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Self Portrait – Rembrandt – c1630

Print Making: is the process of transferring an original image from one surface to another repeatedly.  Prints are distinguished from paintings and drawings by having multiple originals, which are the products of creating multiples from one block or plate or stencil.  This is done by the artist’s own hands, or by those of an assistant, from a drawing, which is then signed and numbered when finished.

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Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – Durer

They are produced in Editions – the edges must show, by courtesy, and all notation done in pencil.  After the Edition is run the artist should destroy the original plate, block or stencil – but Second and Third Editions can be made if noted as such.  The First Editions are more valuable than the following ones.  This method can also be used for Cast Sculptures, where several of one piece are cast, then numbered accordingly – 1/4 is first of four cast.  Proofs can be taken during stages and labelled as such, then the artist makes appropriate adjustments.  There occur naturally, discrepancies from print to print which adds to their individuality.  (These are separate from photo reproductions of art prints, which can be signed by artists, numbered and sold.)

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Lino Cutting for Print Making

Intaglio: is the area of the print laying below the surface, created by etching and engraving.
Etching:  is done by acid biting into an exposed area on a copper, zinc, or aluminium plate, the resulting grooves of which are filled with ink.
Engraving:  is more spontaneous, scratching directly onto the plate which is softer – wood, copper, perspex, steel – then also filling the grooves with ink.  Damp paper is placed on the plate then rolled through a press.
Relief:  lino or wood cut – ink on the surface then printed.
Serigraph:  is screen printing onto paper or material, with different inks for each revealed layer.  The screen can be blocked with lacquer, paper; and printed with a squeegee or sponge.
Mono Prints:  has ink or paint manipulated by hand-held tools (brush, sponge) on the plate (metal, glass, perspex), then paper placed on top to print.  It’s possible to get two copies from one plate, but the second will be a lot lighter and less textured.
Lithograph or Planograph:  has the area to be printed on the same level as the non-printed area.  It’s the oil and water don’t mix principle, where grease is used to repel the ink.

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Printmaking on the Prairies – Cornerstone

Printing has linked with Craft, Graphic Art, and Commercial Art.  But it can be Fine Art, as its origins and evolutions go hand in hand with the discoveries in drawing and painting.  Since the earliest times man has been engraving on stones, antlers, and hides, for religion or ornamentation.  Egyptians etched contours on walls, pillars, obelisks, then coloured them in.  In the 15th Century, Durer included printing into  Fine Arts – he discovered the Renaissance theories in Italy and took them back home, did many engravings, etchings and woodcuts, and sold them.  It was a way of getting multiple prints to the general public.

William Blake, Goya, and Lautrec experimented with printing to show  the times as they were.  Blake coloured his prints, turning some prints into paintings.  Goya was a master print-maker, creating a series of engraved prints – of disasters of war, bull fights, man’s folly, and the dark side of man.  Because of their flat planes, and beautiful shapes, the Japanese print-makers has a strong influence on the Impressionist artists.

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Japanese woodblock print

Jud House  18/10/2016

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History of Graphic Design Timeline – Austin Northcutt

Graphic Art: based on drawing as opposed to painting, is parallel to fine art.  it is more linear, and includes printmaking techniques.  Design is the orderly arrangement of shapes and the composition into a unified whole.

Graphic Design: (Commercial Art) is a discipline of this century – with chemical pigments, computers, cameras, movie cameras, photocopying, montage – the using of mechanical aids.  It is the use of art commercially, with a clear way of communication – ‘What you see is what you get!’ – with no doubt as to the message.  It is closely linked with advertising.

William Morris was the founder of Graphic Art, bringing function together with aesthetics.  Between the Wars, the Bauhaas School was formed, to bring art and industry together, to show the importance of functional design.  The students learned the skills of both art and industry, e.g. to give aesthetics to chairs.  In 1936, before WWII, it disbanded in Germany to go to the safety of Switzerland and the U.S.A.

