INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE VISUAL ARTS 2013
Barton Court Grammar School
THE I B V ISUAL A RTS AT BARTON C OURT G RAMMAR SCHOOL YARIZA M ARTIN-‐KEY JESSICA M ACNALLY THEODORE M ATTHEWS JOSEPHINE B LOOR ALICJA C WIKOWSKA IEUAN LOBBAN GRACE L LOYD EMMA A XELSSON REBECCA E LLARD i
During my visual arts course I have explored two main selfdirected projects; movement and the theme of discord. I have been a dancer since I was four and have always been interested in body movement. I have focused on trying to capture movement in different media. In photography, movement is frozen, but I used certain features such as the swirl of a dress to clearly portray the idea of movement in dance. In painting and drawing I used gestural marks to show energy and action in order to convey the idea of movement. My second project focused on the theme ‘Discord’. Discord means a lack of agreement or harmony. Throughout this investigation I’ve focused on discord in appearance; ideas which can provoke mixed emotions in the audience. Jenny Saville’s work inspired me to concentrate on the figure and I tried to portray a sense of beauty whilst also focusing on disfigurement. Physical discord for me signified an unbalance, disharmony, contrast and instability. I played with the theme of life and death and produced two outcomes where the model, the body, is the canvas, practically merging into a painting, entering the world of art.
I further explored the theme of physical discord by looking at decay. I began to look deeper into the idea of the beauty and ugliness of decay and the uncomfortable sensation it produces to the viewer. I developed a sequence of textured paintings of eyes which reflect the idea of aging being beautiful because of all the experiences someoneâ€™s lived throughout their life. Artists such as Saville, Glenn Brown and Alexa Meade have influenced and informed my ideas.
Within my work I hope to portray a distortion of reality bringing together discordant elements to create an unsettling, uncomfortable perception of life.
Throughout the visual arts course I have explored a range of different themes such as youth culture, identity and costume. I have always been drawn to looking at people, the human condition, as my main source of inspiration. My personal project originated in an interest in exploring human emotion and expression. I began by looking at faces and the complexity of human emotions that can be displayed within them. I found that the human mind is complex, multi layered and faceted. The concept of layers and overlapping forms is a way in which I have represented the idea of trying to capture a range of human emotions. One of my favourite studio pieces is â€˜Four Wax Facesâ€™. Here I explore this idea through repetition, but with slight disfigurements and changes to colour. I have also explored this concept through photography, printmaking experiments and large scale drawings. I have been inspired by a broad and diverse range of artists during my course and I have drawn inspiration from a wide range of sources
too, including; exhibitions, literature and theatre. I am fascinated by how Francis Bacon depicts such raw and expressive emotion in his work. In response I studied his painting technique and use of colour in my own work. Iâ€™m particularly fond of the â€˜Four Facesâ€™ piece where the face gradually becomes more and more distorted. The four different media choices gave me an opportunity to further explore and develop my technical skills. I have really enjoyed working on a large scale and this provided something of a breakthrough in my artistic development. I have also experimented with photography, creating unsettling pieces that layer faces with the figure. Overall I believe I have created a range of emotive and thought provoking studio pieces.
For my main IB visual arts project I chose to focus on the theme of 'Conceptual Design Art'. My reasons for choosing this were twofold: a) I feel the strength of my work lies within the aesthetic qualities inherent in concept art, in the quality of the concept behind a piece and it's physical appearance; and b) it is what I want to pursue a career in. My work has taken two routes from this initial starting point, with links and interconnections at various points in development. I decided to explore the culture of early twentieth century America by looking at Noire literature and stardoms. Iâ€™ve investigated how these signified an escapism to the troubled times that were ahead and that they had just fought through. The second theme running through my work focuses on creating atmosphere and setting a scene with an illustration; the topics of this work vary drastically from late nineteenth century literature to design and creation of characters to convey emotion.
