Pre Raphaelite Exhibition - Visited 18th January 2020
Having discussed the Pre Raphaelites during my last module, I thought it would only be right to attend the Pre Raphaelite Sister exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. The exhibition explored twelve women behind the pictures and their creative roles during the Pre Raphaelite success during 1850 and 1900.
The exhibition as whole was incredible, not just because of the paintings but for the focus on the women. I was particularly interested in seeing 'Ophelia', it is always very different seeing the paintings in the flesh. Firstly I was surprised with how small the painting was and also how detailed and vibrant it is.
Learning more about the models within the paintings and photographs brought them to life, as well as the themes within the Pre-Raphaelite paintings. It gave me a chance to really look at and study the compositions and colour palettes. The aesthetic of the paintings and photographs is what I am aiming to achieve within my photographic practice.
All images taken at the Pre-Raphaelite sister's exhibition January 2020
Benjamin West - 1st February 2020
Benjamin West was a British North American artist and was the official painter for King George III. West often painted mythical, historical and religious subjects.
I chose to look at Benjamin west because of his mythical paintings, in particular the ones of Adonis. I chose this Greek God because of the stories told, I am linking him to the Hawstead Panel, which states, 'Tell me, what sort of person will you be?'
The first painting I looked into was that of Venus (Aphrodite) and Adonis. The painting depicts Venus holding Adonis after he died going on a hunt. Venus was in love with Adonis and had begged him not to go on the hunt because of the dangers, but he chose to go anyway. In between Adonis and Venus you can see cupid, who is crying and in the background, into the darkness two swans. These swans in formed with their heads together would usually display a heart symbol but because of the tragedy in the painting they are sunken into the darkness.
Fig.1 Benjamin West 'Venus lamenting the death of Adonis' 1768
Venus and Adonis was also explored by William Shakespeare and I have included an extract which links to the painting below. Both West and Shakespeare use the idea of symbols within their pieces.
'A purple flower sprung up, chequer'd with white,
Resembling well his pale cheeks and the blood'
Shakespeare uses the flower to link Adonis with nature, and West uses the swans as well as elements of plants and trees within the painting.
These subtle uses of symbols within the work and linking back to nature are the links I hope to create within my photographic practice.
The next painting I looked at of West's was 'Adonis in Glory'. Here Adonis is depicted as the soft faced, beautiful young hunter. It shows him with the hunting dogs as well as his horn, and cherubs or rather cupid in the background, surrounded by the forest.
For my photo shoot I want to focus purely on Adonis rather than Adonis and Aphrodite (Venus) as I feel this links to the Hawstead Panel statement better. The myths and stories of Adonis however add to the description of the panel further. It is all about Adonis himself and who he is choosing to be, which results in his death.
Fig.2 Benjamin West 'Adonis in Glory' 1800
William Shakespeare - 'Venus and Adonis'
Small extract taken from Shakespeare's 'Venus and Adonis'.
'It shall be cause of war and dire events,
And set dissension 'twixt the son and sire;
Subject and servile to all discontents,
As dry combustious matter is to fire:
Sith in his prime Death doth my love destroy,
They that love best their loves shall not enjoy.'
By this, the boy that by her side lay kill'd
Was melted like a vapour from her sight,
And in his blood that on the ground lay spill'd,
A purple flower sprung up, chequer'd with white,
Resembling well his pale cheeks and the blood
Which in round drops upon their whiteness stood.
She bows her head, the new-sprung flower to smell,
Comparing it to her Adonis' breath,
And says, within her bosom it shall dwell,
Since he himself is reft from her by death:
She crops the stalk, and in the breach appears
Green dropping sap, which she compares to tears.
Fig.3 Title page of the first quarto
Fig. 1 https://collection.cmoa.org/objects/e90c8812-7547-4acc-86ca-fe6d648e7e52
Extract - http://shakespeare.mit.edu/Poetry/VenusAndAdonis.html
Armando Alemdar Ara - 6th February 2020
Whilst researching Greek Mythology and artists/photographers who have been inspired by the stories, I came across the contemporary artist, Armando Alemdar Ara. Alemdar and Andre Durand created their own Manifestio in 2001 on the movement Neomodernism.
