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Posts Tagged ‘collage’

 

A drawing can go through many stages of development. The artist may not aim for mimesis or may not have a particular style in mind at all.  The artist may try one kind of markmaking here and another style  there.  The drawing may develop with a progression from dark to light or various degrees of precision.

The drawing can be called complete even though it contains visual contradictions.  Let’s look at contradictions.

In the above drawing, the markmaking in A is vibrant and lively. The background to the objects on the table seems to shimmer. In B the markmaking is the opposite, it’s mechanical and tight.  This dense, dark stripe representing the table appears to have been made by a different hand, in a very different mood. The contrast between A and B does not add drama to the image as a whole. Rather, it looks arbitrary and therefore the drawing feels unresolved.

In modern art we often find contrasts, inconsistencies and contradictions that are witty.  Consider the following two examples.

The hand fits perfectly over the face, as when a woman is surprised or embarrassed. But hand and face are from different worlds, different contexts.  So they fit together in one sense, but are mismatched in another.  We smile at this surprising juxtaposition.

 

Collage, a quintessentially modern art form, lends itself very well to creating contradictions and witty juxtaposition.

 

 

It’s easy to play with photographs by collaging together disparate elements.

Place a cassette over a face and, voila, the two holes will read like eyes. As moderns we know that all images, symbols and myths are human inventions and so we chuckle when we see the invention process being made so obvious.

 

 

 

 

Back to the class drawing of the still-life.   This student/artist gives us a very credible rendering of reflected light and deep shadow of the cup at C.  As in the previous drawing, the ellipse is not “swinging” but is drawn slowly and carefully and therefore it falls flat.  Practice. Practice. Practice

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2020/05/12/still-life-with-peaches-pear-and-cup-1/

We will talk some more about this cup and the demanding but swinging ellipse in the next posts.

More at:

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/08/31/untitled-xii/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2014/05/30/plug-by-the-sea-side/

Aphrodite by seph

Videotape Eyes by Rebecca DiLiberto.

 

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The box you saw a couple of posts earlier is now fully integrated into the painting. In full frontal view its third dimension disappears.  But notice the added wit—feathers!

Having completed the painting, the artist now has to name the thing. When she walks her dog by the lake, Terry Fohrman takes pictures of sidewalks with their cuneiform cracks and collects found objects like Robert Rauschenberg. In general, she feels appalled by our culture’s wastefulness.  The title came easy: “Don’t Throw It Away.”

I look forward to seeing this piece displayed on a wall.  Here you see it leaning against a wall, which requires a certain effort on the part of the viewer.  You have to ignore the floor and the baseboard.  As you put up with that task, you may feel that thinking and painting “inside the box” was/has been not such a bad idea after all.  Right. Following the rules is the common thing to do, it’s easy, which is why “thinking outside the box is rare.”  And we call that “art.”

You can see the earlier stage of this piece at

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2018/10/29/art-outside-the-box-and-with-the-box/

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Bike2
Kandinsky would have liked this painting.

As with music, rhythm is an important element in visual art. In this painting by Arlene Tarpey, we see the repetition of circular and elliptical shapes. There are three patterns: the literal statement of bicycle wheels, the row on top of distinct circles, and the row at the bottom of ellipses in a blur. Your eye goes round and round, but, because of the variations in the pattern, never gets bored. It’s hard not to get entranced. The composition as a whole sweeps the attention upward, to the upper right corner because that’s where the human figure is—always a trump card in any visual work—and also because of the small red collage, way in the corner. What is that? Can’t tell, it’s too small and it’s just a scrap. But we can make out that it shows the rhythm of a set of vertical lines. Voila, a reinforcement of the work’s theme, this time in counterpoint: linear vs. circular. If this little red patch had circles in it, that wouldn’t work, would be boring, too much of the same. The black vertical lines echo the rhythm motif and at the same time provide counterpoint.
Arlene Tarpey, mixed media (acrylic, pastel, collage on paper), ~16″x20″

Now let’s flip it horizontally (in Photoshop).

Bike2flipOooo, totally different feeling!  In which version is she going faster?  When she’s going towards the left or to the right?

Kandinsky didn’t talk about this left-right business and I don’t know what the musical analogy for the left-right flip would be.  But in image making, left and right are weighty issues, as you can see from this example. 

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13ArleneTallRedWhiteMy painting class is full of surprises.

This painting started as a collage, or rather as a little window (about 2” x 1”)  chosen from a large 11”x17”  collage.  The painting, done in acrylic on two canvases joined in the middle for a total of 48” x 24”, takes its composition and color drama from the collage.  In the first layer, the red was red, but then it became black and then red again, but this time with the black under-painting showing through. (Click to enlarge.)
The decisive turn of events in the painting process was the drip.  There was, of course, no drip in the collage. But the painting seemed to need a linear element.  The artist, Arlene Tarpey, dislikes hard edges in her work.  What to do? Let the linear element create itself!  The drip, therefore, was not a result of a messy painting style, à la Jackson Pollock, but was deliberately engineered right there in the middle of the canvas.