Though very little of my art is hand painted I find myself influenced by traditional painters such as JMW Turner, and some less conventional painters like HR Geiger. Despite this I find myself most inspired by styles, genres of art and artistic movements rather than individual artists. This is most evident in my etched work and my Noire themed pieces. Overall my work is primarily from my own mind with the waves of influence gradually pushing my journey off its original course to a new, yet similar destination. 15
The course began with led projects such as ‘Identity’ and ‘The Figure’, which allowed me to develop my practical skills and find an area of personal interest. I chose to focus on the theme of natural forms and became fascinated by the organic formation of patterns found in nature. Sehwon Min and Elizabeth Tudor were influential in the development of my own work and encouraged me to look closer and really observe colour, structure and texture in nature. John Terwillinger inspired me further to look at the majestic beauty of trees, their branches and the sporadic lines they create. I concentrated too, on minute details in nature, such as the individual barbs of feathers. One of my favourite quotes is from Van Gogh; “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” The rigidity and structure of trees compared to the fragility and lightness of bird’s wings began to inspire me; the contrast in
shape, line and structure. I began to draw parallels between the ordered, carefully designed lines in feathers and the spontaneous, random lines in tree branches. Primary observation was my main source of visual research but I also used different research methods in order to better understand the structure of feathers and branches. I experimented with three dimensions as it seemed to suit my subject matter and I created delicate 3D pieces that represented intricate feathers and fragile wings. I experimented more broadly with other media too, including paint, a range of printmaking techniques and photography. I encountered some problems with my sculptural work as I found it difficult to portray the fragility inherent in nature without the work looking clumsy. I overcame this by exploring different sculptural materials. I felt my paper sculptures were my most successful in this respect.
In response to the theme of identity I began by looking at the human form, our anatomy. I have developed life drawings that explore line, shape, form and movement and have selected some of my favourite life drawing pieces to exhibit. Life drawing is an excellent way to learn about the body; proportions, posture and form and to improve drawing skills. I later became interested in illusion and fairy-tale, and partly inspired by the photography of Annie Leibovitz, I developed work that explored the theme of Alice in Wonderland. The final outcome of a T-shirt with a symbolic Cheshire Cat was the result of my development of the screen printing technique. Throughout the course I have learnt about many great artists who I have investigated in my sketchbooks, for example Egon Schiele or Charles Williams. I have also been inspired by visiting art galleries and museums. The exhibition on youth culture inspired me to create my own photographic responses to the theme of youth.
More recently my work has developed into looking at the theme of sky. One of my favourite pieces is the â€˜birdâ€™ which explores the idea of living forms and flight. I have constructed wings using wire and used feathers to recreate the wings in a realistic way. When displayed with lighting a more dramatic effect is created. I have further explored the theme of the sky by photographing it and creating collages as outcomes. I later moved on to looking at the moon, its texture, luminosity and silhouetted forms. On the visual arts course I have learnt many new skills and techniques and gained a deeper understanding of art. What I have enjoyed the most is the ways and forms of presenting the moon and its mystery in a variety of media.
I began the visual arts course by exploring issues of identity and my own cultural heritage and background. Whilst exploring these themes I started to delve into my own emotions about my identity. These emotions are typical amongst teenagers who are trying to find their position within the world. I became interested in social perceptions of youth in the media, especially linked to urban surroundings and explored this idea in a series of outcomes called Rage and Isolation where I have used photography and editing software to refine these pieces. Exploring the theme of urbanism in greater depth led me to focus on architecture. Architecture is a passion of mine which I would love to pursue as a career. This interest has stemmed from my experience of travel, seeing so many different countries and cultures has allowed me to become immersed in great cities like Singapore, London and Dubai, cities that are at the peak of modernisation. The buildings in these cities captivate a certain beauty and it is this which has inspired much of my work. David Hepher and Stephen Wiltshire have inspired me the most and I have shown this through my work with drawings of buildings using a
range of media from pen and wash to acrylic paints, conveying my ideas in different ways Through my exploration of these majestic, modern buildings I have discovered that there is a price to pay for this beauty and I became increasingly aware of the widening gap between the rich and poor and the faรงade these buildings can sometimes represent. I have attempted to convey this in the pieces Slum Towers and Favela Hotel which depicts my own drawings of skyscrapers in these environments.
