Movember Special: The Importance of a Moustache

by Aileen Mitchell 18. November 2016 15:53

The moustache is a real statement whether its handlebar, pencil or cowboy. It also plays a key role as a statement in art as well as fashion in everyday life. Join us this Movember as we look back at the historical president of 'the tash'.

One of the first and greatest celebrations of the upper-lip adorner was the Sutton Hoo helmet. This extraordinary object is a pinnacle of Anglo-Saxon burial art. The helmet was found as part of a ship-burial from the very rich archaeological site at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk, England. Look closely at the face mask and you can see that the neatly clipped moustache represents not just a moustache but the tail of a bird flying upwards. Surely one of the most recognisable tashes in art history.

When we think of medieval knights we imagine tall, handsome men astride a horse with – of course – a terrific moustache. This hairy status symbol was of such importance that in the fourteenth century Edward Prince of Wales had an effigy on his tomb showing him in full battle dress armour but with his moustache on show.

We have always looked to our monarchy and aristocracy to keep up to date with the latest vogues. Although Queen Elizabeth didn't sport a handlebar, the Elizabethan era was the start of men choosing to be very bearded. This was then further refined by King Charles I and his iconic handlebar moustache and goatee beard.

There have been many modern artists who have used the moustache as statements in their work, and in fact on people's art! Revolutionary artist Marcel Duchamp, famous for the statement urinal in the 1917 exhibition for the Society of Independent Artists, has also paid homage to the moustache. In a series of works titled 'found objects', Duchamp would take a mundane and ordinary object and alter it, making it extraordinary. L.H.O.O.Q. is a postcard print of the Mona Lisa with Duchamp's addition of a moustache and goatee.

As Duchamp demonstrated, it's not just men who have an important relationship with the moustache in art. Frida Kahlo, surrealist painter most famous for her self-portraits, often depicted herself with a moustache – or more accurately the natural layer of hair that lined her upper lip. This attention to her natural features is for a number of reasons from pride in her Mexican heritage to painting exactly what she saw, to a feminist statement about her main pleasures in life being considered as 'manly'. Putting herself under such scrutiny as she painted, it has been observed that Kahlo would make the hair on her upper lip more prominent than it really was.

Our next moustache-wearing art icon appeared in Spain at the beginning of the surrealist movement. Salvador Dali's moustache is almost as iconic as the melting clocks in his artwork. When asked in an interview whether his moustache was in fact a joke, he responded by saying it was "the most serious part".

Dali's moustache was not only a famous part of his look that we remember him by even today, but an extension of his personality and mood at the time. One day it would be tied in a bow, the next stuck in spikey straight lines, sometimes curving up like the horns of a bull. He also would sometime use his moustache to paint – either whilst it was still attached, or he would use the trimmings to make his own bristle head on a paintbrush. 

 

Van Gogh is another famous artist who had a very close bond with his moustache. Almost every self-portrait he painted includes a beard and moustache – so much so that the painting of himself simply named, Self-Portrait Without a Beard, is one of the most expensive of his paintings going for 71.5 million dollars!

It is interesting to see that in his self-portraits his brush strokes do not change from the texture of his face to the moustache and beard; the only thing that changes is the colour. Art historians consider this as Van Gogh expressing how his facial hair is very much an extension of himself rather than a grown accessory. Closer studies on this subject have also shown how little difference there is between the way he paints his landscapes and the way he paints himself. Another example of very deep levels of an artist expressing their character in their masterpieces.

There are such strong links between artists and the moustache throughout art history it would be wrong to deny its constant presence and significance. Not only is the moustache a statement on a fashion and visual level but an embodiment of an artist's emotions and opinions at that particular stage of their career.

