Monday 21 November 2016

Advanced Painting - visit to Tate Britain

 Friday's  Advanced Painting class was held at Tate Britain, choosing 3  paintings you liked that  were powerful in some way and 1 you don't like but also powerful . Making notes and a sketch  you  looked at the emotional/intellectual content  or meaning and what the painting attempts to say about the subject. Then analyse how the artist has achieved these through composition, tone, surface/paint handling ( noting techniques eg impasto, glazing use of colour , background, details, clarity/ambiguitiy, mood and atmosphere.  Finally to ask yourself how you might treat a painting of that subject.
All this in a couple of hours, quite a tall order ! 
  I started with Prunella Clough's 'Wire and Demolition.'  It brings to mind the remnants of  houses ,  wallpaper and wires exposed to the elements, sometimes suspended in midair. The  underlying beige canvas showed through the background suggestive of rough plaster and bricks with lots of splattering, scrapes and brush marks but very subtle. You can't make out the individual strands of the 'wires' some of the negative shapes echoing the brickwork.
  Many paintings work just as well as a black and white tonal study ( see the John Piper  further down)  but the bright  colour here makes it much more exciting  with the dual focal points and the way your eye travels around the painting.

I spent so long with this one, the rest were a bit rushed. Next was Wilhelmina Barnes-Graham 'Glacier Crystal Grindwaald' The multiple viewpoints and different ways the paint was used to indicate solidity and transparency  was masterful. Trying to sketch it was  difficult, so  many lines and overlapping shapes  along with interesting repetition of colours . 

 An even briefer look at John Pipers' St Mary in Bristol' , great composition, strong contrast with dark and light, variation in brushstrokes and mark and the use of colour
 The painting I didn't like ( because of it's subject matter )  was FN Zouza 'Crucifixion'  but  it was certainly a powerful ,raw , jagged depiction  with the use of paint reflecting the deeply disturbing subject matter.
 Nearby  was this Terry Frost piece  which  someone else was drawing otherwise I would have chosen it as one of my favourites
 Meanwhile I've been playing with different ways I might interpret  mussels and limpets on a monumental scale, combining photos with aquatints or indigo shibori. 
 So much art  and inspiration spinning round in my head !!

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