Nathan Downing – Image Lab

Bibliography

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Available at: http://bethhoeckel.com/BIO

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Kruger, B. (1999) Barbara Kruger. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press

Kruger, B., Fabbri, P., Vettese, A., Pierini, M. and Italy), undefined (2003) Barbara Kruger: [Siena, Palazzo delle Papesse 22 giugno – 5 settembre 2002]. Italy: Palazzo delle Papesse, Centro arte contemporanea

Lass, J, “Layers of Reality” Feb, 2015, FCI Southampton Solent University, Lecture Room

Livingstone, M. (1980) Pop Art: edited by Marco Livingstone. Accompanying Mercury Communications presents the pop art show. United Kingdom: Royal Academy of Arts, London

Livingstone, M. (1990) Pop Art: A Continuing History. London: Thames & Hudson

Livingstone, M. (2010) Politics goes pop: Marco Livingstone applauds an exhibition that reveals the humanist views in the politically-charged work of Richard Hamilton. Apollo, Apr, 2010

MacCarthy, F. (2014) Richard Hamilton: they called him Daddy pop. Guardian Online [Viewed 23 Apr 2014]

MacDonnell, K, “Eadweard Muybridge: The man who invented the moving picture”, 1972, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, London

MacGill, P. and Steidl, G. (2012) Rodchenko. Germany: Innovative Logistics

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Malamud, R, “Eadweard Muybridge, Thief of Animal Souls”, The Chronicle of Higher

Education, 2010, vol: 56, iss: 39

Mawdsley, E (2003). The Stalin years : the Soviet Union, 1929-1953. 2nd ed. Manchester : Manchester University Press 2003

Mutti, G, ‘Paper Cuts: The New Collection’, 2015, AnOther Magazine [Viewed 9th Apr 2015] Available at: http://www.anothermag.com/art-photography/7168/paper-cuts-the-new-collage-by-joe-webb

Natal, J. (2010) Kruger, Barbara. Barbara Kruger. CHOICE: Current Reviews, Vol.48(03), pp.48-1273-48-1273

Nicholls, J, “Imagine: The Weird World of Eadweard Muybridge”, 2010 [Viewed 15 Feb 2015] Available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Awo-P3t4Ho

Nishino, S, “Sohei Nishino – Jerusalem”,Michael Hoppen Contemporary, Youtube, 2013 [Viewed 28 Feb 2015] Available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYC-M5j5iQE

Nishino, S, “Biography”, Sohei Nishino Online, 2014 [Viewed 28 Feb 2015] Available at: http://www.soheinishino.com/en/biography/index.html

Oxford university Press. (2009) Aleksandr Rodchenko: Productivism and later work 1921-56. Musuem of Modern Art [Viewed 25 Apr 2015] Available at: http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A4975&page_number=1&template_id=6&sort_order=1&section_id=T072574#skipToContent

Oxford university Press. (2009) Aleksandr Rodchenko: Introduction. Musuem of Modern Art [Viewed 25 Apr 2015] Available at: http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A4975&page_number=1&template_id=6&sort_order=1&displayall=1#skipToContent

Phaidon Press. (2015) Beth Hoeckel at the edge of the world. Phaidon Press [Viewed 29 Apr 2015]

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Oxford university Press. (2009) Aleksandr Rodchenko: ideas and work, to 1921, Musuem of Modern Art [Viewed 25 Apr 2015] Available at: www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A4975&page_number=1&template_id=6&sort_order=1&section_id=T072573#skipToContent

Prince, M. (2010) Richard Hamilton: Modern Moral Matters. Art Monthly, May, 2010

Rafman, J, “The Nine Eyes of Google Street View”, 2011, Jean Boîte Editions

Re-title: International Contemporary Art. (2015), Julie Cockburn. Re-title Online, [Viewed 15 Mar 2015] Available at: http://www.re-title.com/artists/julie-cockburn.asp

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Available at: www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/marcel-duchamp-1036

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Shore, R. (2014) Post-Photography: The Artist with a Camera. United Kingdom: Laurence King Publishing

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Slevin, T, “Representation of Time”, Feb, 2015, FCI Southampton Solent University, Lecture Room

Smith, D. (2010) Paper, Rock, Scissors. British Journal of Photography, Oct, 2010.

Smithsonian Institution. (1992) Marcel Duchamp. American Art Journal, iss:1 pg:107, Chicago University Press

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Tupitsyn, M. (2009) Rodchenko and Popova: Defining Constructivism. Edited by Margarita Tupitsyn. New York: Distributed in the United States and Canada by Harry N. Abrams

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Collage Sources:

Cox, B. and Cohen, A. (2010) Wonders of the Solar System. Brian Cox & Andrew Cohen. United Kingdom: HarperCollins Publishers
Humphries, S. and Akhtar, M. (2002) The Fifties and Sixties: A Lifestyle Revolution. London: Boxtree
Kay, E. D. (1990) Box Office Champs. -edn. New York: Portland House
Palin, M. (2004) Himalaya. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Peter, M. (1991) SAS in Action. United Kingdom: Sidgwick & Jackson
Snapshots in Time (History of the 20th Century) (1999) United Kingdom: Parragon Plus
Ward, M. and Trust, T. W. (2005) Bird Identification and Fieldcraft. United Kingdom: New Holland Publishers,

Project Statement

Untitled, Nathan Downing, 2015

Untitled, Nathan Downing, 2015

With a nation so focused on the idealistic notions of success, materialisation and self-fulfilment, bestowed by means of patriotic legacy. A conscious-evading third party moulds and shapes our entire life. Ultimately fuelled by a commercialist catalyst—accountable to capitalism—the future we set for the younger generations may be that of harsh consequences. Consequences of actions, unwittingly bestowed through the naivety of previous generations, perhaps distracted by the novelty of development and the ever-expanding boundaries of human capability. The modernised normality seen within society, where by a singular focus, darwinistic in nature, drives an individual for their own satisfaction, desires and self-image, to unconsciously follow the commercialised proposals lay down by default, as a way of normalised life.