Image credits:

User: vggallery.com/ Self-Portrait with Straw Hat / Public Domain/ Wikimedia Commons

User: The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei / Self-Portrait Without Beard / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

User: Karl Stas / LHOOQ (1919) / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

User: Thomas Gun / Charles I of England / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

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Art History | Artists | The Art World

Colin Miles

by Aileen Mitchell 4. November 2016 13:57

Hello I’m Colin I am the person who makes sculptures from found objects. I also do marketry pictures but that’s another story.

In order to find the objects that inspire; you have to do a lot of looking. For me that is the best part, beach combing, enjoying the ‘lonely sea and the sky’. These are the essential ingredients of this process.

I am not sure what draws me to the edge of the land; is it space, is it timeless rhythm, is it the light or just the grains of sand? Whatever it is, the wonder lust, the treasure hunt, for me, it is perfect heaven.

Peveril Point Lighthouse - Colin Miles

As I am short-sighted it is always reassuring to actually still be able to find small objects. I like driftwood and stones with holes in. There is a history and truth about them. I particularly look for small twigs in funny shapes. In them I see dancers, jugglers, joggers, jumpers, fliers and figures of fun, all physical freedoms.

With pieces of cloth, sticky paper tape and string, I join bits together, bind them up to make them whole and come alive. I like my figures to jump for joy, to celebrate life. As an early retired person, freedom is obviously important. I also wish to create my own beauty.

A good find is magic; it makes me happy, content, satisfied and fulfilled. It’s like a reward for living, a reason for being; it makes the point of walking on the beach on that day in that particular way. As if the object has found me rather than the other way round.

I am the person who makes sculptures from found objects and I hope you like them.

Beach Huts - Colin Miles

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Happy Birthday Picasso and Giacometti

by Aileen Mitchell 21. October 2016 11:16

October is a wonderful time for artists: leaves begin to turn red and gold, the light changes from a hot sun to a warm glow, and morning dew begins to look exceptionally pretty. As well as celebrating the changing of the season, we're also celebrating the birthdays of two very influential artists, Pablo Picasso and Giacometti.

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973) mastered many movements in art throughout his extremely busy career as an artist. From cultivating Cubism to coming up with collage, Picasso was a man who was constantly seeking to experiment and grow as a person through artistic expression, which resulted in a legacy of 50,000 works that we can all admire today.

After learning the basics of how to paint and draw from his father, an art professor, Picasso attended art school, Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, before dropping out and making his own way in the world of art. This is known as his 'Blue Period' due to all of his portraits conveying undertones of depression – but was also partly down to the colours and materials Picasso was able to afford at the time.

Although a classically trained artist, each of his styles was considered ground-breaking. After Picasso moved to Paris, his paintings became much more optimistic. Each piece was tinted with orange-pink hue and is known as his 'Rose Period'. It was in Paris that Picasso began experimenting with form and tribal influence, creating one of the most famous works of art that also paved the way for Cubism,

George Braque was an artist also living in Paris, who was later to become the co-founder of Cubism with Picasso, didn't immediately take to the style. After seeing Les Demoiselles d'Avignon he was recorded to have said,

"It's like he wants us to drink gasoline and eat fire!" Needless to say, he grew to like the painting and Cubism was born.

Picasso's boundless energy and non-stop artistic experimentation meant that he did not stay a Cubist for very long. He began adding mixed media to his canvases including newspaper and cloth, which is said to be the birth of collage art. Although he was constantly experimenting and producing art, Picasso stopped exhibiting his works whilst living in Nazi occupied Paris during the Second World War. Picasso did not feel his work would fit the Nazi's ideals of 'perfect art'.

Today we can enjoy a wealth of paintings, sculptures, tapestries and rugs that span from Cubism to Surrealism, created by one of the most famous artists of the twentieth century.

Pablo PicassoPablo Picasso

Les Demoiselles d'AvignonLes Demoiselles d'Avignon.

Pablo HoneyPablo Honey – Czar Catstick

Alberto Giacometti

Alberto Giacometti (1901 – 1966) was born in a small town called Borgonovo in the southeastern Swiss Alps. His parents recognised his artistic talent from a young age and encouraged it as much as they could.

