Research artists – part 3

Kim Baker [1]

Looking at Kim’s website inspired me to buy a copy of a book with a new take on still life that includes her work [2]. She takes inspiration from 17th century Dutch still lifes but look spontaneous. The book says she often reworks her canvases, painting one image on top of another.

I like the dynamic fresh look of the flowers. It still looks like the colour choices are careful. I like the contrast of her light subjects on the dark ground. I’m going to try a monoprint from an image made with a wide brush loaded with different paint along its edge. This idea has come to me from looking at the work of Chloe Woods at the Hepworth study visit, and Mimei Thompson’s cave paintings at the Syson gallery. I’m also inspired to try a monoprint on black paper!

Having been quite bored drawing and painting boring items around my house in previous courses, this book has revolutionised my thinking about still life arrangements. Paintings of pieces of clothing hanging in an indeterminate space look strange, especially on a black background like they’re hanging in space. William Sasnal paints a simple medicine bottle on half a laptop is effective with a limited palette of black, blue and white. The composition here is effective because the laptop is seen in a limited view and there is another object which cannot be identified. Andro Semeiko paints one piece of popcorn in ‘very big toffee popcorn’ 2005. It looks like a brain. The hyper realistic style is not my choice of painting but I can admire the attention to detail in this.

William Kentridge

I came across this prolific artist on another student’s blog. He is a prolific South African artist that paints, draws and prints.

There’s a great article about him here [3]. His website [4] has many examples of his distinctive style of using strong distinctions in tones in his work. His themes are wide ranging and include theatre and apartheid. His build up of rapid dark and light marks reminds me of Frank Auerbach drawings. Seeing his work has inspired me to book on an OCA study visit to his London exhibition next month and learn more about him!

Annie Kevans

I am immediately drawn to this artist’s work [5].At first, I thought her work similar to that of Elizabeth Peyton’s celebrity portraits. But actually there are dark themes behind them. The exhibition of dictators as boys at the Saatchi gallery appears to me quite unsettling. The thin paint makes the portraits feel not quite real or full of any substance.

Looking at Adolf Hitler as a young boy it’s hard to see what that face could do to the world later. I like looking at some meaning behind paintings. Marlene Dumas and  Luc Tuymans have similar themes in their work. It makes me wonder if some of my work is over painted and I need to try thinner paint and less of it! Certainly my enamel on metal was overworked in some places, like the Morrissey portrait.

Tracey Emin

I’ve started reading Tracey Emin’s autobiography ‘Strangeland’ [6] and although I’m still only at her childhood, what an excellent book it is. It really gives an insight into her character and makes much more sense of the ‘one thousand drawings’ [7] I got from the library. These naive drawings come to life once you know some of her background, childhood abuse and some neglect.

I liked her ‘unmade bed’ at the Tate Britain more than I thought I would, it really felt like spying on her private life. I think she’s been brave with these drawings too, as they open up some things which must be very uncomfortable for her.

I’ve now watched the BBC program available on You Tube ‘what do artists do all day’ about Tracey. She comes across as refreshingly honest, humble and it was interesting to see her having self doubt about her painting. She paints quickly and expressively and her intense emotion does come out in her work. I can see the technical skill in her figure work. Also good to see an exhibition put together.


  2. Nature Morte. Michael Petry. Thames and Hudson. 2013
  6. Strangeland. Tracey Emin. Sceptre. 2006
  7. One thousand drawings. Tracey Emin. Rizzoli. 2009



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