virgin Mary” supported on Dung which was taken to be mocking Chtistianity, Ofili as a practising Catholic uses dung as a building block from countries that use it as fuel and material to create shelter from. Which is more respectful than originally thought…

Subtle shows of faith like Kitaj’s “The Jewish Rider” ([1984-85] [oil and black chalk on canvas] Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art) that have signs of faith in the background (the cross) whilst reminding us of the Holocaust and the Jewish peoples transit to camps on trains.

Aylon read into the Torah to research elements from a feminist point of view.

Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate as a link to his Buddhist faith, resembling a drop of mercury, it potentially provides a link to the void.

Faith is something you are comfortable with or are questioning.

Art & Globalism – Negotiating a Borderless World

Art is becoming less the prerogative of western white men, the items displayed throughout the world in biennials, art fairs and social spaces are created by people from a wealth of countries. Their art shows the links between each land mass as well as highlighting  strengths or inconsistencies between them. This is more possible because technology has made it so, we can observe the portfolio of anyone with internet access, look up things that would only have been viewable on state run media a century ago or in the papers if the owner deemed it appropriate for us to see.

We can view art that shows the effects of globalism, Jaar(1991) Geography+War Double sided light boxes with colour transparencies, framed mirrors

oil drums with faces of the Nigerian children, who play amongst Italian tankers discarded waste, reflected in the top.

or Lombardi’s huge graph reminiscent of a mind map – showing  how money flows into and out of corporations.

Anthony Gormley, figures, show lone figures or societies struggling with identity whist all looking as if cut from the same mould.

A wallpaper of repeated faces from Do – Ho – Suh’s yearbook, seen from a distance just a mass of similar images sucking you in.

Yanagi’s ant farms “Which can be read either as a statement about the corrosive power of capitalism, represented here by diligently toiling worker ants, or as a herald of the inevitable collapse of the artificial national boundaries – both of which of course are aspects of globalism.”

Baumbarten displayed the names of native tribes of the amazon, (largely disappearing from the area). These names had only been recorded by the encroaching civilisation, defining them as they wrote them down, “thus they illustrate the process by which a colonising power literally names the people it subjugates.”

Globalism as a positive and negative force, recorded.

Art & Architecture – The Utopian Fallacy

Buildings limitations are that they cost lots and are expected to last, so experimentation is going to be at the behest of the man with the money.

Architecture in art or art as architecture? both explored here, either as aiming to create spaces that change how we live or as Lloyd Wright, Sullivan and Gopius “expressing absolute faith in the potential of architecture and design to act as agencies of social transformation.”

As was evident in how much of the buildings from the 50s and 60s we are demolishing in this decade, the utopian ideal was flawed.

Art has played with design, like “Philip Johnson’s Glass House (1940-50) whose walls and open floor plan erase any concept of privacy.” which also foretold the impersonal open plan office.

Whiteread and her negative spaces, Untitled(House)1993 Building materials and plaster, concrete poured inside a house then demolished around it as a more intimate display of someones home?

Monica Bonvicini Don’t miss a sec(2003-4) two way mirror structure, stainless steel, toilet unit, concrete floor, aluminium, fluorescent lights. so, you can’t see in, but when inside, the walls are pretty much transparent, this is a play on Bentham’s Panopticon, which as a way of social control or an observation on surveilance is powerful, how many of us would use the toilet, a personal body function even knowing that we can see out, but the people outside cannot observe us?

Architecture, or our understanding of it to redefine spaces inside, Adams portrayal of a 1942 MoMA exhibition called “Road to Victory”. the images shown in glass cases, but only as reflections, Gloss black walls around showing “Ghostly reflections” of soldiers in the Saudi Arabian desert, this exhibition co-incided with the first Gulf war.

This chapter concentrated on showing how art can show the highs and lows of societies use of architecture and even its destruction. sometimes hopeful, sometimes isolating (Absalon’s white pods) as well as being used in the production of structures.

Art & it’s Institutions – Art Reflects on Itself

This is a chapter on art looking at how its perceived and the system around it that makes “artist” possible as a thing that puts a roof over your head. “Ultimately it suggests that an artworks interpretation depends less on the intentions of the artist than on the way it is absorbed and positioned by the art system.”

Also “Clement Greenberg analysed the roots of this economic reality as early as 1939, in an essay proclaiming that the avant-garde is always connected to the ruling class by, in the critics memorable phrase “an umbilical cord of gold.””

Jeff Koons put it even more succinctly, “The market is the critic now.”

So artists play on this by producing work that pokes at the cash cow to see if its noticed its getting poked, like Koons highly priced ready mades.

Or Or artists like Barbara Bloom who created an authentic museum space filled with things in her own likeness.

Museums ask artists to re-jig their collections, Fred Wilson re curated The Maryland Historical Societies so that it didn’t ignore the black population of the area, that had been hidden away or lost, Guarded View (1991) as a piece depicting 4 mannequins with security guards uniforms or as the outfit of a black person most usually seen in the museums the uniforms represented rather than as artist or visitor.

Art in this section as a way to realise you are being surveyed, observed or in the case or museums, looked down upon by the museums as they show you objects and paintings in their best light in isolation on walls etc.

