Artist research: Artists and their intentions

Updated on 25 March 2017 (Harvard referencing and some content).

This is an add-on post!

25 November 2016. Since the incentives of past artists have been filtered by countless art historians into public belief, I thought it safer to concentrate in this research on contemporary artists, who are still able to speak for themselves. I guess that there as many incentives as there are artists in the world and from personal talks with many of the artists I have met (including both my parents) I know that many do not define or question incentives for themselves or if they do they allow them to drift with the changes in the world the live in. Many of them say that they gain pleasure from what they do with no added social or philosophical context.

30 November 2016. But now for those whose intentions are more structured, starting with a link providing videos produced by the Tate gallery suggested by my tutor (Tate, n.d.).

1. Grayson Perry (*1960, UK): “Think Like an Artist” (Tate, 2016a) – this was a short animated collection of disconnected basic thoughts, which I did not find too helpful. His main meassage is that “nobody can teach creativity” and that every artist is alone to “do his thing”. I do not fully agree, because I believe that there is the possibility to awaken creativity in people who were taught to believe otherwise and there is creativity in most of us. Every artist is free to choose their areas of interest and whoever feels the need will follow their inner voice anyway.

2. “Art and Language” talking about conceptual art (Tate, 2016b) – talking about the problems of grasping and defining an emerging new art development. This problem, I think, has of course a profound influence on the transporting and understanding of an artist’s intentions. If nobody has ever heard of what an artist has thought up for the first time ever, how can he or she make themselves understood? Is a misunderstood intention of an artist, who decides to want a public voice, one that failed or a beginning of a necessary discussion preceding communal understanding? I think that there is a real danger that some conceptual art may go unnoticed or underrated, however, because the intentions are not made known clearly enough to a receiving public whose members were taught that you cannot teach creativity.

3. Mary Kelly (*1941, USA) (Tate, 2015) – the conceptual artist talking about feminism informing her work after a pioneering anti-war demonstration in London in the 1960s. She explains how a whole new world of thinking was made possible by the radical questioning of what had been. Her intentions as an artist were so new at the time that she had to go and look for appropriate media and techniques to visualize her thoughts. Kelly thinks that, due to the pioneering work done by people of her generation, women are much better placed to fulfill their potentials now than in the past. So, of course, there is a much greater chance for them to make their intentions known and contribute to developments important for them. This as a consequence shifts the stakes in the art world.

2 December 2016

4. Jakob Gasteiger (*1953, Austria) – in an interview given for the Viennese newspaper “Die Presse” (Weismann, 2016) Gasteiger explains his very personal view on the nature of painting. He is absolutely convinced that there will never be an all-encompassing, universally valid answer to that question. While studying in Vienna in the 1980s he came into contact with the “Neue Wilde” group (Ketterer Kunst, n.d.), but he know then that for his own intentions (in the tradition of Josef Albers or Mark Rothko) their neo-expressionist approach aiming at strengthening the figurative was unsuitable: “If you want to be a serious artist, you listen to your inner voice and do not follow trends.” He has not changed his techniques and subjects in 30 years, which he interprets as an advantage – the self-chosen limits allow the development of a great confidence in his work inside the boundaries. He does not want to give answers in his paintings, he sees his task in providing an area of discussion.

References:

Ketterer Kunst (n.d.) Dictionary: New Wild Artists [online]. Ketterer Kunst, Munich. http://www.kettererkunst.com/dict/neue-wilde.php [Accessed 30 November 2016]

Tate (2015) Mary Kelly | TateShots [online]. Tate, London, 18 March. Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/video/mary-kelly-tateshots [Accessed 30 November 2016]

Tate (2016a) Grayson Perry | Think Like an Artist | TateShots  [online]. Tate, London, 18 March. Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/video/grayson-perry-think-artist-tateshots [Accessed 30 November 2016]

Tate (2016b) Art & Language | Studio Visit | TateShots [online]. Tate, London, 28 April. Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/video/art-language-studio-visit-tateshots [Accessed 30 November 2016]

Weismann, R. (2016) Jakob Gasteiger: Malen als Prozess [online]. Die Presse, Wien, 23 November. Available at: http://diepresse.com/home/kultur/kunst/5123003/Jakob-Gasteiger_Malen-als-Prozess [Accessed 30 November 2016]

Assignment 3: Feedback reflection

4 October 2016. After having received an incredibly quick, accurate and warm feedback from my tutor I feel very much strengthened and encouraged to continue on my road by keeping the general direction, but using the brakes more often to give myself the time to do much more well-thought-out and documented experimentation at sketchbook level and beyond. This is exactly what I know already and wrote down at several points in my blog, but the putting into reality has been made very difficult by the ever-increasing pressure we experience in everyday life with our son. But another very important point: My tutor told me not to worry about leaving things unfinished. This is something I did not realise before – I had thought that an exercise needed a presentable outcome, but it appears that this is not the case. This will of course make experimenting a lot freer. I feel that Part 4 of the course “Looking Out” will provide me with ample opportunity to enter a new task by setting the scene with lots of different quick painted sketches. My tutor suggested using either good quality acrylic paint or watercolours for this and I will try and adapt my inkpen thumbnails to painting. I know that I will need to loosen up and discard any finished paintings in my head to allow these processes to occur at all. We’ll see whether I will be able to let go in this way.

Now to the individual remarks and suggestions:

  1. It is true that sometimes I have a problem placing correctly and scaling down a subject to the size paper I choose. This occurs more rarely now, but may happen if I do the primary sketch of a larger-scale work very quickly, even if my sketchbook setup worked well. I will pay particular attention to this problem in the part of the course to follow.
  2. The sketchbook paintings following my research on thermographic imaging felt quite liberating for me and I will use the technique again in the next part of the course, especially where the task is the creation of a certain mood.
  3. I love combining drawing/painting and text and will follow my tutor’s suggestion to try and produce some work in that manner.
  4. I will expand on my iridescence experiments, both coloured and monochrome, to incorporate at a later point in the course, in Part 5 at the latest (for which I have already chosen a subject, where iridescence could play an important role).
  5. My tutor emphasized that I must separate with care my approaches as a caricaturist and as a painter. I will keep as a reminder my own failed attempt at combining the two!
  6. Preparatory work should occur in series and quick succession to avoid a picture in my head to dictate the outcome. My tutor suggests to first of all write a description of an  experience, then to decide whether it would be figurative and only then to make a large number of very simple sketches without a finished piece in mind at all. This is to open up a more abstract approach to working that “suggests rather than explains the image to the viewer”. I think that I know exactly what I would need to do and I can only hope that my mind and hand are ready to take this next step.
  7. My sketchbook will from now on be a purely painted, fluid, rapid one, I promise.
  8. Regarding the learning log I will try and incorporate research on the intentions different artists have.
  9. I am very much aware that my writing style does become quite personal at times, but under the given circumstances there is no way around it. This is why I take the risk to continue doing so while keeping in mind the requirements of an academic writing style. Sometimes I also feel that it may be necessary to incorporate an emotional aspect into the text accompanying the development of a work, because only then it may become possible to interpret my intentions. I will, however, be rigorous when writing up my account for formal assessment.
  10. In the next part I will continue exploring the properties of transparent layering and its influence on the transportation of the properties of light.

The artist research suggested in the feedback will be reported on in separate posts.