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Art and Craft of Printing – William Morris

Graphic Art is information conveyed without a doubt.  It is involved with 2D imagery, and includes film, posters, billboards, magazines, photos – in fact any still image on a 2D surface.  It is a 2D media.  Graphic Art is the visual media of advertising, highly dependent on the illustration or image and lettering or typography, e.g. a cartoon is Graphic Art, as graphic illustration is usually narrative.  Sometimes they need words as well as images to help put across the message.

16th Century book designers were the first real Graphic artists.  With the onset of literacy for the populace books were needed, and scribes produced these, not merely pages of words, but aesthetically pleasing pages.  The development of the printing press was a further jump – placing words on the pages with borders, taking care of the shapes of the letters.

The two major areas of Graphic Art are illustration and typography.

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White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland – illustrated by John Tenniel

Illustration: is not so much the technique, but the intentions – often linear, painted descriptively, and/or narratively.  It is when picture images are used for conveying specific information – Norman Rockwell illustrated the covers of the Saturday Post.  Methods used include painting, drawing, computer graphics, photos, or film, and can be kinetic – all to create art in the commercial sense.

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Saturday Evening Post covers -Norman Rockwell 

It used to be used to illustrate the written word, e.g. Egyptian entombing pictures, Greek pictures of healing herbs.  Romans illustrated aquaducts and architecture with perfect perspective, yet their frescos and mosaics didn’t use it.  In the Middle Ages, prayer books (psalters) were illustrated with informative images.  Leonardo drew pictures (of helicopters) where no words were available.  Early illustration used woodblock prints (Durer), then on to etching and printmaking.  In the 17th Century the Japanese produced multi-coloured woodcuts, which were adapted by the French Impressionists in the 19th Century.

The 20th Century Graphic artists made use of cameras, films, videos, lithography, compasses, rulers, photocopiers, and computers to help with the clarity of the detail.  They also had the availability of chemically produced pigments such as Cobalt Blue and Cadmium Red.  Each page has a visual impact of its own, but is allied to the page beside it.

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Chinese Characters with Pictures

Lettering:  In the Dark Ages hand printing or copying was done by monks.  In the 20th Century, between the Wars, there was more awareness of typography, of the quality of the words and letters themselves – e.g. curvilinear letters and style for love letters, typed letters for complaints, scribbled letters for shopping lists.  The quality of the written letters imparts feelings.  The Japanese and Chinese created their characters of calligraphy to have a quality of visual as well as for meaning.  Oriental calligraphic idiograms are called Characters: Egyptians calligraphic idiograms are called Glyphs.  The visual aspect of letters imparts a content – varying widths, spacing, curvilinear or rectilinear are all taken into account.  The letters are seen as shapes to be used as an artistic element in the design.  The art element of letters is manipulated when words are created visually.

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NewModern Typeface Design – Sawdust

Jud House  17/10/2016

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Neo-Dada was considered a hybrid, as it brought painting and sculpture together – linking the art of Cubist collages with constructivism.  It was a freedom in visual arts, where the work could be both 2D and 3D – e.g. with the image painted, then a shelf pit in front of it, with sculpture inside – a combination of relief collages and assemblages, with subject matter being of every day things and experiences.  Neo-Dada was for the exploration of art, and its re-creation for the world.  Johns and Rauschenberg worked together, sharing a studio for a while, aware of the art all around them, and mixing it with the traditional.

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Flag Complementary Colours – Johns – Corpse and Mirror II

Jaspar Johns:  painted a flag in green, orange and black, which when stared at gave an after-image of the red, blue and white flag.  He built up his works in encaustic (beeswax plus pigment) onto his canvases, instead of carving away, to give a texture and form to his work.  Assemblages, optical illusions, frottage, use of stencils, graphic art, fine art, crazy art, all brought together in his works.  He was often linked to Pop Art, as he was concerned with flat images, maps, flags, and numbers on paintings.  In the sixties, he included extraneous materials, e.g. knives, forks, stuck on, dangling off, as he attempted to create a new relationship between art and life – when does art end and life begin?  He produced sculptures, lithographs, sets and costumes for the ballet, working in 2D and 3D art.