Giacometti soon became and artist who could create portraits in stunning realism, using bold strokes and a bright palette. A theme that developed throughout Giacometti's career as an artist was the figure of portraits (usually himself) kneeling on one knee, gazing towards the viewer. As a young boy, Giacometti's drawing studies changed from the classical three-quarter face pose to completely frontal view. This was incredibly stylised art from someone so young.

Gradually, Giacometti's portrait subjects would be bent and constrained to fit into the canvas size they were painted on and altered for geometric clarity. This then lead to Giacometti's contribution to art as a cubist painter.  

After his initial successful early beginnings, Giacometti's most famous work comes from a period that is largely considered as modernism, as they are arguably devoid of meaning. In truth, Giacometti found himself living through a prolonged existential crisis with his art. Although able to use techniques that produced wonderfully realistic portraits, Giacometti found he was unable to unravel what his latest, more modernist style meant and was almost permanently in a state of lost frustration.

The most famous works from Giacometti are the elongated figure sculptures. These willowy people grew slimmer and taller the more he made, partly due to being constantly re-worked and re-modelled (this also explains their texture). Giacometti himself confessed that these sculptures were more akin to the shadows that these figures cast; ultimately, he did not know to translate what he saw into his art. This became apparent in his paintings too as the surfaces grew much thicker with layers of re-worked paint.  

These two artists are both fascinating examples of people who devote their entire lives to working out how to express their creativity, giving the art world some of the most influential and iconic pieces in return.

To see some of our own talented artists' modern day masterpieces, stop by our online gallery.

GiacomettiGiacometti and his large scale famous figure sculptures, 1962

Alberto GiacomettiGiacometti working on his smaller sized famous figures, 1962

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Art History | Artists

Malvern Theatres Exhibition - October - November 2016

by Humph Hack 9. October 2016 14:44

People who like Art sometimes see a work which they want to buy, but the price-tag puts them off. After all, it’s easy, and inexpensive, to buy an open edition print from your local high-street store. But, how do you feel when the guy next door has the same work on his or her wall?
Buying original artwork can be daunting and cost more than any “spur of the moment” purchase. 
There are two things you should know. The artists who show their works in Malvern Theatres Exhibition space always have proven track records of multiple happy customers. Most importantly, all of the works on show in exhibitions there can be bought with a ten-month interest-free loan. OWN ART is an Arts Council England initiative intended to support artists and encourage the public to hang quality work on their walls. 
So now, the purchase of that gorgeous original, suddenly looks more possible.
All 3 artists in this new exhibition sell well and painting is their “bread and butter”.

Karl Hamilton-Cox produces stunning images of animals; painted on leather to add that sense of luxury one gets when sinking into a leather armchair or sliding into the leather upholstery of the most expensive auto. He has had stunning success since taking up art after 22 years in the Armed Forces.

Colin Ross Jack produces Oils with a variety of subject matter. His love of Astronomy drives him to produce some work, and his love of the sea and his exploits in foreign travel all feed his creative juices. His richly textured works are in high demand.

Tiffany Budd is a multi-award winning artist whose career has seen time spent in textile design, interior design and finally, Fine Art. Her colour pencil work takes the “crayon” to a whole new level. Her work is recognised and appreciated by individual members of the public and large corporations alike.

The exhibitions runs every day from Monday 10th October to Saturday 19th November

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How I Found my ‘Muse’ by Gill Bustamante

by Aileen Mitchell 8. September 2016 12:00

I dedicate these ramblings to all those artists looking for their muse and all those art buyers who are helping artists to survive. Thank you! Gill

Many artists are trying to find their inspiration, their creative influence or their USP (Unique Selling Point as marketing people call it) and it will be distinctly different from person to person.

I was brought up in the London suburb of Bexleyheath and I hated it. I wanted the sea and fields and trees and I did not get this in Bexleyheath. Moving to Sussex was like finding a supermarket after 20 years starving in a desert. I needed space and I found plenty of it in the countryside and coastline of the south of England. That was the first step to finding my muse.