Whilst we are distracted by the flashing lights of commercialism, it is easy to forget the issues that don’t involve ourselves. Hardly a Samaritan society, we are so focused on the achievements of the future, self-sustainment and self-satisfaction that we disregard the rest. I want to highlight through simple cut and paste techniques that evade the impending grip of modernity, elements of society I feel, forgotten, broken and worthy of reformative contemplation. Taking influence from Rodchenko and Barbara Kruger, I seek to invoke a bold conveyance, by means of social commentary, political agitation and psychological activism. I want the proposed narrative to bring some awareness to the issues at hand. Emphasising the worrying depiction of normality within a westernised society, holding connotations of extremely disheartening convolution. A self-centred, self-sustaining, ignorant and commercially conditioned culture, amidst a darker and more fragile internationality, is passed from generation to generation, but, is never really acknowledged.

Emblematic of a society affixed with commercially directive blinkers, the comedic caricatures and patronisingly dated print featured in the project, present our westernised society in as simple terms as possible. My intentions are not to discriminate, but to alert. This project stands as an advertisement for anti-advertisement, on the other hand, not quite as strong as the traditional purposes of propaganda, differentiated by the conveyance of an ideology. Just a mere proposal of self-contemplation through comedic narrative, revealing undertones of a realist. By no means do I intend to murmur on concepts of political activism, the montages serve as a reminder, a peephole through the iron gates of commercialist industry, modernisation, declining tradition and the unconscious susceptibility to a voice of direction.

Print Reduction

Figuring out which of my final images were most emblematic of my concept, was a difficult choice. I see the process of print elimination as disheartening and find my personal connection, as creator, guides my final reductive choice. This however, may not be the most well-received image outside of my artistic experience and in line with my concepts. It is necessary to ask of a third-party opinion, this way you get a fresh view on work, that your may be over indulged in. Some had technical elements, that rendered the print pixelated and others fall just short of the concept I intend of conveying.

After feedback from a critic group, my previous collage seemed intention-less. The general opinion was that they were irrelevant and carried no real meaning. I believe they all carried meaning, just not in a way that correlated with one another. I went away and rethought my imagery, the previously used elements of nature were not an aesthetic I wanted to continue with. After visiting Joe Webb’s exhibition, it was clear that I wanted to convey a surreal, pop-art influenced, depiction of a westernised society as victims of commercialist normality, inducing ignorance and a selfish drive for materialisation. The previous collage, including dancers, flowers, hollywood films and iconic actors were all too complex to relate, unless I had gone down the route of the photographs physicality, in which the aesthetics are maybe not as relevant. I chose to continue using the commercialised depictions of the 40s, 50s and 60s, the subjects serve as a patronising caricature of a modern society, simplifying the concept through dated ephemera.

Finals_3

Untitled, Nathan Downing, 2015

Finals_2

Untitled, Nathan Downing, 2015

Untitled, Nathan Downing, 2015

Untitled, Nathan Downing, 2015

Finals_7

Untitled, Nathan Downing, 2015

Untitled, Nathan Downing, 2015

Untitled, Nathan Downing, 2015

I eventually decided on my final print based on the inclusion of the magazine cover. The magazine is a direct representative of commercialism, viewing the art is almost like viewing an advertisement and I liked the idea of the magazine being secondary to the image, as if commercialism’s evasive ways. The bones present the issues outside of our westernised bubble that are far more horrifying than we can ever imagine. The happy stereotypical couple, emblematic of a typically western family are patching their way over the problems, with materialistic commodity. They are ignoring the harsh reality that lies under the floorboards of western economic stability. A harsh reminder that invokes a psychological agitation and moment of self-contemplation.

The other image I found worked well, alongside my final, was the luxurious female atop her moped, staring out at a thunderous explosion. The female is used as an example of a women’s objectivity, so suited to the patriarchic ways of advertising, fixing your eyes on her as if an advert itself. However, she also represents a culture that is ignorant to the realities of this world. She is so blissfully satisfied with her materialistic life that she forgets what’s really happening. The explosion is a representation of the darker internationality that lies outside of a capitalist passage, of which she ignores. Alongside these intentions, was a discovery I made as I when I created my collage. The hands-on approach, that left me cutting books and magazines collected from charity shops, is a physical appropriation that limits the ability to align sources that work together. The cropping of the moped, its tires and the ground in this image is a direct example of two sources that work well together, but, cannot be modified by the digital aid, what you have is what goes, unless you have more! The slight mis-pairing is the reason I chose my final over this particular image.

Barbara Kruger

Untitled, Barbara Kruger, 1987

Untitled, Barbara Kruger, 1987

Untitled, Barbara Kruger, 1987

Untitled, Barbara Kruger, 1987

With an influence stemming from earlier graphic design work, Barbara Kruger’s signature style; bold, persuasive, thought-provoking and politically agitating, is of increasing personal interest that carries artistic convictions that align with my own intentions. Kruger initiates an intrepid rebel assault on the modernised concepts of anthropologic generalisation, unconsciously perceived smear tactics and a dishearteningly blinded society. Kruger depicts a the westernised society that revels in short sited self-sustainment, unseeing to the notions outside of the darwinistic nature of our strongly embedded culture. Materialism, patriarchy, figure, religion, commercialism, politics and subjects of socio-economic alignment are all parts reflected upon. Born in New Jersey, 1945, Kruger demonstrates her ability to act as a social commentator, narrating the seemingly grey areas that lie between a variety of noticeably sensitive areas of generalised society, a motif I am keen to adopt.

