Update

I apologise for the lack of recent posts, and I’ll be taking some time away as I come to the end of my pregnancy. Hopefully it won’t be long until I’m able to post everyday again. 

Thank you all so much for the post likes and follows so far! 

Annette Messager – The Pikes 1992-3

The Pikes 1992-3 by Annette Messager born 1943
Annette Messager – The Pikes 1992-3

Annette Messager is a French Artist currently living and working in Malakoff, France. I saw this piece, ‘The Pikes 1992-3’ in the Tate a few years ago, and even being familiar with her style of work it was nonetheless impressive to see in person.

Messager’s work is collection based, sometimes reminding me of the work of Arman, but she uses unusual display techniques. Her installations often include some form of suspension, whether it be from the ceiling or the floor. The installations often feature photographic work as well as some sculptural, three-dimensional pieces. On closer inspection, I realised that the pieces were organised by theme: feet and hands, maps and figures.

The sticks, or ‘pikes’ that the photographs and three-dimensional pieces are dark and stand out against the white gallery wall. They are leant up against the walls, not appearing secured as if they could be picked up and carried around. I like Messager’s display techniques and installations, I find them to be refreshing and a genuine joy to stumble across in a gallery.

More of her work can be seen here.

 

 

Ronald Moody – Johanaan 1936

Johanaan 1936 by Ronald Moody 1900-1984
Ronald Moody – Johanaan 1936

Ronald Moody was born in Jamaica, and moved to Britain during 1923. He trained and worked as a Dentist, when he decided to become a sculptor. He taught himself using clay to begin with, and then in the 1930s he began to teach himself to carve.

He was interested in the portrayal of stillness in Egyptian art, and I think that this really comes through. The eyes could be shut, or completely glazed over, but either way the figures doesn’t look conscious. His face is relaxed, and I think it spreads that calmness to us as we view. The figure doesn’t have any hands, hips or legs, and his arms are tightly secured to either side of his torso. Aesthetically, I really like the visible grain of the wood, and I think it reminds us of the very natural material that Moody worked with.

More of his work can be seen here.

Doug Eaton – Meadowcliff Pond

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Doug Eaton – Meadowcliff Pond

Doug Eaton is a British landscape painter based in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. His work is incredibly colourful, and the way he captures the light shows influences from the Impressionist movement. His work often shows trees, which stretch across the whole canvas, dividing the landscape. In this painting, he is contending with the reflections in the water, and I think the mirror effect is quite ambiguous and could even be an extension of the ground.

On his website, he describes his practice:

I think I’ve always been interested in what paint does and hopefully have applied it in as many different ways as my imagination will allow. I have always been aware of a “painterly look” over and above a clinical rendition of anything. I don’t mind the odd dribble here or there if only to remind the onlooker that it is paint at the end of the day.

What I particularly like about this painting, is the colour palette. The reds and yellows are so warming, we can almost feel the sunlight hitting our skin as it comes through the trees. There is enough blue and purple to give the depth to the horizon without taking away from the warm colours. Eaton’s use of colours are unusual for a landscape, making it quite abstract. I can become quite absorbed in his brushstrokes and mark-making, especially the bright twig branches which strike across the rest of the painting.

More of his work can be seen here, and he has work for sale on Etsy.

Umberto Boccioni – Unique Forms of Continuity in Space 1913

 

Umberto Boccioni was an Italian painter and sculptor. He is best known for his aesthetic influence on the Futurism movement. The artists of the Futurism movement believed in their manifesto that technology and modern life should be celebrated, the group were constantly looking to new technologies to progress and improve their art-forms.

What I like about this sculpture is the cubist inspired portrayal of movement. The figure appears to be battling some kind of force or tension to complete his/her strides forward. With the title being, ‘Unique Forms of Continuity in Space’ perhaps it is best to try and completely understand the title statement in order to relate it to the work. Google offers some poignant definitions:

  • the unbroken and consistent existence or operation of something over time.
  • a state of stability and the absence of disruption.
  • a connection or line of development with no sharp breaks.

The figure, with this context, seems physically stronger to me. Although I already identified that I can see a battle against a force, I now think that actually the figure does appear to have a state of stability even with its abstracted form. The curves and shapes seem to move around the force, but never breaking. But that is just my interpretation.

Through theartstory.org, his work has been described as:

an art that uniquely expressed the speed, dynamism and tragedy of modern-day life.

Although he only had a short life and art career, more of his work can be seen and read about here.

Unique Forms of Continuity in Space 1913, cast 1972 by Umberto Boccioni 1882-1916
Umberto Boccioni – Unique Forms of Continuity in Space 1913

 

Edward Hopper – Gas 1940

gas
Edward Hopper – Gas 1940

Edward Hopper was best known for being an American realist painter. His work often showed exactly how life was around him. He seemed to have a fascination with artificial light and how to portray its glow in his work.

In this particular piece, ‘Gas 1940’ Hopper shows what is described on his website as:

The last car seems to have passed long ago; the attendant is shutting down the pump, and soon will turn off the lights and lock up for the night.

