Apply research and Analysis July 24th
Our regular tutor David was ill today so I am sending my best wishes for a speedy recovery! I hope you don’t have the same cold I’ve had David because it is a mongrel.
Back to the topic. Today we had a couple of videos to look at which pointed towards us thinking about the subject last week, the “Zeitgeist” or spirit of our times and how that may have happened in creation of the art during the Industrial revolution in Europe and England from around 1880 to 1915.
We had a brief look at a major archeological find in Europe. This was made in the early 20th Century as archeologists were excavating in the area of Willenfdorf, Austria. This little figure only about 7 inches tall was carved over 20,000 years ago. The interesting thing about her is that she reflects the desire for a symbol of female fertility and how all the female body parts to do with that have been very much exaggerated. This idea spread across much of the world for many hundreds or thousands of years and is a very early example of the environment and the lives of the people having a big impact on the creation of art or symbols. There was no interest in the reality of the female form, even the arms and facial features are not included.
Jumping forward to the end of the nineteenth Century, we are now at the beginning of a huge change in society. The “Age of the Machine” saw the production of a huge quantity of inventions. This would not be seen again until the latter part of the twentieth Century in what we may now call the “Technological Era”.
During the 1880s the Eiffel Tower was built, the next decade would see cars, planes, steam and electrical power, long distance communication, photography and mass production. As this was occurring around them artists were working to make sense of the world around them.
Artists such as Paul Cezanne started experimenting with new ideas to represent this new society. From their work the movement of Cubism came into being.
Rather than looking at a scene or object from a single point of view in a single instance of time, artists were now experimenting with all or many views over a period of time. How to include the sounds, the time and movement into a traditional medium such as oil painting.
Technology had freed artist to be able to paint anywhere by the invention of paint in tubes and making colours affordable. Electric lights meant that work could be done anywhere at any time. The changing lives of people around them meant that the artists were going to reflect what was going on outside their doors every day.
Some artists looked to other cultures rather than accepted western tradition, to see how countries such as those in Africa or Polynesia saw the world. Simplifying and looking at everything from a totally new perspective rather than a singular point of view now meant art was more cerebral and not a mere reflection of the natural world.
The following artists were involved in the growth of this movement and are worth having a look at:
Henri Gaudier Brzeska
Henri Le Fauconnier
Manolito Tolentino Mayo
Patrick Henry Bruce
So, from all of this what do we think is influencing us as artists in this “digital age” we are living in? Every era seems to have influenced the styles and subject matter of the artists of the time. They have painted, sculpted and drawn the conflicts, the inventions, the human struggles, the horrific and the beauty. The cubists saw the beauty in the machine, the creativity in making their art more reflective of the mind and a new vision. We have access to the whole of history and the explosion in technology in our times as inspiration for our work. So what are you going to do with yours?