Research into suggested artist and other examples of painters/artists who work with unusual material or who paint collections?
Collection: Acts of Faith, 2003 by Julian Walker
Looking into the artwork of Julian Walker it becomes apparent that there is a repeated motif to the presentation of his art work; composed of a special arranged accumulation of a repeated object (or objects with common significance) onto a canvas panel. It is this conceptual act of art that draws the viewer into a dialogue of speculation and assumption to some sort of intended narrative. In his 2003 artwork “Collection: Acts of Faith” looks into how the ideas of faith, dependence and hope are made physical in medicine. Within this composed artwork there are tiny sculptures of hands, human organs such as hearts, intestines, eyes and other parts that appear to be sculpted out of a common material and it is upon close-up viewing that one realizes that they carved out of the familiar objects used daily to relieve pain and illness; 1452 pills, medical capsules of multivitamins, aspirin, decongestants, paracetamol etc.
The true value and weight to the uniqueness of his artwork is his conceptual narration addressing contemporary issues of health, the understanding and stance of taking pill where there tends to be contradiction between the remedy and delegated responsibility for taking a healthier stance to a physical life. For example taking a diet pill to resolve a weight issue as an easy means to an end instead of changing the eating patter and quality of food consumed in combination with physical activity; the consumption of one pill as a solution to another type of consumption. As modern humans we have become gullible to these easy medicated solutions over the counter prescriptions a quick means of having access to anything and everything without true realization of awareness where knowledge becomes compatible with action and not contradiction. These do not simply become acts of faith but blind, lazy acts of attitude and denial. Losing weight requires knowledge, commitment, mindset attitude and a positive stance to the compatibility of the means to the end. Modern man has become lazy or simply gullible into accepting a life style of easy solution which does profit the pharmaceutical industry. I sometimes wonder if there is an agreement between the fast food and pharmaceutical industries where one creates the demand and the other provides that quick means to the end. Here there is a simple blind act of faith as Julian Walker puts it “delegating responsibility for the process of healing and maintaining health” and therefore “elevating the manufactured item to the status of the physician” in the way people have always sought help in external things, whether they are objects, technology, gods, shamans or doctors. (https://wellcomecollection.org/articles/object-of-the-month-acts-of-faith)
In a way these tiny pill carvings become tiny amulets of spiritual faith. It was interesting to read that hospitals are increasingly recognizing the significance of religious, spiritual and personal beliefs where faith in something gains a significant powerful role of the psychology of healing through prayer and meditation; faith and trust in a higher divine power. Walker’s tiny sculptures of human organs reminds me of the “tamata” in the Greek Orthodox religion which involves votive offerings/promises of rectangular pieces of gold or silver metal onto which are carved miniature body parts or human wax sculptures in the hopes of miracle healings to occur. These “Acts of Faith” are the spiritual symbolic acts of faith that links the person to the Holy Spirit.
Wax tamata (from personal photo archive)
Silver /Gold tamata
For Walker “Acts of Faith” refers to faith in medicine in itself not faith alongside medicine. For me both versions refer to having faith, believing in something higher than your power of control which is usually driven by fear.
Carrying out a quick Google image search into the artwork of installation and political activist artist and curator Fred Wilson, there were definitely there the vibes of social racial prejudice. Most of his installations consist of a selection of manipulated objects from all over the world in specific spatial arrangements that are agreeable to him. Being a political activist does support the context of which his work has been and is created; artwork that politically stings racial prejudice issues within a social unit. His arranged artifacts hold that historical element where there is narration of the orientation of a bias culture that still exists within modern society. It is within his artwork that he conceptually questions the idealism within social ethics as he addresses that bias of historical and contemporary collections. Human behavior through historical religious political tendency has symbolically associated the color white as being superior and good where as black is evil and bad. This irrational preconception of color prejudice has been generalized to social ethnic groups but it is also history that reminds us that it is political man’s greed for power and possession that has resulted from colonial invasion with the notion of social “superiorism”.
