Wednesday, 30 November 2011

PHEOBE UNWIN- Self Conscious


The artists paintings shifts between figuration and abstraction creating a personal register of images, marks, observations of reality, constructs of a memory or indirect references to particular places and events. Unwin teases and collages images, shapes and forms together in pastel, pencil and acrylic creating elusive, colourful abstract painting imbrued with a darker, often sinister psychological narrative. The oil painting 'Self Conscious' reminds me of Jimi Hendrix, the colours show his personality. The layers show that the theme 'self conscious' could be that he is hiding something from by the colours of the dark figure. the setting could be some sort of rock band up on stage; dark images you see in a dream, things you try to remember but can only analyse shapes that are blurred.

''Exciting to think that anything can be a painting...''.

By looking at it from a distance; the texture looks so bold and makes you want to touch it. Big canvas, no frame, its simple! The light areas show the outside part of the figure, creating strong lines, could be an atmospheric stage; the dark ages show the figure. Traces of movement reflect around the outside of the figure.


Bethany pethers


Do not strive to be a modern artist: it's the one thing unfortunately you can't help being. (Salvador Dali)

I think what Dali is trying to say here is that no matter if we want to be or not we cannot help but be influences and reacted to previous art works and artistic movements we are exposed to new influences and contexts all the time weather we understand them o

r not is irrelevant our mined make up some kind of opinion on the matter and therefor we consider it in our work even at a sub conches level and also the fact that work we reacted in the present is modern in comparison to any past works.



1. a literary, musical, or artistic piece consisting wholly or chiefly of motifs or techniques borrowed from one or more sources.

2. an incongruous combination of materials, forms, motifs, etc., taken from different sources; hodgepodge.

In the art world a pastiche is when an artist imitates a work or an element of another’s work and uses it

in there own weather it be subject, material, technique or artist sys


This is apparent in Banksys version of Claude Monet’s bridge he has created the original sense in the original brush style but added shopping trolleys and traffic cones a sight commonly seen in rivers and streams today, baksy is a street artist with strong

political views by choosing to using Monet’s image a scene we all know and associate with calm peaceful and tranquil imagery it amplifies his massage.

This work is also a Pastiche using the famous image of Leonardo da Vinci’s M

onalisa only not recreation the image in the more traditional medias of paint or p

encil this work was created using COFFEE! This work took eight artists three hours to create usi

ng only tea and coffee at various different strength to create different colours!

Pastiche not to be confused with parody with imitates works in a sinister way or to produce humours results or thou these line can sometimes become blurred for example the Simpsons parody of Arnold Schwarzenegger characters in the form of “mcbain” as some would argue that yes the Simpsons are “taking the mickey” by being recognises by such a popular and long running show and to have been parodied could also be considered an honour in itself and therefore become a pastiche of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s work .

Truth study

British art show Peninsula

Wolfgang Tillman’s Truth Study

This work consists of 8 glass tops wooden benches each different in heights and size all was a selection of various newspaper cutting, leaflets, posters, photographs, internet print offs, extracts from scientific journals, lottery tickets, restaurant menus, brochures and much, much more

At first glance this piece is just a random selection of different topics ranging from space and time to religion and crime, current trends, drugs, nature all a big mish mash of topics and things of hight intrest today.

Sins childhood Tillman has collected scrap books of subjects that currently concern him and I think this is the case here I think the artist is trying to communicate some of the insanity and contradictions of todays modern world, in this work he brings together so many issues facing todays people highlighting today attitudes to things such a world hunger depicting desperately malnourished children in third world country’s placed next to Malteaser wrappers with highlighted calorie counts while another ridicules a weight loose advert directed at women who are already of a healthy size but then go on to promote the new fad of size zero, these storm contrast really made me think about where my priority’s are. the tables also has an article outlining the Vatican views on homosexuality lying new to reports of young teenage boys being put to dead through hanging for crimes against Sharia law in Iran, I’m not shore where’s Tillman’s piece is passive or aggressive, weather it is simply informing you of the worlds injustices or weather it is trying to invoke a strong reaction there is such a wide range of topics covered that the meaning to anyone person will be completely different to another based on the personal and political views.

