Timothy Hyman / Lecture

Above Image: Timothy Hyman, London with the parable of Dives and Lazarus, work in progress, Image Source – http://www.artworksproject.com/docs/bla-timh.html



“From Siena to London”

A Gravity lecture that was different than the usual artist speaking about their work and interests – Timothy Hyman is a British art writer, curator and figurative painter, based upon Sienese painting, which he then focused his lecture around.

Sienese painting is a style of painting deriving from Siena, Italy. There is no specific date that pinpoints when this style of painting began but from research it was very active during the 13th-15th century from the Sienese school of painting where Diccio di Buoninsegna  and Simone Martini, both Italian born painters, participated and became some of their most important representatives.

Simone Martini, The Miracle of the Child falling from the Balcony, c.1324. Image source – https://artmalavika.wordpress.com/author/artmalavika/

Hyman spoke in depth about Sienese painting as well as his own work, he mentioned that he was drawn to this style of painting as they became a ‘series of overlaps in space’, which I can see when looking at original Sienese paintings, most seem to have a narrative and a configuration of many layered aspects, which I can also see in Timothy Hyman’s work, he also uses a similar layout in his pieces, as well as the idea of many layers – not just one focal point. You can also see similarities in both Hyman’s work and the traditional Sienese paintings from the very straight lines used in the foreground, on the buildings. When looking at both, Timothy Hyman’s style of painting appears guileless, but in-fact when comparing it again to the Sienese paintings, they are quite technical in the line and composition and how the foregrounds all leads to a single back point, creating three dimension in the  works.

Timothy Hyman, Mid River: The Bearer, 1995-98. Image source – https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/artist/timothy-hyman-ra

I really liked how he described his style of art as ‘The city inside my head’, he was so passionate about Sienese paintings, it has become how he sees the world around him, which I think most artists do, they create their own worlds, they design.

This was a really informative lecture, i’ve learnt about a new style of painting that I never knew existed and I’ve really expanded on my art history knowledge, which I always want to do.  As for Hymans artwork, it’s not my taste visually but he creates fantastic narrative in his pieces which I love.


Timothy Hyman – http://www.timothyhyman.com/


Chris Dobrowolski / Lecture

Image above – Chirs Dobrowolski’s, Skyscape Escape, 1994-2003. Image source – http://www.cdobo.com/default.asp?id_site=56143905&id_primesubject=58&id_subject=224&xp=5083169889



This week’s Gravity lecture brought Sculptor, Artist and Performance Lecturer Chris Dobrowolski. The lecture was specialised for professional art practice, so Dobrowolski spoke about ‘how to be a professional artist’ and told us of his experience in the art world, with great humour – this was an outstanding lecture, purely from it being so funny, he explained his unfortunate experiences and his triumphs brilliantly.

Firstly he mentioned his own book, ‘Escape’ which explained how not to make a living as an artist, which I am definitely going to take a look at in preparation for leaving Uni, as he is clearly experienced and although he told of his struggles, he came out of each of them with a success story, which was really inspiring.

Dobrowolski then spoke about how his Sculpture; Skyscape Escape – a functioning plane created using recycled newspaper and chests(image above), is featured in the Millennium family DK encyclopaedia under the sculpture section representing ‘Contemporary Art’.  This must have really kick started his career, to be featured in such a vastly known series of books is incredible and being within such a competitive area is an incredible achievement, I think this scale of verification is what most artists want to achieve.

The first piece of work Chris Dobrowolski discussed was a commission where he was asked to create a contemporary maritime piece.  He decided to base this in Hull, where he previously attended college, explaining that he hated this so much he just wanted to escape.  With this Dobrowolski created ‘Seascape Escape’, 1989. Made using drift wood from a beach in Hull he built a boat and used this to ‘escape’ and sail in. However, the boat failed and he and his friends began to sink and eventually needed rescue – this story then featured in the local press.  Also from this commission he produced a song piece titled, “Take a trip on a ship “so although his art piece failed miserably, he came out of it successful and made the newspaper headlines from talking about it, explaining he had a lot of fun making and sailing the boat.

