Arbitrary Colour and Objects?

Michael Craig-Martin is a principal figure of British conceptual art and one of the most influential art teachers in Britain. His recent works include, painting, printmaking, installations projections and drawing.

Michael Craig-Martin has been questioning the nature of art and representation for 50years. He analyses the relationship between objects and images, exploring human ability to imagine absent forms through symbols and pictures. A central concern of his is the tension between object, representation, and language.

Michael Craig-Martin- Untitled (For Art on a Postcard)

Michael Craig-Martin- Untitled (For Art on a Postcard)

Untitled (bulb) michaelcraigmartin.co.uk

During the 90s Craig-Martin developed what has become the style you and I equate with his celebrated name, bold outlines defining flat areas of intensely vibrant colours. He applies this style to explore his fascination with ordinary, manufactured, ubiquitous, everyday objects, creating large scale, vibrantly coloured graphic images. He believes that everything special and important in life is accessible through the ordinary, what is right in front of you, the trouble is it’s hard to see. This is where his art comes into play, highlighting his revelation. Furthermore, the simplicity of these objects act as a vehicle for the projection of the viewer’s internal realm. The mass-produced objects depicted by Craig-Martin are simultaneously impersonal and personal, he states that we instil a sense of profound personal engagement to objects we see as ours, and thus they act as an access point to people.

Eye of the Storm michaelcraigmartin.co.uk

Eye of the Storm

michaelcraigmartin.co.uk

The simplicity of the ubiquitous objects acting as subject, is paralleled by a somewhat restrained, yet bold representative style. Craig- Martin’s intense minimalist images exemplify a certain simplicity and clarity, in addition to a love and fasciation for colour. He uses composition to explore spatial relationships by juxtaposing and layering colour. A fear of colour had existed in the 1960s, associated with empty formalism, banal self-expression, the decorative, the arbitrary, the indulgent, it represented what artists sought to avoid. Fortunately Craig-Martin courageously dismissed these connotations and began to investigate the properties and potentials of colour. His paintings aim to push every colour to its highest pitch and potentials. His outstanding understanding and execution of colour make his vibrant, bold and contrasting choices harmonious and appropriate, they appear far from arbitrary to me.

Art unavoidably divulges the artist’s personality and true expression, it is amazingly honest and revealing. Accordingly Michael Craig-Martin’s work can be said to be fully expressive of him as an individual.

About the writer

Tara is an Art Foundation and History of Art graduate born and bred in London. She has travelled the globe extensively, immersing herself in the vibrant arts and cultures the world has to offer, and hopes her next adventure will take her to India! She is currently teaching English as a foreign language whilst enjoying volunteering at Art on a Postcard, and she hopes to break into the art world!

Issues of Gender and Identity Addressed Though Ethereal Portraiture.

Chechu Alava was born in Asturias (Spain) in 1973, but now lives and work in Paris. Alava paints exquisitely graceful portraits and figurative pieces, with women as the protagonists, portrayed through a refreshing and narrative figuration. Her work embodies an eternal need to represent what surrounds us, and a search for identity through painting. This begins in the artist’s subconscious, reinterpreting the soaked up influences of art history and literature of the 20th C. Her representations of reality convey a love for pictorial language and pleasure of painting.

Chechu Alava- Frida

Chechu Alava- Frida

Alava’s ethereal, dream-like pieces indicate painting to be a timeless search for answers. The themes portrayed are timeless, despite being full of personal impressions, experiences or memories. This timeless nature is mirrored in her experimental, almost translucent technique of painting, which I feel has an eternal quality to it.

Chechu Alava- The Bride

Chechu Alava- The Bride

The paintings emanate an aura of the portrayed, drawing the viewer closer. There is a presence that is close but cannot be touched as when you try it becomes air. A transparent, ghostly spirit can be felt but not physically grasped. The longer I contemplate an image, the subject simultaneously begins to float towards me yet at the same time slip away into the background. The use of a subdued pastel palette emits a sense of peace and tranquillity. Her paintings have charm, magic and mystery.

Her work references female artists that deal with issues of gender and identity that are important to Alava, such as Nancy Spero, Eva Hesse, and Cindy Sherman. Moreover, the historical characters she paints are often influential female figures throughout history, in the art world and within the feminist movement in general. These characters share a beauty and a tragic fate, common to the 20thC. Eva Hesse, Sylvia Plath, Camille Claudel, and Frida Kahlo are a few of these significant female figures Alava chooses to depict. A relationship and intimacy between the characters and the artist can be acknowledged, the paint is undoubtedly applied with feelings.