Monday, 28 November 2011


Having never studied Post-Modernism before, I found it really interesting to read about. My own opinion so far, is that it is Modernism expanded, manifested and interpreted in various ways by many artists.

When we were asked to find a quote on Post Modernism, I found it quite hard because there were so many different opinions. Some people like it and some people really criticise it. So, I chose to look at this quote because for me, it sums up the negative outlook on Post-Modernism.

This quote is taken from Andreas Huyssen in 'The Post-Modern Reader' by Charles Jencks (1992).

"There are good reasons why any attempt to take the postmodern seriously...meets with...resistance. It is indeed tempting to dismiss many of the current manifestations of postmodernism as a fraud perpetrated on a gullible public by market in which reputations are built and gobbled up faster than painters can paint"

Whilst I was reading this quote, I made these notes on what I thought Huyssen was talking about:
  • mass production, consumerism, money and fame
  • is there a loss of relationship between artist and their work?
  • many manifestations - can art really be anything? there seems to be no true definitions of art anymore because so many people interpret it in different ways
  • is art Now appreciated like it was before Post-Modernism? 
  • some of the art can't be taken seriously - is it a joke?
  • Post Modernism makes art simple, easy and more accessible to everyone - not everyone can paint like Rembrandt but everyone can turn a toilet upside down and sign it like Duchamp. 
Huyssen then goes on to talk about "the frenzied brushwork of the new expressionists". Is he saying here that the traditional and cultural value of art has been lost? Artists are so concerned with money and fame that they churn out art as quick as possible in order to be noticed and appreciated? We could link this to Pop Artist Andy Warhol. He was in the art business for the fame, glamour and money. And he made that no secret. When I saw this iconic image of the Marylin Diptych in the flesh at the Tate Modern in London, I was disappointed at first because the paint has quite obviously applied hastily and carelessly. It's almost as if the quicker Warhol completed this piece, the quicker he could start another one. So, this links into what Huyssen was saying - was art really taken seriously or was it just another money making scheme? Warhol is essentially just bombarding the public with multiple images of materialism, celebrity and glamour which is something that they/we see everyday in magazines and on the TV. 


Friday, 25 November 2011

Barbara Kruger - Postmodernism.

Barbara Kruger, born 1945 is an American conceptual artist. Her work is not as well known to the post-modernist movement such as the work as Piet Mondrian or Francis Berry, however her ideas and work as a conceptual artist are very much part of the postmodernist movement.

Kruger uses black and white images and often red text in much of her work. The text in her work in the 1980s included phrases such as 'Your comfort is my silence' 1981, 'I shop therefore I am' 1987, 'You invest in the divinity of the masterpiece' 1982. The concept behind her work is to question the viewer on feminism, consumerism, desire and classicism, however the very source she obtains the images from are the 'mainstream' magazines which promote everything which she is challenging. Her concept involves robbing the associations we make as a society and using that as central to the irony and questioning she puts across as a challenge to the viewer.

Barbara Kruger states, 'I work with pictures and words because they have the ability to determine who we are and who we aren't.' This quote from Kruger is a good example of how her ideas fit in with that of the postmodernist movement, postmodernism was about questioning the social constructs of the world and challenged the use of such classifications such as 'male vs female,' 'black vs white' and 'straight vs gay.' It was a reaction to society and its constraints, its new found consumerism, technology and its priorities, Kruger herself is reacting to these things within her work. As a conceptual artist her work is very much about the 'big ideas' but in my opinion she not only has a meaningful, challenging concept behind her work, it is also visually successful as a piece of art. I did not choose to write about one piece of her work specifically but to instead, look into how her ideas fit into the concept of postmodernism.

Since the 1990s Kruger has gone on to create large scale 'immersive' video and audio installations; this work continues her questioning of power, control, affection and contempt.

Spartacus Chetwynd - BAS7. (finally I can post!)

