For the second part of my Transform brief, we are completing a self directed study around the idea of experimentation and developing awareness of visual concepts.
First task : Ordinary/Extraordinary
My everyday object was a piece of origami shaped as a jellyfish that I was given as a gift. I thought this was an interesting object as in itself it is in fact the transformation of paper.
In my first experiment I chose to work with black marker and pastels. I had previously tried using these but I wanted to see what kind of effect I could create when playing and mixing them. This drawing is very basic, I thought I’d start off by just drawing the object and conveying some emotion. I coloured the jellyfish in quite happy and bright tones and gave him his top hat to give him a little personality. However he is surrounded by sharp tentacles and a darker colour around him to re imply some of his scary and threatening natural form. I love how the black lines enhance the form and shape of the jellyfish and show how he is constructed, the pastel does create a softer effect of the paper in contrast with the harsh drawn lines. Although the jellyfish does not have anything that would directly link it to have a personality such as a face, I feel the lines and colour of the image have really captured a personality. The hat does also help to convey this and I feel it almost looks cute and cuddly, even though we know in reality, a jellyfish is the opposite.
In this piece I decided to use colouring pencils to create a different image for the object. I wondered what my object would look like once turned upside down. I started to draw in blue pencil this time as opposed to a soft yellow the last time. As I drew, my jellyfish started to look like a cup with a texture that reminded me of an iceberg. I added in the complemetary colour of orange to make my blue pop out of the page but to also give the object a stronger 3D feel. I also added a saucer for my cup given that the hat of the jellyfish could have been squished under his iceberg form to create this saucer.
This piece to me is very light hearted and fun, its nothing too serious. Saying this I would love to create a piece using another emotion that isn’t so light hearted and that really evokes the fear and terror of the jellyfish itself. I think that could be something that in the future I would be interested to explore.
In my third piece I was inspired purely from looking around my room. I came across a perfume bottle and thought the shape of my object resembled that of a fancy perfume bottle. I decided to paint my object to change from using a drawing tool but to also highlight the translucency of the perfume bottle. In order to show my object still retained its original form, I made the hat into the perfume lid. To add to the overall effect, I used a ribbon saying Dior to finish off my bottle. Again just as I have previously, I used the complementary colours to make my work stronger technically. I think my jellyfish perfume is quite elegant as an design and that it stand out to an audience as something they would immediately recognise and hopefully convey an emotion of laughter and happiness.
After my workshop with Clement, I looked again at my jellyfish and decided to see how I could transform it into a fruit. I chose to make my jellyfish into an orange and make the hat the stalk. Again I thought that it would create an emotion of happiness especially if I left the legs of the jellyfish in the final piece. In fact it now looks somewhat like a walking orange.I loved using the medium of collage, I have not used it that much during my time at University and felt like I needed to explore it more as it is a practice I quite enjoy. I had fun making this piece and creating a humorous aspect to something that is normal. If I ever redid this piece I would definitely use some complementary colour to see how that highlights my work.
For my final transformation I wanted to work with photograph. I took several shots before I decided this one would be the one. Although having some that were not out of focus, my attention was caught my the ones that possessed the bokah effect, and that was the aim for the audience: to immediately capture attention. This piece is not transformed into another object but I feel it has undergone a sort of mystical mysterious transformation. In the image we can see the inside of the jellyfish and also its legs which if these pieces were set up in a gallery as a continuous piece of work, we would immediately be able to see this is a photo of the jellyfish but interpreted in a different way. I loved working with photo and working out how to light my object in a certain way to highlight various aspects of my piece. I really want to continue using photo in my work because I feel it is one of my stronger points as a practitioner.
Second task: Artist Research
Looking at the list of artists given to us on the brief, I was really drawn to Paul Cézanne. In 2009, I went to see an exhibition of his work along with artist Pablo Picasso in the city of Aix en Provence. I took to his work and found his technique inspiring and interesting as one of the post-modernist artists who bridged the gap between “late 19th century impressionism” and “early 20th century new line of artistic inquiry.”
Mainly Cézanne paints reality in his own style, he is trying to communicate his views of the world around him and what he sees as a painter He studied subjects intensely whilst trying to communicate the “dogged struggle to deal with the complexity of human visual perception.” From his dedicated website I have found out he uses “plains of colour and small brushstrokes” to build upon the layers of his work in “complex fields” : “this creates a direct expression of the sensations of the observing eye and an abstraction from observed nature.” He was even known as one of the “father of us all” by Picasso and Matisse, both painters of this era.
Dealing with a difficult task as Cézanne does by trying to convey a number of things in his work, I feel he is successful in what he does. I notice that when I explore anyone of his paintings I am immediately drawn to the delicate techniques and the personalities of his personage. I have observed that his painting of people are in my opinion his most successful because I think each one has a story to tell, each person in the painting has a life they are leading and one moment of their vast life has been captured in a still by Cézanne. Not only this but we feel the emotion and sentiments of the person projecting off the page. This could be one of his greatest painting achievements as seen by a viewer.
I decided to look up some critiques of Paul Cézanne’s practice and I came across two very interesting writings. The first is by Jonathon Jones, an art blogger for the newspaper The Guardian who entitled his article : Founding Father of Modern Art. Jones explores the idea of Cézanne being the father of all by looking at modernism and how what we see in art today was in fact explored by Cézanne a century earlier. “Cézanne was doing the same thing more than a century ago. I look at his paintings and see the seeds of everything artists have attempted since – right up to Arcangel’s Colors.” He goes on to talk about Hillside in Provence, a painting completed in 1892 currently being exhibited in London’s National Gallery. He dissects the painting and studies it closely: “It is rather an incredibly charged and overwrought personal struggle with the view in front of Cézanne’s eyes. Every dab of colour seems to be the result of days of thought and internal argument…Nothing is certain.” We can see that Jones only has good review for this artist and really admires his contribution to the modern art world of today.
My second and final critique of Cézanne’s work is Cézanne: Paint it black, a revelation by John Berger, author of Ways of Seeing. Berger has rediscovered a new side to Cézanne after seeing his exhibition in Paris’ Musée du Luxembourg in the Winter of 2011. “To me, after a lifetime’s companionship with him, the show was a revelation. I forgot about impressionism, cubism, 20th-century art history, modernism, postmodernism – and saw only the story of his love affair, his liaison, with the visible. And I saw it like a diagram, one of those diagrams you find in a booklet of instructions about how to use a new appliance or tool.” Berger discusses the actual substance of his work and talks about the colour palette and the way the paint is applied to the canvas. He questions the use of Cézanne’s blank spaces of white during his later works and how “they represent the emptiness, the hollow openness, from which the substantial emerges.” Looking at each era and the changing technique of Cézanne, Berger takes from this a “notion or sensation of corporeality” He described Cézanne as discovering a complementarity between the equilibrium of the body and the inevitability of landscape, which was firstly taken on by his still lives. His concluding sentence sums up well his article and his changed feelings towards the artist. “Cézanne’s conviction that what we perceive as the visible is not a given but a construction, put together by nature and ourselves. “
Dedicated website: http://www.paul-cezanne.org/
Critique 1 – Founding Father of Modern Art – J.Jones (2013) : http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2013/feb/05/paul-cezanne-founding-father-modern-art
Critique 2 – Cézanne: Paint it black – J.Berger (2011): http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2011/dec/12/cezanne-paint-it-black