Yesterday, I went back to Manchester to visit The Whitworth Gallery as one of my favourite artist’s; Andy Warhol, had a solo exhibition on. I purposely went to see this show as my favourite artwork; Electric Chair, was on show and this would be the first time I have seen it in person.
Below are some images from Andy Warhol: Artist Rooms:
I love the majority of Warhol’s work and i know his work well, but at this show I realised how much I love his works in black and white, where he has printed the same design in opposite tones – it somewhat reminds me of my own colour palette and my use of the negative.
I finally got to see my favourite artwork, the pieces I have aspired to since starting art school. There were 10 different colour variations, each depicting the same haunting image of an awaiting electric chair, used on prisoners on death row in America from the late 1920’s to the late 1970’s. What I love about the pieces so much is the image of the chair, the space surrounding it is so empty, there’s a tension building, waiting for the next prisoner to take their seat. This particular chair expresses such history, and to see it in so many colour variations and still be so haunting is fascinating to me.
Series of 10 silk screened images on paper, 1971. Part of Warhol’s ‘Death and Disasters’ series.
This is a series of work I have never seen by Warhol, but I instantly fell in love with. He has a fantastic relationship to the theatrical and real life; it is obvious that Warhol is staging the scene, but I feel there is a struggling real life undertone to the image too.
I really love how he has used the similar colours in each piece to tie the whole set together, but there is still bursts of colour in each individual piece. I love Warhol’s humour and bringing the light side of death out in his work, his work can be tragic at times but it also has a bright side to it too.
Other works at The Whitworth:
Born 1978, London based artist; Idris Khan, creates large scale, stamped wall drawings, that I have used as the main subject in my dissertation and also found of incredible inspiration to my artwork. I visited his solo exhibition at The Whitworth Gallery in Manchester, to see his wall drawings in person and begin my analysis and enquiry for my work.
Khan creates these wall drawings by using letter stamps, containing sentences of his thoughts, which he repeatedly stamps to create the explosive motif we see on the wall. The undulating tonal effect was created by Khan’s thoughtful placement of each stamp.
As Khan was the main subject of my dissertation, I have already done vast research on him and analysed his work in depth. Through this I discovered that Khan’s wall drawings are a prime example of where image and text are so ‘intimately integrated’ the viewer is unsure whether the piece is an image or text artwork, something I am striving for in my own work.
The idea of ‘uncertainty’ constantly arises in Khans work, from the text or image decision, to the unsure aspect if the image is exploding out at you or rippling, and pulling you in. The illegibility of the text also adds to the treachery of Khan’s image, so overall the piece is constantly challenging you and leaves you with many questions.
The context of Khan’s work is usually his own thoughts towards a certain event, whether that being his grief towards his mothers and unborn child’s passing, or something that leads him to question god. Both of these are really pressing events to happen, I believe they are expressed through the explosive motif to suggest an overwhelming amount of thoughts.
Idris Khan is a big inspiration to me and I find his wall drawings of great importance and influence, I am in constant awe of his work, often referring back to his work and I strive to do what Khan is doing in my own work, analysing his work so closely, has brought out a lot in my own.
I intentionally went to Whitworth Gallery in Manchester to view Idris Khan’s work (last image in the photo collage below), specifically his wall drawings as research for my studio work and dissertation based on the relationship text and image can have in artworks, where they are so carefully integrated that the audience is unsure whether the piece is text based or a visual image.
Whilst at The Whitworth, I visited the other rooms and found some really interesting pieces, my highlights can be seen below:
One piece I found really interesting was the ‘War/Peace’ (3rd image in the photo collage) cross stitch, Its really intriguing how the definition of peace is backwards, in a less eye catching colour and under lines the striking definition of war, it makes a really dynamic piece with a provocative message.
I recently visited London and took a trip to TATE Modern, as I had seen that the new extension part had been completed and I was very interested in to what was new. I also wanted to see the Mona Hatoum exhibition on at the original Tate Modern building.
I firstly went to see Mona Hatoum’s solo show; this exhibition displays art work by Hatoum over her 35 years of working in Britain. I had research Hatoums work before and found inspiration in her piece ‘you are still here’, so I was really intrigued whether this piece would be displayed.
In a series of 10 rooms, around 100 of Mona Hatoum’s works were exhibited – a varied mixture of mediums, but mostly large sculptural works stood centre stage. For me it was quite an odd exhibition in how each piece holds its own context that is quite different to the rest, so it was a mixture of feelings going around, making the exhibition very stimulating because no two works were the same.
The first piece that caught my eye was ‘light sentence’, 1992. This was displayed in a room on its own and the effect of this piece was mesmerizing. Hatoum is known for working with the theme of oppression and containment, which was very evident in this work, the shadows cast by the single light bulb between the cages gives the effect of prison bars. The idea of containment is heightened by the bulb rotating slightly so the shadows glitch on the walls, it makes you feel very claustrophobic even thought the room is very open – this was definitely a highlight of Mona Hatoums exhibition.