"Neomodernism sees art as an expression of the most sublime spiritual principles and interpretations of the universe and man’s existence, in line with the belief that the reality we live in is but a mirror of a deeper one that can only be reached through inspiration and imagination." (Alemdar Durand, Norwood-Witts 2000)
The combination of the subject matter in these particular paintings by Alemdar and the philosophy in which he works with, relate very closely to my photographic practice and my thematic inquiries.
The painting of Adonis and Venus is a recent piece of work by Alemdar, but he has explored other Greek Myths such as 'The Creation of Aphrodite' and 'Apollo and Pan' as well as others such as Zeus. The earlier paintings seem to use bolder and brighter colours, where the more recent are slightly muted. I am interested in the way Alemdar creates these paintings, from drawings into beautiful oil paintings which depict a type of movement or flow between the subjects. They feel as though there are layers and layers of each of the subjects stories all merged into one, expressing and evoking various emotions.
Fig.1 Armando Alemdar Ara 'Venus & Adonis', 2019
Oil on linen
"It is the energy that is in us, and around us; it’s the constant flow of life which has two spheres – the material one in which we all exist, and the spiritual one."
Armando Alemdar Ara, 2018
Fig.2 Armando Alemdar Ara 'Apollo and Pan' 2014
Oil on linen
Fig.3 Armando Alemdar Ara
'The Creation of Aphrodite' 2009
Oil on linen
Alemdar 2018 - https://kreolmagazine.com/culture/features/in-the-art-studio-meet-armando-alemdar-ara-the-artist-who-bridged-ancient-art-methods-with-a-modern-art-style-and-invented-a-new-art-movement/#.XpXG3chKjIV
Peter Paul Rubens - 10th February 2020
Peter Paul Rubens was considered one of the most influential artists of the Flemish Baroque tradition. His work emphasised movement, colour and sensuality.
I chose to look at Rubens painting of Narcissus as inspiration for my next shoot. I have chosen Narcissus to link to the Hawstead Panel which states 'The face is not trustworthy'. The fairy tale and illustrative quality the painting is really interesting unlike some of his other pieces. The painting itself is a sketch using oil on panel and has an expressive feel.
The painting is clearly of Narcissus looking into the creek and falling in love with his own reflection, this was his punishment for dismissing the love of the Nymph Echo. . Although I am not particularly keen on the colours of this piece, I am interested in the slightly abstracted surroundings and the subject matter. The focus is also on Narcissus himself rather than the reflection in the water. I would preferably like to take the abstract qualities of the background and the themes of the image, and create a photographic response which is more focused on the water so it is less obvious to the viewer.
Fig.1 Peter Paul Rubens
'Narcissus Falling in Love with his own Reflection' 1636
Mat Collishaw - 12th February 2020
Mat Collishaw was part of the Young British Artist and creates work which blurs the boundaries between reality and artifice, repulsion and seduction, observation and exploitation. His work questions moral ambiguity by creating alluring imagery, Collishaw explores art history, literature and the Victorian era.
In this photograph Mat Collishaw depicts himself as the young and beautiful Narcissus. Unlike the original Myth where Narcissus is said to be looking to a creek surrounded by reeds and other plant life within the woodland, Collishaw has created this self portrait in an urban environment where the idea of beauty is brought into question. The woodland has been tranformed into an alleyway and Collishaw is holding the shutter and looking into a muddy puddle. I found this photograph really interesting as it clearly shows the narrative of Narcissus but in a modern context. Although it is the aesthetic I want to achieve with my images, I enjoy the contemporary take on the original paintings and myth of Narcissus.
Fig.1 Mat Collishaw 'Narcissus' 1990
Edward Burne - Jones - 19th February 2020
Edward Burne - Jones created paintings, stained glass, embroidery, jewellery and more. Burne - Jones was one of the last Pre-Raphaelite artists and looked for inspiration within religion, medieval art, myths and legends.
I chose to look at Edward Burne - Jones because of his representation of 'Hope' which is my next shoot focus. The Hawstead Panel I am linking 'Hope' to states, 'I have hope and I have perished'. Linking to Greek Mythology I am focusing on the spirit and personification of Hope which was depicted as a young woman usually carrying flowers or a cornucopia.
In Burne - Jones painting of 'Hope' she is seen to be holding the flowers which are apple blossoms which are seen to be symbol of hope. She is also seen to be reaching up to the sky as though she is pulling it down or becoming part of an alternative world. In comparison to both of these elements 'Hope' is chained to the grown, her feet surrounded by small plants. The small space 'Hope' is confided in with the bars behind her are very representative of how the Greeks still found 'Hope' a negative spirit, being one of Pandora's box and also linking to other negative emotions. 'Hope' is trapped in this small space, with her hair wrapped around her, although loose and soft, she is still hopeful reaching up and holding the quite obvious symbol of hope, the apple blossoms.
