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Louise Bourgeois, Altered States

I chose this expressive hypnotic piece for it's psychological subject. I feel this red ink drawing is a representation of her childhood traumas, stemming from her mother's death and her fear of abandonment. The female figure in the foreground, holding what seems to be a child or perhaps the child within, both let out a primal scream.  

 

Louise Bourgeois, (25 December 1911 – 31 May 2010) was a French-American artist, one of the great figures of modern and contemporary art. "Intriguingly, many saw Bourgeois as a feminist icon, an artist who reacted against the prevailing masculinity of such artist movements as the Abstract Expressionists—she was friends with Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. But this was a title she would utterly reject. She viewed her work as being pre-gender, “For example”, she once said, “jealousy is not male or female.” Bourgeois was more concerned with sexuality and fragility, and the insecurity of memory, the architecture of which she so wholesomely constructed." (fineartmultiple -May 27, 2021) Bourgeois has had a great influence on my work. Her unrelenting courage inspires me. I admire the way she confronted her fears and used her art as therapy to work through her troubled childhood memories. I feel a strong connection with Bourgeois and her impact on me can be seen throughout my work, as previously discussed in the Research and Critical Reflection section of this online platform.

 

"To express your emotions, you have to be very loose and receptive. The unconscious will come to you if you have that gift that artists have. I only know if I'm inspired by the results." - Louise Bourgeois

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Rose Wylie in her studio.

I chose this photo for its glimpse into Wylie's studio. She sits dramatically in front of her painting, "Red Painting: Bird, Lemur, and Elephant." I enjoy this fun composition, with its large red elephant, black text, flattened pictorial space, and warm light that emanates from it.

 

Rose Wylie is a British painter, whose work I find deeply inspiring. She paints large colourful compositions that are uniquely recognisable. Wylie is known for working in a loose, spontaneous, aesthetically simplistic style, combining cartoonish figures, flattened perspective, and text, very similar to my own work, and like her, I often paint animals. I feel I have a special connection with Wiley. She is her true self, a force to be reckoned with, and I admire that. 

 

"I don't like arty." - Rose Wylie

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Edvard Munch, Melancholy.

I chose this haunting Munch painting for its psychologically-themed, existential quality. I'm drawn to this melancholic seascape, with its muted colour palette, its subdued light, painterly line, and space that recedes into the distant horizon. I am also intrigued by the white figure in the background, that creates a clever hotspot in the composition.

 

Edvard Munch was a Norwegian painter, who has always inspired my work, with his free-flowing psychologically-themed pre-expressionist style. His transformative work, that has sometimes been labeled as "soul paintings," have been a great influence on my understanding of the human experience. I'm drawn to his lonely landscapes like no other, and have always been intrigued by his iconic existential painting, "The Scream." His landscapes are a main reason why I don't abandon the landscape. Landscapes are an important part of the design in my work, and can be seen throughout it. 

"No longer shall I paint interiors with men reading and women knitting. I will paint living people who breathe and feel and suffer and love." -Edvard Munch

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Milton Avery, Artist In striped shirt

This Milton Avery painting really speaks to me. I admire its rebellious expressive quality, its wet on wet application of active colour, diffused light, gestural line, and semi-flattened pictorial space. I feel almost transported into this moody blurred landscape. I am curious. Who is this forlorn green faced figure in the striped shirt?

 

Milton Avery was a modern painter, known as the American Matisse. His work has also influenced my style. I particularly like the way he focussed on colour relations, and like myself, was not concerned with creating the illusion of depth as most conventional painting has since the Renaissance. I admire the way he was not afraid to break from traditional conformities. His gestural style of painting and mark making (scratches) inspire me and can be seen throughout my work.

" Nature is my springboard. From her I get my initial impetus. I have tried to relate the visible drama of mountains, trees, and bleached fields with the fantasy of wind blowing and changing colours and forms." -

Milton Avery

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Constant Nieuwenhuys, L'Animal Socier

I chose this Constant painting for its loose composition, its expressive colour, and soft light that permeates the flat pictorial space. The mysterious creatures in the foreground are very curious to me. This painting has a bit of a dark undertone. I would like to know the story behind this painting. Constant really inspires me.

 

The  CoBrA art movement, a group of avant-garde artists from Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam, known for their vibrant colours, strange biomorphic creatures, and gestural freedom have greatly influenced my work. I particularly like the artist Constant Anton Nieuwenhuys, known as Constant - he was one of the founding members of the group. Constant was a Dutch painter, graphic artist, writer, and musician. For Constant, art had to be experimental. He believed art springs from the experience of the artist, and is continuously changing. In his manifesto, he stated that the process of creation is more important to the experimental artist than the work itself-it is a means to reach spiritual and mental enrichment. I can relate to Constant's way of thinking. I very much look to my art process for spiritual and mental enrichment.

