Trip to Rome
Upon Lucrezia's recommendation I went to T293 Gallery in Rome to see the Isabella Ducrot exhibition. Upon entering the gallery there were 3 large tapestry-esque wall hangings that were made of multimedia papers that had been attached with stitching, and glue to make these very contemporary scenes that were reminiscent of medieval illuminated manuscripts. The tanned material reminded me of the animal hyde that was used to make illuminated manuscripts. I was interested to see how the artist had installed the wall hangings so that they fall onto the floor and into the viewers space. I thought it emphasised the work's materiality as a textile or tapestry rather than a painting or collage. The way there was almost a frame within the boarders of the rectangular shape that was in the shape of an arch emphasised the work's story telling quality. The figures on every tapestry appear to be coming out of that arch, and are not confined to it which made the figures come into the foreground and into the viewers space, despite their 2 dimensionality.
This installation really caught my attention and made me consider how my paintings could be displayed and on what fabric they could be made. This installation had an airy, translucent quality and the pattern which had been printed on the fabric based on a painting was overwhelming in combination with its scale. It was hung like a curtain and it was interesting to the view the pieces that had been hung traditionally on the walls with this statement in the centre of the gallery. I wonder if for future work if I could make my paintings feel more fluid like this material and less flat.
It was a special moment to see the Caravaggio paintings that I have written about for years in person for the first time at the Church of S. Luigi dei Francesi. There was this moment when I realised there were cold beams of white light shining on the opposite paintings and I realised I had artificially mimicked that exact effect on my most recent painting a week before. I had never seen these paintings in person and had only ever seen photographs of them online where they have been taken from a head on perspective which is not possible for an ordinary visitor to achieve as there is a barrier in front of the niche. It makes me think about how the subconscious can come through in painting. Maybe I had seen images like these ones I took of the paintings in their niches before with these beams of natural light and this idea came through unconsciously in my painting? It was also here that I saw one of Caravaggio's embedded self portraits that I have taken an interest in since my undergraduate degree.
Visit to Mark Fairnington's Studio
Before my visit to Mark Fairnington's studio I was very hesitant to explore photoshop. I always thought photoshop suited more contemporary or rather "less traditional" styles of painting, as when I have seen paintings in the past that are based on photoshop I find it to be quite obvious or that they want you to know they are digitally constructed. However, seeing how Mark was able to use photoshop in a way that didn't seem so graphic or obvious was really exciting to me, and I went home and tried playing with it on my phone. I think that hyperrealism as a painting style can often seem cold or distant depending on the subject, but Mark's manipulation of elements that occur in nature made me perceive it in a new light. His tree/figure-like forms were so believable yet unbelievable at the same time, so they took on this element of mystery and uncanniness. The painting I was most drawn to was the one with the grey stormy sky and the the yellow foreground. The form of the tree shape seemed figurative in its treatment, and seemed like something out of a dream. I made a direct comparison to a Aleah Chapin's paintings that share this sort of atmospheric uncertainty, in that they look like they could be real but they also come across as distinctly unreal.
Perspectives Project UK
Whilst researching contemporary artists who make work about mental health, I came across a platform called the Perspectives Project UK. It is a charitable online platform that seeks to connect and represent artists who make art about mental health with the goal of fighting the stigma surrounding mental illness. The platform features work by artists that explore this topic and there are several artists that have been interviewed about their practice and about their experience dealing with mental health issues. The works range from abstract to realism and feature written works such as poems. From what I can tell, the project begun during the COVID-19 pandemic, and doesn't seem to be active anymore, as I tried to reach out to the organisers and didn't hear back. Regardless, it made me consider the idea of interviewing other people about their experiences with anxiety in Unit 3 so that I may start the transition from focusing on my individual experience to this idea of a collective contemporary experience of anxiety.