Tacita Dean v Seurat’s Landscape with Houses
I find it hard to know how to compare these. The Seurat image lacks two things that the Dean image has – strong light source, and a sense of scale. The Seurat image is atmospheric, but feels rather 2-D despite the texture (or maybe because of?). It doesn’t evoke a response in me in the same way that the Dean images do. The negative space in the Dean images are incredibly striking – the use of the black feels as important as the lighter areas.
I chose the selection below to compare the changes that have taken place from the 1800’s with Cezanne up until now.
This style of paintings seem to be an exploration of recording a setting. They are about a feeling the artists have in the location and their response to the surroundings and their senses. There isn’t an element of ‘unreality’ to them even though the colours/perspectives etc have a fluidity and freshness about them.
Interesting to compare the work of Bonard and Sutherland in these two images as well as the earlier work listed above. What strikes me is the potential here for the expression of imagination. Bonard’s work, whilst initially striking me as an Impressionist in style, has a very imaginative colour palette – the image feels dream-like because of the choice of colours, and the distinction between foreground. middle-ground and background is becoming blurred. It feels a step away from realist painting towards something more personal about the artist. The same could be said about Sutherland’s imaginative landscapes. Whilst they are based in a realistic setting, they seem to be an exploration of his personal understanding of the landscapes and his connection to them – he is at liberty to draw on his own sources of subject matter, combining elements of his surroundings.
Looking at more current artists now where I am most drawn to something poetic, extraordinary and way beyond producing an image. The work feels like a journey, something to capture an unquantifiable beauty, something that embody’s the intangible element of the artists connection with what they create.
The globes are stunning. There is something of Vija Celmins about the astronomical work – the process of seeing and then seeing beyond that. Meticulous and fantastical, this work, for me, takes drawing onto a whole new level and I think it is this repetitive act of looking, the connection with that process that makes these so beautiful and is a perfect example of how contemporary art is so different to movements that have gone before. As it is not just seeing in reality, it is a revealing of the artists inner world at the same time.
This style of work is one I am drawn to look into more. I have always admired the Japanese woodblock prints and this connects that in with what feels like a more personal, fantastical element. The landscape is mysterious and yet familiar. Again, it feels like an exploration of something about the artist or about something bigger.
I find these intriguing, not because I particularly like the images, but again, they are revealing something beyond a traditional landscape. This kind of work is a good example of current artists having the freedom to choose how they depict landscape, whether realistic or fantastical, and how we also have the choice to present it in a way that suits us, not just using paper (as with the globes created by Crotty). Some of the works are done on marble using graphite which gives them an other-wordly feel, the negative space having a distinct character and energy as well as the positive image.
Alongside the work of Russell Crotty, McKeever is for me another amazing example of taking drawing onto another level. The concepts and ideas behind his work, the meticulous attention to replication (similar to Vija Celmins again), the meticulous application of attention to what is presented before him, the innovative way he has presented his work. I find this collection of his work incredibly inspiring. It feels like it challenges me to get out of my comfort zone and aim high, to go for what is seemingly unobtainable. I know it’s not academic to say this but I find this work epic!