November Stirs - A Large Autumn Landscape Painting by Gill Bustamante

I was painting for quite a while before I could define what my personal style was though. It took learning to draw accurately, learning to paint traditional animal portraits, trying all sorts of mediums and techniques before I finally realised I did have a painting style. This only became obvious to me around 10 years ago and it only happened once I had enough technical skills under my belt to feel confident enough to be more experimental. I found that what I wanted to paint was places and things that were a little bit mystical and that I could escape into.

I wanted to paint things that were reminiscent of real places but with something else enchanting them a little. I wanted paintings that could lead me elsewhere entirely (along with anyone else who wanted to go there). This was my step two and this quote by Mary Lou Cook (actress, humanitarian and artist) sums up well what I found to be true for myself.

"Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun." - Mary Lou Cook

Bluebell Fields - Original Oil Painting by Gill Bustamante

I began to use bigger canvases (so I would have more room to play about and try things out) and I began to walk regularly. I became an absorber of my environment. By that I mean that whatever I see tends to lodge in my mind and I often have no idea what I have absorbed until I paint and then I see what I have observed. My landscapes became largely painted from memory combined with imagination and often start with a simple sketch with pleasing shapes in them but not much else. I like my landscapes to grow organically just like a real landscape does. Sometimes this went horribly wrong. About 20% of my landscapes were so bad I had to paint over them and start again but that was no problem as it all added to the texture of the next painting (I pity the person who X- rays one of my paintings in 200 years time hoping to find a masterpiece as they will be very disappointed).

Step three of finding my muse is in progress. Art is about observing something or imagining it and then finding a way to present that viewpoint to others. Everyone can do this but true artists keep evolving in how they present their viewpoints and how they present the message the wish to get across. If your art is not evolving, it is dying.

 

Hart Of Winter - A Winter Landscape by Gill Bustamante

I am immensely grateful to online galleries such as ArtGallery.co.uk and the internet generally for levelling the playing field for artists and for those who buy art. Anyone can make art and anyone can present it to others. A big name artist can be found next to a 13 year old artist living in a slum in India and they have equal opportunity to sell their art which I think is fabulous.

By Gill Bustamante - Artist and Art Tutor, ArtGallery Contributor

Tags:

Artists | Being an Artist

Was Rembrandt the King of the Selfie?

by Aileen Mitchell 6. September 2016 13:20

"I'm just going to take a selfie" – a sentence that is now almost unavoidable. The selfie (short for self-portrait) has become a cultural phenomenon from an entire exhibition in Shoreditch to a published book of Kim Kardashian's oeuvre.

Before we give this craze a deeper look, we need to give it a bit of artistic integrity in the form of Rembrandt van Rijn: one of the greatest painters in European art history. Appearing in nearly 100 of his own works around a mere 50 years after the birth of the self-portrait, was Rembrandt a master of chiaroscuro, capturing the nature of mankind and also king of the selfie?

The history of the self-portrait

The first known self-portrait can actually be traced all the way back to Ancient Egypt 1300BC, beginning with Pharaoh Akhenaton's chief sculptor, Bek. Bek created a chiselled self-portrait of himself and his wife, which is considered by many Egyptologists to be the first known instance of a portrait actually carved by the artist.

The art of painting self-portraits was not used in the European art world until late into the Renaissance period (1300 – 1600) with artists such as Albrecht Durer (1471 – 1528) and Jan van Eyck (1390 – 1441) in the 1500s.

Self-Portrait – Albrecht Durer

Since then, we have been able to enjoy countless artists carefully cataloguing each stage of their careers through self-portraiture. The practice began to grow in popularity as mirror became cheaper, better quality and more readily available. Some of the most renowned artists are van Gogh (1853 – 1890), Picasso (1881 – 1973) and Frida Kahlo (1907 – 1954) (who could arguably have overtaken Rembrandt for the selfie title if Rembrandt was not quite so revered!)