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Charlene – Rauschenberg – 1954

Robert Rauschenberg:  also added objects to canvas, and called them combines – to blur the line between art and life.  He was also linked to Pop Art, drawing from daily life and media.  He used more ambiguous and painterly techniques, using paint medium more, and although he still had shock value in Dada, he had less silliness.  He brought to his works life’s unpredictable complexities, by ensuring that his works were hung in the right places to be seen properly – by motorising it, it needed to be near a power outlet, making it actually more complex.  He showed variations on Cubist collage, through Surrealism to Dada, and back again.

There has been a link drawn from Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art, through the works of Johns and Rauschenberg.  They both showed an interest in the treatment of the picture surface plane which is something that has been evolving from Manet, to Cubism to Abstraction.

POP ART (Popular Art)

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Elvis Presley – print on canvas – Warhol

Pop Art is still with us in heart if not in art.  Johns and Rauschenberg lacked the commitment to the whole acceptance of the urban popular culture, unique to post WWII, that signified Pop Art.  Its manifestations were constantly changing, everything had to be new, promoting the idea of transience.  Although it originated in England, it grew in America due to the extra affluence of the latter.  Also this occurred because it was vulgar, transient, expendable, witty, sexy, gimmicky, and glamorous – all totally superficial, which the Americans loved.

It was in films, ready-mades, magazines, posters all used this form of art – painting, screen-printing, sculpture, assemblages, were all used to create this art that was in and out of fashion like clothes were.  It was often commercial – art made to sell to a vulgar society.  It reflected life in the fast lane, and current urban life.  It was very effective, it communicated, it was superficial, it was surface decoration.  The artists never attempted to justify it.  The good thing about it was that it returned to the image.  (Photo Realism and Romantic Realism also developed at this time).  it was not so much a movement as a tendency, with many artists appearing and disappearing.

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Grevy’s Zabra – Warhol – Green Coca-Cola Bottles

Andy Warhol:  baffled critics and public alike by his success, whcih he made, along with his lifestyle, as art-form in itself.  he was his own work of art, he consciously personified Pop Art.  But he also had artistic talent – he could paint, draw, sculpt, and make screen-prints.  He employed helpers in factories, he made film and stage sets, he made personalities.  To be seen with him was to be IN.  His skill and influence on the art world stopped him being a con.  he sued startling colour and visual energy, was a graphic artist, and was genuine.  He had the ability of “turning the mediocre into the profitable”.  He was a manipulator of society, rock bands, gossip columns, gossip magazines, rumour, and urban cultural society in general.  He and his life-style was just a facade, and he was very powerful within his strata.  He was a product of his affluent time and took advantage of it.  He was pretentious.

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Project 2 Vector Art – Lichtenstein

Roy Lichtenstein:  was more serious in his approach to art.  He began by painting great American historical events.  Then he worked comic book art and advertising art up into fine art – using tiny dots that comprised the photo image (as Seurat did with colour in Pointillism), and creating visual images with them on a larger scale.  Sometimes he took segments of a comic book image and blew them up so that his work was a design rather than a s comic image.  He used the qualities of design, the rhythms within design, and linear treatments, working with them and the concept of abstraction to communicate in an abstract manner.  The working of the painting and the subject matter were of very little importance – but the satire and public comment was.

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Man swimming on the banks of the Thames – Oldenburg

Claus Oldenburg:  had a great sense of humour.  His sculpture reflects it, creating surprise on the perceptions of the viewers by presenting the acceptable in an unacceptable way, e.g. furry cup and saucer.  He made the viewer contemplate smooth versus rough, hard versus soft.  He delighted in organic contours, creating not so much the art of the con rather than the art as fun.

Pop Art accepted and approved of all art, artifacts (even Tupperware, and comics).  Anything plastic was good.  If it were popular then it was valid –  Art could be made out of it. It explored the good and the bad of the fact and fantasy of life.

NB:  If you choose to quote from this blog please cite its URL in your Bibliography.

