Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Assignment 03: the figure

For our third assignment, we are to make a painting that centers on a human figure. We will be using photos as reference (it's recommended that we do not use advertising photos because they are more challenging to make into a painting). The painting should not be a transcription of any one of the photos and should rely on observation and reference materials. We should also consider the inherent narrative and emotion that the presence of a figure brings into an image.
For an example, we talked briefly about Peter Doig. His paintings are imaginary environments but a figure tends to anchor the landscape, making it a breathable space.
Peter Doig

Marcel Dzama as a counterpoint to Doig.
Marcel Dzama

We discussed how the photographic reference should be the starting point of the image. Marlene Dumas uses images that are unflattering or voyeuristic. Because they form a fragmented narrative, the meaning of the image is left up to the viewer.
Marlene Dumas

We then talked about Lucien Freud and how his sculpted marks begin to create a "fleshiness" of paint. The constant laying down marks, scraping them off, and then placing them back on, lend the painting a certitude: this is wear the marks should go . . . here's the evidence.
Lucien Freud

Jenny Saville's work is similar in that the paint is used richly and "fleshily" except that the fragmented narrative of the image is heightened.
Jenny Saville

Luc Tuymans work is interesting in that its a series of negations . . . like there was an elaborate scene painted, and then pared back. This gives his work an emptiness that is rather unsettling.
Luc Tuymans

I want to approach this assignment building on the idea of making a painting with the figure as an excuse for the painting to happen. This one might be hard for me just because I have my own hang-ups about the figure.  Hopefully, I can leave them at the door and make an interesting painting.

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