Yet again, the dated 1930s, 40s and 50s printed ephemera is another part of Barbara Kruger’s imagery that is noticeably similar to that of my own. The dated characters act as a mark of a societies idiocy, humorous for the sake of artistic appreciation, the overly-exaggerated connotations of a light-hearted commercialist utopia that broadcasts a lifestyle, in which of course, you may have what you please in conjunction with normalised materialisation, ripe with selfishness. The witty, if-you-know tag lines paint a harsh but truest depiction of a society’s gluttony, fragility and delicately-permeable defence of free-spirit and individuality. The bold, red-top, commercialist font and cliche two-tone colour cast, adopted by the most deceiving of newspapers, is also another intentional focus. The boldness of the type, not only grabs your attention, but almost, slaps your face. A more intense version of a concept I am investigating within my own collage.

Untitled, Barbar Kruger, 1987

Untitled, Barbar Kruger, 1987

Untitled, Barbara Kruger, Billboard, Melbourne, Australia, 1996

Untitled, Barbara Kruger, Billboard, Melbourne, Australia, 1996

A huge part of the process for Barbara Kruger, is the exhibition. Kruger transforms public and social spaces. Internal and externals displays from galleries and billboards, to magazines and newspapers. The fundamental intention, is to make an impact. To achieve that moment of contemplation after the viewing experience, where perhaps the concept is consequentially acted upon. The messages are hard-hitting and the monochrome alongside the red really emphasises the message through means of media relation, upfront graphics and striking impact. When viewed in the street, exhibition or magazine, Barbara Kruger’s are always the first to draw attention, then reveal an almost patronising reality check through tag line and image. The use of an advertising related slogan becomes reversed in its purpose, now donning connotations of nonconformism.

A stern representation is apparent, a key feature I wish to incorporate within my work. The viewer can easily understand the portrayal and Barbara Kruger closely links her aesthetical composition to advertising, demonstrating again, how the imagery is dominate in conveyance. Although my own images are slightly less upfront and may take slightly longer to perceive and act upon the purpose of my imagery is fundamentally similar. An artistic montage intent on impact, self-contemplation and reform is exactly what Barbara Kruger does best and I am glad to be following the same path as this most influential graphic artist intelligently mimicking, reversing and questioning our societies cultural morals.

Bibliograpy:

Kruger, B. (1999) Barbara Kruger. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press

Kruger, B., Fabbri, P., Vettese, A., Pierini, M. and Italy), undefined (2003) Barbara Kruger: [Siena, Palazzo delle Papesse 22 giugno – 5 settembre 2002]. Italy: Palazzo delle Papesse, Centro arte contemporanea

Natal, J. (2010) Kruger, Barbara. Barbara Kruger. CHOICE: Current Reviews, Vol.48(03), pp.48-1273-48-1273

Aleksander Rodchenko

Pioneer with a Bugle, Aleksander Rodchenko, 1930

Pioneer with a Bugle, Aleksander Rodchenko, 1930

Osip Brik, Aleksander Rodachenko, Lef Magazine, 1924

Osip Brik, Aleksander Rodachenko, Lef Magazine, 1924

Russian graphic art and photographic pioneer, Aleksander Rodchenko, unquestionably exemplifies photography’s ability to deceive, empowering a nation through photo montage and modern graphic propaganda. However, underneath this masquerade lies a darker, twisted reality. Rodchenko was a political speaker, yet, no speech was apparent. Aesthetically his imagery is similar to the word of a politician, representing a chosen ideology by a means of patriotic encouragement incorporating emblematic examples of an industrialised unification, intent on success. The influence is subtle, genius and so overwhelmingly dominant to the perceptions of a society.

Rodchenko’s similarly-aligned political propaganda and commercialist advertising, under the communist reign and socialist guise of the USSR, both intended on a consequential manifestation of political ideology to the masses. Effectively encapsulating the glorifying success of the Soviet Union. I am to focus, in relativity to my own artistic interests, on the elements of collage, montage and alteration within Rodchenko’s more politically motivated work. Although Rodchenko has an eclectic range of artistic creations varying in purpose, I will be reflecting on notions of photographic trickery, its impression on the industrial revolution and a graphical construction of quintessential nationalism, ringing home chants of the Soviet Unions success by means of patriotic appraisal.

At the forefront of a 1920s photographic revolution, Rodchenko adopted unconventionality as an artistic motif. A move away from painting, earlier denounced in Moscow, was followed a by an artistic transference to the graphic arts and photography. Aleksander Rodchenko proceeded to push the boundaries of photography and in the 1920’s, photographers that were in line with the avant-garde developments looked to incorporate alternative angles within their work. Angles from a low view directed up and vice versa. This suggested that the photographer had an alternative perspective on life, seeing things that others may not. The multitude of innovative perspectives and contemporary developments seized by Rodchenko, invite you to partake in a sort of photographic revolution, so relevant as a reflection on the ideologies and intentions of a nation thriving with political muscularity.