Judging by the light emitting from beyond the trees, I would say that the sky looks more like dawn is breaking rather than dusk. But perhaps this is up to personal interpretation. There is a strong contrast between the softness to the light in the sky and the florescent of artificial light.

The figure stands alone in the painting, almost directly in the centre of the composition, and yet it doesn’t feel like he is the true focus of the work at all. My attention is lead down the dark road behind him, into the blackened trees, and then back onto the forecourt and through the windows of the small hut. I love how the light flows from the windows and spills out onto the ground. It looks like a still from a movie, and I wonder what the attendant has seen and what stories he would have to tell.

Being British, I don’t recognise the shape nor colour of these gas pumps, but I wonder if to American’s it would now scream of nostalgia. Within Hopper’s work, I always find a silent loneliness that is hard to come across in art.

More of Hopper’s work can be seen here.

Max Kurzweil – Woman in a Yellow Dress 1899

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Max Kurzweil – Woman in a Yellow Dress 1899

Max Kurzweil was an Austrian Artist working in Vienna during the birth of Art Nouveau.

The woman in this painting is actually Kurzweil’s wife, and yet he chooses to not disclose this information, keeping her an anonymous female model. What immediately caught my eye about this painting was the shape of the dress, and how it flows down and around the seat. It is a striking colour, and is reminiscent of a daffodil. The fabric has been beautiful painted. Her arms are posed to match the width of the skirt, emphasising her tiny corseted waist. I also rather like her expression; relaxed and yet mildly confrontational. She gently grasps at the back of the chair. It’s a confident and powerful feminine pose.

The chair is decorated in decorative green fabric, implying floral print which sits two-dimensional as opposed to the gentle, shaded creases of the dress. The chair acts a precursor to the Art Nouveau movement’s interest in ornamental design.

More of his paintings can be seen here.

Nan Goldin – Nan One Month After Being Battered 1984

Nan one month after being battered 1984 by Nan Goldin born 1953
Nan Goldin – Nan One Month After Being Battered 1984

Nan Goldin is an American Photographer, best known for her work documenting the LGBT+ community. I’ve chosen to highlight one of her self portraits, ‘Nan One Month After Being Battered 1984’. It’s a piece intended to shock and raise an awareness of domestic abuse.

What I like the most about this piece is how personal it is. Domestic Abuse and rape is unfortunately not always reported, and Goldin chooses to document and share her very personal experience in the form of this photographic self portrait. I’m drawn in by the redness of her eye, framed by bruising, which matches her bright red lipstick. Wearing makeup makes the portrait feel deliberate and formal, this wasn’t a casual, candid snapshot.

I’ve seen photographs of women with bruised faces and black eyes before, on posters and adverts raising awareness of abuse. It feels very different knowing that she took and shared this photograph herself. I find this piece to be as confessional and self-reflective as some of Emin’s work. I think that the title is very poignant as well, as I’m not really aware of how long it takes bruises and black eyes to heal, but the title dates the incident as a month ago. It’s shocking how long she would have her face so obviously ‘battered’, and it makes me wonder how it affected her life around that time.

More of Goldin’s work can be seen here.

 

Chloe Cheese – A Cold Spring in New Town 2013

Chloe Cheese – A Cold Spring in Newtown 2013

Chloe Cheese is an artist born in London. Since graduating from The Royal College Of Art, she has worked as an artist and freelance illustrator. Her practice is described on her website:

Chloëʼs personal work always concerns her view of the world around her which she interprets according to her own observation and sensibility. Sometimes the first use or intention of buildings and objects has been lost or altered. She tries to retain a sense of that history and how it subtly infiltrates our visual landscape.

What I love about this piece in particular is how our eyes and attention are caught by the figure in the foreground, and follow up the dark stairs to the door. The figure has quite a confused, almost patronising expression which makes me feel like my voyuerism is being judged. The figure’s coat is the brightest and strongest colour, and is completely opposite to the drawn outline of the second figure at the foot of the stairs. It actually took me a while to see the second figure. 

I believe this piece is mixed media, with paint and charcoal being two materials I think I can identify. There is a charming freeness to her mark making, with the drawing being loose, capturing an impression of the scene. I could believe that this drawing was made from direct observation.

More of he work is available to see here.

Richard Long – A Line Made By Walking 1967

Richard Long – A Line Made By Walking 1967

Richard Long is a British Sculptor well known for his contribution to Land Art. His piece ‘A Line Made By Walking 1967’ is quite self explanatory. In Long’s land art pieces, he uses the landscape as his medium and, in this case, his body to create a line in the grass. His body has been the instrument of this drawing, rather than a pencil, as he’s walked back and forth in a straight line to manipulate and indent the grass. When I look at his work, I feel the connection that I assume Long feels between art and nature. 

This piece strips back art to its basics; the concept of mark-making on a surface. 

I find it difficult to really define his practice. I consider his work to be performance based, using his title as sculptor to document the actions he has made, and then photographing the site to share the artwork. 

More of his work can be seen here.