Jud House   12/10/2016

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From 1945 onwards the art scene shifted from Europe to America, as a result of the damage done during World War II, and the emigration of artists,some of whom took the Bauhaas school to Chicago.  They produced a new universal style, with great variety, of which the characteristics were hard to define, or label into schools or styles.  Artists evolved, with facets of art going in and out of style quickly.

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Transverse Line – Kandinsky

In New York, the art scene was trendy and nouveau riche – it was the thing to suggest that art was ‘new, radical and exciting’, or that it was ‘passe’.  Socially there was a constant changing of lifestyle due to returned soldiers – home loans, mortgages, college studies all being the influential thing to be or do.  There was very good and very bad art at the time, with many fashions – e.g. Op Art, Pop Art, Hard Edge Abstraction, Post-Painterly Abstraction, Hyperrealism, and Conceptual Art.  Cultural traditions and fine art coming to New York evolved into a plastic culture – Neo-Dada and Pop Art were inevitable artistic expression with a specific relationship to life.

Abstract Expressionism: was a direct descendant of all abstraction from Van Gogh, and including Surrealism (non-figurative), Dada, theories on Automatism and Chance developments – the development of creative intuition.  The centre of the Art World was wrenched away from Paris to New York, mainly because of money – art SOLD in America.  Suburbs were spreading creating a relationship between the suburbs and the city – people went to galleries to buy paintings to go in their new houses.  there were good jobs and good money.

It was art like Abstract Expressionism that was trendy, new and saleable, and therefore sought after.  The affluence of the New York society ensured it was important, with the economic boom seeing artists as viable investments.  Also sophisticates were looking for something exciting.  It was a time of pure materialism – with the development of the art manager.

Image result for pollock artistThe Key – Pollock

Abstract Expressionism can be broken into two avenues:
1. Action Painting – was usually non-representational, though not always.
2. Colourfield – was almost always non-representational.


It was the first American art movement to dominate the world – energetic explosions on the canvas, with no recognisable subject except in De Kooning figures.  It was the action of the painting that was important, not the finished work.  The act of painting rather than the finished work, which the artist considered as dead, completed.  It developed from the improvisational drawings of Dada, with its automation and ambiguous space.  It incorporated Expressionism, Figurative and Non-Figurative Abstraction – influenced by the ideas of Kandinsky, Klee, and Miro.

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Drip Painting – Pollock

Jackson Pollock:  created the idea of the overall composition in which he never intended to have a central focal image.  The creation of art was to extend beyond the canvas, and to create unity between the artist and his communication.  he lost himself in his art – he lived in it.  His thick application had a textural interest.  he moved around on the canvas which covered the floor, flicking paint, pouring paint, sitting amongst it, walking across it.  When he considered it finished he cut it up, stretched it onto frames and sold it.  He was influenced by Picassos, Surrealists, as well as a Mexican Realist, Orozco.

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Excavation – De Kooning

Willem De Kooning:   was a house painter and carpenter, who transferred draftsman lines into a painterly gesture.  He recorded the idea of creation and changes of mind by tracing the inspiration as it came.  He drew with his paint brush, with the mind changes visible.  He was influenced by Ongre (a Realist), Picasso, and Miro.  He preferred the female figure to painting still lifes, and always  tried to keep in touch with his image.  Despite this, he’s considered an action painter because of the recording of the changes of mind.  His works were characterised by bold brushwork and spontaneity.


They are sometimes called Abstract Imagists, as they focus on a single image, which could be line of colour that they blow up to produce fields of colour.  These are devised to fill the field of the viewer’s vision.  They produced a broad overall design or simple colour on very large canvases.

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PH-21 – Still

Clyfford Still:  was an art history teacher, who believed that artists should realise their own vision.  He gave a sense of rough energy, almost volcanic, with strong visual impact in thick pigment.  The contours appear eaten away creating a sense of power.  He developed from Surrealism to Colourfield, but was always an independent.

