Week 17 – Tutorial

 Lynda Nead

Lynda Nead, is the Pevsner Professor of History of Art at Birkbeck, University of London.   In 1992 she wrote The Female Nude: Art, Obscenity and Sexuality .

Google books review the work ‘The Female Nude brings together, in an entirely new way, analysis of the historical tradition of the female nude and discussion of recent feminist art, and by exploring the ways in which acceptable and unacceptable images of the female body are produced and maintained, renews recent debates on high culture and pornography.
The Female Nude represents the first feminist survey of the most significant subject in Western art. It reveals how the female nude is now both at the centre and at the margins of high culture. At the centre, and within art historical discourse, the female nude is seen as the visual culmination of enlightenment aesthetics; at the edge, it risks losing its respectability and spilling over into the obscene.’  http://books.google.co.uk/books/about/The_Female_Nude.html?id=IMhzgBEQHzwC

Frank Bowling OBE RA

In the 1960s his work incorporated almost imperceptible stenciled silk-screened images of his family and friends.  In 1971 Bowling was considered a Colour Field painter, earlier painters included Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski and Larry Poons.  https://drive.google.com/a/oca-uk.com/file/d/0B6daur5ibsGqckJyUkRmSlpyRTQ/edit

Carriage 2006  http://www.wikiart.org/en/search/frank%20o%20har%C3%A1/4#supersized-search-301646

Agnes Martin

Agnes Martin (1912-2004) was a Canadian born, US based artist. Influenced by the vast landscape she grew up surrounded by and by artists such as Mark Rothko, Donald Judd and Barnett Newman, her spare, paired down artistic style is often considered a minimalist art.

An emphasis in her work was placed upon line, grids, and subtle color but her visual language consisting of these basic geometric shapes retains small flaws, purposefully left by the artist. Closeness is potentially created between the viewer and the artist herself as her imperfect hand becomes a connection of a human touch. Martin’s work then becomes an individual spiritual experience as one can interpret her repetitive, reductive elements on different levels, adding dimensionality based on their own perception.’  http://minimalissimo.com/2012/07/agnes-martin/

Agnes Martin (1912-2004)


My photo of scrim has an Agnes Martin feel about it.

Prunella Clough 1919-1999

“Her subjects are closely observed details and scenes from the landscape. The images are combined and filtered through memory, and evolve through a slow process of layering and re-working.”1.   She was the niece of Eileen Gray.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunella_Clough

Frances Spalding writing in the Guardian, ‘the art of ‘saying a small thing edgily”.

Detail from Lorry Driver in Cab, c1950-53, oil on canvas

Detail from Lorry Driver in Cab, c1950-53, oil on canvas PR

‘The marvellously inventive painter believed art could be made out of the ordinary, and paid attention to aspects of urban and industrial life that are often overlooked’

Prunella Clough by Frances Spalding is published by Lund Humphries


This led to Windmill, Andrea Mills blog on a range of artists and art forms.  http://andrea-a-mills.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/abstract%20expressionism

Guerrilla Girls are an anonymous group of feminist, female artists devoted to fighting sexism and racism within the art world. The female activists wanted to bring to light the white male dominance that was harboured with in the art community. The group formed in New York City in 1985 with the mission of bringing gender and racial inequality within the fine arts to focus within the greater community. Members are known for the gorilla masks they wear to remain anonymous.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guerrilla_Girls

Women at Art College

On a preliminary review I could only find admission data back to 2007.  Drilling down for the UK, in all regions except the North East (601 females to 629) and N. Ireland (65/95), female home candidates for the region, significantly outnumbered males for foundation courses.

Simon Pope

Simon Pope is an artist currently studying for his doctoral degree in Fine Art at the Ruskin School of Art and St John’s College, University of Oxford.


Simon Pope & Tom Greeves on a site visit to Vitifer Mine, Dartmoor at the start of the project. Photo: Alex Murdin 2013

From Press Information, issued by Spacex, July 2013:
Simon Pope is working with people living in the Dartmoor area on a new commission whose working title is: A Song, A Dance and a New Stannary Parliament.
This new work will explore how traditional musical forms can address contemporary attitudes to land.
Since the closure of its tin mines, Dartmoor’s industrial landscape has become normalised as wilderness, seemingly indistinguishable from the results of geological processes. Yet the gullies and stacks of rock debris are testament of this metal ore’s immense influence on the life of Dartmoor and its people.
The work will ask, how might folk culture adapt to reflect new conditions or understandings? How could we choreograph a new relationship to the environment, and to Dartmoor in particular?
Art as a Social System = Niklas Luhmann
I need to digest what this book is saying.