Grey Area (Brown version), (Series: works with no series), 1993 by Fred Wilson
In his 1993 artwork “Grey Area (Brown version)”, Wilson encourages a dialogue between the audience and the museographic contemporary display of the different tonal versions in a tonally grated manner of the head sculpture of Nefertiti starting with the darkest being the black, gradually transitioning to dark brown to lighter fleshy tones that leads to lightest tone being white. Here you have this imperial historical character Nefertiti whose persona character challenges the preconception of stereotype idealism. What color tone is fit for the elite Egyptian queen? Was she black? Was she pale browned skinned toned? Does it really matter? During ancient Egyptian times this would not have been an issue but it appears that the so called diversely open minded modern society has indeed issues; “intersected issues of race, class gender, sexuality, cultural heritage and diasporic identity within the context of questioning the historical ‘othering’ and negative ‘differencing’ of people of African descent living in the West.” (http://www.artlinkart.com/en/artist/wrk_sr/599duAt) Here is modern society going into great lengths to break this social biased racial concerns through the educational system and to create a culture of accepting and celebrating racial diversity but there seems to be something wrong with the ethics of the norm of the social equation, a missing link, that further sets humanity back. It becomes apparent that it is a lot more complicated than that! I wonder how many cans of worms would have been opened had there been a presented “Grey Area (brown version)” with the sculpture of Jesus?
Plates, 1992 by Lisa Millroy
Lace, 1992 by Lisa Millroy
What characterizes Lisa Millroy’s artwork is how within this general subject matter of collections she creates a world of taxonomy of every day mundane objects placing in particular compositional alignment; lines or patterns/sequence. Like Pop Art her compositions of repeated objects of the same category become the subject. These categories of repeated subject include books, records, shoes, clothes, melons, fans, haberdashery, light bulbs, tires, hardware, stamps Japanese prints, Greek vases/fragments, Roman coins, plates etc. Although her painting technique tends to lean towards realistic representation of the objects, again it is contemporary manner by which she displays such subject matter. Does this become a means for the artist to conceptually convey to her audience contemporary issues such as mass consumerism, where our living spaces have become over hoarded areas of objects that we do not necessarily need? Or does she address an obsessive compulsive behavior pattern with the obsession for modern man to become curators of collections within the living space as if they are trophies of ownership. What also places her work amongst the contemporaries is the large scale of the artworks where it creates this virtual reality as the painted objects are life-size and subject to being able to relate to.
A collection of paintings onto coffee cups
9 Coffee Cups, 2008 by Paul Westcombe
Paul Westcombe’s art was a result of boredom, having worked as a car park attendant on a twelve hours shift that compelled him to start drawing on anything available upon his reach such as receipts, toilet plungers, batteries, and especially paper coffee cups. One would characterize his art style as surrealistic doodle art or miniature drawing graffiti onto paper coffee cups with intense compositional subject matter that conveys this social rebellious nonconformity that sometimes can be considered very graphic. Tubes penetrating the human body, decapitation, extreme facial expressions; surrealistic compositional scenes that are composed of everyday objects that take on an invasive role into people’s everyday life; for example a thumbtack pierced into the back of seated figure and in general surrealistic graphical scenes of sexual content/fantasy (anomaly). What places his art amongst the concept of curated collections is the paper coffee canvas cup onto which he breaks his boredom using even coffee as a painting medium that further enhances the concept of using the coffee cup as a background painting surface.
How to Disappear Completely, 2011 by Lee Edwards
It is within his tiny finely painted portraits that the contemporary artist Lee Edwards conveys this sense of a lost world of romanticism; a time when love was pure, perhaps childish and when it took chance and a lot more effort for love to blossom. Of course within that childish emotional journey of falling in love there were successes but also heartbreaking disappointments. Perhaps he takes that childish emotional response to an unrequited love makes it more tangible in the effort to emotionally narrate his feelings of tenderness, sadness and/or nostalgia; “The Faces of past obsessions lost loves and departed sweethearts, frozen in time”.
Where during the Elizabethan era pendants encased hidden miniature portraits of admired love one; a hidden symbol and act of romantic love, Lee Edwards artwork takes the main intention to borrow the basic elements such as the miniature object and the portrait within the context of the conceptual act of romantic love and redefines role of a jeweled pendant. The choice of his objects that include discarded objects such as small tree branches or the hard shiny dark brown nut of a horse chestnut tree become the miniature canvases that compositionally “encase” the finely painted miniature portraits. Perhaps it is this discarded object that symbolically represents the unrequited love; the love that has been rejected as the finely painted delicate miniature portraits to the fragility of act of loving or falling in love.
In his 2011 artwork “How to disappear completely” the artist skillfully incorporates the monochromatic portrait into cross section of a piece of wood without invasiveness but rather allowing the portrait to gradually fade and transition into the rhythmic wood ring patterns. It is this gradual fading out of the portrait image that conveys this great sense of nostalgia; the emotional loss of something valuable belonging to the past. “His paintings are infused with a haunting melancholia for opportunities lost.”( https://www.domobaal.com/exhibitions/60-11-lee-edwards-03.html)
In this series of artworks, Lee Edwards presents a collection of paintings that are infused with a haunting melancholia for lost opportunities for love to flourish.