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Colourfield Paintings – Rothko

Mark Rothko:  favoured a simple expression of a complex thought.  He simplified back to geometric areas of colour, particularly rectangles, often with them bleeding into each other.  It was a logical progressions from Mondrian.  He attempted with scale and use of colour to overcome and involve the spectator, so they would lose themselves in the work.  He played on the psychological effect of colour on the viewer.

NB: If you choose to quote from this blog please cite its URL in your Bibliography.

Jud House   11/10/2016

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Family Group 1949 – Moore

Sculpture is a 3D object in space – the amount of space it displaces is its volume, the sense of solidity or bulk is its mass.  It should invite tactile examination, inspection, interaction.  The material chosen accordingly for its texture or feel – it is as important as its size, colour, imagery.  Its size gives it strong impact, due to its 3D nature.  Sculpture relates to life, more so than painting.  It is often made life-size, and occupies the 3rd Dimension as we do.  It can only relate to sculpture or art not to reality – not to what it represents, its structure (the muscle and flesh of the person or animal).

In the 20th Century  the sculptural elements were revolutionised – artists looked at materials, methods, and imagery, then changed them.  Mass and texture were changed by the modern materials now available – glass, plastic, perspex, sheet metal.  Even soft sculptures were created using padded or stuffed pantihose/tights turned into grandmas and grandpas sitting in rocking chairs.

Volume was changed by the use of the void, which allowed space to be sculpted, space defined by the solid contours of mass.  There was the development of the sculpting of the void, and the fact that the space created by the void altered the weight of the sculpture.

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The Family of Man – Hepworth

The space occupied by a piece of sculpture, whether static, mechanized, motorized, affects the space it displaces – allowing the sculpture to interact with the air around it.  In modern sculpture the whole concept of energy, time, movement, and space becomes a part of the work as does it imagery, material, structure and method.

In the Middle Ages, sculptures were human, animal or organic imagery.  In the 20th Century, sculptures were just abstract shapes, with no narrative, no definition, no moral tale, no symbolism, no representational imagery.  They were just pleasing organic, geometric, or linear shapes.  Traditional materials in sculpture were clay (modelled), wood (carved), metal (cast), and stone (carved).  The modern sculptures used these, plus plastic, perspex, sheet metal, aluminium, nylon threads – materials that were soft or supple or both.  They mixed the media, which was a combination of the above.

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Vertebrae – Moore

They extended collage into assemblage in Cubism.  In the 20th Century they assembled by welding, gluing, nailing, screwing.  The greatest invention was the void – it gave a whole new element, which was used aesthetically rather than functionally – it defined work in new idiom.

Electrification was a new element or dimension – to make sounds, music, songs; they could move, whizz, buzz, pop – they could interact with their space, and constantly change their visual aspect, therefore stimulating the viewer to be active.  Concepts and theories of beauty changed – replaced by the 20th Century artists to reflect the quantum leaps by man in society during the turn of the century.

The Greeks and Romans saw beauty as apart from life, while the 20th Century artists saw beauty as involved with life.  Some of their works were figurative, some cast in bronze, some carved from stone.  But now artists had the choice to create the way they wished.  There were Formal investigations done in 20th Century Sculpture.

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Mademoiselle Pogany – Brancusi

Constantine Brancusi: was a Romanian, with a unique understanding of materials.  He simplified his subjects by abstracting to the limits in order to give the essence of the subject by eliminating all distracting details.  He practised ‘truth to material’, as did Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth – that is, what might look bad in wood, might look great in bronze.  Brancusi considered the oval as a natural form, and explored the use of the ovoid shape in his art, working through in series, often on one theme through different degrees of abstraction to the simple oval.  He progressed from Romantic naturalism to Abstraction, to elemental shapes.

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Pelagos 1946  – Hepworth – Wave 1943-44

Barbara Hepworth:  was a British carver, who with her complex ideas created a sculptural vocabulary.  She created works from the changing axis, swellings and varied sections of tree trunks to produce abstract forms of masses and planes – pure abstraction dictated by the essence of the material.  In PELAGOS (1946) she stretched musical instrument strings across a void to create tension within the work.  She was sensitive to the material’s qualities and allowed it to dictate the creation of the sculpture rather than force it to conform to a preconceived idea.  She investigated ‘absence’ in sculptures as much as ‘presence’, and believed that sculptures were of the landscape and needed to be outdoors in the landscape, the air, the clouds, to be seen at their best – not shut away in Museums.