Finalised Spread in magazine Gravure, Aleksander Rodchenko, 1933

Finalised Spread in magazine Gravure, Aleksander Rodchenko, 1933

Aleksander Rodchenko was a master of photo montage, producing political propaganda for the likes of USSR leader Joseph Stalin. A prime example of the photographic trickery intended on radically inspiring a nation, is Rodachenko’s, 1933, photo montage for Stalin’s glorious construction of a canal that connected both the White Sea and Baltic sea. The image features the White Sea Canal, notorious for its immense power and patriotic importance, alongside a crowd of supporting workers and their defiant and noble leader. Through montage, Rodchenko subtly combines multiple elements to produce a gripping, empowering and triumphant depiction of the proposed mannerisms of the USSR, in line with the wondrous dictatorship’s egotistically emphasised accomplishments; a photographic measurement of power that implies no sign of weakness. Rodchenko’s montage however, deceives the viewer. The said ‘crowd of workers’, on closer inspection, reveals a harsh reality. In actual fact, the crowd are the unfortunate political prisoners of the state, not the mass of political proletarian support that we perceive. ‘Stalin’ is also not in the image, the figure on the right is actually a guard watching over the prisoners, an unsettling thought when revealed.

Guard and Prisoners, Aleksander Rodchenko, 1933

Guard and Prisoners, Aleksander Rodchenko, 1933

When inspected further, the faces of individuals in the crowd bare expressions of despair, perhaps the downfall of Rodchenko’s genius, or perhaps a harsh reality that Rodchenko may have intentionally revealed. In light of the truthful reality, from a westernised point of view and through modernised hindsight, the propaganda seems unbelievably non-influential to our trained eyes. At the time however, amidst a politically decorative society already pushing the boundaries of propaganda, people were perhaps more perceptible to a consequential inducing of political ideology, rendering images such as this as truth; a fundamental process necessary to the functionality of communism. As if a step towards George Orwell’s depictions of communist refinement in his critically acclaimed ‘1984’, Rodchenko crafts a deceiving vision through montage that helps shape Stalin’s path to political dominance.

A key element of interest, baring relation to my own project, is Rodchenko’s means of conveyance. Although his work has not always worn the clothes of communist expression, Rodchenko’s political portrayals are emblematic of my own concepts, in that the purpose of the art is to provoke a sort of  psychological activism and conscious contemplation as a consequence of the work. As my own work moves more towards the depiction of a harsh modernised reality, where by our society is eroded by the impending smite of modernity. My desire is to invoke some sense of awareness, realisation and self-contemplation through a comedic yet patronising take on the harsh realities we face today, and in the not so distant future. However, my work follows Rodchenko’s purpose but does not link to the patriotic drive evident in his more politically motivated work.

Maquette for 'War of the Future', Aleksander Rodchenko, 1930

Maquette for ‘War of the Future’, Aleksander Rodchenko, 1930

Maquette for 'Crisis', Aleksander Rodchenko, 1923

These 1918 politically driven collages also inspire my own work. The aesthetic ambience, simplified humour, jagged cut and paste techniques and choice of printed emphemera time-stamped with a 1930s grandeur, are all elements included in my own photomontage process.  In a comedic, slapstick-style, the bizarre juxtapositions of curios paper cut outs create a surreal and rather open  artistic intention. The representation leans towards the powerful militarised and industrialised USSR, as a representation of dominance, but, is also emblematic of the adverse side effects of war and a strongly motivated political conquest. Whether intended or not, Rodchenko’s work often demonstrates a weakness of the very radical political agendas he set out to glorify. Perhaps acting as a personally-comforting scape goat when the impending Soviet downfall loomed over in 1953. A subtle and patriotically unsettling element of uncertainty towards the continued success of the political policies backed by a nation of questionable supporters.

The emphasis on industrialisation, patriotic unison and nationalist glorification within Rodchenko’s work, aspired to capture the eye of a nation and to drive the communist powerhouse to greatness. Achieved through, montage, collage, photography and graphic design, the seemingly imperishable image of the defiant USSR is visually retracted by the viewer, momentarily contemplated and then acted upon. Through the nature of propaganda, that decision may unconsciously be swayed to the advantage of the creator, a concept Rodchenko excels in adopting. The conveyance of an idea, perceived through an image and then acted upon, is an ideal outcome for my own photomontage. I look to reinforce notions of a future in decline and the hazardous effects of modern society’s more sensitive subjects. Taking inspiration from Rodchenko’s genius techniques, utilised within his propaganda, I seek to produce collage that will use this bold, comedic and simplified wittiness to manifest self-realisation and consequential actions, both physically and as a way of life.

Bibliography:

BBC. (2007) The genius of photography: Documents for artists. BBC2 Digital Video, London.

Clarke, M. and Galassi, P. (1998) Means to an end: Peter Galassi on the photographic work of Aleksandr Rodchenko. Aperture, Fall, 1998, Iss 152, p77-79.

Dabrowski, M. Dickerman, L. Galassi, P. Lavrent’ev, A. and Rodchenko, V. (1998) Aleksandr Rodchenko. The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

MacGill, P. and Steidl, G. (2012) Rodchenko. Germany: Innovative Logistics.

Mawdsley, E (2003). The Stalin years : the Soviet Union, 1929-1953. 2nd ed. Manchester : Manchester University Press 2003

Oxford university Press. (2009) Aleksandr Rodchenko: ideas and work, to 1921, Musuem of Modern Art [Viewed 25 Apr 2015] Available at: www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A4975&page_number=1&template_id=6&sort_order=1&section_id=T072573#skipToContent

Oxford university Press. (2009) Aleksandr Rodchenko: Productivism and later work 1921-56. Musuem of Modern Art [Viewed 25 Apr 2015] Available at: http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A4975&page_number=1&template_id=6&sort_order=1&section_id=T072574#skipToContent

Oxford university Press. (2009) Aleksandr Rodchenko: Introduction. Musuem of Modern Art [Viewed 25 Apr 2015] Available at: http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A4975&page_number=1&template_id=6&sort_order=1&displayall=1#skipToContent

Tupitsyn, M. (2009) Rodchenko and Popova: Defining Constructivism. Edited by Margarita Tupitsyn. New York: Distributed in the United States and Canada by Harry N. Abrams.

