Category Archives: 2014 – 2015 academic year

Roy Oxlade and Rose Wylie

I am curiously drawn to Roy Oxlade.  I first encountered him through the writings of Emily Ball, a local tutor and painter.

As part of the preparation for my essay I am trying to understand the work of a group of artists that are associated with Emily, who are clearly highly accomplished and much acclaimed.  Roy and his wife Rose Wylie are part of that group.

Roy Oxlade Olympia's Trolley

Olympia’s Trolley, a 1989 work by Roy Oxlade

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/feb/28/roy-oxlade

All members of the group, which includes John Skinner, Gary Goodman and Georgia Hayes, paint in what could be described as a naive style.  The sort of paintings that attract the comment ‘my two year old could have done that.’.  And yet Rose Wylie won the much acclaimed John Moores Prize, so there has to be more to their work, which set me on a journey to discover what it is that I am not seeing.

Rose Wylie’s painting, called PVC Windows and Floorboards, has won the John Moores prize. Photograph: Walker Art Gallery

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/sep/19/rose-wylie-winner-john-moores-prize#img-1

Roy Oxlade studied at Goldsmiths in London, and was a student of David Bomberg for two years at the Borough Polytechnic. He received his PhD from the Royal College of Art. His PhD thesis was on David Bomberg and titled, Bomberg and the Borough: An Approach to Drawing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Oxlade

His writings in Art & Instinct are very readable and reveal a man completely dedicated to his art, art education and the practice of making art.  It also reveals a man frustrated with the art establishment, particularly what he calls ‘the BritArt  phenomenon’ 1, the power wielded by the few over the many.  He is also unashamedly outspoken with regard to artists he considers unworthy of their lauded position, ‘I have been unable ever to find anything of value in the work of Jackson Pollock.’ 2

I much admire his intellect and I am slowly being drawn into his way of viewing the world, with the hope that in doing so I will understand his, and this type of, work more comprehensively.

Writing about Rose Wylie he places her work in the context of Gaston Bachelard’s phenomenology, that ‘is the philosophical study of the structures of experience and consciousness’.3  On drawing a robin from life he explains ‘that she seems, without effort, .. to be able to give her total attention freshly, without prejudice, to whatever it is that attracts her eye and be totally absorbed by its unique qualities.  Knowledge – and this includes the background of art history as well as observation of the physical world – has been assimilated but somehow completely overtaken by the impact of the new experience.’  That feels like an almost a childlike departure from the world, as constructed, into an immersed world of now.  This total trance-like immersion may go some way to explaining the response to the immersion.  Interesting.

1 Art & Instinct 2010 p55

2 Art & Instinct 2010 p54

3 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenomenology_%28philosophy%29

Artists’ Practice – Griffin Gallery

The following artists all work in watercolour and are artists working with the Griffin Gallery in London, who run an annual Open competition.  Nearly all their artists have an MA.  This may be co-incidence, but maybe not.  I need to be on their radar.  I have started by following their twitter account and their curator Rebecca Pelly-Fry’s account.

Emilie Clark

Emilie Clark has inserted herself into the works and lives of Victorian women scientists and naturalists.

Treating her studio like a laboratory, she literally restages much of the research these women undertook. This accumulative process tends to turn the studio into an embodiment of each historical project she takes on. Transformation is one of the underlying connections across the projects—even before Emilie began working this way, her work had involved liminal states, things in the act of becoming, de-familiarizing and non-linear narratives, close observation and the questioning of categories. This investigative activity and her archival research and writing inform a practice that involves painting, drawing, installation and sculpture. The practices of these women and Emilie involve careful testing sustained empirical inquiry, structured interaction with daily life, and ultimately world building.

Exhibited at Griffin Gallery in Water + Colour in February 2014.

BORN 1969, San Francisco

EDUCATION

MA Fine Arts – Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, 2010

BA Fine Art – Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 1991

Laura Ball

Laura Ball’s works combine incredible her technical achievements in watercolour and an on-going part-psychoanalytical, part-environmental project she has explored over the last ten years. A recipient of numerous awards and grants, Ball has exhibited in galleries across the United States and internationally, and her work is in important private and public collections.

Exhibited at Griffin Gallery in Water + Colour in February 2014.

BORN 1972

EDUCATION

MFA – University of California, Berkeley, 2004

BS – University of California, Davis, 1995

Luke George and Elizabeth Rose

George and Rose are the winners of the Griffin Art Prize 2013.

George and Rose, who are both a couple and united artistic force, have investigated  the particular properties of the madder root and its use as an artists’ pigment. They have experimented with madder pigment development to create a new body of work that captures the physicality and explosive nature of the precipitation process.  Smoothly sanded gesso surfaces collide with violent splashes and drips of pink, red and brown, crystallised into intricate filigree patterns across the surface of the canvas. George and Rose have allowed the process and the material to dictate the direction of the work, yet taking control of the final product – much in the way Winsor & Newton have developed the unmatched Rose Madder pigment for over a hundred and fifty years.

This body of work is as much an exploration of history and tradition in colourmaking as it is a vision of the future – these two young and extraordinarily committed artists carry the canon of art history on their shoulders, but they wear it lightly, delicately picking their way through the stories of others to create a new vision of their own.