"Creation and revolutionary struggle have the same objective: the realisation of life." - Constant

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Cy Twombly, Teeming with Energy

I chose this wild expressive Twombly painting, because like the title says, it's teeming with energy. I love the vibrant red snaky lines that engulf the canvas, projecting from the flat pictorial space. There is a freedom in this painting that excites me.

 

I feel I must acknowledge the former abstract expressionist American painter Cy Twombly as an important influence on my work. I'm drawn to the deliberate child-like expression in his work, the way he is free from traditional formulas and ideas of composition. His loose style, composed of lines, scribbles, and lettering, allows forms and images to emerge, and spark the imagination. For me, Twombly gives me the license to do whatever I want with my mark making, and his influence can be seen throughout my work.

"My line is childlike but not childish. It is very difficult to fake... to get that quality you need to project yourself into the child's line. It has to be felt."- Cy Twombly

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Jean Dubuffet, Brutal Beauty

I chose this painting by Dubuffet, as the name suggests, for it's brutal, raw, humanistic quality, and genuine expression. I love it's defiant, high-spirited nature that challenges traditional standards of beauty and mainstream art as a whole. Dubuffet is doing exactly what he wants to do, making up his own rules as he goes along, but he doesn't abandon what I believe makes a good composition. The colour is vivid, the light is vibrant, and the line is expressive. The image pulls you in. 

Jean Dubuffet was a French "outsider" artist that has also been a great influence on my work and philosophy. I am drawn to his loose intuitive cartoonish imagery, heavily textured paintings, and rebellious personality. As previously mentioned in my Research and Critical Reflection section, Dubuffet was the founder of the art movement known as Art Brut. The term Art Brut, literally translated from French, means "raw art," art created outside the established art scene. He was known for his primal paintings and sculptures of ordinary subjects. "His idealistic approach to aesthetics embraced so-called "low art" and eschewed traditional standards of beauty in favour of what he believed to be a more authentic and humanistic approach to image-making." (Wikipedia. (2020). Jean Dubuffet.)

"Art must make you laugh a little and make you a little afraid. Anything as long as it doesn't bore.'"-
Jean Dubuffet

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"The sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being." - Carl Jung

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Carl Jung, in full, Carl Gustav Jung, (born July 26, 1875, Kesswil, Switzerland—died June 6, 1961, Küsnacht), Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist who founded analytic psychology, in some aspects a response to Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis. Jung proposed and developed the concepts of the extraverted and the introverted personalityarchetypes, and the collective unconscious. His work has been influential in psychiatry and in the study of religionliterature, and related fields. (Britannica - January 14, 2021)

As previously discussed, my research explores Carl Jung’s analytical psychology. My focus is on his theory of individuation, which is a life long psychological developmental process, and it's relationship to the shadow archetype, which dwells in the personal unconscious as a complex. Complexes are functional units of the personal unconscious, which contain our repressed memories, thoughts, and inner feelings, elements of ourselves that we consider negative, mostly the dark side of our personality. We do not usually show this side of ourselves to the outside world, as it can be a source of anxiety and shame. However, it may also include some positive traits, such as empathy, which is often perceived as weakness in society, and may not fit into the “toughness” that a person wants to present as a part of their persona, or “social mask.” Archetypes, in the psychology of Jung are units present in the collective unconscious of the individual, primitive mental images or ideas inherited from our earliest human ancestors. They emerge as themes and characters in our dreams, and surface in our culture in various ways, for example, in films, books, and art. Jung believed these shared archetypes, like the dependable caring mother figure or wise old man have been around for millions of years of human development, and are hard wired into our brains. Jung described individuation as the process by which a person becomes a psychological individual, and claimed it was the therapeutic goal of analytical psychology. Simply put, it's self-realisation, finding one's true self, and to find one's true self, Jung believed that rather than repressing our shadow self, we should integrate it. He said we should allow it to surface and coexist with the ego or true self. Jung explained if we do not integrate this dark side of our personality it will find expression through negative projections, and I do not wish to project my negative personality traits onto others. I welcome this integration process, because I hope to discover my true self, find balance, and inspire others to do the same. I seek harmony not only for myself, but for others. 

I conduct my research by visiting museums, galleries, libraries, and using many online resources.