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Nuclear Energy;  Large Torso;  Large Standing Figure – Moore

Henry Moore: was a carver, with most of his works carved.  He also worked in ‘truth to material’ mode, and emerged as a major sculptor.  He evolved through Surrealism and Constructivism to create a highly personal style that blends power and humanism.  He used power and vitality – not just reproducing the image but showing the power and vitality of life.  He preferred the female figure as reclining nudes, and mother and child motifs, for fertility, using solid masses with voids to accentuate the volume and reveal its thickness and mass.  The voids let the viewer see through the sculpture, and view the landscape behind as part of the work.  This allowed the sculpture to interact with its surroundings.  When he worked in wood he made his shapes very biomorphic, following the grain and growth of the wood.  When he worked in stone he created more static works, while his works in metal and bronze he retained a sense of fluidity of the molten metal.

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Sculpture and Walking – Giacometti

Alberto Giacometti:  was a modeller, using elongated figures, and was concerned with movement and space.  He was a Surrealist sculptor and referred to the human anatomy and compact mass, but they had a transparent quality due to their elongation.  He used the human body as a symbol for inner emptiness of life, of mankind.  He used the inspiration of the deep level of the subconscious – reality beyond what we see, but within.  His works appear like ‘Icons in a mirage.’

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Musical Instruments – Lipchitz – Cubism Figure

Jacques Lipchitz:  exploited the surface quality of bronze – he cast his works, and was a Cubist sculptor.  His works were aligned to 2D Cubist space and planes, but were in 3D, with no single point of view, but with Cubist multiple planes.  3D works of art are the sum of all their sides.  They have no specific point of view – no front or back.

If you choose to quote from this please cite its URL in your Bibliography.

Jud House    10/10/2016

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The Futurists were all concerned with movement in art – real or implied. The 20th Century was seen as highly mobile, socially, on every level – activity, noise, vibrations in life.  Manifestos were written 1909 and 1912 for Futurism, which closed in about 1920.  Futurism is strongly related to Cubism and Divisionalism, and to the use of the camera.

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Blue Dancer – Severini – 1912

It started in Italy in the cities of Milan and Turin, which were highly individualised in the turn of the century.  There was an artistic revolt against the static nature of  art – hung on a wall, stood on a pedestal.  They wanted to replace that immobility with a reference to the movement and mechanism of their industrial cities.

They were very expressive, with an effort to be modern.  They wished to show the beauty of movement, of speed, the excitement in crowds, trains rolling and puffing steam, generating vibrations of movement and excitement.  They wished to show the beauty of  the labour of men, plus the pleasure of the sense of rebellion, and the joy about the various revolutions going on in Art.

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The Cyclist – Natalia Goncharova – 1913

Futurism was an attempt to bring art to the machine age, trying to express artistically man’s movement through time and space, and the mechanics of the age.  They were influenced by Seurat and Divisionalism.  They saw the inter-relation and inter-reaction of planes of volume, of light and colour, of different view-points (the influence of Cubism), plus were influenced by the camera, the cinema, movies made by quickly flickering still photos.  They superimposed shapes one over the other – Duchamp’s NUDE DESCENDING A STAIRCASE (movement through time and space).

Gino Severini was strongly influenced by Cubist theories.  He created movement with the colour.  The Futurists emphasised lines of force to create a sense of after-image.  Giacomo Balla depicted speed itself – he was interested in the movement of the dog, rather than the image of the dog. Umberto Boccioni talked about modernism, but his works were based on traditional means.

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Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash – Balla

They called themselves Futurists because they wanted to create art for the future – man’s transience in nature, importance of machinery in man’s life – to become more animated, more automotive.  Some of their subjects were: cars, trains, busy streets, bicycles, automobiles, a cascade of people.  Their titles usually included words like: speed, force, dynamism – to express the idea of movement itself.  Futurists influenced others in their era, with an ideal to represent movement in art.

