So I took myself along to the Art Gallery of NSW for the "most extensive exhibition of Pop Art ever showcased in Australia". Being a big fan of popular culture and the Pop Art movement, it was exciting and very informative to have this retrospective exhibition on in town. At the entrance was large sign with Richard Hamilton's famous definition of Pop Art, being that Pop Art is: popular, transient, expendable, low-cost, mass produced, young, witty, sexy, gimmicky, glamorous and Big Business. This idea has very much influenced my Juicy Hues design store - a gift shop full of brightly coloured, fairly expendable designs that aim to capture the essence of what is popular for the mass market.
The exhibition was divided up into sections according to various groups and time frames, such as the American artists, focusing more on mass media / fame and consumerism ideas, the Euro pop and British pop artists, focusing more on post war notions and more political or social ideas and the Australian artists, some of whom were trying to make social statements, a lot of collage work some more commercial artists. It was interesting that a lot of the pop artists had backgrounds in commercial or graphic art.
It was satisfying to see a good representation of fairly famous works from the most famous pop artists. Andy Warhol was well represented from early work such as Elvis and Marilyn prints, his Campbell's soup cans were on display, through to his Mao prints and ending with his collaborations with Basquiat and one of his last self portraits. Other famous artists on display include Lichtenstein, Rosenquist, Martin Sharp...many others...
There was even a cool "pop café" where you could buy caramel popcorn and various other drinks and fun treats and a game of pop twister that you could join in with. I tried to restrain myself in the "pop shop" and only bought a small book of Andy Warhol quotes, though I was seriously considering the blow up pink flamingo !!
If you live in Sydney, the Pop to Popism exhibition is on until March 2015.
The Lotus flower, or Nelumbo Nucifera is one of two species of aquatic plant in the family Nelumbonaceae. This flower is native to Tropical Asia and Northern Queensland, Australia. It is also the national flower of India and Vietnam. In India, the lotus is symbolically associated with purity and non-attachment.
The lotus is often confused with the Water Lily plant, but in fact they are practically unrelated. . The roots of the lotus are planted in the bottom of the pond and the leaves float on top of the water surface or are held above it. The flowers are found on thick stems rising several centimetres above the leaves.
An individual lotus can live for over a thousand years. Lotus roots are often used in Asian cooking.
My painting of the Lotus flower above left is one I did for a commission a couple of years ago. It's quite a large A2 size painting and I was trying to capture the tropical greens and unique shape of the pink petals. The petal shape of lotus flowers are more rounded than Water Lily flowers. I use this painting design as the logo for my facebook fan page, website title page and gift shop storefront, as I think it's a good representation of my style. The painting on the top right is more of a minimalist version showing the seed pod/ fruit of the plant. These paintings are both available as prints here and here.
Below right is a painting of a White Lotus by Georgia O'Keeffe (1939). It shows the centre of the flower hidden and protected and pure.
Narcissus is the genus name of this hardy bulb Spring flowering plant. Common names include Daffodil and Jonquil. Narcissus flowers are brightly coloured, generally yellow or white and consist of six petal like tepals surrounding a trumpet shaped corona structure.
These flowers are native to meadows and woods in South Western Europe and North Africa. They are popular symbols of Spring in many countries.
Above are two small A5 sized paintings I did recently of Daffodils in a quick, fluid style, trying to capture the colours and essence of the flower. I think the simple structure of the petals lends itself to a more simple and fluid rendition of the flower. These are both available in larger sized prints here and here.
Below is a painting titled Jonquils #3 by Georgia O'Keeffe. She has chosen to paint a bunch of the Narcissus flowers showing their pale yellow colouring. Her picture is more detailed than mine and I like the way she has used the green / blue colour for the tonal component.
Still celebrating Australian Spring season and Daisies are another flower that is commonly associated with Springtime. This is a very diverse type of flower with around 20,000 different species worldwide. Around 1,000 different species are actually native to Australia. The other types are mostly native to North and Central Europe.
The daisy usually has white petals and a yellow centre, but can also be pink or purple in petal colour. The symbolic meaning for daisies is innocence, purity and new beginnings.
The painting of the free form daisy on the left is fairly recent from my series of small paintings where I was trying to capture the essence of the flower in just a few brush strokes. The painting in the middle - Daisy Straw Flowers - is about ten years old and I really like the multi-coloured and bright colour composition. It really has a Spring / Summer feel to it. The painting on the right - African Daisy - is one of my earliest paintings and one of the first paintings to be done in a macro close focus style.
Below is an oil painting by Georgia O'Keeffe of Pink Daisy with Iris 1927. I quite like the pink and grey pastel colour scheme.
Back to my Creative Drawing course book this week and the topic is Atmospheric or aerial Perspective. This is how spatial illusions are created by controlling the sharpness and relative contrast of receding forms in a drawing (Smagula - Creative Drawing). Foreground shapes are sharper than the shapes in the background and far distance. Fairly logical concept. Albrecht Durer's Rocky Landscape (1495) on the right shows a good example of the technique by rendering his foreground rocks in a detailed, sharp manner and background castle less distinct, showing a spatial separation.
My drawing is of the view out my window, showing my neighbours' roofs in the foreground in a more detailed and sharper / darker focus, and the roofs and trees in the receding background less distinct to exaggerate the illusion of depth. If I'd had more time I would have worked more on the foreground roofs to add more detail and shading etc.. but I think the point of the exercise was achieved.
The last part of the chapter on perspective goes on to mention some artists that purposefully use or distort our knowledge of perspective to create imaginative and unpredictable worlds. The most famous being M.C Escher (1898 - 1972), known for creating visual puzzles and using his knowledge of perspective to manipulate and play mind tricks on us. I love mind tricks so he's one of my favourite artists !... Some examples of his best perspective illusions are below, the most famous "Relativity" (1953) with the distorted staircases...
Sacha Grossel is a practising Visual Artist from Australia.