Chechu Alava- Woman and Child

Chechu Alava- Woman and Child

Living and working in Paris which has seen a history of feminist activity, undoubtedly has influence over Alava’s work. Beginning with the French Revolution, some voices for the rights of women were raised. This has continued in several waves of feminism, the post-war period, the vigorous 1970s and more recently in 2000s. However this call to feminism and for women to be autonomous has not be answered, evident in daily life, in regards to salaries, maternal leave and sexist advertising. Sexism is linked to the system in which we live, capitalism despises nature and motherhood, and it’s repressive towards the bodies of women and thinks in terms of production or strength of labour. Alava and her work is concerned with the approaches that know of female awakening, of the importance of women’s empowerment, of their bodies. Her female depictions aim for a more evolved world on the level of consciousness at least.

Chechu Alava- Breastfeeding

Chechu Alava- Breastfeeding

About the writer

Tara is an Art Foundation and History of Art graduate born and bred in London. She has travelled the globe extensively, immersing herself in the vibrant arts and cultures the world has to offer, and hopes her next adventure will take her to India! She is currently teaching English as a foreign language whilst enjoying volunteering at Art on a Postcard, and she hopes to break into the art world!

Surrealist Cartooning / Comic Abstraction by a Child of The Nineties

Excitingly fresh, stimulating and definitively unique artwork is emerging through young, London based artist Ellannah Sadkin. Her vibrant, quirky pieces are being categorised as Surrealist cartooning or comic abstraction in style. Sadkin primarily works with acrylic and graffiti pens to produce colourful and abstract works, comprising hard black lines, bright flat colour, and organic and geometric shapes. Her artwork embraces a spark of colour, personality and character that revitalises the viewer.

As a child of the nineties myself, I can particularly relate to the heavy influence of the cartoons of that era in Sadkin’s work. For me particularly, this creates a sense of nostalgia, presented as melted moments from memories, borrowing from the past but now re-presented through a refreshing and unique approach. Her work has even been considered as a remix of animation cells from childhood.

Sadkin states she was attracted by the simplicity and moral conduct of the cartoon world, where everything makes sense. Her work steers away from the narrative with the intention to not overcomplicate things, she wants to keep it simple. Yet, she uses markings of cartoons and comics as a tool to explore the human psyche. She unravels familiar characters as a relatable means to investigate inner emotions, anxiety, struggles and a sense of purpose. Her works range from the recognizable to deconstructed abstractions, where cartoon characters are reduced to energetic lines and colour. Her works thus become metaphorical representational paintings, depicting her introspective quest through comic abstraction.

In addition to cartoons, a strong influence can be determined from the bright graffiti scenes of New York and London, in addition to skate board graphics. This influence can be seen to have inspired Sadkin’s approach to composition, with large canvases resembling street art murals in their superimposed layering approach.

Sadkin declares that ultimately her art is a reflection of her mind set. She enjoys the response to her art, with her aim being to make people happy and excited. The bold, colourful and nostalgic artwork undoubtedly spreads a feeling of joy around its spectator, I certainly would find it difficult to look at her work and not smile to myself.

Abstract #1 (For Art on a Postcard 2016)

Abstract #1 (For Art on a Postcard 2016)

About the writer

Tara is an Art Foundation and History of Art graduate born and bred in London. She has travelled the globe extensively, immersing herself in the vibrant arts and cultures the world has to offer, and hopes her next adventure will take her to India! She is currently teaching English as a foreign language whilst enjoying volunteering at Art on a Postcard, and she hopes to break into the art world!

Visual Harmony Created Through Spatial Description

The artistic production and career of John Wragg RA has been long, diverse and prolific. Wragg is both a sculptor and a painter, but as Art on a Postcard was fortunate to receive a number stunning miniature paintings, it is the painterly style and approach of John Wragg that this blog post is concerned with. ‘What the painting must be in the end is alive.’ This aim is notably the force that drives Wragg on to achieve a ‘successful’ painting, embedded with his infinite fixation with the frailness and vulnerability of the human condition. Memory fuelled by imagination is also said by the artist to play a part in his work.