Beth Hoeckel

Drink, 2012, Beth Hoeckel

Drink, 2012, Beth Hoeckel

Tumalt, Beth Hoeckel, 2012

Tumalt, Beth Hoeckel, 2012

Modern artist Beth Hoeckel is another who demonstrates the wondrous capability if collage. Beth Hoeckel was born in 1979 and studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she studied painting, drawing photography and print making. Stemming from an old high school habit, Beth Hoeckel is known for her collage, photomontage and mixed media painting. Frequent in her work, are the surrealist juxtapositions of foreground and background. People standing on top of a cliff gazing in to a universal nothingness, individuals placed in the middle of a desert atop a glass of water, these are all elements of a surrealist process of appropriation. Far away lands of a dream-like state, a utopia of awe-inspiring contradictions, all but ripened by the suggestively free-spirited and abstract narrative. Beth Hoeckel keenly demonstrates a fluent stream of artistic consciousness where by the physicality of the process rhythmically induces an upsurge of creative energy.

The intentions of the collage are loose, there seems no political agenda, no sense of activism, just a light-hearted, comedic take on surrealist appropriation. Hoeckel find the process of discovery and arrangement is the main focus of the large array of the mixed-media collage created. An intuitive guidance as to the final placement of an image reveals itself as the arrangement continues, some elements do not click straight away, but, wait for a perfect opportunity to fit in place, sometimes taking years to do so. It is an organic process that takes time, a time period that was longer than expected. This is the most frustrating part of a collage and I find that within my own work, finding other source material to increase my chances of a spontaneously proposed pairing, connecting the dots of my artistic intentions, is the strongest way to achieve my desired outcomes, but, time is a restriction so planning is necessary.

Within Hoeckel’s collage there is a heavy focus on the remarkable feature of human autonomy, were by we automatically complete an image if visual aid is given. Hoeckel gives the example of ‘a white blob with three black dots represents a ghost.’ (Hoeckel, L. 2012) The surreal imagery, often discarding the negative space of the recognisable features of a subject, asks the viewer to completes the picture, allowing them to take part in a sort of psychologically active challenge. Some images are easy to understand, others on the other hand, take slightly longer to put in to perspective. A good example of the automatic completion sought after by our psyche, is Hoeckel’s collage ‘Cities’. The featured female is half cut out, but automatically we begin to mould the rest of her features, by means of imaginative autonomy. We know through physical relation, what her hair may look like, but the negative space around the subject becomes that extension of the body.

Cities, Beth Hoeckel, 2011

Cities, Beth Hoeckel, 2011

Nature is also another heavy theme within Beth Hoeckel’s work. The topographic elements of nature, such as mountains, volcanos and clouds are all subjects that serve as backgrounds frequently. The powerful mannerisms of nature, out-scaling humanity a million times over, perhaps serve the purpose of a consequential realisation of human insignificance, within nature and our greater universe. How we are so lost by the policies of self-proclamation and self-congratulation, that we forget the weakened force that we actually are. Perhaps Beth Hoeckel seeks to bring to light such notions of insignificance, putting a new, realist perspective on our place in this universe.

My work involves a physical process of exact replication, linked directly to the dated aesthetic, surreal elements, bizarre juxtapositions and stark comparisons that make the viewer question. I had initially been set on producing a dead-pan perspective, as Beth Hoeckel does, but I felt applying a bit of thought-provoking intention would energise an otherwise loosely defined series of collage. I like the idea of a collage being produced by means of the unconscious, yet, the final outcomes can often fall flat in any theoretical engagement. Beth Hoeckel intently applies an extraordinary example of the principles of collage that diversely demonstrate the surreal outcomes available to artists after a decent time is invested, something I need to do a lot more of if my final outcome is to be of the highest quality.

Bibliography:

Feather of Me, Beth Hoeckel – Reminiscent Stories of Nature. Feather of Me Online [Viewed 29 Apr 2015] Available at: http://www.featherofme.com/beth-hoeckel-reminiscent-stories-of-nature/

Hoeckel, B. (2012) Beth Hoeckel: Bio. Beth Hoeckel Online [Viewed 29 Apr 2015]

Available at: http://bethhoeckel.com/BIO

Hoeckel, B. and Kosilova, D. In conversation: Beth Hoeckel. The Lab Magazine Online [Viewed 29 Apr 2015]

Available at: http://thelabmagazine.com/2012/11/10/beth-hoeckel/

Phaidon Press. (2015) Beth Hoeckel at the edge of the world. Phaidon Press [Viewed 29 Apr 2015]

Available at: http://uk.phaidon.com/agenda/photography/picture-galleries/2012/january/27/beth-hoeckel-at-the-edge-of-the-world/

Richard Hamilton

Richard Hamilton, born in 1936 and unfortunately passing away in 2011, is the iconic founding father of pop art. Emerging in the 1950s, pop art was a movement that incorporated elements of popular and commercial culture, intent on capturing a wider audience than ever before. In 1956 Hamilton gave the movement its name and lay down some guidelines of which defined the art movement’s product. ‘Popular, Transient, Expendable, Low cost, Mass produced, Young, Witty, Sexy, Gimmicky, Glamorous and Big business.’ (Hamilton, R. 1956) these were the boxes to tick and the nation caught on, quickly.