The painting was a commission which initially was supposed to be of a lady dancing however Burne - Jones had already painted a watercolour of 'Hope' and asked if he could create it into an oil painting shortly after the death of his friend and fellow artist, William Morris. Later this painting was made into a stained glass window.
For my photo shoot I will be taking elements from this painting to portray 'Hope'. I think the way in which the hand is reaching up to the sky and holding the apple blossoms are two really significant symbols of hope. In this painting I do like the way in which she is bound linking back to the negative feelings towards 'Hope' that the Greeks held.
I understand why the painting was created on a thin, longer panel and for the feeling of being trapped it works, however I like more room around the image to show a wider narrative, although like this painting, it is sometimes not needed.
Fig,1 Edward Burne -Jones 'Hope' 1896
Madame Yevonde - 26th February 2020
Madame Yevonde was one of the earliest feminists as well as an artist and professional photographer. She was interested in science and photography and created the Vivex process, a colouring printing process which uses three negatives on cellophane, each of the primary colours.
Madame Yevonde used this process to create a series based on mythical Goddesses which she started in 1935. The woman featured in the photographs were society ladies. The initial idea for this series of work was said to come from a society charity ball with an Olympian theme. Guests arrived dressed as nymphs, fauns, gods and goddesses, as well as other classical mythical figures. Each of the portraits embodied a specific attribute which women of her day could relate to. She chose specific society women who she felt would be able to portray the qualities of each of the Goddesses.
All of the women included in the portraits were wealthy and respectable as well as fascinating individuals. Madame Yevonde's photograph of Lady Anne Rhys portrayed as the ancient Roman Goddess 'Flora' has been of a particular interest. Flora was the Goddess of flowering or blossoming plants, the Greek counterpart was Chloris who was a nymph.
Fig.1 Madame Yevonde 'Lady Anne Rhys as Flora' 1935
"Analysing the bouquets and floral decorations at the recent royal wedding, commentators gushed about "the language of flowers". What they didn't spell out is that flowers speak a language consisting mostly of four-letter words: they are the genitalia of plants, placing on flagrant display the seeds and buds and stiff pistils that human beings spend so much time modestly covering up. Lady Anne Rhys seems to understand the symbolism well enough. The sprig of hyacinths she handles consists of ticklish pubic fronds, and those lilies are ready to open like labia. With her headdress of cut flowers, Lady Anne declares herself ready to be plucked. This is Flora rehearsing her own defloration." (Conrad, 2011)
The symbolism of flowers has often been linked to females and body parts in particular, as well as the obvious link of 'Mother Nature'. Madame Yevonde cleverly used flowers as symbols as well as other items such as shells, fruit, and fabric. Some can view these images as just representative of the Goddess others look further into the depth and meaning of the symbols cleverly placed in the image linking to each one of the women sitting as the Goddess. Although shot in her studio Madame Yevonde managed to bring the natural world in. Using fabrics and plants to create a surrounding reminiscent to the surroundings in ancient paintings such as 'Primavera' by Botticelli. In this painting Flora is also featured with spring blossoms falling from her mouth whilst being abducted by the God of the west wind, Zephyr.
Madame Yevonde has made a clear obvious link with the Goddesses, naming the series Goddesses to begin with, as well as each piece named as one of the Goddesses themselves, but she has also made the outfits, props and surroundings resemble Greek statues, paintings and other pieces of art.
Fig.2 Madame Yevonde ' Mrs James Beck as Daphne' 1935
Madame Yevonde was famous for her use of colour, and the Vivex process she created gives the images a harsh contrast. Although these images work beautifully, I find the colour and contrast too harsh for the type of images I want to achieve, however the concept is inspiring. I am interested in how Madame Yevonde chose her sitters linking them to various attributes of the Goddess. Subconsciously I feel I have done the same in most of my images, I've researched the Gods and Goddesses, looked at how they link to the Panels and then chosen my models dependent on the look, style and personality within the images I want to achieve. Also these images were impressively shot in a studio, using the fabrics and natural forms to create the surroundings for the portrait, although this has worked, it may have been better to be out of the studio in the places which resembled the look and style of the Goddesses, however these portraits are very consistent in style and keeping with Madame Yevonde's other portraits she created in her studio.
