Figurative Art in the modern world.

Figurative artists were once identified after the arrival of the abstract art because they continue to apply parts of the real world in their work whether this is the human body, the environment or both. However, the style of working can be traced back to ancient times implying it has been a very popular way of working throughout history including Frida Kahlo, Reuben’s and Ancient Greece.  This style of working steers away from strongly conceptual work, being the polar opposite too abstract art, where it gives a clear depiction of the environment and real life. Figurative art is a very aesthetically pleasing way of working because the use of paint or drawing creates beautiful works. Being the opposite of abstract art where the audience is challenged in a more conceptual way and where they may be question ing the meaning of the work. With figurative art, the mean ing is more obvious and can be interpreted easily.

I am fascinated by figurative art because sometimes we overlook our surroundings and become too conceptual as artists so, I want to explore my surroundings more in order to stay in touch with them and have a better understanding of them. Although I enjoy abstract art, I prefer working with my environment and tackling social issues in my work. The reason for this is because I want to incorporate my understanding of the real world into my work and show it to the work for them to comment on it. The reason for this is to question society and to involve the audience in my arguments and encourage them to comment themselves. I find in today’s society many people, specially young people,  don’t comment on today’s issues including politics and cultural and so through my work I want to encourage them to begin commenting and form an argument themselves.

Lucian Freud, Girl in Striped Nightshirt, 1983-85, oil on canvas

Figurative Charcoal Sketch

A friend suffers from eating disorders and insecurities. I wanted to start creating a large scale drawing of her where she is changing her body shape to show her bones. Oriphysis is where the inside of the body becomes to show through and come out. Social media and stereotypical body types has influenced her throughout her life. The piece is not necessarily classified as ‘finished’ but I feel the unfinished-ness to the work forms a sense of development shows the way I started looking into the idea as an exploration. I am going to leave this piece as it is as I am happy with the way it stands right now. Using only a small amount of charcoal at this time is what I feel is good because I am purely experimenting with ideas and where I want to take my work this year. I am extremely interested in the body and gesture.

Screen Recording

Whilst looking into my theme of mental health and the ‘self’ I was playing around with the editing of a drawing of mine for a graphic piece. The editor had a mosaic button. I started to change the level of mosaic on the piece and move it fascinating. It made the image move and created a 3D effect. I decided to play around with screen recording the work because it formed a really interesting effect on the work. I liked the way it changed the contours and lines of the work. Alternating the mosaic level actually changed the shape of the image which I found very interesting because it has developed thoughts of how this project could develop. I feel I could start to look into different body shapes and start to combine them together. This idea is a little vague but I will begin to develop ideas, experiment with an image editor and see how the work develops.

Screen Recording Mosaic


Alison Lambert

Alison Lambert is a contemporary charcoal artist who produces large scale portraits using willow and compressed charcoal and ripped paper. Lambert uses her materials in a way which form expression and emotion and create a great impact on the audience. [1]“She furthers her attempts to explore more deeply the elusive theme of human subjectivity and to intensify the emotional charge which her later drawings of human heads began to display”. The large scale of her work is almost overpowering and too extravagant because she uses so much compressed charcoal on huge surfaces increasing the power of the work and allowing her to make such expressive pieces. I am really fascinated by her work because I too like to exaggerate lines and tones to create dark punchy charcoal artworks on a large scale. The way she overlays ripped crumpled paper means she is able to redo parts of the work and change and develop her ideas as the work continues.

alison lambert
Alison Lambert, portrait, 2006

Lambert carries out a complex and effective process in order to complete her artwork which has been documented in the Emotion and Expression book of Alison Lambert. She starts by smearing charcoal over a sheet of paper and then using ripped paper and white pastel to highlight parts of the portrait. The build up of paper creates a great deal of texture and charcoal and forms an emotional atmosphere to her work.

I was introduced to Lambert during my Art Foundation year during a one day project and immediately fell in love with her style of art and the texture she creates using the charcoal. I aim to continue to use her as inspiration as well as other artist throughout my artistic career.

[1] Emotion and Expression, Alison Lambert pg9, p3. Essay author: Alan Dyer


Tactile Bosch

Tactile Bosch is a Cardiff based group who have exhibited around the world. They are a very Labyrinth group who strive to challenge their audience. They work is about enjoying and experiencing the room by taking it in fully. This can be quite a challenge for some people especially those who may not be exposed to conceptual art a lot of the time. As a Fine artist I can allow myself to fully experience the work by relaxing and just taking in the work. Tactile Bosch came to talk to us about how we as young artists could get involved in the group. They have taken us the opportunity to potentially exhibit our work in their upcoming exhibition in Cardiff or to simply help with the setup as an experience or curation in the real world.

Citizen 3 was an exhibition in 2012 based in Cardiff on 23 June – 15 July. The annual projects look into painting, drawing and printing but, this specific year was exclusively devoted to painting. Painting has continued to evolve through a dramatic and unceasing system and the method of working still inspires and fascinate artists today. The painting in this exhibition contains more conceptual approaches and perspectives than traditional or traditional contemporary painting. This could even be on a single canvas. There are many artists in this exhibition from Wales, the Uk and internationals. I thought this exhibition was inspiring because it challenges the traditions of painting and makes the audiences question how paint can be used in art.


Summer Work

For my summer project piece, I cannot find anything in my environment which truly inspired me to start my third year of university. I started to think back to my final project of my second year where I looked into dancers’ bodies. I am fascinated about the human body and the self because mental and physical health is such an important factor of life. Having control or being content with your mental and physical health is so important because is the glue which holds our lives together. Being content and happy with ones self, one is able to present themselves to world and socialise creating relationships and love in order to live their life to the fullest. I wanted to look at factors which couldn’t hinder or prevent us from living this life. This could include trauma, family life etc. Body image is advertised everywhere, in magazines, newspaper, the internet, tv programs; it is even in the conversations of ten year olds these days. It is frightening that body image is becoming such a factor in young peoples minds and preventing them from living their best life.

I started to look at the work of Jenny Saville who looks into body image. In her work, she mostly uses her own body. The works are distorted painting of her naked body. I found her work fascinated because she is challenging this idea of the ‘perfect’ body type. I am going to look into the ‘perfect’ body type within the last 100 years and how it has changed throughout the years.

jenny saville 2
Jenny Saville, Prop, 1993


The Sculpture Centre

In 1976, Henry Moore donated work to the Art Gallery of Ontario which started the existence of The Sculpture Centre. Since then, the collection of work has totaled to around 900 sculptures, drawings and over pieces of art.

When walking around the gallery I was not expecting to stumble into his work but it a lovely surprise. The sculpture centre is full of his works. As you enter, your eyes automatically journey around the room taking in the sculptures. Each piece of work is raised on a platform so they are at eye level for the audience. The positioning of the art is so important. The eye level positioning of the work empathising the size of the work. If it was on ground level, the work would look smaller so by having it at eye level the audience can almost compare themselves to the size of the work.

Throughout his career, Moore was inspired by two things: the mother and child and the Chacmool. The mother and child is the idea of combining Christina imagery with the humanity of African art. The mother and child is a concept explored a few artists and professors. Hebert M. Cole is once of the professors who explored the concept during his doctoral dissertation.

Henry Moore Collection, Toronto Art Museum


I am so glad to have stumbled across his work whilst in Canada and was able to experience it in real life. I have attended exhibitions with his work before but, never have I had the opportunity to experience over one hundred pieces of his in the same exhibition.