The benefits of a self-portrait

The Night Watch - Rembrandt

Self-portraits have typically been a type of artwork harder to sell than other portraits and landscapes. Despite this, there are lots of reasons for artists wanting to continue painting them. Artists could use a self-portrait as a means of study when trying out new techniques and styles without the huge expense of paying for a model. In fact, Rembrandt was known to have his students also copy his self-portraits for perfecting their painting skills.

Self-Portrait 1660 - Rembrandt

Before the days of PR agencies, self-portraits were an excellent and less expensive way of producing a portfolio of pieces to demonstrate an artist's talent.

Practical benefits aside, many famous painters had much more artistic, creative reasons for depicting themselves. This was a chance for artists to portray themselves the way they wished for society to remember them.

"Are we to paint what's on the face, what's inside the face, or what's behind it?"- Picasso

Rembrandt and the self-portrait

Rembrandt (1606 – 1669) the Dutch painter and print maker produced some of the most recognisable works today and is regarded as one of the greatest artists in the history of European art. 

Self-Portrait with Velvet Beret and Furred Mantle 1634 - Rembrandt

Many of Rembrandt's paintings are portrait studies and biblical scenes, which achieve an inspiring amount of detail that captures natural movement. As an accomplished artist in portraiture, Rembrandt appears to have inserted himself into many of his scenes. The 1642 painting known as the The Night's Watch – the largest of his paintings - is one of the most well known of Rembrandt's works and an example of how he added himself to the subject of his scenes as a character in the background.

Being a subject in the crowd, however, was not enough for Rembrandt. He also portrayed himself in a number of historical costumes and posed as the subject for many of his paintings – sometimes even pulling faces!

According to the Rembrandt Research Project, Rembrandt's oeuvre of nearly 300 paintings, 300 etchings and 2,000 drawings contain over forty self-portraits. Pervious art historians had thought the number to be over ninety, but after autograph analysis many of these appear to have been painted by students.

Self-Portrait as the Apostle Paul - Rembrandt

Behind the success of his artist career, Rembrandt had a rather turbulent personal life including the death of three of his four children, followed by his wife, and financial troubles owing to a lavish lifestyle. Unlike other artists of the day, Rembrandt's self-portraits give a very clear marker for his true appearance and emotional state throughout his life. We can see a very clear timeline from young, rich artist to the very weathered and troubled face of the old painter. This large volume of self-portraits was not simply created for vanity, but as a means of expression and documentation.

It is this attitude towards the self-portrait, the combination of attractive poses and very real depictions that make us compare Rembrandt similar to the modern selfie. Although many artists have come later and produced just as many – if not more – self-portraits, Rembrandt was one of the first artists to adopt this style so early after its introduction to European art. Unlike his contemporaries, Rembrandt also used them as a tool to display the troubles, the emotion and the drama of his real life – something the modern day selfie is used for by countless personalities and famous profiles.

We have to award Rembrandt to be the true King of the selfie for his revolutionary take on a trend that helped make him one of the most respected and well-known artists in history.

Find a modern take on a selfie or self-portrait and visit our gallery!

[Image credits]

User: Albrecht Dürer - Web Gallery of Art: 

/ Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

User: Rembrandt - www.rijksmuseum.nl 

/ Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

User: eev.liu.edu / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

User: Rembrandt - mQGjCu2ESqQc_w at Google Cultural Institute / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

User: Rembrandt - LwGcE5lQC5dLUg at Google Cultural Institute / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

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New Malvern Theatres Exhibition - August 22 - October 8th 2016

by Humph Hack 21. August 2016 14:51

What makes artists want to paint? From the earliest age toddlers are fascinated by making marks. It is the most natural of all childhood activities, and their interest is spurred by the rest of the extended family applauding their crude attempts at representing Mum, Dad or themselves. Everybody does art in school, but for most people, the activity stops when they leave education. But for some, it becomes a need which drives them to practice their art further. It may be via a full-time degree course, part-time study or just a gritty determination via self-study: whichever way – they have a need to make people sit up and take notice.

