Carved or reductive sculpture is the earliest form of surviving sculpture. Different types of materials usedconsist of wood (soft and hard), stone (igneous and sedimentary), organic shells, bones and pods, and more recently, plastics.
By far the earliest piece of carved sculpture that exists today is the ‘Venus of Willendorf’ which is believed to be made between 22,000 and 24,000 years BC, so long ago that it is quite unimaginable that early people bashed rocks together to create this beautiful and exquisitely detailed symbolic figure. So much so that I feel it proves that early people possessed an equal intelligence to us and the human race is evolving physically rather than mentally, into two separate races; the rich and the poor. As for survival, the poor are still dying in large numbers, ensuring survival of the fittest or those immune to illness, which they will be strong, sturdy and cunning. Contrary to the rich who have governments that ensure the survival of everyone, including the old. This, combined with the abundance of money means that technological advances will not only keep everyone alive, but also allow prospective parents to be more selective about their babies traits, and looks, meaning that this race will be taller with less or more abnormalities (depending on how many experiments go on!) but generally either a little simple or super intelligent, going by if they were made for looks or brains.
…But anyway this is just a theory, it would take millions of years… and we’ll probably have blown ourselves up, or the planet by then anyway! HA!
(sorry.. ramble ramble ramble)
Michelangelo was born on March the 6th 1475 in Tuscany, Italy. A man of many artistic disciplines, he was a famed sculptor, painter, architect, poet and engineer. Being one of the worlds most loved and respected historical artists, Michelangelo created such masterpieces as, David (1504), Sistine Chapel ceiling (1505), and Pietà, a depiction of the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary, carved in 1499, when the sculptor was only 24 years old.
This piece is carved to absolute perfection, the detail in the fabrics, and the look of sorrow on Mary’s face is absolutely spectacular, something most people could only dream of creating, (myself defiantly included in that!) As we have just started carving from big blocks of solid plaster, it becomes immensely obvious the sheer volume of skill and strength needed to execute carved sculpture, as it is extremely physically draining. Adding onto that the fact that Michelangelo worked in stone and marble, I can only imagine how hard and unforgiving that material would be. Look at the dates between projects, just how quickly Michelangelo completed these hugely detailed and large sculptures without compromising on quality. This really sheds light on what a true genius and master craftsman Michelangelo was.
Henry Moore (1898-1986) Henry Moore is most famous for his large abstract bronze figures based on the reclining female figure. Although much of his work including ‘Double Oval’ (1966) or ‘Oval with Points’ (1970) is purely abstract.
There is something about the smoothness and distortion from the subject matter that I find really appealing about Moore’s work. The beautiful flowing lines and lack of any intricate detail make it world’s apart from the work of Michelangelo, yet it’s this difference and abstract beauty that make him meritable.
This signature piece ‘Reclining Figure’ (1951) is made from painted plaster, and sits outside the Fitzwilliam museum in Cambridge. I thought this was a relevant piece to look at as Moore has used the same media as we have, and has turned a chunky and ugly big rectangular block of plaster into this incredibly elegant and smooth figure. Much the same as my head, the holes and negative space suggest the form and there are slits and shadows creating tone and depth.
Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975) Barbara Hepworth was an English sculptor and friend of Moore, Hepworth is best known for her purely abstract sculptures taking resendance in her gardens at St. Ives, which now also contains a museum dedicated to her work. Unlike Henry Moore, who started with natural forms, Hepworth’s sculpture was essentially abstract, as you can see here in this piece, ‘Sphere with inner form’
This beautiful spherical object, with slices removed and this vivid, central turquoise shape, also containing a circular hole in the centre. This allows for the viewer to see through and beyond these forms. As in my own work I have attempted to portray form and depth through negative space, I feel this is something Hepworth has displayed greatly in this sculpture as indeed she has with the majority of them. I adore the simplicity of this piece, the smooth edge and the lack of a need to convey an important message or complicate this beautiful and simple form with a conception. (Although you as the viewer are always free to do so, so in that way it’s very versatile!)
Here are some photographs of my carved head, as well as examples of the work I have just been talking aboot..
I went to the zoo last week, it was f-f-freezing, but good. The reptile house was gone which was a bit sad. But I got some rather interesting photographs. I think the Zoo people are in the process of building larger enclosures and have moved many bigger animals to safari parks which altogether made it a more positive experience! 🙂
Here is my very first ever video art moovie! YAY-HEY
Starring.. Nutmeg the cat, Unkie the Killer Clown, Kailah, MARTA, myself, David, Thomas, and featuring..
THE SKELETON DANCE!!
Cecily Brown was born in London in 1969. As a child Cecily was heavily inspired by the work of Francis Bacon. Brown’s real father, David Sylvester, was a famous art critic and good friends with Bacon, and whilst growing up Sylvester took Cecily to see many exhibitions and even introduced her to Bacon. The strange thing was, that Sylvester was a man of whom she considered to be her best friend and Cecily did not discover her true parentage until she was 21.
For the past five years Cecily brown has been living and working in Manhattan. When she first arrived she was painting by day and waitressing by night just to earn enough money to get by, but now she is the best selling contemporary artist living today, each painting generating somewhere in the region of £70,000. Represented by the most prestigious private gallery in the world, the Gagosian, Brown still ponders over her life choices, wondering if she’d known Sylvester to be her real father sooner would she have rebelled against a career in art?