Chetwynd uses a collection of window panes, textile material, wood, old floorboards and metal poles to create this construction. When visiting the BAS7 show in Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery the piece has been exhibited in the centre of the gallery space, obviously the curators felt that it had the most potential to be viewed in this way. The eye is naturally drawn to its 12 feet tall presence in the room. As the construction is able to be viewed from many angles, there are many lines of sight – through the window panes, through the folding aspects at the front of the ‘house,’ the floorboards from underneath the base which is suspended 5 feet above the ground.

Its influences are from the Dutch modernist architect Gerrit Rietveld’s Schroeder House, Japanese origami, Peter the Great’s wooden cabin in St Petersburg and the designs of the environmentalist architect Glenn Murcutt. The piece incorporates ideas of recycling and relocation.
The use of patterned and floral material hanging as ‘curtains and drapes’ from the windows almost brings connotations of travellers/gypsies as there are wheels at the base of the structure, attached to a mirror. The way the whole structure is built up off ground level, with its floral textiles and wooden panels reminds me of the old, rundown caravans occupied by travellers.
I have mixed thoughts about the success of this exhibit, in some ways it looks unfinished, rugged and incomplete. But I guess the concept is for this ‘folding house’ to look shabby, rustic and recycled. 

Wednesday, 23 November 2011


Where the sense of place is subtle and creepy. Creepy as is ‘it creeps’.

It is something unique to the home and to the people who live there. They are places of particular time/space significance and very mutable places all the same – at least in my case there is rarely a room that has just one function or specific kind of ‘memory’ attached to it. Even hallways constantly change to suit the occupants. Mess or tidy? In or out? A good place for phone calls and quiet nothings. The sense creeps in with the artful and incidental arrangement of things, the space they occupy and the space that they don’t.

A tacit knowledge of the home seems to surface when a new something is to be introduced into a person room of how things just should be that is not entirely removed from the passively absorbed orientation that allows you to cross the room with the lights off avoiding all the mess and protruding furniture without fear. There is an emotional sense that haunts hallways and stairs especially, bathrooms and other unobserved places that allow for a passing and intense privacy, allowing things to linger in secret, quite distinct from the communal spirit of kitchens and living rooms.

It is these variety that make up the entire spirit of ‘home’; the small spaces that you hid in and the large ones we meet in, their relationship to each other and their overlapping uses as escape routes. That these places are used makes them. They are made differently for every perspective. It would be odd to try to pin such an elusive concept securely down.

home - what goes on behind closed doors?

So…what makes my home my “place”? What make a home a home?

With regard to these questions, initially my thoughts were what elements constitute a home – a kitchen, living-room, bathroom and bedroom? But is this really what makes a home a home?

Thinking about my own home environment, my answer to this question would be my family, how we interact and where we congregate – the living-room. My living-room seems to have several functions and qualities i.e. a play space – toys scattered over the floor, a sentimental place – photos of loved ones, a working space – paperwork haphazardly piled up on shelves or just a place for noisily arguing over the remote control. But strangely, this set of elements seems to disappear on the arrival of visitors and what is “real” is hidden by the illusion of how I wish my home to be perceived – tidy, organized and quiet – an ideal. This of course is a fake representation of my home’s sense of place and this is perhaps because I wish to portray the “perfect” family home-life to others or maybe its simply just down to pride (even if said visitors are close friends or extended family, which seems ridiculous).

Another ridiculous place I find myself in, is the conservatory. Why is this ridiculous? The conservatory was a major selling point for the property – an additional living-space, a luxury where I could see myself relaxing with a glass of wine, watching the world go by. I even bought myself a ridiculously large sofa at a ridiculous price specifically for the conservatory. However, the joke was on me because 3yrs down the line, I have probably sat on that godforsaken sofa a handful of times! This ideological place has turned into a non-place, a fake place and has been reduced to place for clothes waiting to be ironed – sometimes hanging from the crosstrainer (another useless purchase with an alternative function – but “hey look at me – I’m into exercise”…unfortunately another falsity!) Why is this? I’ve no idea, maybe because of its cold environment – white venetian blinds for walls, or perhaps the large glass sliding doors, which cut off the nucleus of the home, the living-room.

