Exhibitions – Part 4

Phoenix Brighton – Present Tense

PB 1  Kiki Stickl

University of Brighton – Cathie Pilkington

CP 4


CP 5


CP 6


CP 7


CP 8


CP 9


CP 11

Fabrica, Brighton – THEY

An exhibition by respected Turkish artist Ipek Duben comes to Brighton this Spring. THEY/ONLAR, a multi-screen video installation, previously seen at SALT, Istanbul, Turkey, will be presented at Fabrica for its UK premiere.

THEY/ONLAR focuses on how Turkish society views They or the Other. Through the stories of several individuals the artist goes behind the scene in Turkish society, allowing us to glimpse her country’s diversity of ethnic, religious and gender positions, the perceptions of members of the Sunni majority, and the everyday discrimination and resistance that it engenders.

In Turkey They covers many ethnic, and religious groups: Kurds, Alevis, Armenians, Jews, Rum (Greek) and Romanis. They also refers to LGBT people, women, covered women, women subjected to domestic violence.

Through their personal testimonies Duben’s subjects discuss their histories, attitudes, prejudices, hear-say and personal experiences concerning each other. But in portraying Turkish society Ipek Duben ultimately invites us to examine ourselves in our context: to listen; to learn; to understand; to be generous to, rather than threatened by the Other.

Co-produced with Brighton Festival and with the generous support of SAHA Foundation

Fabrica  images






Part 4 – Figure & Head – Research- Personal Observations

pontorno 1  pontorno 2

I have recently been introduced to the stunning drawings by Pontormo a Renaissance artist  (1494 – 1557) whose beautiful expressive images use line in a very particular way – half there – not there with tonal values added that show an extensive understanding of anatomy.

shiele 2  schiele 1  schiele 3

Leaping through the years the anguished lines of Egon Schiele depict his own searching for accuracy and engangement via his numerous self-portraits.   However as shown by the drawing on the right he was capable of exceptional accurate sculptural studies too.

Kathe Kollowitz 1

KK 2  I have also been drawn to the work of Kathe Kollowitz whose many images particularly of mothers and children evoke a caring kind of intimacy which I admire.


FA 4  And Frank Auerbach’s expressive excursions of images of particularly the face.   The overworking and layering using eccentric marks and materials.

Piet Peere

PP 2   Finally in the drawings I enjoy the work of contemporary artist Piet Peere.  Here Anatomy is carved in a different way tonally as opposed to lineal marks by Auerbach.

What I want to Say about Bodies

If I look at the different work above and the styles of the artists I am struck by how I am drawn to two opposing energies.   The strong individual lines and marks that are Schiele and Auerbach.  In contrast the careful tonal weight and intimacy of the bodies by Pontormo and Peete among others.

This is the ambiguity I experience when I am working on a drawing.   Working fast and innately or working slower thinking the structures , relationships, and form.  It is also the experience of my own relationship to my body, being female, daughter, mother, grandmother…..there is often, always (conscious or unconsciously) the pull and push of the two sides – energies which are nurturing and those which are wilder, more destructive perhaps, certainly physical.   Energies that even yet require the testing of boundaries and limits.

Self Portrait

Moving through the exercises I am surprised by how much I am drawn to the self portrait.   Capturing the intimacy with oneself at the same time as knowing you are going to be observed – viewed is challenging.   Do I want to appear better than I am – what is better?   Younger, less double chin and drooping jowls.  Actually I realise this is the one place I can be totally honest.   Not driven by acceptable presentation of the self to the work as in social media, advertising, celebrity driven guidelines.

You can only be an acceptable older woman if you are Helen Mirren, Judy Dench, Jane Fonda etc. ….  Talented, slim, tweeked.   I love my long grey hair – the only time I have had long hair in my life.   I am thinking of a 65+ year old version of Munch…


Strange when I found this again I was surprised that it was not as I remember it.   The figure less erotic, the hair less evocative of  looseness, sexuality.  It wasn’t until I looked it up that I realised that this is called Madonna.   To my non Christian background this was not obvious……       His work has been described as “psychological talisman”(theartstory.org). which I think is what interests me about the work. Immediately I am thinking about Cindy Sherman’s historic images series…..

Cindy_Sherman_historic_portrait_-222_1990 cindy sherman historic portrait 2

and Henrik Kerstens iconic plastic bags ……

historic portrait with plastic bag henrik kerstens 2 henrik kerstens 3



Part 3 – Reflections 3 – Assignment 3

Thoughts on the context and content of the Assignment 3 pieces.

Matisse table

matisse table


Raul Duffy – Little Palm Tree

When I had decided to work on the image of the garden I was thinking of the tables and chairs as they appear in many of the impressionist and post-impressionist paintings.   The only difference is that these seem mainly to have been painted in high summer or at least in strong light.

I wanted to feature the table which had erupted over the winter and was trailing its edge, the surface now undulating with damp.   On top of this is the pot with a plant that is just stem and no leaves.  Finally there is the bare earth in parts of the border.

revised view Assignment 3

Since this photograph was taken there was a big storm during which the pot fell and broke and the table has now been taken to the dump!  Transitions.   In a way this is what I think the whole of this Part 3 has been about – getting me out and re-connecting to the outside world.   In some areas this has had a strong response and in others i.e. buildings no response at all.

Also I suppose there was context and personal connection in the assignment piece but it does not come through as strongly as in the last 2 assignments I think.