The only other career she might possibly have considered, she says jokingly, is as a singer in a rock’n’roll band. ‘I’m a real exhibitionist,’ she smiles. ‘I did karaoke for my birthday the other night and I thought it was the best thing to do on my birthday because I’d be able to hog the mike! Obviously, I had to let a few other people have a go, but I was on it for about three or four hours.’ She thinks about it and bursts out laughing. ‘I did think at moments the other night, “God, have I missed my calling?”‘ 🙂
Cecily’s paintings are like free flowing liquidized jigsaw puzzles, always with a few pieces incomplete, for your eye to solve. These pieces can be jagged and vicious or calm and smokey. Much of her early work contains a passionate sexual energy and the way in which she has applied the oil paint to represent the human form has created either solid, meaty, and succulent features or light airy washes that portray translucent ghost like embodiments. As Brown herself put it, “so that you might have a veil of paint that suggests some very delicate skin, but then I’ll want something very meaty and clogged next to it.”
What I like about Cecily Brown’s work is that she has achieved precision within complete madness. Her paintings are bursting with depth, energy and expression, yet each stroke of her brush seems planned. Her work is both seductive and gloomy, containing both sorrow and an appealing appetite.
This is my favourite Cecily Brown painting, titled ‘A girl'(?) I feel this very abstract piece represents the female anatomy perfectly!
Extremely evident is the focus on fleshy marks made and detail. The oil paint perfectly manipulating the eyes focus on the liquidation of this piece, which, contrasting with the angular, jagged brush strokes make this painting surreally wholesomely palatable.
The areas of white give form to this meaty mess, and this small blob of green mucus oozing from a small orifice in the centre of the painting is the focal point, and appears to have strong connotations with, …..well I’ll let you work that one out for yourself! 😉
I decided to look briefly at the work of Alyse Radenovic and Vincent Van Gough for our extremely swiftly paced week long architecture project. (thank god as I’m, hmm how shall we say? They’re not reeeealy my favourite things to do, ahem!)
Radenovic also appears to look to her paintings as a muse for the development of her pieces of couture fashion. As you can see from from these photo’s the dresses she designs look to be greatly inspired by her fine art work, or perhaps the dresses influence the paintings, who knows!
Vincent Van Gough is probably one the the most famous and influential historical painters to date.
This piece ‘La chambre de Van Gough’ is Vincent Van Gough’s bedroom! I have always loved this piece, and it has inspired me to photograph and paint certain bits of my house. I’d like to mess around with proportions by distorting my room with strange angles and perspectives.
Lovely Andrea by Hito Steyerl is a 30 minute or so long video in which the artist tries to find a bondage photograph of herself she posed for in Tokyo in 1987.
The video begins with a brief interview with German Steyerl asking her what she is doing and why. She states she is travelling to Tokyo to search for her photograph in which she is bound in the nawa-shibari style. (Characterised by women bound and suspended in mid air, although this was developed from the hojojutsu style of martial art.) The photo is titled ‘Lovely Andrea’.
The footage takes on the role of a documentary style genre, separated only by the flashing of striking white words on a black background, images and clips of old spiderman cartoons and movies, old footage of working women, and prisoners in Guantanamo bay. The repetitive nature of these clips, combined with the choice of audio such as depeche mode, make this piece of video art both unnerving as well as mentally empowering. The female translator, who is herself a bondage model and produces the video, as well performing many acts of self suspension. I found these parts of the film rather dream like and beautiful. Amid clips of herself swinging elegantly through the air she said being suspended made her feel free and independent, as though flying.
But to be suspended by rope is also to be dependant.
I found this statement really interesting, as it made me think about people. So we are all dependant on things. Mainly on one another. For food, fuel, shelter, love, warmth and company. There are many such messages like this throughout the film, which make you wonder just who has the upper hand, the models or their clientele? The people behind, or in front of the camera?
Eventually Hito Steyerl finds her photograph and reveals why this quest had been important; she had used her friends name ‘Andrea’ for the magazine and her friend was later murdered. I feel the artist maybe should have went into this in a bit more detail, which would have made the film a bit more personal, but perhaps this was not her intention.
I can see why Lovely Andrea is strongly referenced as a piece of feminist video art, as it really makes you think about our society, the hypocrisy of censorship, (the banned spiderman teaser, compared with the laxed laws for hardcore bondage pornography (and believe me, all the images in the video were pretty tame!)) and the conclusion that in reality we are all bound by society in one way or another. The young student and aerial performer enjoys what she does and it would be ridiculous to presume she was being exploited because of her field of work. At the end of the day feminism is women breaking from stereotypes of old and doing whatever they please, whether that be raising a family, travelling the world or being a porn star. And so if this woman wants to take her clothes off, swing around on ropes and get paid for arousing old men, then so be it! Good for her!
Just before the October break each of us HND1 folkies got assigned an artist..
Our month or so long mission, to research and discover this person, to identify and assosiate a movement, style, and relevant chums.
To boldly prepare a power point presentaion, we have never done before!
Phew *wipes sweat from forehead* that was intense.