And yet, here I find myself again, portraying an ideal “sense of place” to visiting friends…“hey, why don’t we go and chill out in the conservatory with a bottle of wine, play some music and smoke a fag”. Why do I put on this showy display? My home's "sense of place" in truth, is a lived-in space which unfortunately causes embarrassment to my insecure nature and my ideas of what is expected of me. Shallow? Phony? Probably!


Our homes are the most familiar spaces to us, and what we do to them is a deeply personal expression of ourselves. Winston Churchill wrote that 'we shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us'

A home is a place of residence or refuge. When it refers to a building, it is usually a place in which an individual or a family can rest and store personal property my home is made up of things that don’t really matter and things that really do. Where I keep them what is shown what is not all make up who I am and in turn reflect the soul of my home, because it shows the people who live there even if we’re not in the house to talk to there are still things you will understand on entering   our home ,  we like to watch  TV  but prefer music , both paint, one teaching , on studying, enjoy  a drink, and both cook,  watch films,  and like to spend time just on our own our rooms. 


as children many of  us  found the safest place in our room, under the bed, obscured , and hiding from the trouble  that we had brought about,  strange to think that darkest most confined space can seem like the safest and sometimes only option, but in turn can become prison  like   - with the shout of  'Get to your room' when finally caught for misbehavior . but still our room is the place we can go to  and just be  the ultimate refuge and true soul of your home simply put its a reflection of you and how you are.

What shapes the home, builds up the soul of the home is those who occupy them people can own all manner of things yet the house can still feel empty. or visa-verse…

again as children many of us liked the explore the non –space of the home, I cant count the hours spent playing in corridors of my friends houses or on the stairs, we aim to make that space that seems to belong to no-one belong to us  

A sense of place

There is a term used called an English man's home is his castle I feel that where we choose to live and how we set out our living space in our homes gives a sense of place.
In my house, the main living room is of great importance to me, in that I see it as a place to relax at the end of the day, but in order for me to relax every thing has to be in it's place with some semblance of order. I see clutter as a distraction to whatever I choose to do in order to relax, whether I'm watching the TV, reading a book or playing my guitar.
Belongings displayed within the living area tend to give clues to my interests as an individual, for example my guitar proudly displayed on its stand. Also two water colour paintings, framed and displayed on the wall for all to see, they show friends and family my progress with art, almost as a validation for my decision to return to education
The kitchen, although smaller than the living room, often tends to be the main area in the house where friends and family congregate, but this is mostly because it's the only room in the house where we allow people to smoke.
The way each space in the house is governed by functionality and a set of rules. many of which help to maintain some order in what I feel would otherwise be a more chaotic, slightly overcrowded living space.

The house is surrounded by walls which provide boundaries and a feeling of safety, keeping unwanted elements out and children and family pets in. Nearby parks are important places for me as my yard is very small and I miss having a garden.

The location of my house is in a relatively quiet street across the road from a school, which all of my children have attended. The local post office no longer exists and shops in the area seem to be constantly changing (a sign of the times). Interestingly there is no pub on the entire estate due to a condition set out by Lady Astor when she handed the estate over to the local council. The estate is within walking distance of the city centre, but just far enough away from all the noise and hustle and bustle.

The city is filled with non-places, the voids between A and B.  For example, when you park your car in the multi story car park you take the stairs to the nearest shop.
There is a huge walkway in the shopping mall which is used mainly to cut through from one street to another with no stopping off in the shops that occupy that space.
There are places that feel safe when occupied during the day, but become quite unnerving at night as the underbelly of our society starts to occupy the same space. ie the bus station, the benches, the alleys between the main streets and the entrance areas to pubs and clubs.

Public art, like the the example in this image is used as a way of disrupting the space we use in public places, encouraging interaction with passers by.
In this example by Stefan Segmeister, over 300,000 coins were laid out in a public area in Amsterdam. The experiment was to see if the public would interact with the finished piece of art once the protective barriers were removed. would the coins be stolen? would the piece be changed in anyway? Or would any of the coins be turned over to reveal their bright blue painted underside?

image: http//
Accessed 23/11/2011

Sunday, 20 November 2011


I chose the 'Brains are really everything' by Karla black.