Which is why there is always a queue of artists wanting to exhibit in Malvern Theatres and why artists offered the opportunity to exhibit in this busy artistic hub, need no special encouragement.

It is a pleasure to show the public their fresh new art, rather than it be hidden in a loft, a spare bedroom or stacked in the corner of a studio. And, so often, when the hanging is finished, they express delight to see their works displayed so well. The 3 artists showing their works in this new exhibition are a case in point.

Ray Hill works in a very popular genre. Many artists produce works which evoke the landscape in an almost totally abstract manner. What separates Ray’s works, is the degree of refinement to which he has taken his canvases; inspired partly by the Catalonian landscape, where he spent several months after finishing his degree, and by the area around his studio in Gloucestershire, where it’s “big” skies inspire him.

Initially, you might think that Sheila Vicker’s paintings are mere realistic representations of landscape, animals and the people she loves, but it is the richness of her palette and exciting technique which lift them above mere records of places or events. Whenever and wherever possible the process begins outdoors in the landscape. The open air gives her the freedom to experiment with style and colour.

Banu Tillman’s canvases could not be more different. She is both an artist and illustrator. In the works on show here, she evokes a time when her female subjects were suitably aloof. They exhibit grace and ultimate composure. Her portrait and figurative paintings tell a story or convey an emotion with body language. They could be heading for a night out, or a night in, but either way, they do it with style.

The exhibition is open every day from Monday 22nd August until Saturday 8th October.

At a time when money in the Bank earns little or no interest. Do something to help revitalise the economy. Spend some money – Buy a painting (or 2). 

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What Is 'Fauvism'?

by Aileen Mitchell 17. August 2016 12:00

The Turning Road, L'Estaque – Andre Derain

Fauvism is one of the most influential styles in contemporary art, whether today's artists are fully aware of it or not. The 'wild beasts' of Fauvism radicalised colour and form, and inspired the next generation of young artists to engage with their surroundings on a whole new level, changing art forever.

Last month we looked at the trailer for the new film, Loving Vincent. It's from the legacy of Van Gogh that the story of Fauvism begins …

Starry Night – van Gogh

French artist Henri Matisse is considered the founding father of Fauvism. Inspired by Van Gogh's post-impressionist style of intensifying colours and distorting forms to create images fraught with emotion, Matisse began to use colour on a very emotional level. The results of this were bright, multi-coloured paintings and scratchy brush stroked figures.

In complete contrast to the pastel coloured impressionist paintings from the 1800s – 1900s, Matisse would use paint straight from the tube without mixing them, and combine cold and warm palettes in the same work.

The concept behind creating these daring new paintings was to not paint the scene before them as realistically as possible, but to interpret how the scene was conceived in the mind. Matisse didn't choose colours based on what looked technically correct, but based his palette on the feelings and emotions he had whilst painting a particular 'experience' rather than 'scene'.

The first time Matisse's colourful works were displayed, a respected art critic exclaimed that the one renaissance sculpture in the exhibition was surrounded by work created by 'wild beasts' (les fauves). Although this comment was intended to be highly damming, Matisse and his fellow artists in this new style decided to take this as inspiration for the title of the new movement they had created, Fauvism.

The Green Stripe – Henri Matisse

One of the most famous works created during this movement was the portrait of Amelie Matisse – wife of Henri Matisse, called Green Stripe, carrying the famous green stripe down the middle of her face.

Dividing the face into two shades is a conventional portrait technique – usually used to divide the face between light and shade – but Matisse chose to use the line as a divide between cool and warm tones.