Fig.3 Madame Yevonde 'Mrs Bryan Guinness as Venus' 1935
Fig.1, Fig.2 ,Fig.3 & Fig.4 - http://www.madameyevonde.com/
Conrad.P - 'The big picture: Lady Anne Rhys poses as the goddess Flora', 2011.
Fig.4 Madame Yevonde 'Lady Dorothy Warrender as Ceres' 1935
Sarah Kofman - Camera Obscura - 2nd March 2020
After a one to one with Paul, he suggested reading Sarah Kofman's Camera Obscura of Ideology, specifically chapter two - Freud, The Photographic Apparatus.
In this chapter Kofman explores the Freudian metaphor of the negative, passing through the unconscious before the conscious to create an image but questions the selection process. She discusses how the term negative has pre-connotations linked to darkness.
Paul suggested this chapter due to my interest in our dreams, imagination and subconscious but also mainly because I am interested in the longevity of the myths I have been exploring. How these stories have been told long ago and yet we use a lot of words, metaphors, or morals today. Many people do not realise where the word narcissist came from, or why pan pipes, are called pan pipes, and they yet use them unaware in everyday life. I am also interested in Freudian theories due to the link with the subconscious or unconscious and how these impact our, thoughts, reactions and decisions.
Freud's metaphor of the negative discusses how choices are made when creating the final image. How the "unconsciousness is a regular and inevitable phase in the processes constituting our physical activity: every physical act begins as an unconscious one and it may either remain so or go on developing into consciousness, according as it meets with resistance or not." (Freud, 1912). Not only does this relate to my concept of Greek mythology and the existence of it in today's society but also the way in which I choose to recreate those myths within my photographic practice. How I have explored other artists and photographers, critically analysed their work and applied these methodologies to my own practice. Using subconscious symbols to represent the stories, morals, or metaphors.
Koffman, S. Trans by Straw, W. (1999) 'Camera Obscura of Ideology' New York: Cornell university press
Louis Janmot - 12th March 2020
Louis Janmot was a French painter and poet who based his work on traditional narrative and religious concepts. His work was between that of Romantism and Symbolism, and is often associated with the Pre-Raphaelite movement.
Janmot is most famous for his thirty four pieces of work, eighteen of which were oil paintings, and the remaining charcoal. The series is accompanied by a poem called 'Poem of the Soul' which Janmot wrote himself and consists of nearly three thousand lines. The series is a complete narrative, beginning in heaven with the formation of a human soul shown in an symbolic form as a baby.
Fig.1 Louis Janmot, 'Passage of the Souls' (Poem of the Soul 2) 1854
By critically analysing the work of Janmot, there are clear links between the style and concepts of his and my own. Janmot's painting 'Flower of the Fields' is of a young woman sitting within a field surrounded by butterflies and various flowers which each hold their own significant meaning or metaphor. The young woman has a look of seriousness and melancholy whilst holding a range of flowers. Links can be made between this painting and the work of Madame Yevonde's 'Lady Anne Rhys as Flora' . Both of the women are seen to be surrounded by nature, in particular flowers, holding them within their hands, as well as a flower grown. Although it is not know who this painting was of, it is clear it can be analysed to have relations to the ideas of Greek mythology. The garment's the women is wearing do not resemble those of women in Janmots time, but rather more like a peplo which was a type of tunic worn by women in Ancient Greece.
The colours within the image are soft and delicate adding to the sense of melancholy, the women looking off to the side could also indicate a longing or passing of time.
Fig.2 Louis Janmot 'Flower of the Fields' 1845
Using this image as a reference I chose to link it to my piece of work based on Pistis, the personification of good faith, trust, honesty and reliability. The woman in the painting looks as though as had a strong relationship with nature, but doesn't quite look like one of the Goddesses as she seems too soft. Pistis was one of the spirits who left Pandora's box and wasn't always seen highly within the Greeks. Therefore I wanted to use this painting to inspire a soft, delicate photograph, using flowers, loose flowing clothing and a forest, or field. Somehow showing a passing of time by either using dried flowers, or leaves as well as the way the model is seen. The panel I am basing it on focuses on trust, which within this painting and the photograph I aim to produce could resemble our trust and relationship with the earth and nature.
