22 Mar 2018. Went to the YSP to a presentation by Alfredo Jaar, which was fascinating. He has an exhibition – “The Garden of Good and Evil” there at the moment. His work deals with big social and moral issues such as refugees, homelessness, natural disasters, etc. His illustrated talk was fascinating and covered some of his recent projects. He trained as an architect which he says makes him consider a work of art it from the point of view of it’s environment – how it will be viewed, used, experienced, etc.
a couple of quotes:
“Generally we are taught how to read, but we are not taught how to look”.
“I think that artist’s are thinkers, they’re intellectuals, and art is about thinking. For me, art is about 99% thinking and 1% doing. So I spend most of my time thinking”.
24 Mar 2018. Went to a talk/demo by local artist Phil Reynolds at the New School Art Gallery. He specialises in landscapes, both abstract and figural, mainly using acrylics.
He began by quoting Frank Auerbach, which he had seen at the current Tate Britain exhibition – explaining why he paints, hoping not to produce just “another picture because there are enough pictures in the world. I’m hoping to make a new thing for the world that remains in the mind like a new species of living thing”.
Phil Reynolds started his demonstration by working on an abstract charcoal drawing on white paper. He had put some random short pieces of tape on the paper to mask those areas and then began by using 2 sticks of charcoal, one in each hand to make some initial marks. Then he progressed with more lines and larger areas of black, sometimes using his fingers. the tape was then removed and further marks made.
He went on to do a similar thing with acrylics, beginning by covering a canvas with transparent red, then removing parts with a cloth before adding other colours. His starting point for the composition for this was an old painting of his of 2 boxers fighting, but it quickly progressed towards something quite different.
Its both cases it was fascinating to see how quickly an interesting composition can result from these methods, working more or less instinctively with no clear plan.
I have little experience with acrylics but I intend to give it a try, and will try similar methods to his with charcoal, especially drawing with both hands at once to start a picture.