This bold new move was analysed in many different ways – some said the green stripe was for jealousy, others said it divided the painting into purity and serenity. The most likely reason, however, is none of these. Matisse was not called a wild beast for nothing. Art was now beyond the point of displaying well-known representations and symbolism. The green stripe is simply there because it was what Matisse felt inspired to do at the time. Under close analysis, art historians claim that much of the painting appears to have been 'improvised'. This is indicated by the brush strokes – which are perhaps most obviously ad lib in the black patch centre-right. 

Paysage du Midi – Andre Derain

Although revolutionary, this gaudy movement did return to familiar territory in the subject matter artists would choose to paint. Moving away from the popular urban depictions, les fauves returned to painting landscapes.

In fact, London played a large part in the Fauvist movement. We can really see this period of history in context when we compare Claude Monet's dreamy, misty picture of the Houses of Parliament with Andre Derain's piece of yellows, pinks and lurid greens.

Houses of Parliament – Claude Monet

Charing Cross Bridge – Andre Derain

London art is still by far one of our most popular categories of art to this day! Perhaps it was Fauvism that set off this iconic theme with our very own ArtGallery artists.

Icarus – Henri Matisse

Fauvism was also a revolutionary movement for exploring the negative space in a painting. This is how works like 'Icarus' came to be so famous. Out of context, some people can find it difficult to understand why a piece so simple has become so revered. The answer is context. There may be thousands of people who can reproduce work like this, but les fauves were the first to do it – the first to have this original idea of completely breaking away from traditional art.

Inspired by some of the greatest painters of the previous era, like van Gogh, Munch and Cezanne – Matisse inspired many young artists who in turn became notable painters of their respective fields, such as Chagall, Levy and many abstract expressionists.

At the time of Matisse's first exhibition, another critic commented that his work was, 'a pot of paint flung in the face of the public.' This could either be taken in a negative way, or a great of describing the rebellious, spontaneous spirit captured by fauvism. We'd like to see it as a compliment to one of the most energetic and influential styles in Western art.

[Image credits]

User: artfactory.com/ André Derain, The Turning Road, L’Estaque (1906)

/ Public Domain

User: bgEuwDxel93-Pg at Google Cultural Institute

/ Starry Night – van Gogh/ Wikimedia Commons/ Public Domain

User: William Allen, Image Historian

/ The Green Stripe – Henri Matisse

/ Flikr / Public Domain

User: Sharon Mollerus

/ Paysage du Midi – Andre Derain

/ Flikr / Public Domain

User: Unknown

/ Houses of Parliament – Claude Monet/ Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

User:  André Derain / Charring Cross Bridge – Andre Derain / Wikimedia Commons/ Public Domain

User: Sharon Mollerus / Icarus – Henri Matisse/ Flikr / Public Domain

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Art History | The Art World

Photofusionism

by Aileen Mitchell 15. August 2016 09:00

An interview with Andrew Reid Wildman

Photography of urban scenes draws me. I am attracted by its realism, its resonance with everyday life in all its shades. When I see a photograph of a rundown shop or a derelict building, it sets off a chorus of emotion in me; sadness, recognition, familiarity, nostalgia, mystery, danger even. However I need to be able to engage with the photograph and this is why I use a technique I describe as “photofusionism.”

Andrew Reid Wildman

In photofusionism, I use the photograph as a starting point, the core of reality that cannot be changed. I am fascinated by the borders of reality, the point at which it blurs into perception. For me the work really starts to come alive at the edges of the photograph. I seek to fuse the painting and photograph in nearly every work I do, in order to create unity of reality and perception.

When I choose my scenes, I look for an underlying sense of nostalgia. On a deep level, I identify with my buildings; their loneliness (I never paint people in my urban work), the feeling of gradual decay and ageing, their world weariness, their emptiness and sadness but also their solidity, their resilience and timelessness.