Even though some aspect of David Dipre’s artwork bares close resemblance to Lucian Freud (use of thick impasto fleshy warm tones but with subtle cool one) and the bold expressive brushstroke of abstract expressionist Frank Auerbach it becomes apparent that he takes that soul essence of his source of inspiration and takes it to another personal level. He basically paints any way he wants on whatever painting surface he wishes so there is always that element of surprise; something familiar and yet something freshly original and new.
Close-up of Lucian Freud’s portrait painting
For example in his series studies of figures it appears that his chosen ground is some sort of clear transparency as there are evident cash shadows from the thick impasto paint. Amongst the list of unconventional three dimensional objects such bricks and concrete, the layering of canvas paper in way he wishes; the placement of pieces of canvas fragment next to each other or one on top of another, portraits painted on peculiar unidentified objects and so on and this is what makes his artwork uniquely contemporary. It is as if he challenges the foundations of what has been discovered and takes it to another level pushing further the language of painting by adopting art processes that disrupt the straightforward representational depiction of a subject matter; in particular the portrait and figure.
Studies of Figures
Back study 1, back study 2, close-up back by David Dipre
Figure in movement 1, figure in movement 2, figure in movement 3, figure in movement 4, figure in movement 5, figure in movement 6, (figure studies) by David Dipre
I guess what places his artwork amongst the category of collections is when a series of work presented have something in common that adds to a certain narrative. It could be the expression of the brushstroke, use of color tones, the combination of dripping dilute paint with opaque paint markings/dominant opaque paint that occupies intended compositional space (negative/contrast between the positive and negative or vice versa which makes the artwork dramatic), the canvas material, scale, composition or concept. For example in his series of figure drawings Movement 1-6 Dipre uses the application of the thick impasto paint to capture some focal aspect of movement onto clear transparent painting surface which allows cast shadows to appear.
The vice versa relationship between dilute transparency and opaqueness of paint in relation to positive and negative compositional space in Dipre’s work which become a category for creating a series of a collective effort.
Portrait 95, Painter, by David Dipre
Back-view, by David Dipre
Cathy Lomax and Alli Sharma
The general impression of Cathy Lomax and Alli Sharma’s figurative portrait artwork is that of a retrospective art style (retro art style) where their work derives inspiration from old film, fame and fashion images. What I find particularly interesting is how their subject matter appears to be a retro narrative that captures the female seductiveness but also chicness. Specifically, it is Lomax who through her work she attempts to question the role of make-up and its profound contribution in shaping the female star image. Her 2016 artwork “Film Diary #49” consists of a series of paintings where within each artwork image there is focal attention towards projecting female sensuality and it is the choice compositional layout that portrays this image concept; for example the close-up back view of the hip and lower are of the female body . But it is also the captured gesture of the female movement that further narrates the sexual female nature of the female presence. In a way this series of painting become a collection to a narrative.
Film Diary #49, 2016 by Cathy Lomax
Both artist took part in a collaborative project (six artists) where their retro fammee fetales portraits were paint on found designer handbags; the perfect canvas that would explore the complexities of modern femininity in Ornament. It is this transformation of a found handbag into a unique object. An Object that has been part of the nature of female fascination as its soul essence is the containment of an intimate world of a collection of personal contents that are key elements to the character and needs of each female presence. This exhibition explored the nature of the feminine sexuality, as the artworks (the collective display handbag artworks) on the exterior of the handbag canvas holds the conceptual narrative of seduction; the exterior projection of the modern femininity. It is interesting how the Noir bag series depict the necklines of iconic femme fatales as this further embellishes the female persona with mystic sensuality. The elimination of the female portrait from the handbag composition further engages the viewer’s curiosity on conscious but also subconscious level, trying to identify what part of the compositional dialogue creates the perception of the feminine empowerment.
Ellen, 2013 by Cathy lomax
Noir Bags used in the 2013 collection in the exhibition Ornament
Tabitha Moses creates collection from objects that she finds from flea markets and charity shops and re-configures them with intentions to incorporate darker narratives that contradict the initial “nicey-nicey” perceived visual response to the used artifacts. In her collection “Brides” she creates a taxonomy of the considered visual element of the bride concept, for example the monochromatic white, the images of brides from a different era, while literally taking a vintage white wedding dress/garment dissembling it from its original context and reassembling it in the way she feels will create her dark narratives. Her choice of historical objects becomes residues of time; a reminisce from the past. The initial response to her artwork is a positive “oh wow look at these brides from the past” as each object fragment is composed of the familiar and in a way expected bridal elements. But when the viewer takes that one minute to draw that new narrative from the work there is realization that the artist has created a new compositional conceptual context. Here each bridal image has been incorporated with other linked objects/bridal elements into what it appears trophy ribbons of recognition; an awarding bridal ribbon that perhaps narrates the significance of the socially imposed marital status or perhaps a ribbon of discord marital acknowledgement.