Jean Bernard Restout - 26th March 2020
Jean Bernard Restout was a French painter during the 18th Century. I have chosen to look at Restout because of his painting which was originally titled 'Sleep', however Restout changed the name to Morpheus when the work was exhibited.
The next shoot I am planning is based on the Hawstead panel which states: 'Both hidden and openly'. I chose Morpheus to be representative of this panel because of the way he can morph into various people, animals and objects and openly explore their dreams.
Morpheus was know to sleep in a cave surrounded by poppy seeds, with poppy's at the entrance of he cave, so is often depicted with those characteristics.
Fig.1 Jean Bernard Restout - 'Morpheus' 1771
It is clear Morpheus is seen here sleeping in his cave, surrounded by a form of poppy, and has been given wings to show he is a mythical being. Critically analysing this image it has characteristics which are familiar to many paintings of Greek mythology. Firstly the wings, secondly the floral crown and natural surroundings. The way in which Morpheus is laying also resembles many Greek statues and paintings, the way his hand holding the flowers carefully hides part of his body as well as his physic.
I chose this painting because of the colours, because of the recent pandemic and slightly changing my ideas, although forced, feels right. I have decided to focus more on a metaphor rather than trying to visually represent the Gods and Goddesses. Using this painting I have extracted the colours and the mood, creating a series of images which resemble Morpheus and his symbolic meaning, in a different form.
Mat Collishaw - Flowers - 28th March 2020
Mat Collishaw is a photographer I looked at in relation to his work on Narcissus, however he has explored a vast majority of areas within photography. Collishaw created a series called 'Burning Flowers' where he photographed a series of flowers on a black backdrop and set them on fire. The contrast between the beautiful very much alive flower, black background and the fire itself provoke some confusion for the viewer. The idea of a beautiful flower being burnt away before it is dead itself, but the conflicting beauty of the flame and the photograph as a whole.
Mat Collishaw states: “The type of adverts to be found on television and in glossy magazines are visually designed to have a power over the mind before they can even be questioned. The dark side of my work, primarily concerns the internal mechanisms of visual imagery and how these mechanisms address the mind.”
Fig.1 Mat Collishaw, 'Effigy' 2014
Collishaw discusses here similar theories to Freud, where the unconscious mind is making links before we can question them. Collishaw is exploring how the contrast of the imagery can address existing concerns within the mind. Similarly with my photographs linking to Morpheus initially they were about creating a visual representation of night, and Morpheus himself. However the more I analysed my own images they became about preservation. Taking the dead tulips and preserving them in a way, but only once they had died. Taking something which would usually be thrown away, or sometimes pressed, and used to them to instead create an image the viewer would find beautiful but also conflicting. Giving the tulips a new purpose, and preserving their alternative beauty.
Fig.2 Mat Collishaw, 'Fading Memories of the Sun' 2014
Fig.1, Fig.2 and Fig.3 https://matcollishaw.com/works/burning-flowers/
Fig.3 Mat Collishaw, 'The Poisoned Page' 2014
Sarah Meyohas - 30th March 2020
Sarah Meyohas is a French - American contemporary artist who explores the impact of humanity on the world and economic systems.
I am interested in Meyohas 'Speculation' series, where she explores reflection as a metaphor for value and the nature of photography. There are two mirrors sat opposite each other which questions, what is the direction of the reflection.
Meyohas..."considers her photographs to engage in deeper, meaningful questions around “the void” and “the sublime”, even dabbling in the very nature of our contemporary anxiety-ridden experience.
“I was interested in making the photograph very explicitly seductive. Whether it's the colours or the flowers drawing you in, I want viewers to feel like they're being drawn into the void, like standing upon a precipice,” the artist explains. “There's been a lot written about this kind of contemporary condition, whereby we're so much better off than people were before us, and yet there’s so much anxiety, so much distrust and uncertainty nowadays… I see that in the photos". (O'Regan, 2018)
These photographs can be seen as though they are an imaginary realm, or as though going through a tunnel. They have a sense of an alternative world, making you question reality, much like Alice in Wonderland. This relates back the subconscious links we make and the narratives we explore when looking at works of art.
This series of work inspired me to take my work further due to the original tulip images not feeling quite finished in relation to Morpheus. Thinking critically about my work I wanted to push it further and develop it using one of Morpheus' traits which is to mimic or reflect back a personality. Similarly to Meyohas concept of reflection, I am thinking about creating a reflection or mirror image to represent the mimicking of Morpheus.
