Final Major Project

Week 3

Reflection of Tracey Emin's Exhibition

When I first walked in and looked around at all of Emin's 2D works, I had no idea what they were about, as I knew nothing of her before I entered her exhibition. But after watching a twenty-two minute film that she made in 1996 where she explained and talked about her experience with abortion, everything started to make sense to me. At first I thought that all of her works were about a lost love, an experience of heartbreak, and the feeling of abundant loneliness. Especially looking at the nude female figures that Emin have painted which all have very similar forms and poses, I realised that there was more than just heartbreak.

Walking through the halls, reading the things that she wrote on her works, and watching the film of her speaking about her experience, there is a wave of emotion washing through the White Cube, complementing to the space and presentation of the exhibition. Now looking at the pictures of the paintings I took at the exhibition, as well as the titles of each artwork, it's incredible how Emin is able to portray her emotions and experience through a set of works. She also mostly emphasised on a bloody looking vagina, which may be her way of showing what it felt like and what it looked like when she was going through her abortion.

Reflecting on her exhibition now, there is such a difference between how the female nude is portrayed and presented then and now. Now, contemporary and conceptual artists like Tracey Emin embrace the female nude to show real purposes, and real emotions, depth, feelings, and meaning. The female nude is no longer pointless, it is here to show the struggle, pain, pleasure, love, hate, etc. that women experience today, yesterday, and tomorrow. Tracey Emin's works are truly real, raw, and full of emotion. Although they may look like rough brushstrokes, but there is a reason why some strokes are rough, soft, edgy, washed up, etc. 

Tracey Emin: A Fortnight of Tears

In The Dead Dawn of Night I Wanted You - 2018

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But You Never Wanted Me - 2018

And Salt Felt Like This - 2018

The Abortion Waiting Room - 2018

I Made You Happy - 2018

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I Was Too Young To Be Carrying Your Ashes - 2017-18

You Were Still There - 2018

I Am The Last Person - 2018

I Tried Not To Cry - 2016

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Even Part of Me Kept Loving You - 2016

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Making First Two Prints

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I made the first prints of the two linoleums I have carved. I chose the recycled paper because I love the texture that it gives and the size of the papers are already the perfect fit for the linoleums a well. 

For the Grace Jones photograph, I knew I wanted them to be an electric blue, following the original photograph by Jean-Paul Goude. I mixed in some blue with white and loved the colour it turned into. Then I did my first print, not covering the whole paper completely, noting that the first print is never really perfect. Then I added more paint because I wanted to see what the prints would look like if they were opaque. Afterwards, Ben from the workshop suggested to do another press with the remaining paint after an opaque press, to see how they would look like. I kept all the prints because I find them all interesting, and even though I only planned to show the opaque prints for my final work, I decide I want to show all prints made to show different texture.

Cutting the linoleum

Transferring drawing to lino

With the graphite paper, I placed it between the linoleum and the printed picture (graphite facing down onto the lino) and put tape over them to make sure they are still in place. I tried not to touch the front too much because I didn't want the graphite to transfer to the lino and make the surface dirty.

Afterwards I just traced the drawing using a pencil and tried to make it as precise as possible.

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Preparing the lino

To prepare the lino, I first had to go on to Photoshop and prepare the images. In Photoshop, I flipped the artworks horizontally, as the image will flip when transferred from the lino to the chosen surface. Then I got rid of unnecessary parts of the artworks to make sure that the female figure is fully focused. After doing so, I put the opacity of the images down to 70% because I wanted to see where the lines were when I trace them over on graphite paper and then to the lino. I printed all of them into A4 papers. After printing, I tried to figure out how much of the lino I should cut down to make sure that there is still some frame on the prints, instead of having the lino cover the whole A4 paper in the final works.

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I decided to chop down the width of the paper by 1,5 cm each side, and 2 cm for each side of the length of the paper. I did this measurement for all the artworks except for Manet's "Olympia", in which I cut off 2 cm for all sides of the paper and lino.

After I cut down all the papers to size, I measured the same measurements to the linoleum sheets to make sure they were in size. I cut all of them with a cutter knife and ruler.

Week 3 Reflection and How I Feel About The First 2 Prints

This week was the first week of actually making the real final project. I felt excited and ready to begin with making the project. As I have done linocut printmaking before and enjoyed it, I was happy that I was doing something that I liked doing and that I knew about beforehand. I was also very confident with my linocuts because I spent a long time doing them and made sure that I put my effort and put plenty of details into them (committing to my realistic and clean cut style).

I decided on making prints for the Grace Jones photograph and Ruben's painting first to test out how they were before I started cutting the rest of my linoleums. I spent the whole day in the print studio with Ben and I came in not really knowing what was gonna happen and how things were going to turn out. I was mostly confident about the Grace Jones photograph because it was clear to me that the print had to be an electric dark blue. So I did just that. I tried to jog up every memory that I had about doing printmaking before that and went on with making the prints. Ben also taught me how to do a registry with a newsprint to make sure that I got the print exactly in the right location on the paper. I decided to do 2 prints at first for each lino, because Ben told me that the first one is never going to turn out the way we want it to. The first prints had uneven coverage of paint due to the texture of the paper contributing to it. But I made sure that the second print was opaque and as perfect as they could be. Then Ben told me about a technique that artists tend to do, which is to make another print immediately with any remaining paint left on the linoleum using the press machine. I went ahead to test it out and loved the results.

For the Ruben's piece, I intended to do a baby pink or pastel-ish pink colour for the prints, but ended up not mixing enough white paint to the magenta and having a pop pink instead. I went on with it because I wanted to see what they would look like in the end and I thought that I would keep the prints instead of having a baby pink. I thought it was interesting that a classical painting is combined with a colour that represents pop culture. I tried to combine antiquity and modernity into the works.

