The brief for the fifth assignment asks the student to “construct a stand-alone image of your choice. Alternatively you may choose to make a series, elaborating on the same theme. The only stipulation is that you produce work that has been controlled and directed by you for a specific purpose.”
I began this assignment by listing as many ideas as I could, regardless of their merit. At the same time I began to look through various collections of poetry and books on classic and contemporary painters in both Limerick City Library and Limerick Institute of Technology Library, as well as through the gallery resources available to me through the OCA website.
The work of Edward Hopper caught my imagination, and his themes of loneliness and solitude really appeal to me. Although I’d seen his work before, it was while I was researching the work of Gregory Crewdson that I began to take notice of the similarities between both artists. Crewdson describes his work “as exploring the American psyche through the American vernacular landscape, much as Hopper did” (Grant 2004). My initial idea for this assignment was to place a solitary female figure or character in an ordinary urban or domestic setting. At some point during my research I came across the photographer Richard Tuschman’s series entitled, Hopper Meditations. Tuschman builds dioramas and digitally combines photographs of them with those he takes of actors, to create copies of famous Hopper paintings. While I don’t like the idea of deliberately making a copy of another work, I do still like Tuschman’s hotel by railroad 2012, which replicates Hopper’s hotel by a railroad 1952. I prefer the idea of tipping my hat to another artwork rather than literally recreating it.
At some point I came across, Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth. In the painting, the lone figure of Christina faces away from the viewer, and so reveals little of her age and appearance which adds an element of mystery. “One of the pictorial devices used in tableau photography to engender anxiety or uncertainty about the meaning of an image is to depict figures with their faces turned away from us, leaving their character unexplained” (Cotton 2009, p.60). At this point I had an image in my head of a female character sitting at a dressing table with her back to the camera to create a sense of anxiety, but had no idea what she was doing or why.
The problem with this idea was that there was yet to be a purpose to the characters presence, and while the idea did have potential it was not going to feature as the final assignment. The idea I finally brought to fruition was based on a my own personal ambitions as well as a comment made by a work colleague.
Assignment 5 is linked here.
Ang, T. (2014) Photography The Definitive Visual History, London: Dorling Kindersley.
Artsy (2016) Gregory Crewdson [online], available: https://www.artsy.net/artist/gregory-crewdson/works [accessed 22 Aug 2016].
Badger, G. (2007) The Genius of Photography: How photography has changed our lives, London: Quadrille.
Barthes, R. (2000) Camera Lucida, translated by Howard, R., London: Vintage.
Barthes, R. (1977) Image, Music, Text, translated by Heath, S., London: Fontana Press.
Boothroyd, S. (2012) ‘Beneath the Surface’, WeAreOCA Blog [online], 17 Oct, availabe: http://weareoca.com/photography/beneath-the-surface/ [accessed 22 Aug 2016].
Bright, S. (2010) Auto Focus: the Self Portrait in Contemporary Photography, London: Thames and Hudson.
Clarke, G. (1997) The Photograph, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Cotton, C. (2009) the photograph as contemporary art, new ed. London: Thames & Hudson.
Galassi, P. (2007) Jeff Wall, New York: The Museum of Modern Art.
Gombrich E.H. (1995) The Story of Art, London: Phaidon Press.
Grant, A. (2004) ‘Art; Lights, Camera, Stand Really Still: On the Set with Gregory Crewdson’, The New York Times, May/30, available: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/30/arts/art-lights-camera-stand-really-still-on-the-set-with-gregory-crewdson.html?ref=oembed [accessed 22 Aug 2016].
Jeffrey, I. (2010) Photography A Concise History, London: Thames & Hudson Ltd.
Jobey, L. (2005) ‘Diane Arbus: A young Brooklyn family going for a Sunday outing, N.Y.C. 1966’, in Howarth, S., ed., Singular Images: Essays on Remarkable Photographs, London: Tate Publishing, 67-76.
Marceau J. and Taboreli G. (1998) Art: A World History, London: Dorling Kindersley.
Michals, D. (2015). duanemichals.tumblr.com [online], available: http://duanemichals.tumblr.com/ [accessed 22 Aug 2016].
MoMA (2016) Jeff Wall – In His Own Words [online], available: http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2007/jeffwall/ [accessed 22 Aug 2016].
MoMA (2016) MoMA [online], available: http://www.moma.org/ [accessed 22 Aug 2016].
Musée d’art moderne André Malraux (2016) Musée d’art moderne André Malraux [online], accessed: http://www.muma-lehavre.fr/fr/collections/oeuvres-commentees/apres-limpressionnisme/vallotton-le-haut-de-forme-interieur-ou-la [accessed 22 Aug 2016].
Musée d’Orsay (2010) Musée d’Orsay [online], available: http://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/home.html [accessed 22 Aug 2016].
Nerdwriter1 (2015) ‘Hoppers Nighthawks: Look Through The Window’, Understanding Art , available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7j5pUtRcNX4 [accessed 22 Aug 2016].
Reserve Channel (2012) ‘Gregory Crewdson’s Photography Capturing a Movie Frame’, Art in Progress , available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7CvoTtus34 [accessed 22 Aug 2016].
Rosenberg, D. (2013) ‘Stunning Photographs Inspired by Edward Hopper Paintings’, Slate [online], Nov/25, available: http://www.slate.com/blogs/behold/2013/11/25/richard_tuschman_edward_hopper_recreations_are_inspired_by_the_painter_s.html [accessed 22 Aug 2016].
Sontag, S. (1977) On Photography, London: Penguin.
The J. Paul Getty Trust (2016) The J. Paul Getty Musseum [online], accessed: http://www.getty.edu/museum/ [accessed 22 Aug 2016].
Tuschman, R. (2016) Richard Tuschman [online], avaiable: http://www.richardtuschman.com/#/Fine%20Art%20Portfolios/HOPPER%20MEDITATIONS/6/ [accessed 22 Aug 2016].
Warner Marien, M. (2010) Photography: A Cultural History, 3rd ed., London: Laurence King.