‘Hot Spot III’, 2009, was the next piece that really caught my eye. As I have been researching into neon signs, it was great to see the material used in a different way. I’ve never seen neon used in a sculptural form to such a large scale. I liked how Hatoum had taken something normal like the globe and changed the context of it by making it glow red, the surrounding room was glowing and effected by this electrifying piece.
The final artwork that struck me was ‘you are still here’, 1994. The piece I had been researching was there for me to view in the flesh. It was really amazing to see a reflection of yourself with those words over you, as someone who overthinks everything, it was grounding to see this message on myself – this was definitely my favourite piece. Amazingly to think that from all the enormous artworks from this exhibition this small lone piece affected me the most.
Overall, this was a fantastic exhibition, I had high hopes for it and they were all exceeded – it was really well set out and each artwork stood on its own.
Images of artworks also featured in Mona Hatoum’s solo exhibition:
The New TATE Modern
The first aspect to comment on the new extension to the Tate modern is the stunning architecture, designed by Herzog & de Meuron who had also designed the original Tate modern building. It’s a very striking building with its unique and modern shape.
This new building has been advertised as 10 floors, entered, expecting to be overwhelmed by art. I began at the top which is a balcony floor where you can go out and view the sights of surrounding London. This is a really amazing touch to the building as it’s in the centre and the views are incredible:
I then travelled down the stairs to level 9 where there was a café, then to level 8 where there was a member’s room, then to level 7 and so on where there was no art, just rooms. It wasn’t until levels 3, 2, 1 where I saw works. I was quite disappointed by this as this new space is advertised as 10 floors of art yet only 3 of them have artworks.
As for the artworks on the three floors, nothing really stood out to me as it usually does at Tate. I can’t say that the works in these spaces were to my taste, they were still intriguing but nothing really excited me.
However I have 2 highlights, the first was ‘I am Afraid’, 2009 by Louise Bourgeois. Bourgeois had a solo exhibition in the new Tate modern and this was the piece that really stood out to me. Her other works were interesting but I didn’t connect with them, but the ‘I am Afraid’ piece was really touching – very simply presented and it felt like raw emotion and very romantic/poetic.
The second work I really liked was in a mixed exhibition and titled; ‘The Passing Winter’, 2005 by Yayoi Kusama. This was a sculptural piece where from afar the viewer sees a mirrored box with circular holes in it, when approaching the piece and looking inside the gaps, you enter a huge sci-fi type room where you are surrounded by mirrored shapes and portraits. This was a really fun interactive work that will always be seen as different to every viewer. It reminded me of a matrix type alternate universe, where everything is infinite; there is no beginning or end and it carried on forever.
Images of other works at the new Tate Modern:
Not the experience I was expecting from this new Tate building but still an insightful one, I’m excited to see it develop and become home to new exhibitions in the future.
It is now the end of my second year at Uni and from September I will be in my Third and final year. As with every year, third year students hold their final degree show and Arundel Gate Studios is completely emptied and turns into an art gallery, where the soon to be graduate students display their final works.
Art works by MA students and Fine Art:
As always, I am really impressed with the works on both an individual level and also how they come together as a collective and produce a really impressive show. Below are some photos of the highlights of the show. I really appreciated the professionalism of this show; the wall decals explaining each division of work (MA, Fine Art, CAP, and Part Time) and how the space was sectioned off for a more interesting viewing of the work. A really cohesive exhibition from the final year students, they should be very proud of their work – a really great last exhibition for Arundel gate court studios, before we move to our new site at the old post office.
Artworks by Creative Art Practice:
Viewing this year’s show suddenly became quite a different experience for me as reality hit, knowing that in one year’s time it would be my own final work on show, being the first year to hold an exhibition at a new location. The thought that it will all be over and graduation would be soon upon me has made a massive impact, provoking feelings of fear, apprehension and excitement of what the year will hold with a scary realisation that I won’t be in university this time next year.
Last week, I took a long overdue visit to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. I haven’t been for some time and the KAWS exhibition really caught my eye – I find his work interesting in how it replicates features seen on Disney characters and it’s cartoon like, yet still holds a contemporary art label.
I first took a look at the outside grounds of YSP, seeing some of the works that permanently reside at YSP, that I have seen before on my previous visit.
NOT VITAL exhibition
Born in 1948, Not Vital is a Swiss artist best known for his large scale sculptures. His solo exhibition around YSP exhibits many of his Large silver sculptures. These are really eye catching and have a great dynamic with their modern shape and colour contrasted with the natural landscape, which most of the other open air sculptures at YSP don’t have. I think the fact Not Vital has used silver/metal for the works makes them feel untouchable, as thought they have vast worth. I also really liked how it became a mirror of the landscape and you when you stood in front of them, making you part of the work – its a different visual each time; as the people in the work changes, the sky appears different, there won’t be the same photo of the work twice which I really love the idea of.
The standout piece by Not Vital for me was ‘Pelvis’, 2008. This work was placed on the top of a hill, which was interesting how you always looked up to it; the piece always looked down on everything else. The reason I liked this piece foremost was how it was part of the human body, and it was so glorified by it’s material, scale and placement. To me it was a random choice to use the pelvis, but it made me think more about the work because it was so glorified – an aspect I really like in an artwork.
