Rosie Leventon (b1946)

March 21, 2011

Rosie makes sculptural installations, for both indoors and outdoors, using a broad variety of materials from human hair to recycled central heating pipes. She also draws and paints, using ink, pencil, acrylic, chalk, bitumen and other media to create proposals for sculpture and installations.

All of Leventon’s work is grounded in a sensitive concern for the natural environment and how we use it. Leventon sees her work as interweaving a kind of personal archaeology with the archaeology of contemporary society and the physical archaeology of places.

Some of Leventon’s installations comprise radical interventions into the interior architecture of a building. She has constructed false floors that float on water and which shift under foot. Her outdoor installations sometimes highly ambitious in scale often have a functional, regional element, providing water for animals, for example, or promoting biodiversity and regeneration.

Much of Leventon’s sculpture incorporates elements of surprise or wryly-mordant humour, but there is also a muscular quality to some of her installations, which carries its own freight of symbolism. ‘Forensic Evidence’, a piece first shown at London’s Serpentine Gallery, comprises a series of recycled stacked scaffolding boards, from which an elegant, wound-like indentation has been hacked, while ‘False Floor’ is constructed from old scaffolding boards punctured with ragged holes from which water spurts, splashing the surrounding boards. Such pieces possess vaguely menacing connotations, as if one has inadvertently strayed into a place where some catastrophic event has taken place.

Rosie’s drawing also capture a sense of unease. This drawn newspaperwith handprinted carrier bags, appears to both honour and provoke thought about the arabic culture in the UK.


Tim Noble and Sue Webster

March 21, 2011

Tim Noble and Sue Webster  are an incredible artistic duo based in England who have worked on a variety of related projects experimenting with trash and projected shadows. From looking at the rubbish they collect from the streets of London it is virtually impossible to determine a rhyme or reason to the apparent mess. However, once a projector is set up at just the right angle the art pops to life and animated shades are created with crisp and clear outlines delineating the controlled forms hidden with chaos.


Hannah Greenaway (b 1970)

March 21, 2011

  Recycled plastic

          This inspiring artist makes portraits of women and children in a knitted plastic material that she designed for the purpose. Figurative sculptures of women made from recycled plastic carrier bags which have been hand and machine knitted, dyed, pressed and placed around clay moulds then re-melted to shrink to the mould. The mould is removed so a knitted marble-like form is produced of a woman’s head, dressed in historical costume.

 “I am fascinated by the social and economic history of clothing and this provides the inspiration for my sculptures. I am inspired by 17th century ceramic and marble busts, and 16th and 17th century paintings. I spend a lot of time in London art galleries and museums”.

          “I decorate the surface of the plastic material with collage lettering and pictures, bar codes and advice labels that appear on bags, which enables me to invent a visual story about the figure”.


H. A. Schult

March 21, 2011

H. A. Schult (b1939)

HA Schult’s haunting ‘trash people’ have graced the streets of many of the world’s most major cities … silently open to interpretation as they travel the world and sit everywhere from the parks of New York City to the Great Wall of China.

It took Schult 6 months and 30 assistants to create these strange sculptures from crushed cans, computer parts and virtually anything else he could appropriate to assemble them.

Junk happens

In 1969, Schult caught the attention of the world with his art action “Situation Schackstrasse.” The happening consisted of covering a street in Munich with trash and paper, and police immediately arrested the artist. But that was only the beginning — the projects grew as Schult changed urban venues.

In 1976, he filled St. Mark’s Square in Venice with old newspapers in an overnight action that surprised the authorities, Venetians and art lovers alike.


Judy Chicago (b1939)

March 11, 2011

The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago is an icon of feminist art, which represents 1,038 women in history—39 women are represented by place settings and another 999 names are inscribed in the Heritage Floor on which the table rests. This monumental work of art is comprised of a triangular table divided by three wings, each 48 feet long.

The principal component of The Dinner Party is a massive ceremonial banquet arranged in the shape of an open triangle—a symbol of equality—measuring forty-eight feet on each side with a total of thirty-nine place settings. The “guests of honour” commemorated on the table are designated by means of intricately embroidered runners, each executed in a historically specific manner. Upon these are placed, for each setting, a gold ceramic chalice and utensils, a napkin with an embroidered edge, and a fourteen-inch china-painted plate with a central motif based on butterfly and vulvar forms. Each place setting is rendered in a style appropriate to the individual woman being honored.

