Week 26 – 01/05/17

This week I’ve been focusing on organising documentation for submission and completing my 1000 word research report proposal. I feel that this unit, although hasn’t been extremely productive in terms of physical work I’ve made individually, has directed my focus and made me more aware of the possibilities and challenges that come with collaborating.

Manet’s The Luncheon on the Grass (1863)

In terms of my own studio practice,  through researching and writing my proposal I’ve discovered points of interest that will allow my practice to  develop beyond experimentation. Fried’s idea of the tableau has been particularly interesting  – looking at how figures in a scene can interact with a viewer. There are different types of interaction, what Fried describes as absorption, where the artist creates a closed off scene where the subjects are not aware of the viewer. This creates an image that is more real, more true to life, and because of that the viewer feels as though they can relate and is engaged with the scene.  In the late 1800s impression/realism bought a new dimension to this, where the artist deliberately faced subjects outward – essentially breaking the invisible wall between people in the painting  and the person looking at them. Although at the time this was seen as pretty sacrilegious and painters like Manet were criticised for it, in my work I think it’s relevant to address the audience; I’m torn between thinking about candidness/possible connotations of voyeurism or having the subjects be quite confrontational. I’d like to address this more directly, making the viewer aware of the screen between them and the painting. While some of my work has sort of touched on it before, having done a bit of research I’m exited to explore the ideas more extensively.

One thing that has become obvious to me is the importance of scale in such works in creating a direct  relationship between subject and viewer. I’m excited to work large scale on maybe some figurative painting next year when I’ve got a bit more studio space to work with. I think opportunities to exhibit will also be greater – bigger works make having a solo show in quite a large space possible.