‘We see painting as a means to discovery.

The act of painting together allows us to create beyond ourselves, entailing that we relinquish our individual sense of control.  Through our practice we translate our shared experiences into a poetic visual language played out in painterly exchanges across the surface.

We use matter that forms a part of our heritage such as earth, plant and metal pigments, natural glues and gesso. We find the ritual of preparation important in that it allows us the opportunity to understand the properties of the medium prior to application.’

This image from their site really appeals http://lukegeorge-elizabethrose.com/new-gallery/z7btmqork6m2ynmovcpcrd0dc9tzdz

Solo exhibition at Griffin Gallery ‘Madder’ in September 2014.

EDUCATION

BA (Hons) Painting – City and Guilds of London Art School, 2013

Barbara Nicholls

studio

“My work operates across a broad range of artistic categories, employing a wide span of processes and techniques to address a number of engaging critical issues: questions of aesthetic form, surface and depth, chance and order, the handmade and the readymade, the archaeological and the cartographic, and the relations between work and play. My approach, both to the subject matter with which I engage and to its material rendition is allegorical or metaphorical, rather than literal or mimetic.The objects I produce be they primarily two dimensional or three dimensional forms, may thus be regarded as translations or complex developments with their own internal logic, structures which have, to a considerable degree, moved away from their original sources whilst nonetheless connecting to them through inference and analogy.

An individual work can display several, apparently contradictory methods of “inscription”, of technical know-how within its frame: drawing, painting, routing, folding and unfurling, tracing and tracking, sanding down and sharpening up. The result may be a multilayered, overly physical cluster of densely packed substances or, conversely, something minimal, neatly stripped down.

More recently since 2011 I have exclusively used watercolour on paper. These works continue established themes of geology, mapping and topography. The watercolour paint settles onto the thick sheets of paper creating a geological terrain, climate and topography of paint and ground. They are in part investigations into the scientific properties of watercolour whilst also being instinctive reactions to the process of using watercolour. The paintings are poured, cajoled, blown and left alone to become records of colourful events reflecting the relationship between myself and the materials.”

Exhibited at Griffin Gallery in Water + Colour in February 2014.

EDUCATION

Doctorate in Fine Art – University of East London, London, 2006

MA Fine Art – University of East London, London, 1998

BA (Hons) Fine Art – Goldsmiths College, 1986

From her web site:

My Approach

I take as my point of departure systems of archaeological and geographical mapping, accumulations and isolated portions of material remains, the convoluted territorial alignments of the city (its physicality and historical layering), and the malleability of the actual materials out of which my work is made. I draw upon a substantial (though not arbitrary) armoury of technical processes and devices, bringing these together so as to produce works of a coherent yet open nature which ask that the viewer respond to them in an active and engaged way.

An individual work can display several, apparently contradictory methods of “inscription”, of technical know-how within its frame: drawing, painting, routing, folding and unfurling, tracing and tracking, sanding down and sharpening up. The result may be a multilayered, overly physical cluster of densely packed substances or, conversely, something minimal, neatly stripped down. My works might sometimes be better described as “accumulations” rather than as conventional paintings; they are certainly situated somewhere between or adjacent to conventionally established categories, this hybrid status being one of their most intriguing and seductive features.

More recently since 2011 I have exclusively used watercolour on paper. These works continue established themes of geology, mapping and topography. The watercolour paint settles onto the thick sheets of paper creating a geological terrain, climate and topography of paint and ground. They are in part investigations into the scientific properties of watercolour whilst also being instinctive reactions to the process of using watercolour. The paintings are poured, cajoled, blown and left alone to become records of colourful events reflecting the relationship between myself and the materials. Through the long process of evaporation, sometimes with the assistance of a breeze from an electric fan, this systematised use of colour mixed with a chance element merges colours to create a soft blending of geographies.

Isabella Nazzarri

Isabella Nazzarri creates ambiguous and abstract paintings obsessively “feeding from images and retaining a memory of them”. She gets her inspiration from a wide range of different types of images, and works around the idea of mutation, in their depiction and in their meaning.

Exhibited at Griffin Gallery in Surfacing in October 2013.

EDUCATION

Visual Art & Painting – Brera Fine Art Academy, Milan, 2014

BA Painting, Drawing and Photography – Florence Fine Art Academy, Florence, 2011

Kim McCarty

Like blurry afterimages drifting past closed eyelids, Kim McCarty’s watercolours hover between presence and absence, innocence and wisdom, and past, present, and future. Working rapidly, at times using only a single colour and at others a haunting, bruise-inspired palette of acid yellows, greens, and browns, McCarty’s portraits evoke the sense of uncertainty, ambivalence, anxiety, and loss with which we view today’s generation.

Exhibited at Griffin Gallery in Water + Colour in February 2014.

BORN 1956, Los Angeles, US

EDUCATION

MFA – University of California, Los Angeles, 1988

BFA – Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA, 1980

I found Marzena Lavrilleux on twitter

French.  This painting has an edginess that reminds me of Raymond Hains’ work.

a cup of coffee

a cup of coffee, acrylic and collage on canvas, 97 cm x 130 cm

http://www.marzena.fr/en/my-paintings-2015.php

All these artists have a contemporary connection with their materials.  I need to let this seep into my unconscious.