Understanding my art.
I’m not going to make this my manifesto (I’ll leave that for another day). I just felt the need to address something. Now I know that not everyone knows something about art, more specifically painting; in my case. People who aren’t “in the know” always tend to look for something in my work, something representational that is. They always tend to point out a face, or some kind of figurative form that may have accidentally appeared through the paint. Now that’s fair enough, you might see something that looks like a face or a hand, but it was not my intention to put that in there. Using my current “Port Kembla” series as an example I would like to explain my work a little bit so as to generate a level of understanding.
View from the suburb, 2012, oil on canvas, 33 x 33 cm (framed).
The work above is from a series of works that I have based on the suburb in which I have grown up and lived in. The works are predominately abstract, though they have some representational features; features that may look like something in the real world or are based on something from the real world. Even the titles suggest representation. However, I have intentionally abstracted the works to give an impression of the suburb in which I have lived for all of my life thus far.
Why? Was a favourite question from one of my painting teachers at art school, I am now pretending that I am facing her once again and answering her questions. Why did I choose to paint Port Kembla? Well because thus far, the majority of art; whose subject matter is imagery from Port Kembla, has tended to feature the Steelworks or the beach as their major subjects. I however, am using the suburb itself as the subject matter, the roads, the houses, the rooftops, colours, shapes and forms that I come across everyday. They’re the fuel to my creative fire. Now you may ask why do you paint the way you do? I paint in this particular way because it is a style/technique of painting I adopted some years ago and haven’t really looked back since. I have developed and crafted my approach to painting for seven years now, using predominantly oil paint and palette knife when working on canvas. As for some of my other works; works on paper and in acrylic, I do use brushes and drawing materials, but I use them in such a way as to reference my use of the palette knife. For me the palette knife allows me to apply large swabs of paint to the canvas, work and rework it, remove what I don’t need or to create a particular effect. The act of dragging and moving the paint across the canvas gives me a particular feeling, it’s almost indescribable, but it offers me something that brushes can’t in some circumstances. Going back to the works on paper, I work on them to discover new possibilities, and sometimes these potential outcomes transfer into my painting and sometimes vice versa.
Moving on briefly to who inspires me as a painter, now the list should I make it a full compilation of every artist and why they influence me would be way too long for this post.
Ben Quilty, Nicholas Harding, Jun Chen, Frank Auerbach, Peter Booth, Paul Ryan. All for their application and handling of paint, they don’t necessarily paint the same subject matter, however they share similarities in their approach to painting. Though the likes of Ben Quilty, Auerbach, Ryan and Harding do depict their surroundings, the places that they live. However, with the exception of Auerbach, they depict their surroundings in a representational manner, which I admire greatly. My hat is off to these gentlemen.
So in conclusion I hope that this little incoherent rant makes some kind of sense to anyone who is bothered to read it. I do hope to write something a little more formal and academic sometime soon, however I think that this will suffice for now. I hope you enjoyed and read and enjoy my work and please remember to show your support by liking my artists page on Facebook, as well as following me on Twitter and Instagram (linked below), as well as subscribing to this blog.
Artist of the week: Richard Diebenkorn.
Richard Diebenkorn (American, 1922–1993) was a versatile 20th century American painter. Born in Portland, Oregon, Diebenkorn grew up in San Francisco, where he attended Stanford University. Diebenkorn lived in several other locations around the United States before he returned to California, where he continued to produce his mature paintings. After two years of service in the United States Marine Corps, Diebenkorn studied at the University of New Mexico under the G.I. Bill and was immersed in the Abstract Expressionism, inspired by New York School Artists. Diebenkorn’s focus shifted, however, in the 1950s, when he began to produce Figurative paintings associated with the Bay Area Figurative Movement. Inspired by the work of Henri Matisse (French, 1869–1954), Diebenkorn drew on his bright Californian surroundings to create images defined by planes of carefully chosen color. After a decade and a half of painting figuratively, in 1967 Diebenkorn returned to abstraction, with a new geometric style different from his early Abstract Expressionist-inspired efforts. This is evident in his famous Ocean Park cycle, which he developed into 140 paintings from 1967, until his death in 1993.
Blue Loop, 1980, Aquatint printed in colors, 37.8 x30.2 cm.
Green, 1986, Etching, aquatint and drypoint in colors, 134.6 x 103.4 cm.
Images and text: http://www.artnet.com/artists/richard-diebenkorn/
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Artist of the Week: Sally Mann
Sally Mann (American, b.1951) is best known for her black-and-white photographs, featuring portraiture and landscapes in the southern United States. Mann was born in Lexington, Virginia, and attended Hollins College. She began working as a photographer for Washington and Lee University after graduation, and her photographs of the construction of the University’s library were included in her first solo exhibition, held at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Mann received great acclaim and critique for her Immediate Family series, in which she photographed her own children, often nude, in ethereal, unsettling works, picturing the everyday activities and games of a child while alluding to darker and more serious themes of loss, sexuality, loneliness, and death.
Mann’s more recent works include photographs of landscapes in the Deep South, which incorporate 19th century methods of developing photographs, and use damaged cameras and lenses, giving her work a scratched, unfinished look that continually references the photographic process. Mann has been awarded a Guggenheim fellowship and three National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, and has published several books of her photography. She exhibits her work around the world, in cities such as New York, Berlin, Chicago, Rome, and Tokyo. She currently lives and works in her hometown of Lexington, Virginia.
