Thursday, 2 March 2017

Gallery Visit - Royal Ulster academy of Arts 2016

I thoroughly enjoyed this varied exhibition. Sometimes I find it difficult to take in such a variety of artworks, but there were several points of this that I found very interesting.

The first was a selection of paintings of the sea that were all grouped together.

James Allen RUA

Breaking Wave

Oil on canvas

This painting was quite impressionistic, the colors show the layers of the sand beneath the water and texture from the paint adds impact to the foam of the waves. The brush strokes are broad and they create movement.

This painting is very detailed. The brush strokes are extremely fine and the fine drops of spray are individually painted. All the fine lines and shapes create a very lively surface which is almost alive with movement when viewed at close range. This painting must have been developed from an extremely detailed photo to contain such a high level of detail of the water.

There were two paintings by this artist on display, the one I examined in more detail was winter of the same scene but it is not on view online. The water is resented very differently here, the horizontal lines create a calm stillness. Rather than depicting actual drops or waves in the water the impression of water is created through the highlights of the reflected light.

I am quite inspired by these paintings to try representing water in print in the next assignment. The layers of paint could be layers of ink in mono prints. 

This painting has a highly textured background with a semi transparent layer of letter stencil shapes in silver of the letters jazz. Examining this got me thinking could I do something similar with printmaking? If I create a textured background with textured acrylic medium what happens if I print over it? Would it get squished into a sticky mess? Would the embossing of the print create interesting textures?

What I found most interesting about this painting was its title, Jazz. Why does this image represent jazz? The background certainly has energy and is quite free form, the letters that are layered over the top in silver say the word jazz but jazz is much more than a word, it is those colors in the under layer that express its energy.

Multiple blocks. I love this combination of shapes, it has so much energy. This technique has so many possibilities for variations within an edition. Other examples were presented at the exhibition, on white paper. The negative space is so important here, it is really consistent around the blocks. The bright colors and striking textures and shapes lead the eye around, the arrows get superseded by the color. The red arrow does make you look down. It has a cool side on the left, is a bit unbalanced but the general energy and vitality of the piece keeps the eye moving so these things are not as important as they might be in a more static design. 

Margaret Mannion Kallen

Not a Walk in the Park

Etching and carborundum

33 × 38

You could see by the embossing of the paper these were all separate blocks. The textures were really very different to one another up close. Each image was individual yet part of a whole. An interesting comparison to the print above which also used multiple blocks. Much more even spread of color and value, up close it is the contrast of textures that really give the individual blocks their character, the etching and carborundum are very distinctive. Much more subtle design, more balanced. The slight misalignment of the block is interesting, gives the piece movement.

I really enjoyed experimenting with multiple blocks in my experimental piece, I would like to try using small blocks like these printed in one impression, although I can see a good press would be required or they might move.

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