R1 – painting style

Reminder – points to consider when looking at other artists’ work (extract from course intro):
  • How does it make you feel
  • Do you like the work
  • What does it remind you of
  • Composition
  • Style
  • Colour palette
  • Subject
  • Significance of title
  • Date
  • Medium
  • Support
  • Where exhibited

Slick, flat paint

Gary Hume – I like his work for the apparent  simplicity; originality and versatility of colour palette and interpretation of subjects, often portraits or parts of figures; http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/hume-water-painting-t07618 .  They remind me of Patrick Caulfield and Alex Katz paintings.  I attempted sketchbook copies of three of his works, trying to match colours and effects, draw lines just peeking at my paper, making notes on how mine compare to his.

Sarah Morris – abstract geometric compositions.  Colourfully designed and calculated precision, like Bridget Riley.  Although I enjoy pattern and colour I prefer more organically developed painting that evokes an emotional response.

Ian Davenport‘s completely abstract poured lines are gorgeous colours, and interesting where they spill into amorphous shapes at the bottom of the works.  I enjoyed pouring paint in POP Part 5, but in a more emotional way, responding to ideas, thoughts, music.  Although pouring looks simple, the techniques required to achieve the effect wanted are quite demanding.

Inka Essenhigh – dream, fantasy, pop surrealism, references animation – the paintings seem pretty empty in terms of having any meaning or message – purely decorative, for a science fiction or comic book illustration, or a child’s bedroom wall.  I don’t really like her work; the highly blended, imaginary organic shapes seem slick, and the palette is sickly colours.  There’s something about her imaginary world that makes me uncomfortable.

Jane Callister her works on paper (acrylic or oil) are ambiguous, interesting to look at.  I like her use of colour, Mark making, and use of paint dripping.

Brian Alfred – forlorn cityscapes rooted in observation make me feel the loneliness of city life.  I’m not a city person, but I think his paintings of the city are very affecting.   I also like his portraits – they also remind me of Alex Katz paintings. Some gems to study and think how I might adopt some of his ideas – see artsy.net


Black and white

Raymond Pettibon – like comic strip illustrations, lots of text,  dramatic images, not painting but drawing.  I like the drama of black and white and use of text, although  left feeling ignorant of the subject matter

José Toirac – a Cuban, he made highly political paintings, to the extent that some of his works couldn’t be shown publicly.  like his use of gold leaf and acrylic; like his grid of 65 portraits in pencil and red wine.

The portraits in red wine, displayed in a grid layout,  are here http://www.moma.org/collection/works/38719?locale=en

I made a quick sketchbook copy of one, using instant coffee dissolved in water, and burnt umber acrylic.


Thse gilded paintings: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_xmvwhJMsRFM/TSNLh58tqKI/AAAAAAAABI0/lWsvu3JD6LY/s1600/DSC_0530.JPG

Those are small, but Toirac also made door-size ones.

I made one on paper painted background with solid burnt umber, then pasted torn fake gold leaf on with acrylic medium, leaving gaps and ragged edges.  Then painted burnt umber lines which reminded me of a family running. Then tint of ultramarine for light tones.

Alli Sharma – b&w portraits of women’s faces, from 50s-70s, sensitively drawn

Gia Edzgveradze – scribbles and doodles – I like this http://www.mutualart.com/Artwork/Meeting/73679200C921A803


Loose thin paint

Mimei Thompson – good commentary here http://www.thedoublenegative.co.uk/2014/08/decidedly-alien-the-paintings-of-mimei-thompson/  The brushstrokes are highly visible, all looks plastic, reality turned into other-worldly forms.  Flat muted pink backgrounds.  Bin bag, dead fly, tomatoes, weeds.  Background paint thinned with liquin.  Image is paint mixed with alkyd resin for max retention of brushstrokes

Annie Kevans – series of portraits – dictators as boys – muses of Gaultier – forgotten women artists – presidential mistresses.  not necessarily likenesses.  Thinned oil on canvas paper, vague and dreamy faces.  I like the concept of portraits in series portraying an idea.

Cathy Lomax – prolific, painting all the things that make up her life, interests and influences.  I like her ongoing ‘Film Diaries’  on the whole I find her choice of subjects mundane, which is ok if like Brian Alfred’s cityscapes something more intangible is added – but they feel simply like humdrum copies.