Reflecting on Tutorial

Following on from last week and Linda Nochlin writing in Women, Art and Power in 1988:

‘..misconception ..that art is the direct, personal expression of individual emotional experience, a translation of personal life into visual terms.  Art is almost never that, great art never is.  The making of art involves a self-consistent language of form, more or less dependent upon, or free from, given temporally defined conventions, schemata, or systems of notation, which have to be learned or worked out, either through teaching, apprenticeship, or a long period of individual experimentation.  The language of art is, more materially, embodied in paint and line on canvas or paper,..  it is neither a sob story nor a confidential whisper.’

It is not always necessary to share.  Curious.  What exactly is going on here, honesty or unburdening?

Grayson Perry in his Reith lecture ‘And perhaps the most shocking tactic that’s left to artists these days is sincerity.’

James Aldridge flourished when he introduce his other passion for nature and birds into his work.

Look at my language, my motifs.  What can I see that is often there, what’s working, what’s not working?  Not sure I have grasped this yet.  It ties in with what Gerald Deslandes was saying last night in his lecture on Language and Consumerism.  I will look into it further as part of the write up on the lecture.

Angela also suggested the work of the philosopher, Alain de Botton, Art is Therapy.  I am hoping he will have some answers.

I think I am being steered away from Nochlin’s ‘translation of personal life into visual terms.’ and towards utilising the essence of me, be that logic, textiles, gardens, colour?  I am sure all will become clearer in time.  It is so very tempting to race ahead to the final chapter to see how this stage of the story ends…

Alain de Botton

Whilst waiting for de Botton’s book, I watched his TED, A kinder, gentler Philosophy of Success, an insight into a successful life and where the idea for our success comes from.  He stressed the importance of us being authors of our own ambition.   As a secular person de Botton’s views on religion in TED Atheism 2.0, are incredibly interesting, almost pointing out the obvious, that we have deliberately ignored, having been seduced by very effective theatrics, repetition, mystique and guided ceremony.  He argues, and I agree, that religions are master marketeers (the Catholic church turns over billions of pounds every year), reminding regularly, with ceremony, that they are there, eloquently preaching, maintaining a consistent viewpoint, massing as a community.  It is impossible to achieve all this as an individual.  He argues that perhaps it is time to cherry pick a new secular ‘religion’.  He has a point.

Elizabeth Gilbert

A comment in Atheism 2.0 led me to Elizabeth Gilbert, TED Your Elusive Creative Genius https://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius

Talking about creativity, success and how to create a psychological construct to distance you from your work,  and handling the inherent emotional risks of creativity

Greeks and Romans believed that genius was external to the creative.  A divine entity.

Creatives are frequently, dark,  anguished and undone by their gifts.  A dangerous situation.

The movement during the Renaissance from having a genius and being a genius, placed the onus for genius on the individual.

Ruth Stone, American poet, who died in 2011 at the age of 96, used to wait for a poem to come towards her whilst working in the field, then run to find paper and pen to write it down.  She believed that if she was too slow the poem would pass to the next poet.

Tom Waits, the embodiment of the tormented contemporary  artist, until he heard a fragment of melody, and had no facility to write while driving.  He spoke to the sky, suggesting that if this creative gift was to be bestowed on him, could it wait until he wasn’t driving. The process and the heavy anxiety around him, and he realised it didnt have to be this internalised tormented thing, it could be a wonderous external exchange.

Gilbert says that after interviewing Wait, she now declares to the corner of her room ‘If this isn’t brilliant then I would like the record to reflect that turn up for my part of the job, so if this isn’t the greatest manuscript,  I have kept my part of the bargain and I will continue to work to the best of my ability.’

She concludes that the creative gift is on loan to you for some exquisite part of your life, then it is  passed on to the next recipient.  Makes sense to me.   That is why it is so important to be and do the best you can.



  1. Sunday Telegraph, Issue #2396, 13 May 2007, Arts Section, Graham-Dixon, A., Heart of Industry

Author: susanmilleruk

Watercolour painter living, working and loving Hastings and St Leonards on Sea. MA in Fine Art.

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