Sunday, April 25, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Frida Kahlo’s paintings are the most literal, traditional notion of self portraits. Many of her works are only of her, since she said she knew herself best, as far as subject matter goes. Her paintings usual show herself as a bust, from chest up, though some show her whole figure. Some of her works seem surreal, with impossible elements in unusual settings. Kahlo claimed to be a realist, that what she painted was real to her. The scenes in her work seem to be set on a stage-like setting, with a very shallow and steep foreground. I think this gives a strange quality to her work.
Marina Abramovic’s works are largely performance pieces involving herself. As these works are documented via photography, many appear as self portraits. A reoccurring theme in her work is of the test of the human spirit. Abramovic seeks to push herself to the limits in order to see what a human—not just herself—is capable of withstanding. Many of her performances seem utterly dangerous. Her work Rhythm 10, she had 20 knives, with which she jabbed in between her fingers. When she would cut herself, she would take another knife. This was recorded, and as she replayed it, she tried to recreate what she had done. This work, she said, considers the state of consciousness of the performer, and how she can push herself to do things she would not be able to do had she not been performing. Abramovic’s works seek to analyze the performer and the performer’s relationship to the audience. Although she speaks somewhat distantly about “the performer” she is the performer, and her body is the medium, so her works cannot help but be self-portraits.
initially Cui Xiuwen’s works cannot literally be called self-portraits. Many of her works feature a young, perhaps 13 year old, Chinese girl. This young figure is meant to represent the experiences of females in modern day China. The young girl, shown in a school-girl’s uniform, is often posed in risqué, suggestive, almost revealing positions. Sometimes this young girl is repeated and repeated until her figure consumes the entire picture plane. In another series, Angel, she shows a young girl, again, but pregnant. These pristine works have peaceful landscape backgrounds, with the tranquil, glowing, mother to be. As she was once a girl growing up in China, these works are metaphorically self-portraits.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
The concept behind this piece is one of lost love. The seaside setting with the female figure calls to mind, the iconic wife waiting for her seafaring husband to return home. The absent look of the figure suggests hopelessness, but as she turns her head, she thinks for a moment she heard something out on the water. The viewer looks through broken glass into bereavement.
Monday, February 1, 2010
Jeff Wall creates large scenes reminiscent of film stills. The viewer feels this way about the image not by chance; the artist poses actors and photographs them in the action. There is apparent tension between figures in his works. Sometimes the tension is angry or just uncomfortable, but it is always active, balancing and counter-balancing, teetering and tottering back and forth.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Gregory Crewdson layers space upon space, conveying the illusion of perspective and depth. He creates the thrill of voyeurism as his viewers look at something that seems private and personal to the figures depicted. His images contain vast scenes showing you room after room or space after space, with often only one or two people. The figures are small in scale compared to their scenery, and convey feelings of lonliness, loss, and sadness.
Teun Hocks features only one figure, himself, in most of his works. This lone figure does not operate in the same way as Crewdson's; instead Hocks seems content in a strange, surreal place. The space that he creates is his dreams or daydreams, I imagine. Hocks uses irony in many of his pieces to create humor. Warming his hands in front of a painting of a fireplace or wearing band-aids on his face from snapping rubber bands, show a whimsical, silly side of the artist.
Cindy Sherman plays with voyeuristic visages in a very different way than Gregory Crewdson does. While Crewdson makes you feel like you are spying from next door or across the street, Sherman creates up close and personal images of herself, as if you just walked in on her changing. The viewer invades the figure's personal space. There is a sense of tension, an awareness of being photographed that hangs in the air as these vulnerable figures are captured.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
No matter the media, color is always my focus. I have always been more fond of painting, than drawing, as you can model forms through gradations of colors, rather than lines. Color has all the power in an image, and the lack thereof is equally as powerful. I love the colors found in nature, as well as the musicality of natural, organic forms. The natural world is equally influential in my art work.