Summative Post: Contextualisation


Luc Tuymans’ Gaskamer was the painting that influenced my project as I was fascinated at how Tuymans was able to normalise such a evil scene. This was something I wanted to achieve in my work but not in the exact way that Tuymans. I was interested in figures and scenes rather than environments.



This was an article that I read for my dissertation research, it ultimately asked the question whether or not evilness is a human trait and not something that only the cruelest among has have deep within. It also gave me the subject matter for my first main piece as the front cover of the article showed a scene from a Nazi Youth Rally.


This trip came just before I painted my first main piece of the Nazi youth. This was the perfect time as this Kiefer exhibition showed work that inspired me in terms of his use of muddy colours and painting very large scale. As well as this we shared similar themes as he worked with the idea of evilness as well. I feel this was the exhibition that inspired me to work on a larger scale and to keep using paper.


This research into evilness in the art of the past was done in order to gain a greater knowledge of how this portrayal has evolved through the ages. One painting in particular inspired me and this was Goya’s The Third of May 1808. This was because it symbolised the classic depiction of evil and this was that one or one battle between the two forces. This influenced my work as I was always reminded not to go down this route, as I wanted the viewer to experience a sense of realisation when observing my work.



The Marlene Dumas exhibition at the Tate was probably the best show I have been to this year. She is known for her painterly style and this was something I wanted to incorporate more into my work. She also explored evilness with her work so this was very relevant to my studio practice.



Final Tutorial with James

As we enter the last week before we start building our degree show it was a good time to discuss our final ideas and how we are going to present our work in the degree show. I explained my idea of two or three large scale paintings on paper which will be displayed along a white wall. The big issue regarding this was how i am going to display the work, and I felt the minimal look would be more successful. I am planning to used clips and suspend the pieces using nails so that the work hangs away from the wall rather than stuck to it. I also said how i was going to paint the nails white so this detachment was even more prominent. He agreed with this idea and suggested some artisits to look at. The first being Michael Subotzky and his photography work.


Cell 33, Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison


Pasvang, Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison

This photography is powerful in the sense that it gives the impression that these people are suffering. Which is a strange thought because many of these would have committed acts that can be regarded as evil. Furthermore the second photograph above is a digital print in pigment inks on cotton rag paper. The use of cotton rag paper appeals to me as I feel it is similar to my use of paper. For me the more basic the material the better which is one of the reasons I have moved away from the canvas material. The second artisit that James reccommended was Hamed El Kanbouhi, his work can be seen below.

This work immediately appeals to me for its paintery style which is somewhat different to controversial subject matter he chooses. Which is something I am trying to achive in my work. James said this artist was also relevant for the display of his work, much of the work is on unframed canvas material that his hang from hooks. This is similar to want I want to achieve with the display or my work. I feel this detachment from the wall is extremely important. Another artist who paints in a style that does not suit her subject matter is Alida Cervantes.


This can be seen in this oil on wood painting. Her work explores the intricacy and intimacy of power, and in particular submission and dominance. The issue of power is quite a controversial theme however this is contrasted with the fun painterly style.

James also suggested how much more of a difficult process it will be take the paper off the wall and measure it to the appropriate size. I initially did not realise this task who be so hard but now I will dedicate more preparation and time to it. He suggested getting a laser spirit level and to place the paper on mats or the floor so I can cut them to size exactly. Before this advice I was jut going to cut the paper to size straight from the wall. All in all I feel this tutorial has given me more confidence in this final week of work.

Tutorial with Davida

Prior to this tutorial I was in a real difficult period in terms of how to take my work forward. I was in a state of mind that kept producing work but I now had to focus on my final degree show and what exactly I was going to produce.

I felt I knew for the most part as I had decided that I was going to produce three large scale pieces on paper and exhibit at least two if not all three. Therefore I did not need any direction in terms of what I was going to produce but rather some suggestion of how to improve my painting.

One artist that she advised me to look at was Martin Maloney, here is an example of his work below.

On first glance these are paintings that would not initially interest me, but I do appreciate them considering that the paintings carry a sense of innocence and childishness in how they are painted. This is something I want to convey in my work however I am using much more controversial and corrupt imagery.

An artist I was advised to look at by James

Following my feedback I was recommended an artist who used to study at CSAD who went by the name of Jan Williams.

“In my artist practice I am interested in the way that we respond to spaces and places that we pass through. The passage of time and the ambiguity of transitional states are also concerns that I explore through the medium of paint, photography and installation.”


This painted piece above reminds me of Tuymans’ ‘Gaskamer’ in the sense that it documents the power of an empty space. This piece is not as minimal as ‘Gaskamer’ however it does magnify the power of an environment.


She also used other outlets to convey this idea, particularly installations, one of which can be seen above. This piece is extremely simplistic, yet powerful. Although the work is only a faint shadow it carries a huge presence of this vast white wall. It also seems quite ghostly. Simplicity is something I want to convey more in my work. I don’t want to over paint my final pieces as this as been a criticism in the past.

Robert Priseman

Robert Priseman is an artist who is fasinated with the Gas chamber.




These pieces above are produced using coloured pencils, this in itself is quite a soft tool for such a powerful subject matter. The use of colour pencil suggests a certain realness to the piece especially with this very real style of drawing. There is something about the spatial element within the piece that normalises the evil in  similar way to Tuymans. The limited nature allows the viewer to create there own evil.

Falling Man

This photograph from the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks reminded me of the photograph I am currently painting. The man in the ISIS image who is falling is clearly in distress however the 9/11 falling man seems graceful and relaxed. Through my painting I want to normalise this ISIS image so much so that it is not initially recognisable.


War and its Recent Portrayal in Film

Recently I took the time to watch two movies that were recently in the cinema. These being Fury and American Sniper.

These are two movies that paint America is an extremely positive light, which goes back to what John Gay discussed that the western world sees good and evil being completing different and war is ultimately just that. It could be seen as ignorance.