Or rather, canvases.  The horizontal divide between the two canvases now became disturbing because the drip refused to ignore the break and emphasized the gap by oozing into it.  What to do?  Fussing with the drip would un-drip it and thereby highlight the awkward spot even more.

13ArleneTallRedTopSolution: take the thing apart and treat each panel as an independent painting.

This sort of thing happens only when you’re working in the abstract mode.  You’re not committed to representing an image and you’re not hemmed in by preconceived notions about what this thing is supposed to look like.  You are IN the process and responding to what happens brush-stroke by brush-stoke and, yes, drip by drip. You’re not even committed to the original size of your work.  You can just take it apart.

Surprise!

13ArleneTallRedBottomAll contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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13LornaRocksOne

This large painting (30” x 40”) was inspired by a photo of rocks on a sea shore.  You can probably guess that the arrangement of the rocks corresponds roughly to the large ocher area on the left.  After that the paint takes over.  The artist/student, Lorna Grothe,  is finished with representation after that.  The rocks have served their purpose.  Where does all that purple come from?  You can be sure the ocean was not purple in the photo.  The painting has taken over.

The first stage, just purple and ocher, is shown above. Then 130509Lornashe added the large white.  Then some more patches of color, black and red, over the purple.  After that she was at a loss over what to do next.  Because acrylic dries fast, we were able to jiggle the imagination by just sticking some scraps of paper on the painting surface.  The next image shows the painting with these patches of color ripped from a magazine.  You can’t do this if you’re working in oil because the oil dries so slowly.  But here we have an advantage of acrylic:  when you’re stuck, just glue some patches onto the surface to help you imagine the work anew.

130516Lorna1After all the snippets of paper were removed, her sense of the work was refreshed and Lorna moved into the last stage.  Here’s the final painting, at least for this term.  Work may continue on this painting, but it may also be considered completed.

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It can get hard.

You loved the colors and shapes in your sketch—in this case, a collage—and then it turns out that the painting process throws all sorts of hurdles in your path.

Caryl C. took her inspiration for this painting from a snippet of collage, about three inches long.  She transferred it to a canvas, four feet long.  Anybody who has ever chosen a color swatch for a bedroom wall knows that we react very differently to a small patch of color than we do to the same color in a large area. When 3 inches are expanded to 4 feet, this changed color perception is magnified accordingly. The act of painting is never just a matter of transferring shapes and colors from a small sketch.  Strange things happen when you paint.  The painting can take off on its own, especially as in this case, when it’s abstract.  You can get to an impasse, where you can neither hold on to your initial concept nor see clearly where you’re going.

At this point, you can regain your bearing if you reverse the process:  you sit down with a sketch pad and you sketch the painting in its present stage—as if it were a view out the window or a still life set up on a table.  This time out can help you see it fresh.

Painting is an adventure.  We’ll see where it takes Caryl.  The adventure can take a few hours, or weeks or months. Years.

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Your brain loves a straight line.  It’s quick, leads you from one end to the other in an instant.  It divides one side from another and no ifs or buts about it.  Then the brain dusts off its hands, congratulates itself on a job well done and moves on to something else.

When you put a clean crisp line into your painting you tickle that part of the brain that wants to know what’s what and therefore your attention will go to that line and you will be pleased.

Let’s look at a recent painting by Ellen G.  Here on the right you see it in the almost-finished stage.  We get the sense that this is a construction (it was derived from a collage, measuring less than 2 inches) and that directs us to see is as an abstraction, an invitation to engage in interpretation, that necessary pastime of us moderns.  What am I looking at here, the eye says.  Well, I see a reddish trapezoid, a bit of green on the right, an L shaped yellow thing, a fuzzy dip (#3) into a lead gray rectangle and then, oh look, there this thing on the lower right that looks like a landscape(#1).  Thank you, artist!  You gave me something to identify and latch on to because it relates to the real world.  Once you see this picture within a picture, it will dominate your attention.  This hilly vista with a suggestion of something like telephone wires just came out like that. In the original collage it was a bit of torn paper.  No matter, here it’s incarnated as a landscape and it takes over and you keep going back to it.  The rest of the painting then will look irrelevant, if you can even get yourself to pay attention to the yellow and the red.

Now, look what happens when the edge at #2 is made absolutely clean and straight.  Your eye zooms to it.  The “landscape” at #1 still demands your attention, but now it has competition.  The clean line at #2 compels your eye up.  Then what?  There’s a synaptic jump and you land at #4.  What’s #4?  Nothing.  It’s pure shape and color.  It’s an angle, the intersection of two lines, not as compelling as a clean line would be, but, hey,   it’s red.  So there you are at this angle, which forms an arrow.  And where does the arrow lead? Down to #1.  So, the artist has us coming and going, moving through this painting and wanting to stay with it.  When this happens, your brain becomes mind and you love puzzlement. There you are, looking at this thing, feeling entranced.

What about the yellow-orange L shape?  That’s texture.  Texture engages you with its emotional power.  See next post.

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