Photo of ‘Seascape Escape’, 1989. Image source – http://www.cdobo.com/default.asp?id_site=56143905&id_primesubject=58&id_subject=225&xp=1952566881

The lecture continued with him discussing all the setbacks with his art, mentioning that Charles Saatchi (Saatchi Gallery) liked one of his art works and that he may have bought his piece if it wasn’t for the fact that Saatchi’s warehouse burnt down.  Dobrowolski questioned whether he’d “sell out “like this, like his friend Nick did, who works for Damien Hirst and received an offer from Saatchi. Nick rang Dobrowolski for his blessing, showing he’s forever having setbacks and never getting that break.  But what I liked about him is that he takes everything with a ‘pinch of salt’ and continues to make a joke of it all, such a worthy attribute.  From the above situation he created an exhibition about, “Selling out” that featured toy train sets and miniatures, he set up a scalextric road, and placed a truck on it, a miniature model man, drove around the track with a megaphone shouting, “buy my paintings” – I liked the idea of creating a positive out of a negative, something I can definitely learn from is to add this aspect of humour and not let setbacks put me down.


The lecture finally drew to a close and Dorowolski was questioned about being taken seriously in his work to which he answered, “When you laugh at yourself, you can speak to a wider audience, but funny can be serious too”.

A really humorous yet thoughtful lecture and I feel as though I’ve come away with a new outlook towards art; it doesn’t always need to be serious.


Chris Dobrowolski – http://cdobo.com/default.asp?id_site=56143905&id_subject=

Dunhill & O’Brien / Lecture

Above Image – The Useful Bench by Dunhill & O’Brien. Image Source.



Mark Dunhill and Tamiko O’Brien began working collaboratively in 1998, and are now based in London.  They were both individual artists before coming together when they worded, what if, they have now created over 20 successful projects, several of which they discussed in this week’s Gravity lecture.

The lecture was structured so they both talked in sync, it felt quite scripted but was just natural to them which is a good sign of a collaborative group.  They first began to discuss the theme of Gravity this year; Form.

‘Form preoccupies us, how can we two individuals make form?’.  So from this they are clearly driven around creating form, which I later learned was by making sculpture.  They then produced an object of form; a potato.  They discussed the humanity of a potato and how its created from its inside but is formed (shaped) by what it bumps into underground, it then can take many forms; Chips, Crisps, they were fascinated with the magic of digging it up and the element of surprise it was, not knowing how it will look.  All of this was very reflective of their project; Holes 1 & 2.

Image of ‘Holes 1’. Image Source.

In this project Dunhill & O’Brien would dig up holes to create a form and then plaster cast the hole which was then made into Ceramic objects.  This was clearly inspired by the process of a potato forming but slightly more controlled. I really liked how they used their vision of a form in a potato, then replicated and edited this to create their own ‘forms’.  The casts were not the final work, they then attached steel stands and a motor to them enabling them to pirouette around the space, so these forms are never seen the same as they are forever moving – which is an addition to create form further.  I also liked why they placed them on stands;

“These ornate pedestals rise them from loneliness”

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They both continued to discuss their projects together, but what interested me about them was their passion for their material and drive to create form which I believe they did extremely well.

I also admired their work aesthetic of “collaborative argumentative”, they very much agree to disagree, which was present in the lecture today.  They are both collaborating yet remain individual which made their work ethic so successful.  They clearly have similar interests and a passion to explore form, seeing this in a person or two persons, in this case, was really admirable.


Dunhill & O’Brien – http://www.dunhillandobrien.co.uk/

Sarah Jones / Lecture


This week’s Gravity lectures was a speciality one, a live performance piece by Sarah Jones; an artist known for her work in performance so I entered the lecture feeling quite excited and intrigued.

The piece was approximately 8 minutes long which I was quite shocked about as this had been advertised as a speciality ‘one-off’ lecture, which entailed a performance by Sarah Jones that seemed to be over as soon as it started leaving an hour and twenty minutes for a Q & A on this unbelievably short performance that I can honestly admit left me feeling disheartened and mislead to say the least, and after 45 minutes I felt very disengaged with anger.

The actual performance didn’t impress me as Jones spoke extremely quietly, so much so I could barely hear her, all I could hear was, “This is a small talk, in a nutshell”.  Jones then played a record of her voice repeating ‘it’ constantly as she continued the performance playing records, reading a script, a book – and then it was over, leaving the whole lecture theatre in silence, quite awkward from what I imagine was total shock that it had actually finished.

Questions were few and far between but discussion picked up with 5 members over whether this would work without an audience, which Jones said it would be shorter leaving me contemplating whether part of her performance was the Q & A as her performing part didn’t actually involve the audience.

Admittedly I didn’t enjoy this at all, this was a rare ‘live’ performance lecture, which I entered with a feeling of intrigue and excitement but left feeling totally mislead and I can honestly say the performance itself was not to my taste.