Available as a run of 50 A6 limited edition prints - see Buy Prints at bottom of page 

Available as a run of 50 A6 limited edition prints - see Buy Prints at bottom of page 

Available as a run of 50 A6 limited edition prints - see Buy Prints at bottom of page

Available as a run of 50 A6 limited edition prints - see Buy Prints at bottom of page

Available as a run of 50 A6 limited edition prints - see Buy Prints at bottom of page

Available as a run of 50 A6 limited edition prints - see Buy Prints at bottom of page

Wragg clearly demonstrates an understanding of spatial description, creating images with great visual depth. His use of geometric patterning is constructed with balance and refinement, resulting in visual harmony. His strong use of line and geometrical form are pronounced through a striking contrast of vibrant colour combinations. Large areas of bright orange and reds are intersected with patches and lines of green, purple and blue, or vice versa. A sense of disseminated light is often created through patchworks of colour and line suspended within the background. These vibrant geometric backgrounds create the sense of an architectural stage, drawing the viewer’s attention towards a single elegant figure in the foreground often depicted through darker tones and angular shadows. ‘Colour and space work on the atmosphere of the paintings, fixing nervous figures in time and space.’

Available as a run of 50 A6 limited edition prints - see Buy Prints at bottom of page

Available as a run of 50 A6 limited edition prints - see Buy Prints at bottom of page

The illustrated figures have a sense of self awareness about them, gazing straight at the viewer, in a sort of reactive invitation to contemplate their composition and narrative. Each figure is depicted with an air of confidence, and imbued with ambiguous narrative and a Surrealist, dreamlike aura. I for one feel mesmerised when looking at Wragg’s paintings, as a result of his harmonious combination of geometrical forms, bold colours, and elegant inviting figures, I find myself being absorbed into the paintings.

Available as a run of 50 A6 limited edition prints - see Buy Prints at bottom of page

Available as a run of 50 A6 limited edition prints - see Buy Prints at bottom of page

Available as a run of 50 A6 limited edition prints - see Buy Prints at bottom of page

About the writer

Tara is an Art Foundation and History of Art graduate born and bred in London. She has travelled the globe extensively, immersing herself in the vibrant arts and cultures the world has to offer, and hopes her next adventure will take her to India! She is currently teaching English as a foreign language whilst enjoying volunteering at Art on a Postcard, and she hopes to break into the art world!

What Do Artists Do All Day featuring Dougie Wallace

Last Friday night (8 March) Art on a Postcard hosted a preview screening at Somerset House of the forthcoming BBC Four documentary What Do Artists Do All Day featuring Dougie Wallace by filmmaker Jack Cocker.

 

Dougie Wallace has long been a friend of Art on a Postcard with The Hepatitis C Trust being his preferred charity. One of his closest friends had hepatitis C and he has raised well over £5k for us to date.

Available as 6x4 print - edition run of 10

Dougie is described by publisher Dewi Lewis in the film as being ‘the most exciting street photographer’ in the world right now. The film follows him around the streets of Knightsbridge taking photographs for his latest book Harrodsburg. Director Jack Cocker clearly establishes a great rapport with Dougie as he grants the viewer unrestricted access to the Dougie’s modus operandi and his extraordinary thought process. He reveals a raw talent, original thinker, a very funny and engaging person but also a very humble being, as in the film Dougie questions whether he can call himself an artist at all. 

Available as 4x4 print - edition run of 10

None of Dougie’s photographs happen by accident. He knows exactly what he’s going to capture before he hits the streets. His pictures are beautifully composed and technically perfect. They all have a comic element but convey a larger message about society as a whole. In Dougie’s words Harrodsburg talks about wealth, greed, excess and accentuates the huge gap between the 1% and the rest of us.

The film is engaging, laugh out loud in places and by the end of it you all be love with Dougie Wallace.

 

Catch the film on BBC Four at 8:30pm 16 March 2017
16th 21st March - Harrodsburg Exhibition at theprintspace, Shoreditch
21st March 19:30-22:00 - Harrodsburg Book Launch event at theprintspace, Shoreditch

You can buy postcard sized limited edition prints of the photographs Dougie has donated to Art on a Postcard over the last 3 years. 

Available as 6x4 print - edition run of 10 

Available as 6x4 print - edition run of 10

Available as 6x4 print - edition run of 10

Available as 6x4 print - edition run of 10

Available as 6x4 print - edition run of 10