Richard Hamilton loved a capitalist America, he was sceptical to its function and by no means pro-capitalist, but, admired the design, purpose, popularity and expendability of the largely produced product of commercialism. Enchanted by the American aesthetic, Richard Hamilton was naturally directed to the acquaintance of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Ed Ruscha, other artistic pioneers within the bounds of pop art, following Richard Hamilton’s example. These connections were fundamental to the thriving of pop art, publicly crazed by means of cultural relativity, bold presence and simplified wittiness. All so fundamentally integral to the impact of Richard Hamilton’s artwork.

Interior II, Richard Hamilton, 1964

Interior II, Richard Hamilton, 1964

Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing? , 1956

Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing? , 1956

In Hamilton’s 1956 collage ‘Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing?’ he proceeds to decorate the inside of a household with commodities of westernised desire. A consumers buffet, where by the eye darts from one object to the next, replicating the randomised viewing experience of a cabinet of curiosity. Items of materialistic desire scattered around the room serving as eye candy for the viewer, and there could not be a more ambivalent collection of items. After the war, there was a period of heightened consumerism, the 1950s was a time of materialisation and Hamilton knew it, this commercial gold rush is depicted through the insignificance of the items. Objects that when received make us question the morality of a commercially-driven western society.

Richard Hamilton had a long, admirable career, spanning an eclectic range of artistic practices. In the 1940s, Hamilton explored biological matter and experimented with x-rays, along with other scientific processes. After the 1950s pop art extravaganza, moving in to the 1960s, Richard Hamilton surveyed the design of technological household products. Items that include electronic wares such as the iconic Braun toaster. With work that also covers a range of Duchamp inspired ready-mades, conceptual and minimalist sculpture, modern architecture and renaissance inspired painting, it is clear to say that Richard Hamilton’s artistic accomplishments are in the plenty.

Swingeing London, RIchard Hamilton, 1967

Swingeing London, RIchard Hamilton, 1967

Richard Hamilton also had interests and means of conveyance of the political type. Alongside his more politically motivated paintings in Ireland, the notorious image of Rolling Stone frontman, Mick Jagger and art dealer Robert Fraser bares politically related connotations. The pair were arrested for possession of marijuana, something Richard Hamilton considered a light offence. In the image of their arrest, Hamilton intends to make the subjects appear victimised. A media swarm, an unfortunate bang of the gavel, both elements seem over-emphasised and Hamilton chooses this opportunity to convey his means. The hiding of their faces and the aggressive nature of the hand-cuffs, allude to a sense of surprising discomfort, overwhelming idolisation and the harsh consequences of a celebrity lifestyle.

A huge inspiration to myself and a nation, Hamilton effectively encapsulates the glamorous allure of commercialism, soured by its consequential adversities. These notions speculate a personal interest that shapes my final collage work. I look to include cut and paste techniques similar to his own and I believe the physicality of the process emphasises your connection and passion for the concept. I will also investigate Richard Hamilton’s harsh but true depictions of a society’s lust for materialism, searching for a furthered understanding of a process I am trying to perfect. The father of pop art, so inspirational to myself, is a master of, subtle, yet witty conveyance, an iconic creator at the frontline of artistic development, who leaves a legacy, kindly bequeathed to the masses, as Richard Hamilton’s mark in history.

Bibliography:

Livingstone, M. (1980) Pop Art: edited by Marco Livingstone. Accompanying Mercury Communications presents the pop art show, Royal Academy of Arts, London

Livingstone, M. (1990) Pop Art: A Continuing History. London: Thames & Hudson

Livingstone, M. (2010) Politics goes pop: Marco Livingstone applauds an exhibition that reveals the humanist views in the politically-charged work of Richard Hamilton. Apollo, Apr, 2010

MacCarthy, F. (2014) Richard Hamilton: they called him Daddy pop. Guardian Online [Viewed 23 Apr 2014]

Prince, M. (2010) Richard Hamilton: Modern Moral Matters. Art Monthly, May, 2010

Tate Online (2014), Richard Hamilton. [Viewed 23 Apr 2014] Available at: www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/richard-hamilton

Hamilton, R. and Francis, M.(1988), Richard Hamilton: Exhibition Catalogue. Fruit Market Gallery, Edinburgh, Oxford

Hamilton, R. and Godfrey, M. (2014) Exhibition: Richard Hamilton. Tate Modern, London, 13 Feb -26 May, 2014.

Riopelle, C. and Bracewell, M. (2012) Richard Hamilton: The Late Works. United Kingdom: National Gallery Company

Joe Webb

Hot Tub, Joe Webb, 2014

Hot Tub, Joe Webb, 2014

Star Dust III, Joe Webb, 2015

Star Dust III, Joe Webb, 2015

Joe Webb’s collages are a truly fascinating spectacle, simple, yet so very effective in combining, recontextualising and appropriating found images to attach a new level of engagement, opposing the original intentions of the imagery. The surreal composite images, sourced and cut from collected print samples, obtained from charity shops and book stores, collaboratively work together to create a bizarre, fun and imaginative connotation attached to the cut and paste mentality behind this hands-on creative experience. Webb’s work seems to maintain a process of fluent transference from imagination to medium, as an almost materialised extension of his innermost workings, but ultimately, all guided by the obtainment of sources, providing a random selection of images to work with.