Fig.1 of the 'Speculations' series has similarities to the painting of 'Morpheus' by Jean Bernard Restout mainly of the use of the purple flowers but also because of the way they are featured in the foreground. This draws the viewers eye into the flowers to, up to the figure and into "the void". There are also similarities in the way the flowers are used to cover parts of the body, as well as links to flowers and their connection to female genitalia as I explored when discussing Madame Yevonde's photographs. The model is holding the flowers in her hands which again has been a recurring theme in contextual work I have explore linked to Greek mythology.
Fig.1 Sarah Meyohas, 'Speculations Series' 2014
Fig.2 Sarah Meyohas, 'Speculations Series' 2014
O'Regan, K. 2018 'The Mirror Images So Meta They'll Make You Question Reality' Sleek Mag: https://www.sleek-mag.com/article/sarah-meyohas/ (Accessed March 2020)
Damien Hirst - 2nd April 2020
Damien Hirst is a British contemporary artist who explores concepts around life and death. Hirst has a varied practice from sculpture, to painting, installation and drawing.
“Art’s about life and it can’t really be about anything else … there isn’t anything else,"
Damien Hirst is an artist who has always created work that has interested and inspired me. To begin with when I first learnt about Hirst, I didn't like his work at all, especially his platinum skull. However the more I learnt about him, his ideas, and concepts, I saw the work differently. I went to visit his exhibition at the Tate whilst at university and it changed my mind on him completely.
Especially I was captivated by his use of butterflies. The room where they were flying around, or coming out of their cocoons or eating the plants was fascinating and beautiful, until you saw the ones who had died laying on the floor or amongst the plants. This was just another way of Hirst showing the cycle of life and death. "Hirst’s work investigates and challenges contemporary belief systems, and dissects the tensions and uncertainties at the heart of human experience." Conceptually I don't feel Hirst is far away from what I am interested in exploring, the relationships we have with nature, and ourselves as well as our experiences.
Fig.1 Damien Hirst 'Baptist '2019 (detail)
I have chosen this butterfly piece in particular to not only because of its links with nature but the symmetrical essence of the image. Within my new piece of work based on Morpheus I chose to mirror image the tulips and create a symmetrical photograph. The symmetry came from the concept originally but looking further into the use of symmetry in art and photography it is often used to make the images pleasing to the eye of the viewer. Of course there are all different types of symmetry and the use of it within Hirsts' butterfly Mandala and my own are completely different. Hirst's is creating more of a pattern, where my work is more a mirror image. "One of the usually desirable characteristics of any composition, be it within an abstract piece or highly realistic painting, is balance... While designers most often use the symmetrical balance, most painters tend to look towards the slight shifts that are available in inverted symmetry, near symmetry, biaxial symmetry, radial symmetry, and even asymmetry is used to place focus on one particular part or figure within the work." (Silka, 2016) Symmetry has always been used in art to balance an image, as stated by Silka even within an abstract piece or a realistic painting. Symmetry brings together art, science and mathematics, it shows how humans have a desire for wanting to understand the world. Although throughout history and still today the composition and elements which make up a piece of work has been challenged, pushing the boundaries to explore new ideas and concepts.
Fig.1 - http://www.arteviste.com/arteviste/a-review-of-damien-hirst-mandalas-at-white-cube-london
Silka.P 2016 - https://www.widewalls.ch/symmetry-art/ (Accessed 04/2020)
Georgia O'Keeffe - 6th April 2020
Georgia O'Keeffe is mostly known for her floral paintings she created from the mid 1920s through to the 1950s, she produced around 200 pieces.
As soon as I created my photographs of the tulips, in particular the mirror image pieces, O'Keeffe instantly came to mind. The center pieces of my work look very similar to the up close paintings of flowers O'Keeffe created. In particular her painting 'Red Canna' produced in 1924. "The artist explained that she wanted to reflect the way she saw these flowers, expressing herself through the use of vibrant colors like red, yellow and orange. Similarly to many other flower paintings, this work has been called erotic for its suggestion of the female genitalia." (Anapur, Martinique, 2017) Although the concepts of the work are slightly different, O'Keeffe used this series to create an expression of herself, similar to wanting to create a mirror image, or gaze. However my aim was to produce an image which represented the myth of 'Morpheus'. The subject of O'Keeffe's paintings are of course a similar subject to my own images, although this image is of a Lily, not a tulip. The colours within the image are vibrant, where as the tulips I created I wanted to have a slightly muted and darker feel.