Art & Politics The Rhetoric of Dissent

Art used in politics like the CIA taking mid-century work from Pollock, Rothko and Newman to Russia to show its artistic supremacy at its artists not having to create propaganda.

Art being political like Picassos Guernica or Golub’s Interrogation (1981)

I’m drawn to the texture in Anselm Keifer’s Zim Zum (1990) oil crayon, ash and canvas on lead. As a collage of lead strips applied to a support, each strip has its own surface colour and then an over piece with has a hole (this could be the canvas) which hints at a horizon with lines converging at a central point above what could be a pool reflecting a cloudy sky. the piece speaks of degradation and the words Zim Zum are scratched into the lead at the top. It is a contemplative picture to me, Zim Zum (from the Kabbalah)  refers to the initial breath of god that allowed both good and evil to exist. this picture gives me both.

The chapter shows how art shows inconsistencies -Teraoka and Virtual Inquisition/The Pope of Thong , 2003 with the religious control of female bodies- and power “In Chagoya’s hands Western Cartoon characters such as Mickey Mouse, Superman, and the seven dwarfs represent a self serving and misguided colonial impulse.”

“Artists like Teraoka, Wojnarowicz, Chagoya and Chan use the vocabulary of cartoon and caricature to deflate the omnipotent and present the atrocities of contemporary society in new light.”

group work like Gorilla Girls highlighting the bias of museums towards male artists and females as objects

“The projects of artists and groups such as Holzer, Wodiczko, Guerilla Girls, and REPOhistory often consist of temporary interventions into the shared spaces of urban life. They are in other words, among the work known as public art.

The last part of this chapter is about public art, like the Vietnam memorial in Washington. I’ve seen that and it is a powerful piece giving an indication of the volume of lives lost over glorifying why they died. Also talks of holocaust art like Demnig’s cobbles placed at places around Berlin and engraved with the names of the jews that lived in those locations, they are a more subtle approach to remembering as the book says, a more personal point to reflect than a large memorial.

Art & Audience – Reinventing the Viewer

“Roger Fry maintained that the artist should be thought of as the transmitter, the art object the medium, and the spectator the the receiver of the meaning of a work of art.”

Roland Barthes ‘Death of the author’ the viewer of the work (be it art or text) is the one who decodes the work and “brings it to life”, not the maker sending a message.

Debord, society of the spectacle and Baudrillard with Simulacrum the copy better than the real taking over from the real.

Most of this chapter is about the audience participation, either through reaction to performance art or to help art come into being, in this way the pieces become an experience at a specific time, although some have long-term consequences (2 separate projects to plant trees in great numbers)

Le Mingwei The Letter Writing Project 1998, Lee produced booths that people could go into and write letters to someone they know/ have known, alive or dead. they could then choose to either put their letter open to be read by all in the booth or give it closed to the artist, he collected over 9000 letters in this project, “testimony to the audience’s longing to connect.”

“The transformation of the viewer into a participant radically defines the definition of the artist, opening up the possibility that anyone and everyone is an artist.”

Art is a participant reliant thing, I practise art to improve, however I make it also in the hope that people will want to look at it, will gain something positive from it, possibly by remembering something because of it. However, this book has opened up my mind to the possibility of creating pictures that have more purpose, in which case the next bit is about making sure I’m comfortable with the message I’m prepared to show because I’m going to have to discuss it alongside the art.

Good book, 2 weeks to read.




Drawing the line Selected by Micheal Craig Martin

Craig-Martin, M(1995)Drawing the line. First Edition. White Devon Press. London.

Micheal Craig-Martin curated this exhibition around drawing, specificly that without shading, cross-hatching or chiaroscuro. This means the art can hail back from the neolithic period to modern day work. Pictures represent all aspects of preparation work through to completed line drawings in pen and ink. The emphasis is on the line.

The works displayed 1 a page, have been placed next to each other to show similarities in pictures created hundreds of years apart. (p54-55) Cy Twombys 1971 crayon over a dark gauche on one side compares to Abrecht Altdorfer 152 picture titled St Christopher Carrying the Christ Child from 1512 (pen and black ink heightened with white body colour on dark brown prepared paper), the contrasts they used creating the same striking effect nearly 400 years apart.

Twombly’s piece untitled is a series of white lines descending from the top right to bottom left, they form an elongated figure of eight that is finished above the paper. there are layers of them, the palest also the longest at the back, getting stronger and shorter at the front. These are also partially rubbed away. The repetition of the same mark gives some of the strength to the image, to me the overall effect is like rain or a really bad electrical storm. The faint rubbing out gives me a feeling of warmth, the marks are not all exactly the same which I think helps my feeling of the piece as natural. They have a strong energy, even as their effect is to hide whatever is behind them.

Altdorfer’s Saint is battling the elements and the weight of the child around his neck, his clothing billowing in the wind, shown more from the light above it than the shadow below, holding a bending tree, showing both his weight against it and the weather pushing it back into the picture. The beautifully controlled accurate lineshow us the strength of the individual to continue on against the challenges befalling him, its a much more obvious message of energy than Twombly’s, I do prefer the former picture though.


This exhibition would have been truly great to see, spotting the links Craig-Martin found between pictures and techniques that changed over time.