Bride 01, Bride 02, Bride 03, Bride 04, Bride 05, Bride 07, Bride flower 1, Bride flower 2 by Tabatha Moses
Brides by Tabatha Moses
Examples of artist who paint collections or create collections
I am wondering what are the criteria for creating artwork that focuses on collection.
-painting/ creating an artwork that depicts a group of the same type object category and/or a series of artworks that depict the same subject matter
-an artwork where there is some sort of conceptual or visual link between the portrayed objects within a compositional space.
Kristina Boardman: whose artwork compositions are composed of a collection of rocks and pebbles, each with a theme narrative title.
Kwangho Lee’s: hyperrealist large scale artwork series of the different species of cacti. In this collective display the artist’s intention is not to realistically transfer the subject onto the canvas but to investigate through his oil painting the fundamental essence and substance of the act of painting itself.
Exhibition of the cacti collection in Seoul
-This makes me wonder if any display of exhibited artwork/s becomes part of collective effort; displayed within a common space, conceptual/ theme link, art style, composition, some sort of connection.
Roberto Berardi: Another hyper-realistic painter who’s painting compositions consisting of objects that narrate common purpose, spacial context, basically a taxonomy of classified objects but in a still-life presentational manner. For example in his “Candy Rainbow” oil painting the display of different types of candy that convey the euphoric sense of a sweet utopia.
Candy Rainbow, by Roberto Berardi
Or the narration of a collection of objects/food items that share that belong within a specific context of space narrative.
Vitamin Water, by Roberto Bernardi
Jean Shin: It is also interesting when a collection of a similar object is used to create another object with connection to theme concept. For example Jean Shin’s 2007 artwork where a collection of records were used to create a wave sculpture and how the purpose which is music and therefore sound is linked to the artwork title “The Sound of Wave”.
The Sound of Wave, 2007
As this research point further on suggests to create and photograph a collection of suggested objects for example the plates and bowls, it is worth mentioning how he created art installation in 2010 “Settings” which involved using a wide range of designed ceramic plates that were embedded into a tiled wall where each plate would represent individual participants. The artist takes such domestic ream and extends it into a public setting. Settings was the literal and abstract portrait of local families of different beliefs, culture background coming together to coexist under the same social umbrella called a larger community.
Settings 3, 2010 Jean Shin
Gianni Berengo Gardin: It is amazing how I just went through a fraction of my artist archive and found artists who’s artwork could fall under the category of collection. This does bring to mind my 2017 trip to Italy, Regio Emilia in particular the first Photograph exhibition of Gianni Berengo Gardin where his work was exhibited with the intention to curate a recreation of an atmosphere where the images and memory exist side by side.
Photo display of Gianni Berengo Gardin’s photo images into drawers.
Photo taken from the exhibited space curated by Alessandra Mauro and Susanna Berengo Garden
This was indeed an art adventure trip and I can definitely appreciate the opportunity I took to photograph anything and everything that intrigues my art world of interest. And how perfect such captured opportunity includes photos taken of a curated exhibition with perfectly fits the theme of collection.
Juan Del Juno: The artist’s artwork “The Ornithologist’s Dream” presents us with a sort of paradox; the catalog consisting of photographic “folders” of stuffed specimens of birds belonging to the collection of the Reserva Biologica de Donana in Spain. And yet underneath what seems to be a simple documentation made by a naive naturalist, the artist is undermining objectivity, universalism and classificatory rigor by opting for and anti-scientific display through which story-telling ,evocation and ultimately subjective poetic flow.
The Ornithologist’s Dream by Juan Del Juno
(Personal photo archive)
Glenda Leon: I was particularly captivated as on the one hand it intrigued my imagination but at the same time evoked a sense of provocation with the 2001 artwork collection “Shapes of the Instant” of Glenda Leon where the artist displayed an wall installation consisting of aligned in rows of multi colored bars of soup each containing a trapped strand of body hair that takes on this accidental by chance shape and form. The used soap and the hair are transformed into objects of contemplation as they are a provocation and invitation to discover and consider accepting the beauty that lies in the discarded details as it is also an important part of the human being existence.