The theme of my personal project is mechanics which developed from an earlier project based on identity. Through family research I discovered a family on-going connection to engineering and machinery. Through rose-tinted glasses, I began my research with the intention of looking at the power and beauty of machinery and the relationship of human interaction with synthetic movement. I began to explore the relationship between natural beings and artificial life; man and the machine. I researched the awe inspiring industrial revolution and began to have a better understanding of the impact of the machine age. I discovered negative aspects to the relationship between man and machine, humans forcing machinery into constant monotonous use until breakage, machines breaking, trapping people and spilling oil, the impact on the environment too. Oil symbolised something to me and reinforced my idea of man and the machine, how this oil could represent blood; life and death. The evolution of a species of moth called the peppered moth, captivated me. Rapidly these moths turned from typica white speckled moths into carbonaria entirely black creatures.
This evolution found in nature; called industrial melanism, symbolised to me how nature suffered in the face of industry. The more I discovered concerning this period, the busier my mind became. So much happened over such a short period of time that the industrial revolution to me symbolised explosion. Cornelia Parkers exploded shed and the designerâ€™s technique of making exploded drawings inspired me to create my own exploded pieces. I finished my project with literally a bang, and took machines back to their component parts.
The theme I chose for my personal project was anatomy; especially concerned with internal structures and composition, and views of beauty. To expand my understanding and view of anatomy, I worked with concepts such as vanity and perception as well as appearance and reality. I was especially influenced by Da Vinci and his intricate illustrations through which I started to think about the ideal body, beauty and vanity. I found my strengths to be drawing and I enjoyed using materials such as charcoal and graphite. I experimented further with clay and other 3D materials such as Styrofoam. Through this experimentation I expanded my knowledge and perception of anatomy, as three dimensions allowed me to see my pieces from more perspectives. Although painting is not one of my strengths I found that by mixing media, such as oil paint with liquid latex, I was able to achieve pleasing results that in my mind looked realistic and ‘alive’. I also experimented with computer software, especially Photoshop, to manipulate photographs and create animations.
Much of my focus was on perceived beauty and how we alter anatomy to fit in with contemporary ideals. A quote that inspired me was by Leonardo da Vinci “human subtlety will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple or more direct than does nature because in her inventions nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous”. I found that the purpose of ideals of beauty was not to be of any physical advantage, but only a psychological interpretation of what might be attractive. Work by Damien Hirst as well as Gunther von Hagens kept me inspired on this conceptual level. I’ve developed invaluable skills through my journey and experience with IB Visual Arts; skills and understanding, that I am certain I will use in my future artwork.
â€˜Human identity is the most fragile thing that we haveâ€™ Alan Rudolph.
The main theme behind my work is identity. Within this I further explored issues, such as loss of identity, human condition, youth culture, society and war. As a keen historian I am fascinated by war, particularly in the human side of war and exploring how art can be used to express the feelings of the people who were part of it. I explored soldierâ€™s opinions from past and present and gained a better understanding of the fragility of life, their vulnerability fighting against massive man-made machinery. The artist Tacita Dean inspired me to tell a story through just two images. I have also looked at issues relating to prisoners; their loss of identity perhaps by something as simplistic as wearing a generic uniform. I believe my work has captured these ideas in quite moving ways.
Local art galleries have been a good source of inspiration too. At a recent exhibition on youth culture I became fascinated by the way different artistsâ€™ perceived youth. In response I created my own piece that looked at youth culture and loss of identity.
I have explored a broad range of materials, techniques and processes within my portfolio, ranging from traditional drawing media to more experimental techniques with materials such as wax, ink and bleach. I have extended my painting skills and enjoy working with oils In order to better convey the fragility of human identity I explored fragile media. Wax was perfect as it keeps cracking and falling apart. This wax piece gave me the idea to incorporate light into the project. Illuminating the work creates a more atmospheric mood, suggestive of more spiritual ideas. A concept I would have never even considered before starting the visual arts course.