All of his collage is meticulously found, cut and arranged, boasting no photoshop dependancy, steering away from his graphic artist background. Without the capability to re-size or the convenient option to undo, it makes it extremely difficult to combine one image with the next, the connection between the sourced material requires a keen eye for composition; aesthetically, but also within the content. The photoshop lifeline utilised by the artists, seems to be a rapidly increasing feature within modern collage, and it seems a strong attribute for Joe Webb to be reverting back to the countryside tracks of material collage. Holding a more appreciative and hands-on understanding of his imaginative process, now all but shadowed by the concrete highways of digital manipulation.

Bang!, Joe Webb, 2014

Bang!, Joe Webb, 2014

Joe Webb held his first exhibition on the 11th March at the Saatchi Gallery, London. Entitled ‘Paper Cuts’ the show included roughly 50  works which utilised a mix of cross-media printing techniques to create a surreal and metaphorical collection of collage. Emblematic of our society’s political issues and the impact of human influence, Webb frequently features 1940s and 50s printed ephemera, ripe with suggestive and narrative connotations. The fact that such dated print was previously used in a serious manner and the idea that we have come a long way since invokes humour. Each cutout, collectively works together to create a comical narrative that aids the realisation of a slightly careless, stubborn, blind and some what dim-witted western normality, regularly bringing light to issues such as global warming, war and consumerism.

In the example of ‘Bang!’, Webb seeks to shine light on the issue of nuclear warfare, military-driven ideology and it’s impending yet discreet impact on our younger generations innocence. The two children, once again sticking to the 1940s print, are seen posing with a balloon. This particular cut-out holds playful, childish and care-free connotations, but, when the notion of the impending bang, tense in narrative, is fused with the background imagery of such negative influence it makes us question the the impact of military action and its destructive consequences. There is a darker, more disconcerting portrayal beneath the comical, colourful and fascinating compositions which seems exposed through the satirical sense of humour included in each collage.

Let's Dance, Nathan Downing, 2015

Let’s Dance, Nathan Downing, 2015

Lava, Nathan Downing, 2015

Lava, Nathan Downing, 2015

Television, Nathan Downing, 2015

Television, Nathan Downing, 2015

One Giant Leap, 2015, Nathan Downing

One Giant Leap, 2015, Nathan Downing

Surgery, Nathan Downing, 2015

Surgery, Nathan Downing, 2015

Utopia, Nathan Downing, 2015

Utopia, Nathan Downing, 2015

Above you see a collection of collage created by myself. With influence from Joe Webb’s work and exhibition, the process of appropriation, along with the cut-and-stick mentality, has been a theme I was keen to follow. Using a collection of books, obtained from charity shops, I was able re-contextualise the original content to create surrealist representations, something of a dream-like state, but relative to modern society, its history, but most of all, human life. The collage frequently references hollywood films, in which society is overemphasised, over-glamourised and falsely represented, the contrast with other elements distort the original image’s intended means and are the stark difference in content induces a questioning of modernity and how our affection for adventure and experience gets lost amidst our interaction with technology and media.

My interest in 1940s and 50s print is something I look to include in my final print but find it hard to introduce multiple sources above three, the different sources do not link in size, content or meaning and with no adjusting available its hard to create a narrative. When I find source material I cut and categorise them, people, backgrounds nature and space, this is my way of digesting the books and find the process almost therapeutic. Sticking with the hands-on approach is something I look to continue but will need to collect more source material in order to do so, a lot more.

Bibliography:

Mutti, G, ‘Paper Cuts: The New Collection’, 2015, AnOther Magazine [Viewed 9th Apr 2015]

Available at: www.anothermag.com/art-photography/7168/paper-cuts-the-new-collage-by-joe-webb

Webb, J, ‘Paper Cuts’ Exhibition, 2015, Saatchi Gallery, London

Webb, J, ‘Joe Webb: About’ Joe Webb Online, 2015 [Viewed 9th Apr 2015]

Available at: http://www.joewebbart.com/about/

Shadows, Reflections and All That Sort of Thing, Jorma Puranen, 2009-11

Shadows, Reflections and All That Sort of Thing, Jorma Puranen, 2009-11

Shadows, Reflections and All That Sort of Thing, Jorma Puranen, 2009-11

Shadows, Reflections and All That Sort of Thing, Jorma Puranen, 2009-11

From 2009 to 2011 Finnish photographer, Jorma Puranen, created an innovative photographic series highlighting our lost affection for the forgotten world of painting. Entitled ‘Shadows, Reflections and All That Sort of Thing’, the series aims to represent and explore the period of time between classic painting and digitalised modernity, where by the concept of painting has become dry and purposeless. As an alternative perspective, Puranen adds an additional layer of image distortion on top of the traditional masterpieces, it creates a barrier between both viewer and original medium. The distancing, generated through the shiny textures of a the materialistic exterior glistening with a sense of hyper-physicality, are photographed in galleries and create an interactive viewing experience, separating you from the traditional guise of portrait digestion, manifesting a contemplation of historic art and our move away from these roots.

The reflected light, bouncing of the texturised outer of the paintings, creating a mask and hardened exterior, obscuring the viewers access to the complete image. Fragmentations of the past are contemplated through these obscurities, after the separation of modernity and history becomes apparent. The original subjects, would have lived lives that play out much similar to our own. Dreams, failure, emotion, desires, they would have led lives of normality that are so easily forgotten when reading the defiant, rich and powerful connotations of the portrait subjects. Just as the paintings serve as a sense of immortality, can this immortality become purposeless within the confinements of an art gallery, filled to the brim with utterly disconcertingly disrespectful to the traditional values of portraiture.