I see great beauty in urban scenes; the glory of red brick Victoriana, the solid ochre and limestone colour of stone, the corrugated iron and rusting metal of windows. I love the peeling plaster work of stucco and the black, inky texture of hot tar. My works tend to focus on places of great personal significance to me. For instance many of my photofusionist works depict Yorkshire. As a young child I remember the thrill of visiting Hull with its endless streets of tatty Victorian terraces, many of them already condemned and empty. I also remember the joy of York’s medieval buildings and the promise of cakes and toys.

In London, I constantly return to Maison Berteux, an old fashioned Soho cake shop with striking stucco that makes me want to paint it again and again. Other favourites are Edinburgh and Glasgow and London’s Brick Lane, all with their fair share of urban danger.

I very often add collage to my photofusionist works as I find this makes the work really come alive. I choose collage materials from lost decades, the 50s, 60’s and 70’s. This material connects me to the building and gives the work a soul. The cheery idealism of advertising draws me and cheers me, softening the sharpness of time lost with its eternal simplicity.

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Artists | Artists Corner | Being an Artist

The Culture of Equine Art

by Aileen Mitchell 10. August 2016 12:29

We have records of our relationship with horses ever since the beginning of society from murals in ancient Egypt to cave carvings in the South of France. There has been a strong presence of equine art throughout history that doesn't seem to be stopping. So what is it about these animals that make them so important to our culture and us?

The first known wall carvings of horses are from around 30,000 BC. At this point in history, we were most likely to still be gazing at the creatures from afar, as the domestication of horses didn't actually happen until 3,000 BC. We can already see an obvious fascination for horses so early on in history.

After the domestication of horses, they took a back seat in the art world as Christian faith themed paintings became the most popular theme. It wasn't until the Renaissance era (1300 – 1600) that equine art had its own renaissance with artists like Leonardo da Vinci, who was commissioned to make the largest horse sculpture in the world. 

It was the following Baroque period (1600-1760) that depicting horses in paintings really become en vogue. This came about with the birth of British horse racing and hunting, popularised by King James I, and later, King Charles II.

Suddenly, Lords and Knights wished to be on their noble steeds and prize horses in their portraits. This was the beginning of horses used in serious UK sports, and the status symbol of the day.

The 1700s was also the time of George Stubbs – one of the most influential artists in equine studies. Nicknamed 'the horse painter', George Stubbs developed a fascination for the animals in childhood that later developed into his artist career. Stubbs would not only paint the horses he was so captivated by, but would also go on to produce anatomically correct studies after dissecting carcases. These studies were a major influence on later artists who would use Stubbs' work as reference for their own paintings.

British horse sports continued to be extremely popular a century after the work of Stubbs, and into the era of Romanticism (1800 – 1850).

Famous artist, Edgar Degas, joined the long list of history's equine artists and painted horses at the races. Degas was also one of the first artists to use photographs as a reference for his paintings.

Famous photographic pioneer Eadweard Muybridge took equine study to new levels with his breakthrough in using motion photography. As a pioneer of motion photography, Muybridge took some very important shots of horses that aided countless artists on the anatomy of the horse. This footage also helped answer a centuries old debate about whether a horse's four legs were all off the ground at a point in its stride. (The answer is yes). Some of Muybridge’s animal locomotion prints can be seen in Kingston Museum, Surrey.

 

Since then, we’ve used horses for lots of different purposes in our society – sport, military, the American West expeditions, and agriculture. The growth in demand for horses has certainly lead to more depictions in many styles and forms.

But what about the modern world? There has been a definite subsidence in the need for horses as working animals and companions, but our intrigue seems not to have been abated.

Skewbald by Paul Burgess

Even up to today where our online gallery boasts a huge variety of equine art, which is one of the most popular categories.

It seems that we have a deep-rooted fascination for these magnificent creatures that was stirred thousands of years ago and seems to have stayed. Perhaps it is purely because they are beautiful animals: they themselves are a true work of art.

Image credits

User: Cro-Magnon peoples/ Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

User: Cliff/ Flickr/ Public Domain

User:
George Stubbs
 - http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/george-stubbs-whistlejacket

/ Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

User: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division/ Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

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