Week 7 FMP: MoMA part 2: Representations of Reality

Descending the floors of MoMA but not devaluing the quality of the artworks, I found myself in the esteemed company of Boccioni, Braque, Cezanne, Duchamp, Vincent Van Gogh, Picasso, Rousseau and other great artists.

Ever mindful of my project and seeking inspiration I found myself spending more time with pieces that had more of a geometric presence in contrast to soft curved outlines fruit and materials. These included Picasso’s Night Fishing at Antibes 1939 and The Reservoir, Horta del Ebro 1909, Braque’s The Table (Still Life with Fan) 1910, Duchamp’s The Passage from Virgin to Bride 1912, Picabia’s I See Again in Memory My Dear Udnie 1914 and Varvara Stepanova’s Figure 1921.

Marcel Duchamp 1912, The Passage from Virgin to Bride
Pablo Picasso 1909, The Reservoir, Horta de Ebro

Kurt Schwitter’s Revolving had a particular draw being made from metals, wood, cardboard, cord and other things. I have subsequently wondered why these had a particular appeal for me. Perhaps Schwitter’s Revolving is easiest to explain ad I have collected beach debris for 18 months and am now ‘making’ images with it. Comprising circles and straight lines Revolving is echoed in the shapes appearing in some of my images. Movement away from realty depiction to surreal representation in art coincided with and was possibly influenced by the significant engineering and industrial developments before, during and after the First World War.

Kurt Schwitters 1919, Revolving

Studying these works repeatedly since seeing them at MoMA I am realising that my interest has several levels. I have always had an interest in mechanical things, finding out how they work and marvelling at the engineering that has culminated in a functional construction. The depth that emanates from and goes deep into these particular images is an effect I am struggling with and one would like achieve with both collections I am working on, ‘Event Horizons’ and ‘Dark Matter’. Picabia’s I See Again in My Memory Dear Udnie 1914 is one great example achieving an almost 3D effect simply through the use of shape and colour. Without a background in art training beyond school, apart from a recent summer experience learning to use oils, I am trying to educate myself by looking at the work of others and teaching myself the methods I assume have been used such as dark colours give background and lighter colours foreground and being aware of where the sources of light are coming from. How to use shape and colour in my work where found debris is of varying sizes, shapes, transparencies, textures and colours is a major challenge I would like and hope to get to grips with.

Francis Picabia 1914, I See Again in Memory Dear Udnie

Interestingly a tutor this week made a brief comment on seeing my recent work about geometric quality. I wondered if this was evident in the way I crop and rotate and use the rule of thirds and fibonacci as guides but with time limitations, the discussion went no further. Now looking back on my visit to MoMA I can see that my approach is perhaps subconsciously following what interests me.

MoMA. 2018. The Museum of Modern Art. Available at: https://www.moma.org/ [accessed 21/11/18].