"Why History’s Greatest Male Artists Depended on Female Nudes" by Allison Geller

https://awomensthing.org/blog/art-history-female-nudes/:

  • "A pattern emerges when we look at the most controversial female nudes in the known history of Western art: all of the artists who painted them are men."
  • "Though nudes had been a subject of art since the classical era, in Rembrandt’s epoch—the 1620s and 1630s—nudes had gone out of fashion. It was a period of great religious orthodoxy in Dutch society, and a time when naturalism had taken hold of art."
  • "Modernism loved controversy, and the nude was often the first subject artists reached for to create it."
  • "Like Rembrandt, Edouard Manet was inspired by a Titian composition when he painted “Olympia” in 1863. Upon seeing it, the appalled critics were sure the artist was having a jolly good joke at their expense. He depicted a naked Olympia who was clearly a prostitute, her maid standing with flowers in hand from the next John to come through the door. She seemed a parody of Titian’s “Venus of Urbino,” a painting that was, in its own time, infamous for modeling a goddess off of a Venetian courtesan and portraying her with a steady, candid gaze. “Olympia” shocked as much for its method as its matter—crude strokes and childlike renderings of body parts where Titian had painted with awe-inspiring finesse over 300 years earlier. But it also became the painting for which Manet was best known, and remains so today."

"How women's 'perfect' body changed through history" by Amber Petty

www.thelist.com/44261/womens-perfect-body-types-changed-throughout-history/:

  •  "The "perfect" female (and male) body has greatly changed over the years, even though the foundation of the female form has stayed the same."
  • The Paleolithic era: "Featuring large breasts, large hips and a healthy stomach, it's clear that a good body equalled one that could bear many children. A big healthy body was all that mattered because you were your own method of survival."
  • Ancient Greece: "Put simply, he (Pythagoras) found that in order to be considered "beautiful", women's faces should be two thirds as wide as they are long, and both sides of the visage should be perfectly symmetrical. Symmetrical faces continue to be regarded as more beautiful today, so send your hate mail to "P'thag" if you're rocking — and owning — that asymmetry."
  • The early Renaissance era: "The idealized women of artists like Raphael were commonly curvy, pale but with slightly flushed cheeks, and soft, round faces. Raphael admitted that most of his paintings were not based on real models, simply his imaginings of what a beautiful woman would look like. This was true for many painters. With the Renaissance began a transition — from simply considering women to be objects of fertility, to objects of lust and beauty."
  • The Elizabethan era: "The paler you were, the higher your status. Poor people had to work outside and get terrible tan lines, so the wealthy would show off their pale skin as a symbol of opulent indoor living."
  • Post French revolution - late 18th century: "Makeup became much simpler and the insanely ornate gowns of the very rich were paired down. But makeup for men stayed mostly unpopular, becoming a benchmark for the separation of women and men in society: it labeled a woman's looks and sexiness as her greatest virtue."
  • Victorian era: "The pale, frail, weak look was all the rage. No particular body part was emphasized — just so long as a women didn't look too hearty or strong."
  • The turn of the century: "A large bust was preferred, and, though it was still popular for girls to look a little soft and round, the trend towards a thinner ideal was beginning."
  • The 1920s: "Flappers brought about a complete change in fashion and body type. Since they were gaining a taste of men's power, the ideal women's body became a more boyish figure. For the first time, the curvy, fertile look was completely out. Girls wanted to look thin with no curves, and they were chopping their hair."
  • The 30s and 40s: "Most women weren't able to worry about having a skinny figure and the perfect clothes, so the ideal body type became slightly more full."
  • The 50s and 60s: "The hourglass figure was sought after and having a large bust was strongly encouraged. Now, a lot of people think that the sex symbols of the '50s would be considered plus sized now. Though they are certainly heavier than the models of today, the movie stars were still very thin — they just had boobs. Most of the glamour girls of film had a BMI between 18.8 and 20.5, much lower than the average women's BMI of 23.6. So, even at a modern time where the ideal woman was a little bigger, she was still thinner than most real girls."
  • The 60s to 90s: "The '70s saw greater freedom for women, but skinny was still the ideal. Farrah Faucett may have had a larger bust than Twiggy, but she was still rather petite. When the '80s rolled around, the Supermodel era began. Women were meant to be tan, tall, thin, but slightly athletic. Hips got much smaller, though large breasts were still the rage. Women were influenced more by models than actors for fashion and body trends, while models continued to be wildly thinner than the average person. Just when it seemed like the ideal body couldn't get any thinner, in came the '90s. Kate Moss came along to give Twiggy a run for "skinniest model of all time". The Brit model with a BMI of 16 and that famous "heroin chic" look became popular.

"Considering the Nude in Feminist Art" by Charlotte Jansen

www.anothermag.com/art-photography/8667/considering-the-nude-in-feminist-art:

  • "Images of women still hold a central place in contemporary digital culture today, and discussion about the subjective female experience is still rooted in the body – and in objectification."
  • Coco Dolle: “I think that addressing the way the nude is depicted in art by female artists brings to light some important issues that are very current.”
  • Coco Dolle: "Women are so used to seeing themselves via the eyes of men, due to the fact that men have dominated the visual spectrum of the arts and media for so long. When you look at the history of art, television, advertising, and media in general – the image of women has always been how men wanted them to look, versus how women do look and feel."
  • India Cesarine: "The ‘male gaze’ on the nude generally presents women as an ‘object of desire’ for the pleasure of a male viewer."