For this research I looked at how contemporary artists work with different viewpoints and I also compared their approaches with those of earlier artists.
landscape artists use a variety of different viewpoints to produce their work. This research point is concerned with comparing the approaches used by contemporary artists with methods used by earlier artists.
I began by comparing Tacita Dean ( b. 1965) chalkboard series of drawings with ‘Landscape with houses’ by George-Pierre Seurat ( 1859-1891) conte crayon drawing called ‘landscape with houses’ Seurat’s drawing is on paper . The drawing is entirely monochromatic black with small amounts of white chalk and he may have also used an eraser to lift out some of the lighter tones?. I really like the drawing the intensity of how the tones are build up give the subject a very evocative and atmospheric quality. The composition seems fairly simple but is very effective – the scene seemed to be a night view? And looks like it may be from a window? It seems very much like a typical nineteenth century drawing. Seurat has made the middle ground the focus of attention. The background is the lightest area and the foreground is the darkest toned area of the picture, with very little detail . The drawing appears to have no outlines just pure areas of tone that seems to have been build up gradually .
Tacita Dean in her chalkboard series of drawings has a more photo realism approach to her work. Each of the drawings comprise of 8 feet square boards that the artist had prepared with blackboard Paint. The subject matter is taken from a zone in the Atlantic about 40 and 50 degrees latitude where gale force winds occur. Dean used source materials such as photographs and film to reference her work. Unlike Seurat Dean has worked light ( white chalk) onto dark ( blackboard paint) the effect is a very visual, visceral and powerful series of images. The sheer scale of the drawings creates a real visual impact almost bringing the turbulent landscape to life.
contemporary art seems to have envolved not only with the use of new materials but also advances in new technology that has changed the very concept of visual arts.
Aerial landscape is a fairly recent tool for the artist as it did not really exist until the twentieth century after the arrival of modern transport including aircraft which allowed for the first time access to actual overhead views of large land forms including mountains. Many modern artists have produced works using a Birdseye view of the landscape including Malevich, Susan Crile and Georgia Okeefe.
Susan Crile( b.1942) an American artist has produced life sized paintings that resemble map-like aerial views.
Georgia Okeefe ( 1887-1986) produced a number of vibrant paintings of landscapes. I particularly like the sultry colours used in her series of Mexican paintings that seem to give the impression of the hot expansive sun bearing down onto the landscape. During the latter part of her career Okeefe became fascinated by clouds. During the 1960’s/1970’s Okeefe produced a series of work focusing on the cloud formations that she observed from an aeroplane window. Researching Okeefe’s work I was reminded of the cloud sketches done by Herbert Bernard John Everett ( 1876-1949) that he produced from a ship during a series of world voyages during the 1920’s and 1930’s.
Mark Bradford ( b.1961) uses mixed media and collage including incorporating found objects from the Los Angeles streets to evoke aerial maps of urban areas. This technique adds a personal Dimension to his work. Many contemporary artists use found objects in their work and some like Richard Long use the natural environment to create their art.
After looking at this research project I have concluded that landscape is still a very important genre and that that has developed in many ways so that today many different methods are explored by artists.
The use of modern materials including photography, film , as well as scientific advancements have provided more accessible and portable artist mediums such as graphic pens , marker pens and watercolours in new forms such as pencils and pigment markers as well as IT such as computers and tablets as a design tool. Urbanisation, and industrialisation and the aftermath of modern war has changed the landscape and provided a new focus for the artist.
It became clear to me that landscape has a great sense of meaning to artists from all artistic movements and generations.
contemporary artists working today seem not just to explore a pictorial representation of their surrounding’s and natural environment but to imbue their work with a sense of their own personal history- a concept that i found really interesting and inspiring.