Jones brought the lecture to an end by saying, “The tongue is an actor, in the theatre of a mouth”, this was the only information that actually intrigued me as it lead me to think that speech is a big aspect to Jones’ performances, she was brave to stand there and perform this but for me I came away feeling confused and disappointed.

Duncan Bullen / Lecture

Above Image – Drawing #03.11 by Duncan Bullen, coloured pencil on paper, 2011. Image source – http://www.duncanbullen.com/drawings-2011.html



Duncan Bullen’s practice is printmaking and drawing but he used his lecture to mostly discuss his work with pencil drawing.

Bullen first discussed the theme of this year’s Gravity Lectures, ‘Form’ describing it as the pleasure of turning something into something and with that he produced a pencil as his object of ‘form’, a tool he couldn’t live without.

Drawing #33.10, 2010 by Duncan Bullen. Coured Pencil on paper.  Image source – http://www.duncanbullen.com/drawings-2010.html

He described drawing as more of an attitude/state of mind rather than a medium, which is clear when you look at his works; they feel very meditative and calming as they have a vast amount of details and precision.  Bullen began to read out quotes about mindfulness, which must be an important factor to creating for him, to reach a state of mindfulness whilst drawing which I think art does – to enjoy the process of making sometimes without thought or reason is a great meditative task, to actually lose yourself in creating.

THIS IS NOT DUNCAN BULLEN’S WORK. This is an image similar to Bullen’s ‘nothing wasted’, I have used this as I was unable to locate his work, but this is very similar. Image Source.

His lecture seemed to be over as so soon as it started and he finished it by presenting his piece titled, ‘Nothing Wasted’ 2009-2012, which is an acrylic box of shavings which really reinstates the idea of mindfulness and not leaving unfinished product.

I admit that I wasn’t a big fan of Bullen’s work but his use of art as meditation is something I truly admire and this has made me want to create without an idea or reason.


Duncan Bullen – http://www.duncanbullen.com/index.html

Richard Kirwan / Lecture

Above image – ‘As above, so below’ by Richard Kirwan. Acrylic on canvas, 2007. Image Source.



“An Artist who makes paintings” is how Richard Kirwan labels himself when introducing this week’s Gravity Lecture.   Kirwan dislikes the history and restriction of being called ‘A Painter’, which I can agree with, I always say I’m a multi-disciplinary artist as I don’t want to restrict myself.


He started the lecture by stating he would be referring back to the year 1964 a lot due to his admiration for Andy Warhol, a very clear influence to Kirwan who he discussed and compared to throughout the lecture. Kirwan discussed Warhol’s, ‘The American Supermarket 1964’, which he compared to Frieze Art Fair explaining it feels like a supermarket to him, although I haven’t been to Frieze I can imagine the resemblance, selling art like a product.  He continued presenting more of Warhol’s works/images including Brillo Soap Pad Boxes, The Factory 1964, Women wearing dresses with Warhol prints on in the factory.  From this he started to make points about Warhol and what he found admirable

  • Equivalence – Warhol used real Brillo Boxes opposed to sculptures, “it’s the same as the real thing”.
  • How the woman wore Warhol’s art on their arses (Kirwan seemed quite angry with this)
  • Lack of care Warhol had with reference to the tomato juice boxes on the floor of the gallery opening
  • Allen Midgette pretended to be Warhol in lectures (which Warhol consented to) and this caused uproar, Warhol replied, “But he’s so more beautiful than me”.


Although I enjoy when speakers present their influences this felt too much; borderline obsessive, which I have no problem with but it did feel too excessive and too heavy.  He continued to present his works, ‘The indiscipline of painting’, an exhibition where Kirwan’s work, ‘Depth of Field ’ 2012, was hung aside Warhol’s ‘Eggs’ 1982 – a really proud moment for him and I could feel myself beam, knowing Kirwan had this opportunity to be placed beside his influences work, such acceptance is something all artists strive for.

Kirwan’s next group exhibition was, “Tell the children” 2012 at La Salle de Bains, Lyon, France.  This was inspired by Warhol’s, ‘Painting for Children’ exhibition in 1983.  At both these exhibitions the artworks were hung low for children’s height, which shows the idea of not being taken too seriously. ‘Curfew Zone’ was the piece he showed at Tell the children, a very ‘trippy’ piece, “comes out of the eyeballs then brain”, which is a running theme in Kirwan’s work. This exhibition was very much for the child but not necessarily of this generation, Kirwan’s feel like the optical illusion books that became popular in his era and another Artist, Francis Bauderin, created Wallpaper from the cartoon Tin Tin in the 1930’s to 1970’s, so it seems that this exhibition was for children of the past.


