Category Archives: Research artists – part 4

Research artists – part 4

Iain Andrews

Iain [1, 2] is a practising art psychotherapist who uses historical paintings as references in his work.

The painting above is in two halves – the Old Master with the tri-cornered hat figure, and the more abstract contemporary swirls. I imagine this painting looks better in real life than reproduction, as the paint swirls and impasto look will be even more visible.

This is the best interview I could find with him [3] where he discusses how his old practice was to take a photocopy of an old painting and cut it up, then manipulate it into the painting of a new image. Now, he relies less on past images, but uses stories from his current work with teenagers as an art psychotherapist. He describes attaching them to old folk and fairy tales and how similar they are; loss and abandonment and abuse. He pours paint on, lets it dry to a certain stage and then manipulates it. He wants his forms to be on ‘the cusp of becoming’ so they are neither abstract nor a form. It is a very interesting idea to try to stay at the ‘inbetween stage’. His work appeals to me, as I am also starting to put things from my medical work into my paintings.

Here is another oval painting I found. Maybe this is his nod to the historical past?

Miriam Cabessa [4]

I found this painting, which seems similar to the style I was developing at the end of part 3.

This artist doesn’t use paintbrushes – but creates with her hands, rags, a mop…

Its a simple effect, but I like the contrast of tones and the way the head looks like it could vanish like smoke.

Henny Acloque [5]

Another artist that nods to the past, but adds a contemporary twist! This one has a peaceful looking landscape with an odd block of colour near centre. I’m not sure what that means? I know some of her work references images from old tarot cards.

I found an explanation in her entry of the John Moores painting prize catalogue 2012. Here she says she appropriates the work of dead artists and unpicks then and reassembles the images. The glossy resin gives a sense of infinity.

She utilises the colour of the cloth from the reproductive images and builds them up so they disrupt the fantastical image. She hopes that these works makes us reflect on how our changing world finds new meaning in its legacy.

I also find her in the book ‘100 painters of tomorrow’ [6] which I have found a brilliant reference. This book references her Victorian like paintings in which the ‘fairies’ are replaced by “amorphous painted abstractions”.

I must admit this is effective, they are interesting paintings to look at. Pareidolia means that my brain is trying to makes sense of these forms.

You can see above, its easy to think you can see something in here.

Phoebe Unwin [7]

I came across this artist when I was looking at a magazine article about the Saatchi gallery and in their current all female exhibition.

I like the way her images hover between figurative and abstract. The way that shoulder doesn’t make the figure look relaxed is interesting. The pony tail looks high and strange. There’s a limited palette used which gives it a harmony. The face is bleak colours, this person doesn’t look happy! There is an interesting discussion here about her use of sketchbooks, how she sticks in any kind of idea which I find inspiring [8]. I hope to see the Saatchi exhibition if time allows after the study visit at Whitechapel Gallery on Sunday.

Tori Day [9]

Tori takes every day objects and makes them the star of the show. I’ve seen Alli Sharma do similar themes, but perhaps Tori takes it a step further by including the backing paper and pegs!

Seeing the subjects that Tor chose, gave me an idea for assignment 4; I’ve been looking around my house for interesting things, but maybe I’ve been overlooking the most interesting? A dolls house sits gathering dust, unexpected views around the house – I’ve been looking in cupboards and sinks, but why can’t I look through the letter box?

A video that shows some techniques is here ;


  6. 100 painters of tomorrow. Kurt Beers. Thames and Hudson. 2014