Wing One of the table begins in prehistory with the Primordial Goddess and continues chronologically with the development of Judaism; it then moves to early Greek societies to the Roman Empire, marking the decline in women’s power, signified by Hypatia’s place setting. Wing Two represents early Christianity through the Reformation, depicting women who signify early expressions of the fight for equal rights, from Marcella to Anna van Schurman. Wing Three begins with Anne Hutchinson and addresses the American Revolution, Suffragism, and the movement toward women’s increased individual creative expression, symbolized at last by Georgia O’Keeffe.

The Dinner Party rests upon the Heritage Floor and is comprised of 2,300 hand-cast porcelain tiles and provides both a structural and metaphorical support for The Dinner Party table. Inscribed in gold luster are the names of 999 mythical and historical women of achievement, who were selected to contextualize the 39 women represented in the place settings and to convey “how many women had struggled into prominence or been able to make their ideas known—sometimes in the face of overwhelming obstacles—only (like the women on the table) to have their hard-earned achievements marginalized or erased”


Roni Horn (b1955)

March 9, 2011

     For the past 30 years, the work of Roni Horn has been intimately involved with the singular geography, geology, climate and culture of Iceland. Since her first encounter with the island as a young arts graduate visiting from the United States, Horn has returned to Iceland frequently over the years. Iceland has been muse and medium to Roni Horn.

      Horn explores the mutable nature of art through sculptures, works on paper, photography, and books. She describes drawing as the key activity in all her work because drawing is about composing relationships. Horn’s drawings concentrate on the materiality of the objects depicted. She also uses words as the basis for drawings and other works. Horn crafts complex relationships between the viewer and her work by installing a single piece on opposing walls, in adjoining rooms, or throughout a series of buildings.

She subverts the notion of ‘identical experience’, insisting that one’s sense of self is marked by a place in the here-and-there, and by time in the now-and-then. She describes her artworks as site-dependent, expanding upon the idea of site-specificity associated with Minimalism. Horn’s work also embodies the cyclical relationship between humankind and nature—a mirror-like relationship in which we attempt to remake nature in our own image.

    Weather, inspired by her experiences on Iceland, has played an important role in Roni Horn’s work. One example is Vatnasafn/Library of Water and installation in Stykkisholmur that is made up of water collected from Icelandic glaciers.

“Weather, is the key paradox of our time. Weather that is nice is often weather that is wrong. The nice is occurring in the immediate and individual, and the wrong is occurring system-wide.”


Jasper Johns (b1930)

March 9, 2011

      In 1954, he was introduced to Robert Rauchenberg, an artist five years older than he was, and the two of them soon became firm friends. Both set up studios in the same building, and both supported themselves by doing collages, drawings and paintings for window displays.

“Before, whenever anybody asked me what I did, I said I was going to become an artist, Finally, I decided that I could be going to become an artist forever, all my life. I decided to stop becoming and to be an artist.”

     He began to develop a definite discipline and a method all his own. Intensely interested in experimentation, he learned to work with “encaustic” a method which combines pigments and hot wax before they are applied to the surface of a painting. Plaster casts of different types also began to appear on various paintings. The works most commonly associated with this period were oftentimes objects which are often seen, but are usually too commonplace to be closely noticed. Then, he proceeded to give them individuality by adding encaustic textures and other elements which both enhanced and lessened their familiarity at the same time.

 

The year 1958 was noteworthy also for his first sculptures, called, Flashlight and Lightbulb I.

Early works were composed using simple schema such as flags, maps, targets, letters and numbers. Johns’ treatment of the surface is often lush and painterly; he is famous for incorporating such media as encaustic and plaster relief in his paintings. Johns played with and presented opposites, contradictions, paradoxes, and ironies, much like Marcel Duchamp (who was associated with the Dada movement). Johns also produces intaglio prints, sculptures and lithographs with similar motifs.

     Johns’ breakthrough move, which was to inform much later work by others, was to appropriate popular iconography for painting, thus allowing a set of familiar associations to answer the need for subject. Though the Abstract Expressionists disdained subject matter, it could be argued that in the end, they had simply changed subjects. Johns neutralized the subject, so that something like a pure painted surface could declare itself. For twenty years after Johns painted Flag, the surface could suffice – for example, in Andy Warhol‘s silkscreens, or in Robert Irwin‘s illuminated ambient works.


Found Object Art

March 8, 2011

When found objects are used as part of visual art works, the resulting works are referred to as found art.

 

Marcel Duchamp, Fountain, 1917. Duchamp believed that the urinal became a work of art because it was presented as such by the artist.