AT HOME exhibition
This exhibition was indoors in a small rectangular room, divided by a wall. This room featured many works along the theme of the domestic. There were very diverse and different works, but they all clearly related to the idea of nostalgia, belonging, home, and were put into a very residential space, which heightened the context of the works. Below are images of some the highlights of this exhibition:
Text Based art at YSP
As I am focusing on text based art, I found a few stand out pieces that incorporated and used text in an interesting way.
The first was ‘Art for All/Art makes children powerful’ by Bob and Roberta Smith, 2013. This is a large scale banner type piece, as seen below. I wasn’t struck by this work due to its placement, situated on the outskirt of YSP and basically in the car park. Now I consider this it could have possibly been an attempt to be an information sign, but when I first saw it, I thought about how powerful the visual of the piece is and its context, but it’s been thrown to the side which took away some of it’s powerful statement. Maybe if I was driving and saw the sign as I left, It would be different. This work really made me consider how placement can change an artwork so easily.
I then came across Brian Fell’s ‘Ha-Ha Bridge’, 2006. This was one of my favourite works at YSP. I really loved the placement of it and how you just stumble across the piece in the woods. I really like how Fell has made something really dynamic from a normal object – it was a great opportunity to use the space and need for an object. This piece is explained brilliantly by YSP;
“In creating the Ha-Ha Bridge for Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Fell has provided an elegant design which also reveals further levels of meaning. By incorporating the word itself into the sides of the bridge he not only refers directly to the ha-ha beneath but also provides an amusing reminder of the original coining of the term derived from the cry of surprise at discovering a boundary”.
I also noticed that the path leading to the entrance of YSP has names of contributes in the walkway which I found quite interesting to see and I really like the use of the space – very innovative:
Roger Hiorns – Seizure, 2008
I then stumbled upon a hidden away concrete building, where people were queuing up to enter. Groups of 5 or less were lead to a bench inside the space, where you were asked to put on shoe covers, and at the end of the space was a crate looking cube. I’ve never experienced this lead up for an artwork before – It heightened my curiosity and expectations; to have to go through all this effort for a piece means it has to be something special. It came to my groups turn to venture into the crate and I was very surprised by what I saw. A removed 2 room council flat completely covered in Blue crystals. The artist had removed his environment from its original building and grown copper sulphate in the entirety of his home. It was so mesmerizing and impressive, how Hiorns had changed his own space so drastically, but it still had homely qualities to it; skirting board, ceiling light, bathroom with bath, door frames. I was also shocked at how he had removed his home from the rest of the council flat estate, It made me think of how a space can become you and so personal. I was a really strange feeling knowing you are in someone’s home although it looks completely different, like you have stumbled into an abandoned fantasy cave – a very surreal experience.
Unable to find any of KAWS’ works, I found out you had to wait outside for a van to pick you up to take you to another area where all the works were featured. This was also quite a surreal experience in that, you had to be driven to another space just to view the work.
At the top of the hill was a open plan space, with a wall of window at the end overlooking the landscape. There were several large scale sculptures in this space as well as some wall mounted paintings. I really like the innocent yet complex nature of Kaws’ work, as I’ve already mentioned they have a resemblance of Disney but the characters are far from that; they have quite a sad and pitiful atmosphere and blank stares, they almost feel like a shell of a person. The contrast of the cartoonish and colourful visual but also appearing to be unresponsive and dead on the inside is an aspect I admire about KAWS’ work.
Overall, a really fantastic visit to Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park – http://www.ysp.co.uk/
I took a visit to SIA in Cantor Building at Sheffield Hallam University yesterday, to view Charles Atlas’, Painting by Numbers, 2011. This is exhibited as part of Art Sheffield 2016- up, down, top, bottom, strange and charm.
Clip of Atlas’, Painting by Numbers, 2011 – Art Sheffield 2016. Video above taken by myself
Charles Atlas is a New York Based artist and a pioneering figure of film and video for over four decades now. His 2011 video installation Painting by Numbers is described by Art Sheffield as an immersive experience, where the viewer sees ‘digital numbers, that appear in beautiful swarming patterns, like particles of matter, constellations or code, vibrating through space’ http://www.artsheffield.org/2016/programme/sheffield-institute-of-arts/
I was drawn to this piece from it’s use of text/numbers and as my current practice is also text based it was only natural to want to view it. I too found the work very immersive, the projection spanning 3 walls surrounds your peripheral view and the numbers become invasive. The way the numbers count down continuously and form patterns that resemble stars and DNA, to me it felt like an impending countdown. I related it to my fear of death, and counting down the possible days, months, years until that last day, so I found the piece really captivating. I liked how forceful the installation was, pushing the falling numbers in your face, it resonated with me the little amount of time we have on earth. This is a fantastic piece of work, and I related it to my own work with how it address an end, and how frequent the numbers end and start again, I love how the piece make you quite anxious in how it’s unstoppable, I feel very inspired by this piece.