I liked this 3D piece that has two different colours of mud with 8 layers to it, with yellow powder paint and red + yellow soap all over the top of it, because it reminds me of the different layers of the earth's crust. This piece of work is already starting to crack slightly over the short time that it has been at the BAS7 show because the mud is drying out, so it is a temporary piece of art. It was shaped and built by hand and if you look closely you can see the finger/hand prints.
It was placed in a very open space so you could move and walk around the hole thing to see the 3D work from every angle.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011


After spending a long time searching through books in the LRC, wondering why it was so hard to find a definition of postmodernism, I figured it is so hard to put a definition on postmodernism. I found a quote by Bruce Handy:

"Basically, postmodernism is whatever you want it to be, if you want it bad enough!"
I feel that this short, sharp sentence defines postmodernism very well, alas it is not a definition. I think that it is extremely transparent and obscure, in quite an unsatisfying way; No matter how much we make out that we don't care for a meaning behind everything, as human beings it is natural to want to know exactly what defines it. I think that this quote captures the confusion that surrounds the term postmodernism, as it seems as though the more people who've lost track of the meaning, the wider the definition has become. How can you really put a clear definition on a movement, how can you recognise it and reflect upon it, if we could still possibly be living in it?

I feel that everything written about postmodernism is subject to being deemed incorrect. Maybe this is because none of us know what defines it, or because the main definitions that we have been exposed to are very pretentious, so uncertain and vague. Or maybe because popular culture seems to question everything... I don't know.
From what I understand, some people believe that postmodernism seems to reject ideas of modernism, rebelling against certain aspects that made up that movement, but others believe that it is the revision of modernism.
Handy went on to say:
"It can mean anything that's sort of old but sort of new, a little bit ironic or kind of self-conscious - like movies that steal bits from old movies, or photographs of the photographer."
I know I probably could have taken a quote in a less humorous form, but I feel that this ironic, jargon-filled style of publication may be a good example of postmodernism writing.

Spiral Jetty, Robert Smithson, 1970

I've read that some people believe the expansion of the category of sculpture to include land art, to be one of the many shifts into postmodernism. Although the term can't be defined by a particular medium, with art ranging from giant earthworks to the use of the rapidly expanding range of technologies, there is no wonder it is difficult to define it. 

The Postmodern Preface - reading on postmodernism in American culture and Society, BERGER, Arther Asa, 1998
Postmodern Culture, FOSTER, Hal, 1997

Post-Modernism and Roy Lichtenstein:

Post-modernism is a philosophical movement created in reaction to the Modernist movement (Late 19th – early 20th century) and occurred straight after it, (Late 20th and early 21st centuries). It focuses on the role of language, power roles in genders and motivations in the formation of ideas and beliefs. It particularly emphasises and attacks the use of classifications such as; black versus white, gay versus straight and male versus female. Postmodernism recycles past styles and themes in a modern-day context, as well as the break-up of the barrier between fine and high arts and low art and popular culture.

One of the artists that were involved in this particular movement and the sub-movement of ‘pop-art’ was the artist Roy Lichtenstein, Who focused on using the popular art to show parodies of life, his favoured style being that of an old fashioned comic strip. He produced clean-cut, hard edged, precise work, detailing as well as presenting itself in a humorous manner. Both the popular advertising of time mixed with the rising popularity of comic books inspired Lichtenstein.

Lichtenstein used oil and magna paint for his best works, such as drowning girl (1963), and feature bold lines and the famous ‘Ben-day’ styled dots, to create the illusion that his works were in fact merely photographic copies.

“Abstract Expressionists put things down on the canvas and responded to what they had done, to the colour positions and sizes. My style looks completely different, but the nature of putting down lines pretty much is the same; mine just don't come out looking calligraphic, like Pollock's or Kline's." – Roy Lichtenstein

There was a lot of controversy about some of the pieces Lichtenstein produced as some of them were, even so altered; replicas of panels of comic books, many critiques questioned his originality, but Lichtenstein commented that he never tried to replicate the piece fully and the subject of his pieces were more focused about how the mass media production portrayed and “cleaned up” artists work.