OPTICAL ART – KINETIC ART – was that which really produced movement in art, particularly in sculpture (Calder’s mobiles).  It was art in motion, created with very modern materials: plastics, strobe-lights, machinery (whizz, pop, bang), and used sound and music.  Their purpose was to produce an unlimited variation of pattern, and to produce an active response from the spectator.  They definitely brought movement into art.  (Brancusi’s FISH was a motorised sculpture on a pedestal).

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The White Face – Calder – painted sheet metal, rod, wire.

Alexander Calder: an American, put his emphasis on mass, on movement in space, and airy light shapes. He created space, time and movement with his mobiles – Duchamp gave them the name, mobiles, Calder had called them Space-cages.  He was an engineer and a blacksmith, and introduced sculpture that actually moved, via air currents, hand-cranking, or electrification.  He was aware of welding techniques.

His shapes were often abstract, geometric, influenced by Miro, Arp, and Mondrian.  From Mondrian he got the primary colours, from Arp the use of organic shapes, and from Miro the use of the surreal and whimsical.  He used modern materials such as sheet metal, wire, and created special realms of fantasy and play, which we unique to humans.  His work was considered Kinetic – it really  moves (actual movement).

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Eagle (Seattle) – Calder

Optical Art appears to move – is implied or simulated movement, based on the perception of the viewer.  It gives the illusion of movement while the painting is actually static.  Op Art continued the research of the Impressionists into light and colour.  It leaves the world of nature to go into non-representational imagery.  It is based on the unique manipulation of perspective and colour relationships.  They wanted to explore the possibility of human perception, of looking at the psychological response to colour (Seurat and Kandinsky), and reactions to linear configurations (Seurat and Mondrian).  They wanted to extend the visual sensations of sight and how we see things move.  Op Art is Formal rather than expressive.

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Painting – Calder – Screenprint

Victor Vasarely:  was Hungarian, who activates the paintingg surface by meticulous manipulation of colour and shape in a Formal and technically expert way.  He used geometric shapes, tonal balance, contrastinb colours, creating ambiguous directions in his work.  He was considered the originator of OP ART.  He created the illusions of tensions – animated stillness.

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OP ART – Vasarely – Sign sculpture (Hungary)

Jacob (Yaakov) Agam:   developed art which the spectator had to move around, to shift their viewpoints, to create a continual change (virtual movement by viewer).

Bridget Riley:  was British and the sensation of the 60’s.  She analysed Pointillism, bent-line perspective, positive force, violent turbulence, and the illusions created by these.  She worked out the designs on small pieces of paper, then when it worked she transferred the design onto the large canvas, and her assistants painted it with her carefully mixed colours.

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Dizengoff Square Fountain – Agam;  Bridget Riley in front of her work 1968

NB: If you choose to quote from this blog please cite its URL in your Bibliography.

Jud House   6/10/2016

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SURREALISM – 1924 ->

This is still practiced today by contemporary artists by replicating real nature to get unrealistic impact.  They aimed to allow the imagination to come forward through work.  It causes the viewer to be active, by sending them in different directions in the same work.

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The Sun Sets Sail – Rob Gonsalves

Artistically, Surrealism is pure psychic automatism through which the real function of thought is expressed.  It is a level of reality which isn’t tangible, but is still real.  Dreams, imaginings, thought processes are real though you can’t touch them.

It promotes the idea of chance painting, automatic drawing, expressing the real function of thought – completely uncontrolled expression of thought, independent of moral or aesthetic limitations.  There are no longer worries about rules, or whether it’s artistic – it is a whole new level of reality, a new plane of artistic existence for the artists – unencumbered by reason.  Cubist, Impressionist, Fauvist and even Neo-Plasticist artists were all heading in this direction – freedom from rules.