Fig. 1 - https://www.widewalls.ch/georgia-o-keeffe-flowers/hibiscus-with-plumeria-1939/
Anapur .E, Martinique.E 2017 - https://www.widewalls.ch/georgia-o-keeffe-flowers/
Carl Kleiner - 12th April 2020
Carl Kleiner is a still life photographer from Stockholm. He created a series of photographs called 'Posture' which are of tulips delicately places on metal rods. He merged the images together to create a time-lapse video piece which makes the tulips look like they are moving or slowly dancing. The images and video itself resemble the Japanese floral arrangement techniques called 'Ikebana'.
I have looked at Carl Kleiner's work in the past, mainly his brightly coloured pieces which I didn't relate to or get a sense of inspiration from. However when I came across these tulips it reminded me of how I have always been fascinated with the change and adaption of flowers, in particular tulips. I had been watching my tulips in the lounge grow heavy and the heads of the tulips beginning to way down. They then began to dry out and this was the time I wanted to photograph them. Kleiner's 'Posture' series is capturing that change and adaption as the tulip begins to die.
“The posture series comes from experiments with methods to [position] the flowers in order to photograph them in poses and arrangements that made them look alive”. (Kleiner, 2018)
Although Kleiner was trying to capture the movement of the tulip to make it look alive, and I was trying to capture an essence of 'Morpheus', asethically they have a similar feel. Kleiner has used a grey background which enhances the rich colours of the tulip. I used a black background to do the same, but also add a sense of darkness and night. I set out to make the tulip's about 'Morpheus' but they have become much more than that, they are about capturing the movement and change. Preserving the tulip and its new, sometimes undesired beauty.
Ikebana - "In ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging, blossoms, branches, leaves, and stems find new life as materials for artmaking. In contrast to the western habits of casually placing flowers in a vase, ikebana aims to bring out the inner qualities of flowers and other live materials and express emotion." (Cenci, 2018)
Fig 1, 2 & 3 - https://www.ignant.com/2018/07/13/carl-kleiners-elegant-series-of-moving-tulips/
Fig. 4 https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-thriving-art-ikebana-japanese-tradition-flower-arranging
Fig.4 Coloured diagram #15 of shōkaworks by the 40th headmaster Ikenobō Senjō, from the Sōka Hyakki, 1820
Fig. 2 Carl Kleiner 'Posture' series 2014
Fig.1 Carl Kleiner 'Posture' series 2014
Fig.3 Carl Kleiner 'Posture' series 2014
Diptych - 20th April 2020
"A diptych is an artwork consisting of two painted or carved panels" - Tate Art Terms.
A Diptych as stated above is a piece of work which consists of two halves. These are usually held together by hinges and were often closed to protect the artwork. They were mainly seen in churches but now have become a way of displaying art and photography. I have experimented with triptychs in the past and tried those out for this module too but they didn't work with the narratives I wanted to create or the images themselves. They worked much better as a diptych because they became clearer and the narrative felt stronger and more refined.
Fig.1 National Gallery Collection - 'The Wilton Diptych' 1395-9
Diptych's and Triptych's, as well as typology's are used vastly in photography and art. Either to cause juxtaposition or create a narrative, they are also pleasing to the eye. Victor Skrebneski is a photographer known for photographing celebrities. Skrebneski created a series of diptychs of celebrity portraits which show movement in either one side or both of the diptych's. These images are creating a narrative in the form of the subjects personality and expressing emotions.
Fig.2 Victor Skrebneski 'Placido Domingo-Diptych, Singer, 31'. 1990
Duane Michals is another photographer who uses these techniques to display his work to create narrative. I have often been inspired by the work of Duane Michals because of the layout of his work and the element mystery and story telling his work provides. Michals images have an element of Surrealism about them, often they have a dreamlike quality either through the props used or the movement within the images. This particular piece 'Women live in liquids' has the story telling element as well as the use of nature and love, often found in the Greek myths I have been exploring. I am also really interested in the title of this piece and the writing that goes alongside. Although it is now too late for me to explore adding in my poetry to create a book similar to this style for this module, it is definitely something I will be considering moving forward. It really brings the narrative to life.