Reflective Journal Week 42, 12 July – 18 July 2020

Mr Steve Wilson suggested me to look into Roger Hiorns’s Seizure (2008). The installation, or the sculpture, whose physicality and unusualness powerfully bursts the boundary of these two manifestations, significantly shocked audiences with a redefined sheer of overwhelmingness. Hiorn cast copper-sulphate in a flat and turn its interior into a giant geode with “knife-sharp deathly edges”. The sensors impulse create an airy feeling of unrealistic. 

Seizure, 2008.
https://www.artscouncilcollection.org.uk/sculpture-longside/seizure-roger-hiorns

https://www.artscouncilcollection.org.uk/sculpture-longside/seizure-roger-hiorns

Unlike the Cliff Form that constituted by shattered gouts of salt, Seizure is one entirety with indestructible rigidity; my crafts made of salt are extremely fragile although they share a similar appearance. I intended to emphasise the materiality of my sculptures by casting an elegant mineral purity. Seizure is highly referable for the future development of any large scale sculptures. In the Unit 2 feedback tutorial, I was suggested to embed the work in the land itself, let art become the embodiment of the land itself. I think what I have been doing is still exploring this matter over the materiality of “earth”. I could move to experiment with the concept of the land. How to visualise the idea of Cornish landscape? I have done so much regarding this topic, but I still feel like the first day learning to draw. 

Now speaking of the style of John Greenwood and my plan of constructing monuments of this particular landscape in a surrealistic composition, I was advised to research a painting technique called Trompe-l’œil. By this trick, another dimension could be opened up in a traditionally 2D based painting, additionally expands the space to arrange fresh ideas/objects. 

Salt Crystal Bride Gown III, 2014.
Sigalit Landau & Marlborough Contemporary, https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2016/08/salt-bride-sigalit-landau/

Israeli artist Sigalit Landau has created many installations with salt and received popularity internationally for her elegantly powerful sculpture of salted still-life objects. Her book Salt Year documents the amazing project that she played with salt. She installed a wide selection of objects —— some were rich in texture, some were related to personal experience, and waited the crystallisation of salt covered their surface, turned them into semipermanent exhibits. Among all these objects, a 19th-century dress is particularly impressive. A series of photographs recorded the gradual transition of how this textile submerged in the environment, and “became an embodiment of the Dead Sea’s natural might”.

A significant difference between her works and mine is that Sigalit Landau exhibits objects that transformed into a combination of nature and human-made product. At the same time, I am interested in highlighting elements that actuated such transformation. The fragility significantly limited the format for my salt sculptures, but Landau’s selection of object grants the flexibility for display. Many of her works were hung, allows visually establish percepts without any dead angle. 

Tree Form, 1941
Datura Flowers, 1957

Graham Sutherland, known for his surrealist abstract landscape painting. Natural objects in his composition are usually exaggerating and tortile. Tree Form (1941) pictured an organic form encrusted with layers of thick, animal-skin-like rind. The queer shape of the stump reminds me of megafauna, and its smoothly rendered colouration saturated the object with a vigorous tendency, forms a sharp contrast with its branchless trunk. Another vegetal painting of his, Datura Flowers (1957), imaginatively associated the flora with dancing figures, creates a mystic atmosphere. 

A Path in the Woods, 1958
 Estuary with Birds, 1972
Road to Porthclais with Setting Sun, 1972
Christ in Glory in the Tetramorph, 1962

A Path in the Woods (1958), Estuary with Birds (1972), Road to Porthclais with Setting Sun (1975), returned to a very traditional arrangement for surrealistic composition. The painter identified vital objects from the observation, rearranged and placed them back on the canvas in his artistic language. His skilful translation of bizarre depiction led to the major success in his oeuvre, Christ in Glory in the Tetramorph (1962). The main character is surrounded by four evangelists, arrays the image powerfully with concise visual elements. 

Mariner, 1998

Mariner (1998) by British American painter Malcolm Morley demonstrate an expressionist path but in a diverting way. Ferries, sailboats and aeroplanes interleaved with each other, jamming the intersection that links different parts of the image and expands the centre of gravity radioactively. His painting usually shows a childish playfulness. Those bright and vivid colour of his preference paraphrases heavy, thought-provoking, even historic topics into collages of imagination. This visual manner significantly lightens the mood and drives away anxiousness from the compound of booming information.

Age of Catastrophe, 1976
Medieval Divided Self, 2016

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About cechenpaints

An artist, painter, illustrator based in London.