     Early uses of found objects in art focused on the readymades of artists such as Marcel Duchamp, who shocked the art world with his famous display of a ceramic urinal (“Fountain”) in 1917. Pablo Picasso and Kurt Schwitters were among many early proponents of the use of found objects in art, which became an important feature in the work of many schools of art, including the Surrealist, Dadaist, Merz, and Conceptual art movements.

     Found objects have gained increasing importance in art over the course of the twentieth century, with many art movements finding new freedoms of expression which had been stifled by the more stringent definitions of art previously used. In the last fifty years, artists ranging from Robert Rauschenberg and Alan Rankle to Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas and Michael Chomick have incorporated found objects into their work either as a main focus of the art or as embellishing features.

 

 

Beyond the Pleasure Principle  2000
Mixed media – 1560 x 1905 x 2900 mm - sculpture

     Lucas’s bawdy humour takes a darker turn in this work. She uses a variety of household objects to produce a witty metaphor for sexual activity. However, the comic references contrast with the sobering presence of a cardboard coffin. The title refers to a seminal text by the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. He suggested that the drive for life is matched by an equal and opposite drive for death, so that pleasure is bound up with destruction.


Andy Goldsworthy

March 8, 2011

The materials used in Andy Goldsworthy’s art often include brightly-coloured flowers, icicles, leaves, mud, pinecones, snow, stone, twigs, and thorns. He has been quoted as saying,

“I think it’s incredibly brave to be working with flowers and leaves and petals. But I have to: I can’t edit the materials I work with. My remit is to work with nature as a whole.”

 Goldsworthy is generally considered the founder of modern rock balancing. For his ephemeral works, Goldsworthy often uses only his bare hands, teeth, and found tools to prepare and arrange the materials; however, for his permanent sculptures like “Roof”, “Stone River” and “Three Cairns”, “Moonlit Path” ( 2002) and “Chalk Stones” in the South Downs, near  Dean, Sussex  he has also employed the use of machine tools.  To create “Roof”, Goldsworthy worked with his assistant and five British dry-stone wallers, who were used to make sure the structure could withstand time and nature.

 Photography plays a crucial role in his art due to its often ephemeral and transient state. According to Goldsworthy,

“Each work grows, stays, decays – integral parts of a cycle which the photograph shows at its heights, marking the moment when the work is most alive. There is intensity about a work at its peak that I hope is expressed in the image. Process and decay are implicit.”

 Goldsworthy produced a commissioned work for the entry courtyard of San Francisco’s  De Young Museum called “Drawn Stone”, which echoes San Francisco’s frequent earthquakes and their effects. His installation included a giant crack in the pavement that broke off into smaller cracks, and broken limestone, which could be used for benches. The smaller cracks were made with a hammer adding unpredictability to the work as he created it.

Drawn Stone (2005)

“I find some of my new works disturbing, just as I find nature as a whole disturbing. The landscape is often perceived as pastoral, pretty, beautiful – something to be enjoyed as a backdrop to your weekend before going back to the nitty-gritty of urban life. But anybody who works the land knows it’s not like that. Nature can be harsh – difficult and brutal, as well as beautiful. You couldn’t walk five minutes from here without coming across something that is dead or decaying.”


Rosalie Gascoigne

March 8, 2011

Rosalie Gascoigne   (1917 – 1999)

She said that her art-making materials “need to have been open to the weather.” She thus used mostly found materials: wood, iron, wire, feathers, and most famously yellow and orange retro-reflective road signs, which flash and glow in the light. Some of her other best-known works use faded, once-bright drinks crates; thinly-sliced yellow schweppes boxes; ragged domestic items such as torn floral lino and patchy enamelware; vernacular building materials such as galvanized tin, corrugated iron; and fibrous, rosy cable reel ends. These objects represent, rather than accurately depict, elements of her world.

“The countryside’s discards … no longer suggest themselves but evoke experiences, particularly of landscape.”

Text is another important element of her work; she would cut up and rearrange the faded, naive lettering found on these items to create abstract yet evocative grids of letters and word fragments, sometimes alluding to the crosswords and poetry of which she was so fond.

Knowledgeable and widely read, she was inspired amongst others by the artists Colin McCahon, Ken Whisson, Dick Watkins and Robert Rauchenberg,  and the poets William Wordsworth, Peter Porter and Sylvia Plath.  She also had a fondness for the pronouncements of  Pablo Picasso. However gradually both colour and text seemed to fade from her work, and in her final years she created meditative, elegiac compositions of white or earth-brown panels.


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