The fragility of the original artwork, is also a representation of the decline of the purpose of painting. As the artwork continues its life, the painting picks up the obligatory signs of wear and tear. it is this physical deterioration that points to the similar concept of painting and legacy of the painting. The cracking painting-front reflects how the popularity of painting has declined over the years, due to new digitalised technology and broader artistic bounds. Alongside the physicality of the painting, the use of archival material is an openly shapeable stereotype and the perfect means of art-historic comparison. The painting is a product of presentness, as is photography, but how long does that ‘presentness’ last and how long can a piece of art image maintain an element of timelessness, before it is historically categorised.

Bibliography:

Shore, R. (2014) Post-Photography: The Artist with a Camera. United Kingdom: Laurence King Publishing, p198-203

Hand & Eye: Julie Cockburn

The Query, Julie Cockburn, 2013

The Query, Julie Cockburn, 2013

Idyll, Julie Cockburn, 2012

Idyll, Julie Cockburn, 2012

As we progress with artistic innovation, creative unconventionality and the broadened horizons of modern art, the physicality of a photograph has taken some increasing interest. Using a process, external to the capabilities of photoshop, artists demonstrate a delicate focus on the physical presence of an image, whether an exhibition or commemorative scrap book. The manipulative tendencies of images that fall in to this chapter, move away from the more screen-based viewing experience we might see today. The aesthetics may not be align with the traditional sense of picturesque appreciation, but, the physicality and its intentions are the appreciative element, rendering the images as a basic form of sculpture amidst the hands-on intervention.

Julie Cockburn creates hand-crafted, surrealist abstractions that are fascinating examples of the materialistic intricacy available to a photographer, but are often looked over. Cockburn collects photographs from Ebay, car-boot sales and charity shops, items previously discarded, lost or forgotten. Then Cockburn applies an enhanced dimensionality to her found images, through means of physical addition, she is able to reincarnate the images’ lost legacy. The narrative of the process is a photographic fairy-tale, a happy ending to the saddened story of loss, insignificance and disrespect induced by the notion of found imagery.

The embroidery, cutting, layered scribbles and other manipulative techniques seek to re-invent, bringing a retired photograph, forgotten and meaningless, back to life. A confirmation of the imagery’s success in doing so, is exemplified by a bizarre encounter that Cockburn experienced. She was contacted by the granddaughter of a women who was featured as a subject. The inquisitor was delighted that an image of her beloved grandmother had surfaced, no other image remained. The woman bought the work from Julie Cockburn and the circuit was complete. She unearths forgotten treasures of the past, initiates her own loving repair, then offers the reincarnated product to the masses, consequentially invoking an awe-inspiring investigation of the geometric, precise and intricate manipulations undertaken.

Interested in the physicality of the material print, within a digitalised society that is quick to skim over such elements of a photograph, Julie Cockburn demonstrates the hand-crafted elegance and intricacy of this classic process, proclaiming herself a ‘perfectionist’. People suggest that the work is aggressive by nature, but, the enchanted nature of photographic reincarnation—as a derivative of appropriation—is by no means aggressive, the purpose is directed at upcycling a previously redundant image. Julie Cockburn meticulously mocks up her detailed designs using photoshop and an experimental cutting, pasting and sewing, before the final direction reveals itself. Cockburn compares this process to ‘having a conversation with the images’ (Cockburn, J. 2014), figuring out the best outcome for the image and its intended consequences.

An Inkling, Waiting Room, Julie Cockburn, 2014

An Inkling, Waiting Room, Julie Cockburn, 2014

In the 2014 series, entitled ‘Waiting Room’, Julie Cockburn explores the unspoken relationship and observative interaction between strangers within a waiting room, a place that also resides at an art exhibition. Cockburn sees these social spaces as a location where by your life in put on pause, you have no real purpose, no momentary goals, just time a time of environmental reflection within our immediate surroundings. The structure of the artistically enhancing manipulations are a formulaic depiction in which public interaction might best be represented. As an artistic emittance of the notions of anthropologic interaction, as if a diagram or schematic, the geometrical, abstract and appropriative additions to the original imagery,  illustrate the invisible mannerisms of normalised, insignificant and automatic public interaction, when no purposeful task is affront your psychological agenda.

I believe the physicality and intricacy of Julie Cockburn’s photographic process, at the forefront of contemporary photography, shows an artists alternative perspective on a traditionally two-dimensional artistic practice. Surrounded by the gargantuan statues of digitalised development within art, it is easy to forget about the physicality of a print and what it can incur. Julie Cockburn is fighting for the remembrance of a process, traditionally introduced through collage, graphics and painting, that emphasises photographies ability to follow the path of physicality lain down by more hands-one predecessors.

Bibliography:

Binding, A. (2012) Deface Book. Sleek33: Fashion Now Art Forever, Spring, 2012.

Re-title: International Contemporary Art. (2015), Julie Cockburn. Re-title Online, [Viewed 25 Mar 2015] Available at: http://www.re-title.com/artists/julie-cockburn.asp

Seesaw Magazine (2012). Julie Cockburn. Seesaw Online Magazine, Iss 13, 2012.

Shore, R. (2014) Post-Photography: The Artist with a Camera. United Kingdom: Laurence King Publishing

Smith, D. (2010) Paper, Rock, Scissors. British Journal of Photography, Oct, 2010.

The Photographers Gallery. (2015) Julie Cockburn. The Photographers Gallery Online [Viewed 25 Mar 2015] Available at: www.thephotographersgallery.org.uk/juliecockburn