Fallen Child, 1989. Gelatin silver contact print, 50.8 x 61 cm
Untitled /At Twelve/ Lisa Tab, 1983-1985. Silver gelatine print, 19 x 24 cm.
Images and text: http://www.artnet.com/artists/sally-mann/
Artist of the Week: Annie Leibovitz
Photographer Annie Leibovitz (American, b.1949) is best known for her engaging portraits—particularly of celebrities—which often feature subjects in intimate settings and poses. Leibovitz took painting classes at the San Francisco Art Institute as an undergraduate, but found herself deeply attracted to photography after taking pictures on a family vacation. She switched her studies to photography, and began working on commission for Rolling Stone while still in school in the early 1970s, when the magazine was in its first years of publication. At age 23, Leibovitz became the chief photographer of the magazine; over the next 10 years, she photographed figures such as Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, and a particularly famous photograph of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, just hours before Lennon was killed in 1980.
In 1983, Leibovitz became a photographer for Vanity Fair, and encouraged many other celebrity subjects to choose poses revealing the intimate, playful, and expressive aspects of their personalities; portraits included celebrities in the nude, in stunning gowns, covered in paint, and in tanks of water or baths of milk, often with dramatic lighting.
Her photographs have been published in several books, and have been used in many ad campaigns. Her work was the subject of a major exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.; she was the first woman to receive a solo exhibition at the museum. Leibovitz currently lives and works in New York.
Steve Martin, Beverly Hills, California, 1981. Archival pigment print, 101.6 x 101.6 cm.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono, The Dakota, NY, December 8, 1980, 1996. Off-set lithograph on card stock, 11.2 x 15 cm
Images and text: http://www.artnet.com/artists/annie-leibovitz/
Artist of the week: Zhang Dali
Zhang Dali (Chinese, b.1963) was born in Harbin, China, and studied at the Beijing Academy of Art & Design. After finishing school, he travelled to Italy, where he discovered Graffiti Art. In the 1990s, he was the only Graffiti artist in Beijing. Zhang became known for the 2,000 giant profiles he created of himself—completed between 1995 and 1998—seen throughout Beijing. The profiles of his bald head were intentionally placed alongside chai characters, which were painted by city officials as a way to indicate demolition. These images became subject of a media debate in 1998.
From 2003 until 2005, Zhang portrayed 100 life-sized resin sculpture of immigrant workers posed in numerous postures. Each sculpture or “worker” had a designated number, the artist’s signature, and the title, Chinese Offspring, tattooed to each of their bodies. Hung upside down, these sculptures commented on the fragility and uncertainty of life, as well as the lack of power these immigrant workers hold to change their own fates. Aside from Keith Haring (American, 1958–1990) and Jackson Pollock (American, 1912–1956), Zhang was one of the only artists to appear on the cover of Time magazine. He has exhibited his work at the International Center for Photography in New York, Courtyard Gallery in Beijing, the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, and Kunstnernes Hus in Oslo. In 2006, Zhang participated in the Gwangju Biennale in Korea. He currently lives and works in Beijing.
Chinese Offspring No. 209, 2010, synthetic resin, h: 149.9 x w: 69.8 x d: 25.1 cm
Unititled, 2012, Acrylic on vinyl, 152 x 122 cm
Images and text: http://www.artnet.com/artists/zhang+dali/
Artist of the week: Horishi Sugimoto
Hiroshi Sugimoto was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. In 1970, Sugimoto studied politics and sociology at Rikkyō University in Tokyo. In 1974, he retrained as an artist and received his BFA in Fine Arts at the Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles, California. Afterwards, Sugimoto settled in New York City.
Sugimoto has spoken of his work as an expression of ‘time exposed’, or photographs serving as a time capsule for a series of events in time. His work also focuses on transience of life, and the conflict between life and death.
Sugimoto is also deeply influenced by the writings and works of Marcel Duchamp, as well as the Dadaist and Surrealist movements as a whole. He has also expressed a great deal of interest in late 20th century modern architecture.
His use of an 8×10 large-format camera and extremely long exposures have garnered Sugimoto a reputation as a photographer of the highest technical ability. He is equally acclaimed for the conceptual and philosophical aspects of his work. Begun in 1978, Sugimoto’s Theatres series involved photographing old American movie palaces and drive-ins with a folding 4×5 camera and tripod, opening his camera shutter and exposing the film for the duration of the entire feature-length movie, the film projector providing the sole lighting. The luminescent screen in the centre of the composition, the architectural details and the seats of the theatre are the only subjects that register owing to the long exposure of each photograph, while the unique lighting gives the works a surreal look, as a part of Sugimoto’s attempt to revealtime in photography.
Cinerama Dome, Hollywood, 1993, Quad-tone Lithograph, archivally framed (edition of 100), 34.5 x 27.5 inch image
44 x 34 inches framed.
I just received the business cards as well as some postcards that I designed and ordered from vistaprint.com. Having business cards and other promotional material as an artist is important because its is another form of promotion for your work and your practice, well designed business card can get a person interested in who you are and what you do, even people who may not have been interested in what you do in the past. Postcards act as another form of promotion, by offering a number of them for sale and strategically giving some away you further promote your practice as an artist and give people a taste of what it is that you do. Going through companies such as Vista Print is a cost effective way to get what you need, though if you are so inclined you can always hire a graphic designer to design the cards for you and print them yourself, though the costs can be prohibitively expensive.