Eleanor Moreton – paints a dreamland of her past.  Large scale, thin paint.  Narrative paintings.  I liked the compositions



Chuck Close – best known for hyper-realistic, massive scale portraits and self-portraits from photos.  Uses inventive techniques (fingerpainting, felt stamps,  small pieces of pulp paper, monochrome jacquard tapestry) to piece together his gridded paintings.  I like Shirley, 2007 – each ‘pixel’ has interesting shapes within.  Oil, acrylic, watercolour are all used.  Techniques in Wikipedia  paintings here http://www.pacegallery.com/artists/80/chuck-close

Mark Fairnington – plays with the concept of reality, presenting us with hyper realistically – trompe l’oeile – depicted subjects but in fantastic or incongruous or unlikely settings and combinations.  Hyper-realistic people, insects, animals (sometimes packaged, boxed and labelled). An explanation of his work here http://www.delahuntyfineart.com/mark-fairnington-natural-philosopher/  I like it as its more than photo-realism.  By collecting, selecting, collating many images something more is added.  Series of animal eyes in tondo..the detail more finely depicted than the unaided human eye could achieve.  His compositions of flowers are hyper realistic but he’s playing with reality, combining different flowers on one stalk, adding birds and insects but playing with scale etc.  I love looking at his work, but imagine it’s painstaking, slow, physically demanding work.

Robert Priseman – macabre subjects.  Interiors of execution chambers.  Portraits of mass murderers  etc  difficult to look at.

Tim Gardner – photorealistic watercolours. Realistic in a completely different sense to Fairnington..not trompe l’oeile. But like painterly replicas of snapshot photos, capturing a feeling.  ‘Photographic’ use of watercolour.  Figures in landscapes, based on poor quality photos, gritty realism.  Eg Bald Guy Looking at Lake Louise, 2007.  Pastel portraits.  I like Couple by a Lake http://www.modernart.net/view.html?id=1,3,12&view=0  this article is an illuminating discussion  of the artist and his work  http://canadianart.ca/features/tim-gardner-mountains-moonlight-masculinity/

Excellent description of his work here  http://www.contemporaryartdaily.com/2010/12/tim-gardner-at-modern-art/

Colour and pattern

Peter Doig – I like his use of colour and tone, producing mysterious, disorientating landscapes.  I looked at his work for Painting 1, and adopted some of his practises in my own paintings.

Édouard Vuillard – pattern, and flat shapes, colour used as tone.

Tal R – carnivalesque, naive drawings and paintings. Unconventional, bright Fauvist colours, dark content evoking history.  I like the series Walk Towards Hare Hill here http://www.artnet.com/artists/tal-r/walk-towards-hare-hill-a-2sHqa_xKAwHpxqmoNbN-0w2


Daniel Richter – large scale paintings inspired by mass media and popular culture.  What I like is the colour.  The subjects are macabre.  But the colour and compositions intrigue me.



Denis Castellas – ambiguous subjects, partly obscured by smearing or whiting out, almost incomplete data looking.  Combination of figurative and abstract.  Translucent layers, scrubbing, drips http://en.musees-nationaux-alpesmaritimes.fr/chagall/sites/musees-nationaux-alpesmaritimes.fr/files/denis_castellas_musee_national_marc_chagall.pdf  Also http://www.busanbiennale.org/english/sub01/03_view_2015.php?no=169&wr_3=&sfl=&stx=&sop=&sca=&type2=1&page=3

Cecily Brown – flesh pink , jumbles of colour, shape and mark.  Often nude figures, sometimes loads of them.  Thin oil paint.  Twisted, mysterious fragments of figures.  Sexual innuendo.  You can look at her paintings for a long time discovering new subjects and interpretations

Carole Benzaken – look at http://www.adiaf.com/en/portfolio-item/carole-benzaken/  Big colourful figurative canvases playing with reality, distorting scale, changes of scale, juxtaposition, some blurred some well defined, near and far.  Fragmented landscapes, night cityscapes.

Elizabeth Peyton  intimate small scale portraits of celebrities, the young and beautiful, contemporary heroes, figures from history  see http://www.moma.org/collection/artists/8042?=undefined&page=1&direction=  I like her portraits, although some are over-pretty, mostly they’re honest and open.

Chantal Joffe – portraits of mainly women and girls, mainly in oil, also pastel.  Loose, gestural, spontaneous.  Honest – not pretty

Jasper Joffe

Harry Pye


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