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1949(?) – Memory of a Journey – Magritte – 1955

Surrealism is a direct descendant from Dada – grew out of Dada.  They attempted to establish a new approach to art and life – chances didn’t have to be ignored, psychic coincidences, mental states, and dreams were all part of life.  They used the incorrect logic of the mad-man.  Childhood realities were investigated, as were dreams – they also experimented with these things – the unreal sense of the dream landscape.

The Surrealists recognised that  subconscious thought patterns were very real.  Metaphysical levels were investigated – Gods, etc were on different planes – there was a reality beyond the five senses – and different dimensions.  They were aware of SciFi beliefs and metaphysics – the scientific side of SciFi.  There was also Freud’s psychoanalysis of people’s psyche.  (Body language nowadays).  It opened up new realms, new interpretations of new realities, of the inner world and our inner selves.

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House Angel (Triumph of Surrealism) – Max Ernst

Surrealism appears to be the artistic visual interpretation of subconscious – we look at the artist’s imagination, emotions, thought patterns – automatic drawing.  Surrealism could be drug or alcohol induced, but not necessarily.  The Surrealists wanted to shock and broaden the public’s mind.  Fantasy is make believe – Surrealism is very believable, touching on realities.

Influenced by Kandinsky’s loss of image, development of abstraction freed the artist from needing image as Cubism freed them from a 3D image, Dada from specific standards, and Futurists from the sense of immobility.  The artists had all the traditional academic rules broken, and were completely free to work on their art in whatever style they chose, and to use artistic elements in their own way.  The artist dictated the rules.

Surrealism took two avenues – highly Abstract, and Figurative with startling clarity.

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The Disquieting Muse – De Chirico – Geometric comp. with factory landscape

Giorgio De Chirico:  was the founder of Surrealism, was a strong inspiration to Tanguy and Magritte, and produced both Figurative and Abstract Surrealistic works.  He used strong perspective, chiaroscuro modelled gently with values, rigid architecture, unexpected objects clashing to create troubled atmosphere.  Everything within his works was ever so slightly off, with metaphysical interiors symbolising the inner labyrinth of man.  He usually had trains somewhere in his paintings.  After the 1930’s he reverted to academic paintings.

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This is not a pipe – Magritte – The Philosopher’s Lamp

Rene Magritte:  painted Figuratively with conscious procedure, rather than by chance, with juxtaposition of everyday objects – subjects that stir uneasy feelings.  His titles reinforce his message.  He explored words as visual stimuli for paintings, he used words as symbols – “This is not a pipe”.  He used them arbitrarily.

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Indefined Divisibility – Tanguy – Melt

Yves Tanguy:  saw the realities of the intuitive world, Abstract Surrealism. He used traditional means to express feelings of anxiety and unease (traced back to Munch) – Surrealism personified.  It unnerved and attracted the viewer.  he used spectral forms occupying real space – spacial recession with unreal occupants.

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Carnival of Harlequin – Miro – Woman with Birds

Joan Miro:  used a mixture of Abstract, Dada and Surrealism.  He often worked in collage, he simplified shapes to mere curvilinear suggestions – organic and geometric shapes, using bright primary colours and black.  He created spontaneous works with the brush leading the hand instead of the other way around.  He appreciated the philosophy of the Surrealists, while creating works that were very simple, naive, and sincere.

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Melting Watch – Dali

Salvador Dali:  was an ideal Surrealist – his whole lifestyle was Surreal.  He produced sets for theatres, movies, a 3D Art Room, paintings – he took Surrealism into everything, and was interested in Cubism, Futurism and Metaphysics.  His early works were traditional and skillful, realistic techniques, replicating nature – works relating to the natural world.  He began working with elements of form to create works that were startling. He was influenced by Leonardo, producing works from clouds, etc.  He produced a visual association between unrelated objects.  He was considered a Figurative Surrealist.  Some of his shapes transmute from the real to the unreal, he creates frenzied patterns or minute correct detail, with an ideal sense of space.  he was an excellent draftsman, and showmanship was part of his art.

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Galatea of the spheres – Dali – 1952

NB:  If you choose to quote from this blog please cite its URL in your Bibliography.

Jud House  5/10/2016

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