To discuss Kirwan’s paintings further, they are extremely precise, something that could easily be made graphically but hand painted would take a lot of time – they appear perfect, visually reminiscent of’ Op Art’ era.

Richard Kirwan’s – Herald, 2013. Acrylic on canvas. Image Source

This is seen in his painted piece ‘Herald’ 2013, pictured above, it has a great contrast of colour, and effective use of composition to achieve three dimension. Kirwan does also make digital work, but to help him as a means of planning. He compared this idea to how Warhol used screen-printing; technology enables.
I’ve found out a lot about Warhol in this lecture, which is great, I admire his works greatly too but this is a problem for me.  I feel Kirwan has created work directly for Warhol, using his ideas, which is great but it is just too much.  I left the lecture feeling as though it was a biography of Andy Warhol rather than the artist.

Finally Kirwan finished his lecture by answering the dreaded question, “Is painting dead?” to which he answered,

“I don’t care if it’s dying, limping or dead, I create work that question and confuse you.  Painting is a niche activity, just like installation, video etc”.  Very well said.


Richard Kirwan – http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/walker/johnmoores/recent-exhibitions/25/exhibitors/richard_kirwan.aspx

Lee Triming / Lecture

Above Image – Lee Triming performing. Image source – http://www.rca.ac.uk/schools/school-of-fine-art/painting/student-stories/lee-triming/



RCA Graduate, Lee Triming was the guest speaker at this week’s Gravity Lecture. His practice began in drawing but is now based on writing and performance, process orientated.

Triming began the lecture by presenting a video of William Wegman’s, ‘Two Dogs & Ball’ as seen below:


The audience watches the video of two dogs reacting to seeing a ball, the viewer reacts by following the dogs as they search for the ball, to me this sets the tone of the lecture; reacting to reaction.
He proceeded to present his first work, ‘Miss Hamilton’s Mayhem’.  This was a performative piece where he recited words relating to the title, unfortunately I was unable to catch what he was saying in my notes but he took the roll as a narrator reading out a script/book.  Triming finished his performance and showed the above image of Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street next to Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch of the West from the 1939 movie, The Wizard of Oz.  He explained the root of the performance by showing a news headline, ‘Wicked Witch to drop broom on Sesame Street’.

Image from the Sesame Street episode where Oscar the Crouch and the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz meet. Image source – http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Episode_0847

The article (see below) explained that from episode 847 of Sesame Street, that featured the Wicked Witch was only aired once as it was labelled ‘too frightening’ for children and after receiving numerous complaints the episode was never aired again. Triming’s performance was an attempt of making a narrative of the actual episode. His interest in this was from both the characters as they were both aesthetically green and both embodied negativity. It also interested him that it was impossible to find the episode anywhere now, adding the idea of curiosity and never knowing, leaving it all to imagination, which in fact is quite reflective of Wegman’s ‘Two Dogs & Ball’, both the dogs are curious, yet the audience are left to only imagine what the dogs are looking at (if the title was absent). I really like how Triming reacted to the reaction this way in that he saw there was an absence (video of episode) and then created his own to resolve the curiosity he had, very willing knowing he would never see the banned episode.

Article about the banned Sesame Street Episode. Source – http://lostmedia.wikia.com/wiki/Sesame_Street_Episode_847_aka_The_Wicked_Witch_of_the_West_Episode_(1976)

The lecture continued as Triming began to discuss how artwork can create another artwork, he presented this theory with his experience in a gallery where he witnessed that a print that was semi pornographic wasn’t allowed to be shown unless it had curtains around it restricting its access but it was presented with the curtains around it, however left open thus changing the context of the work from what it was before.

Triming concluded the lecture with another performance piece where he read as fast as he could without pausing, this lasted for about a minute which was very tense and impressive, I was actually holding my own breath waiting for him to slip up which impressively he didn’t which was extremely admirable but the aspect I loved was that Triming did this with the sign language signer stood next to him keeping up with the speed which for me added to Trimings performance and it was very reflective of what he had previously said how one artwork can create another artwork as this wasn’t a planned piece, he hadn’t arranged for the signer to be present but it just shows how true his statement was.

Overall, I really enjoyed this lecture; it was very informative and included a lot of revelations. I’m not sure if Triming planned or predicted how the lecture was going to relate to his previous works, if this was intentional or not however it was so interesting and the work he presented was really effective, a lecture I can really say that I was enthralled from start to end.


Lee Triming – http://www.rca.ac.uk/students/lee-triming-show/