The most worked on double page spread for my portfolio yet!
The entries for this years Derwent Art Prize have now been put up onto the competitions’ website for the public to see, and there are some interesting things I noticed. Among the expected photorealistic portraits taken from family photo’s, celebrity love letters and dogs, there are some genuinely interesting drawings such as “Footsteps”. I noted some Jerwood entries from last year that failed to make it into the Derwent exhibition, but when looking at the selected artists something occurred to me. A series of drawings entitled “A Fall of Ordinariness and Light” by the artist Jessie Brennan were selected. Having recently read an article on these pieces my suspicions are peaked. This series was commissioned by the Foundling Museum for an exhibition called “Progress” (on now), which brought together Brennan’s work alongside the likes of David Hockney and Grayson Perry to celebrate the 250th anniversary of William Hogarth. I may be mistaken somewhere, and in no sense am I saying Brennan’s drawings do not deserve a place, but the rules clearly state the pieces must not have been exhibited elsewhere. Though Progress is not a major show, the likes of the Derwent art prize judges would most likely be aware of these pieces prior to the selection process. This makes the object of a fair and unbiased selection seem impossible. Whether the judges have deliberately forgotten their own rules, or have unwittingly done so, it makes the world of fine art seem impenetrable to anyone other than those who are already within its ranks.
Following the pieces I created for the Jerwood drawing prize, (unfortunately I didn’t get in but the competition was very good) I’ve been working on my perspective studies, and in my research I came across Jan Vredeman de Vries, a renaissance Dutch artist/architect who published many works on the subject of perspective, to popularise and teach the principles of what was a major discovery. His “Design for an Ornamental Garden” (top) is one example showing a rather elaborate design akin to how I’d imagine the gardens of Babylon to have looked. It struck me how familiar the imagery was and how its genealogy can be traced in the works of Paul Noble (Middle) and his depictions of the fantasy Nobson Newtown. As well as that of fairly new artist Andy Black, (bottom) whose own “gardens” are constructed from various forms taken from his own personal catalogue and placed onto a perspectival grid. All have a certain cool, unreal (I don’t like to throw around “surrealism” very often) aesthetic, and perspective is an intrinsic factor in their making. Noble in particular employing a cartographic style of perspective, where elements in the background appear as large as those in the foreground. Vredeman de Vries’ works can also be linked to Escher, de Chirico and more. I’d highly recommend looking up Jan Vredeman de Vries and seeing how past masters still inform present artists.
My submissions for this years Jerwood Drawing Prize. Fingers crossed for a place in the exhibition!
I love discovering new artists and it’s odd how some pass me by. Edmund de Waal is one such discovery. A British artist working in ceramics who places minimal, undecorated hand made objects into vitrines and boxes like above. I enjoy the simplicity of the form and the subtle nuance of colours and form across his collections of saucers and tumblers. He reminds me of Giorgio Morandi from a purely visual sense, in that his work has a silence and meditative quality that is far removed from the showy gimmick art that is so prevalent in contemporary galleries. You can find more such works on his website http://www.edmunddewaal.com/ I hope to get to Margate at some point to see his installation “atmosphere” before its close next year at the Turner Contemporary.
My Entry for this years Derwent Art Prize. “Sentinel” in graphite on standard cartridge paper. Not the usual kind of drawing I do as the focus is much more on detail rather than line and flow. It is an image of a modern CCTV camera (which thankfully I have access to as a CCTV operator) off its mounting and looking straight at the viewer. The concept is about looking and scrutiny. Turning the tables if you will on the constantly looking camera lens and the process of drawing it with meticulous attention to detail. Hopefully raising questions of surveillance and the act of looking in contemporary society.
A very enlightening but damning report on the state of artist fees in the UK (and US).
What worries me most is the average wage people make from their art being ridiculously low to begin with. It seems Labour’s tagline of the great economic divide actually applies very well to artists in this country. As established gallery represented artists can make huge sums of money while others struggle to survive on their practise alone.
What I do hope is that with growing internet based galleries there is at least some more democratic means for people to show their work. Even though it is a less ideal form of viewing some forms of art.
My entry for this years The One Show competition. The keen eyed will notice a hopper-esque influence to the use of shadows and simplification of form for which I will admit owing a debt. It was very difficult to replicate the colours in a photograph however, as the actual piece is far more muted in hue. I’ve gone for a slightly menacing and unwelcome tone which will work nicely for BBC viewers if it gets selected! It’s a good starting point for some more paintings I have in mind now too.
"A Torpedoed tramp steamer off the longships, Cornwall" by Geoffrey Stephen Allfree.
It seems inevitable that people should be looking at WW1 images this year given the centenary of the Great War. This in particular is one of my favourites amongst the naval paintings commissioned by the Government to record the events of the war across the battlefield and at home.
What strikes me is the ordinariness of the subject and composition. Were it not for the steamer washed ashore like some beached whale, you would see nothing but a pleasant and picturesque coastal scene.
There is no pomp or grandiosity to the sunken vessel, and no victims or onlookers, it is simply there. Stranded on the beach with the sea washing up beside it as though you were a hiker along the cliff tops and had come across it. Evidence of the war littering the landscape and literally coming to the English shores.
This piece is held by the Imperial War museum and I’m hoping it is on display to see.