  • A lot of frustrations which sometimes pushed me on to do things I would not have previously undertaken
  • Re-connecting to outside, trees, nature, landscape etc. personal places
  • Need for greater planning and thought in preparation for going out to draw
  • Still struggling with keeping work fresh and spontaneous
  • Challenging myself to use different materials and combination of materials.
  • Necessary to undertake more time planning at beginning of the modules so that I can fit in reading and research in a more structured way
  • More patience – I can’t achieve everything at once – but keep trying!
  • Stay open to opportunities and my responses to subject matter
  • Keep more notes on what rises to my consciousness – it doesn’t have to fit.


Part 3 -Exhibitions 3

Rauschenberg – Tate Modern

I finally got to the Tate Modern to see the Rauschenberg exhibition. What struck me was how to look at the work that has become the iconic 60s images specifically the Combines and silkscreen paintings from the viewpoint of these being “new” and inventive departures from what was going on at the time.  In fact I found all these less impact -full than some of his very early  “scatole personali” (awkwardly physical).  These tiny disintegrating memorabilia reminded me of some of Susan Hiller’s boxes.   Heaped in meaning and significance.

But what I hadn’t known about were his collaborations with actors, composers and dancers and the creation of multi-layered theatre pieces. Some of the stage detail and running order scripts are themselves works of art.   I have collected a number of snippets from these:-

30 Large Desert Turtles with Torches Strapped to Their Backs

Spring Training 1965

Rauschenberg and Paxton took turns carrying each other like planks

People were carried around on brightly coloured boards reading out a newspaper backwards – Urban Round

Rauschenberg carried a sack containing a singer who sang an old Spanish song  – Open Score 1966

There is something about these suggestions of the live action that bring very strong images to mind.

Transfer Drawings

rauchenberg dante 2   rauchenberg dante 3 rauchenberg dante

Rauschenberg’s discovered technique of transferring images onto paper using lighter fluid led to his development of multi-layered series of images of Dante’s Inferno.  These amazingly detailed and delicate creations moved me more than anything else in the exhibition.   Probably coming across something so very different from the expected was part of it.   Also they encapsulate a depth of thought and vision which I didn’t find in the other work.  After these I find the silkscreens rather crude and something of the “factory” similar to Warhol’s output.  The transfer drawings are intensely personal and the introduction of different materials and techniques intriguing.




Part 3 – Project 5 – Townscapes – Research

John Virtue

John Virtue - The Oxo Tower



Working as an associate at the National Gallery he concentrated in his usual style of black and white on the landscape of London.   His cityscapes are very similar in feel to his landscapes and seascapes.

Frank Auerbach

Frank Auerbach who is particularly known for his paintings and drawings of heads has also unrelentingly drawn the scene around his studio in Mornington Crescent London for the last 40 years plus.   Unlike his heads and figures these appear to be painted very quickly with broad strokes and striking colours.   Structurally they are strong but also represent the very hig-ildy pig-idly area where it is not always possible to pick out individual buildings or structures.

Auerbach urban painting

Mornington Crescent - Summer Morning - Frank Auerbach

Nisja Nisja

This Polish artist https://www.saatchiart.com/nisja currently living in Amsterdam.   Again it is the structure, textures and her use of colours that she brings to a largely unpopulated canvas that I particularly enjoy.

Nisja Nisja red factory

Snowscape-With-House Nisja Nisja

Angela Wakefield

An English painter working exclusively in urban environments here and abroad.



Strong colours and dynamic perspective adds drama to her urban scenes.


I am drawn to both the dynamism of some of the urban painters particularly Virtue and Auerbach.   But equally there is something very engaging in the stark shapes of Nisja’s work.

My thoughts are that you can choose whether to evoke the energy of a cityscape or the alienation.    This is the choice of the artist as always.

Part 3 – Project 3 – Reflection

In some ways I have found it hard to work on these exercises at this particular time of the year – October – February.   Certainly I have learnt lessons about taking information that I can then use to develop further studies in the studio something which I had not understood how artists did until now.

It has been frustrating because having done early studies I was not then able because of the weather conditions to visit the sites again to further develop my studies to a degree that I felt satisfied with.   However I have learnt that I enjoy landscape which is something which I have never tried before.   In particular I have become fascinated by the trees, their shapes, proportions etc.   The winter has been a good time to focus on the outlines of the trees which are bare of leaves at this time of the year.

Furthermore I have been frustrated by having to stay with the particular exercises – as you will see in the sketchbook I have taken time out to do some other studies which were particularly triggered by the Paul Nash exhibition as well as looking at some hard pruned trees near the Tate Britain gallery.




These are a combination of collage and drawing from items collected along the beach during the drawing process.   Strong influence from the Paul Nash and Eileen Agar period of combining imagery.   Would have like to develop these further but worry about getting sidetracked away from the projects in the coursework.




These two studies and spin-offs were from triggered by looking at some very hard pruned trees outside Tate Britain which looked like fingers angst like projected towards the sky and freedom.

Distance and form were not difficult to construct but chancing light and weather conditions when outside make it difficult to pin these down.   I think I realise you have to make decisions about the moment you want to capture put in the strong shadows and light conditions and stick with it.

I enjoyed building the layers of the drawings but once again felt inhibited by the conditions to take the time I would have liked to achieve these more successfully.

Note to self:-    Spend as much time out of doors when the weather permits taking as many notes as possible and different colour, light, tone studies so that when I return to the studio I have ample material to work with.

These studies and exercises have certainly whetted my appetite for future outdoor work!!   If only there was the time…..