Tate Modern

Mark Rothko

Mixed Media on Canvas

Influenced by Michaelangelos Laurentian Library in Florencestr1

The room above has blinds on each of the windows, creating an enclosed feeling for the viewers. This feeling was described as ‘oppressed’, a main influence for Rothko.

His paintings were originally commissioned for the Four Seasons restaurant but he withdrew from this once he realised this influence was not suitable for the location. This shows that Rothko is controlled by his concepts and influences, not manipulated by social desires.

The pieces instead, belong within the Tate Modern. Upon entrance, the sheer size of the paintings captures your attention. The influence is evident by the dark lighting of the exhibition room that they are hung in. One thing that I noticed about the pieces instantly was the paint drips. Their direction opposing the way the canvas’ are hung, suggesting they were painted upside down. His signature is also on the reverse of the painting, making the hanging of the piece difficult as it is “elementary” to hang it depending on the location of the signature.

Bridget Riley

Large complex patterns on canvas

These pieces are inspired by the patterns made in nature and their influence on the human eye. Light and movement and its connection with nature is prominent within her pieces.

Gerhard Richter

Large canvas paintings displaying a range of colours and textural paint work.

Painted to the music of Avant Garde composer John Cage

Marcos Grigorian

‘Creation of the Planet 1963’ Soil compound on canvas

Grigorian moved from Tehran to New York. He began focusing on natural elements in innovative ways. This piece drew my attention for unknown reasons, it appears to be a recreation of encrusted soil that could be seen in everyday life. However, this piece makes you appreciate the tiny details of natural forms, repeated and celebrated within this work.

“Perhaps I was homesick from the native soil of Iran- or maybe it was just the opposite- a reaction to being obsessed with my past.”

Edgar Degas

Little dancer aged 14

I could talk about this piece forever. The attention to detail and connotations involved within this creation leave art historians arguing. The application of ‘real’ materials (e.g the tutu, the ribbon in her horse wig hair and the ballet shoes) make this figurine come to life. She was criticised for being a depiction of an ‘opera rat’, a title given to the working class girls that were brought into the ballet world. The reputation given to this small girl creates sympathy for me, as the viewer.

Sheela Gowda

Large installation made of steel car bumpers and knotted human hair.

Around 4,000 metres of corded hair into mesh forms, hand woven

Inspiration for this piece came from the focus on ritual and superstition joint with the growth of the modern world within Bengaluru in India. A superstition Gowda researched was the knotting of human hair around car bumpers to prevent bad luck to the driver. Hair for this act is supplied by temples that remove it from pilgrims who fulfil vows.

I appreciate Gowdas intensive approach to her piece. I believe there should be an element of labour within work, which is evident in hers.

Mark Bradford

Las Mascos 2004

Large scale collage made of found items in USA. Bradford recylces paper fragments, believed to “act as a memory of things pasted and things past.  You can peel away the layers of papers and its like reading the streets through the signs”.

To me, this piece reads like an urban cityscape from an aerial view. The fluorescent elements of the canvas appear like the lighting from below.

From across the room this canvas is truly eye-catching, not just due to sheer size (seen below) but the minute detail that gives this canvas its depth.

Richard Hamilton

The Citizen 1981, Oil Paint on Canvas

Image result for THE CITIZEN TATE MODERN

Hamilton is representing a story of a ‘blanketman’, a republican prisoner. The detainees fought to be named political prisoners rather than criminals as they were opposing the government, this classification would guarantee better living conditions. To ensure a change, many prisoners went on hunger strike and over extreme means. During this period many prisoners died, after having been ignored. The ‘blanketman’ within this painting is swaddled in blankets due to rejection of prison clothes as a means of protest. He is also surrounded by a vision of squalor with smeared excrement visible on the walls.

This painting remains one of my favourite due to the sheer shock when reading the description alongside the canvas. The dramatic historical events have been visualised and exposed for the viewers attention. This intriguing story-line is only supported by the photo-realism of the artwork itself and the sheer talent of Hamilton himself. I think the imbalance of the piece also adds drama to the imagery as there has been as much focus on the ‘blanketman’ as on the excretion painted on the walls.

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