I have been influenced by Maria Bartuszova’s, ‘Untitled’, 1973. Bartuszova’s work has maternal associations, this has inspired me to explore the relationship I have with my mother. I have made artwork in response to Bartuszova’s, ‘Untitled’. It is common for me to turn to acrylic paints in my work, however, responding to this artwork has encouraged me to try different mediums, such as working with clay, sewing machines and screen printing. I feel my work has come a long way since the beginning of second year, I feel so much more connected to my artwork. My final piece looks at my relationship with my mother and my grandmother, two very influential females in my life. The jugs have many different meanings, from the colours, to the shape and the material used.
Frida Kahlo features pain and suffering in most of Kahlo’s paintings, in ‘The Broken Column’, 1944, Kahlo shows her suffering in a straightforward way. She paints nails stuck in her face and body, her torso split in half, it looks like her body has been affected by an earthquake. When she first made the painting, she left herself naked. Later, she added the sheet which suggests a hospital sheet. The column inside Kahlo’s body is put in place of her spine, it looks like it is on the verge of collapsing, which further suggests an earthquake.
In the painting, Kahlo looks strong, she stares out to the audience with tears on her face, which implies she is challenging both herself and the viewer to face her situation.
I wanted to get an understanding of how to show back pain, as that’s what is wrong with my mother. The crack down the column in her body has inspired me to put a ‘crack’ down the jug I will make for my final piece for subject. Kahlo has the corset which is holding her body together.
LaToya Ruby Frazier hides behind her mother in this photograph, like a shadow. The work is part of a series and brings attention to marginalised individuals and communities such as her hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania.
When speaking about this portrait, Frazier said, “We made a portrait of our bodies overlapping as one, unified in sickness, death, and our struggle to survive. The light cast a shadow that for me foreshadows the loss of Grandma Ruby; she passed away six months later from pancreatic cancer“. Frazier’s mother is affected by cancer, her grandmother passed away from cancer and Frazier has lupus. The three generations of Frazier women are affected by illnesses related to Braddock’s industrial past. LaToya Ruby Frazier said, “On the micro-level, we are three women from an abandoned community, but on the macro-level, I see us as a symbolic state of oppression and neglect”.
The photograph of Frazier and her mother seemed very dramatic to me but showed me how a contemporary artist uses her mother as the subject of work. I can relate to this piece of art as my mother is very ill at the moment with chronic pain in her body above her waist. Her mother stares out at the viewer, capturing her pain.
I am showing 3 generations in my final piece so it has been good to go back to this reference.
The key concept lecture, Beauty, by Jon Clarkson gave me a good understanding of different types of beauty. One artist I learnt about in the lecture was Ai Wei Wei and his artwork, ‘Straight’ (2008-12). This artwork seduces the viewer to find out what the piece is about and makes them want to know more about it.
The piece of artwork is about the earthquake that hit Sichuan in China. As a result of the earthquake, schools collapsed and killed 1000’s of students. The Chinese government tried to cover up how many students died, however, Ai Wei Wei tried his best and found registers for the classes. He took the reinforcing rods that were holding the school up and straightened them out. The reinforcing rods become a memorial to the children who died in the school. The names of the children are also on the walls around the installation.
I chose this artist as he seduces the viewer in to understand the meaning of the artwork. It inspires my work, ‘straight’ doesn’t really suggest to me an earthquake because the rods are so straight, you have to think deeper into the artwork to find out what it is about. It asks the viewer to look into the meaning which is something I am trying to do in my artwork.
Meta-Monumental Garage sale is a large-scale version of the classic American garage sale. The artwork is by Martha Rosler. The visitors can browse and buy the items in the sale, which are second-hand, strange, everyday items donated by Rosler, MoMA staff and the general public.
The artist organized, displayed, and sold the objects in the Marron Atrium at MoMA. The work created a lively space, where customers haggled over the prices with Rosler. I like the idea of having the busy atmosphere of a shop, but in the art setting of a gallery. The way items are spread out on the walls is intriguing. Putting crafts stuff in the door way and crafts to make on the walls in my event was an attempt to bring people in. The public interaction and business is what I was hoping for when I participated in the site venue SHOP! project. Children and their parents could come to the SHOP! and make crafts which they then took home with them.
Martha Rosler’s, Meta-Monumental Garage Sale had a newspaper and an active website. I decided to print out flyers to put up around town. I also posted the event on social media, posting in parent and toddler groups on Facebook and spreading the word through friends and family.
I have recently visited MoMA, in New York. During my visit, Louise Bourgeois’ work was on show. Louise Bourgeois was a French-American artist. She explored a variety of themes over the course of her long career including domesticity and the family, sexuality and the body, as well as death and the subconscious.
Seeing Bourgeois’ work was inspiring and I found it similar to the artwork I chose by Maria Bartuszovà. I have been particularly looking at her work that focuses on maternal bonds. Some of her mark making and prints have inspired me to create my prints and paintings.
Bourgeois’ artwork at MoMA
I did not see her piece, ‘Maman’ (1999), while I visited New York, but I have researched and explored the artwork a lot as I have based my dissertation around Bourgeois’ and other feminist artists. ‘Maman’ translates to ‘mummy’.
‘Maman’ is a huge steel spider, The spider is a maternal figure, the artist’s mother. It’s interesting how she uses a creature that you would associate with fear, or disgust. I would never associate a spider with my mother but when the initial thoughts of terror are taken away, I think it is very clever that Bourgeois uses a spider to represent her mother as she looks at the way a spider protects. She also looks at what you would not think a spider to be, such as a ‘best friend’ and ‘soothing’.
I visited the degree show exhibition on the Thursday before the public could see it.
I have chosen some of my favourite pieces from the degree show.
Darcie Jade Hammett
Darcie Jade Hammett
I was interested in this piece as they have used wool. It looks like the artist who created this piece of work has followed a pattern and glued it down. As I am using wool in my final piece this was interesting to see the technique they used to create the artwork. Hammett’s work explores space and how space looks.
This piece of artwork focused on the artists family. The artwork by Rachel Barton is all about family and that family means home. The artwork looks at her childhood and fond memories she has of her childhood.
This artwork was one I could really connect with, Peace talks about being known as the gran of the group as she finds knitting relaxing and a hobby. She has been taught to knit by her grandmother, just like I have been taught how to crotchet by mine. I like how the jumpers are displayed and as there are so many it makes an impression.