Photo images of the soap bars used in the 2001 artwork “Shapes of the Instant”
(Personal photo archive)
Shapes of the instant, 2001 by Glenda Leon
Painters who work with unusual materials
Karen Margolis: Maps and holes- What becomes uniquely interesting with Karen Margolis’ art material is the altering through extensive manipulation the layers of paper that gives a basic art material such as paper a new appearance and profound role. Burning holes throughout the paper and maps with the intention to obliterate cities and other geographic data, interrupting the ability coherent communication to occur but layering her manipulated paper material creates passage ways that emerge into new territories. Here the interrupted vascular routes find new connections as the in the initial intention there is loss of information and paper surface but it is through the art process that new possibilities emerge; new found areas.
Henid, 2015 by Karen Margolis
close-up of Henid, 2015 by Karen Margolis
Corrine Bayraktaroglu: Another example of an artist who breaks the expected norm of what a painting surface should be. The artist applies oil paint to paint portraits on beer tin cans that me be dented in areas creating some distorted abstraction.
Alias, by Corrine Bayaraktaroglue
Robert Davidovitz: A contemporary artist who uses strands of dried acrylic paint tones (squeezed from paint tubes) that have dried up to be later on used to create his “Woven Paint” series. Here the artist alters the intended purpose and function of the paint media so instead of applying the paint media in a traditional manner it is instead used as an element of weaving.
Untitled artwork by Robert Davidovit
Xia Xiaowan: Another contemporary artist and sculpture who questioned the limitation in painting in representing a three-dimensional space and through extensive experimentation has bridged the gap between 2D painting and 3D painting. Inspired by CAT scans he created an technique and process that involves the build-up of form on layers of glass panes , that when affixed together at a considerable distance it creates a virtual reality of a 3D composition; a holographic and illusory object. This art process involves dividing a flat painting into different spaces so it could express the relationship between the profile of the painting with the intention to fill up those spaces between a layer and another.
Double Human Figure, 2009 by Xia Xiaowan
Bradley Hart: Bubble Art Paintings. A contemporary intrigued by the thought of using a material used to protect art and turning it into something unconventionally artistic. He basically injects paint into each bubble after a painstaking process of mapping the outline of the subject on the bubble wrap, assigning a code to each color. It takes approximately 1200-1500 paint syringes to create a single portrait. In a way one could say that Hart takes pointillism to another level where each bubble acts as color coded pixel of paint; the breaking down of an image to its basic color tones.
Close-up of a portrait artwork by Bradley Hart
Portrait artwork by Bradley Hart
Photographing A Series of Collections
Looking for the suggested objects became and adventurous scavenger hunt activity and although I did not have to go off in search of the exotic it still took a lot of effort and consideration:
To choose objects that would be interesting enough to photograph and paint.
Create different versions of the arrangements of the objects where some are found in an organized state while others in pure chaos. But what was interesting was taking the time to consider these different compositional arrangements by a created category.
Capturing the collection from different angles (e.g. top view, foreshortening for a more dramatic compositional effect.
In a way these series of photographed collections are an insight into a person’s personal life especially the garments and the jewelry. While photographing I had to consider balance, the aesthetics of arranging these collections of objects that would create interesting compositions. I also felt the need to actually print out a selection of some of photos and add them to my sketchbook as this makes the images more tangible rather than having them in just an electronically stored form. Beginning to stick these images into the sketchbook I realized that I began to become more playful always looking for that surprising element of fun whether in the form of scale, and object created to evoke curiosity but also it became an opportunity to familiarize myself with the chosen objects. You tend to begin relating to the object in a different way; each object by itself but also within the collection display multiple elements of art such as texture, shape, color etc.
A Collection of White Objects:
A Collection of Pencils and Pens:
A Collection of Plates and Bowls:
Creating different arrangement I discovered that I began to work with the element of pattern and motifs.
A Collection of Cutlery & Kitchen Utensils
The element of surprise!
A Collection of Clothing:
A Collection of Jewelry:
When the collection becomes an object.
A Collection of Make-up:
A Collection of Shoes:
A Collection of Socks:
A Collection of photograph prints of found images:
Coming back to include more photos from a family album
Having read in advance the coming up exercises and the 2nd Assignment and while I am reviewing, what aspect of the discovered experimentations and exploration of the suggested use of art media have been exciting and appropriate to intention (thinking a little bit in advance as I always have this tendency of planning ahead), I considered it relevant to include some of the old photographs from my family album, especially the class photos as all the posers become part of a collection of human documentation. So much potential to that thought, allowing the possibility that I will have the need to use them as part of some persona concept.