Friday, 29 December 2017

Reasoning

The reasoning behind my current practice is many fold. I believe every artist goes through transitions with their work, periods of experimentation in order to acquire visual knowledge to further fuel possible directions in their work. I am no exception to this, I have recently gone through such a change and would like to share my process and reasoning here. Firstly, I come from a traditional skills background. In my younger years I studied the old masters such as Velasquez, Rembrandt, Da vinci, Rubens ect. I produced many copies of these masters to learn the craft. Later I revisited the traditional realist styles and applied some of their principles of style and working methods to my own work. The work was on a large scale painted from my imagination and life as I searched for my own voice. During this period I began to search for a modernist style continuing to prefer the figure in my work. I looked to 20th century painters for my inspiration and also reviewed my own work from an earlier time I was particularly interested in the German expressionists such as Oskar kokoscar and the dutch painter van gogh, I was also inspired by Picasso and the impressionists. Also a vast number of contemporary painter too many to mention here. I continued to search for my own identity I traveled through many different styles to find a style of work that would both serve my purposes in relation to self expression and any subjects I wished to pursue. I continued to utilize the figure in my work, although I also employed abstract work to fulfill my expressive needs. I believe there are key pieces from my past that have informed my current practice although they are not the only works. I am not unlike other artists in that I have hundreds of unfinished work and many destroyed before completion. In fact I dont keep many of my previous work and have little regard for it. My note book is full of ideas and styles I wish to pursue , whether or not they see the light of day is due in the main to my negative reasoning and usually based upon ideas and influences from other sources that negate me even starting work.I am not unlike most artists in that I have a high expectation of myself and the majority of my work I dislike and gives me displeasure and angst to show my older work here, however it illustrates my progression and development and so is relevant to my current practice to show some of it here. Below are a few other examples from my previous practice.





Below are a few examples of my recent experimental stage where I sought to find a new way to accomplish my ideals and create a vision and stylistic vehicle to augment my current plans for a new body of work. I tend to concentrate on head studies when in this faze. I was searching for new descriptors for my vision and also gained knowledge through research and a lot of drawing, both idea sketches and more finished work.Drawing is fundamental to my practice and is the basis of my paintings although this has not always been the case. part of me actually feels guilty in this respect as the new modernist ideal doesn't appear to value drawing as such as used in the traditional sense of under drawing. I looked to a more naive style where a more childlike appearance was seemingly justified fueled by current fashions and some of the great modern masters (Picasso) and critics subscribe to. I  also revisited a more realist style. Below: 










I wanted to deconstruct the figure to a large extent reducing down to abstracted elements I was not concerned with anatomical correctness, nor with expressing natural colours or tones although I wished to retain some degree of formality and indication to reality. I love people and so I am interested in all they do even if a lot of it is eccentric and morally and ethically questionable. As for the subject matter, at the current time I am utilising the nude and specifically lovers as a vehicle for certain subjects in society that are deemed important enough for me to have a conversation with it. The fact that my figures are naked is important for the message I wish to convey, its about our showing us in a natural light something we still have moral and ethical constraints about, I am not trying to shock or depreciate anyone I just want to show humans in their natural state and I think it adds strength to the message stated. This is a series of works that will become apparent as a whole when I obtain a website and gain exhibitions I also wish to have another strain working alongside lovers which I may be naming fighters.  My work involves compositions that would not work very well with certain styles in my minds eye. I absolutely adore colour as my previous work illustrates and I believe the ultimate dynamism in any image is down to the colour, and so colour is very important to my vision. I also wished to produce work that included large flat areas of colour and broad brush strokes. I enjoy ala prima as it is more expressive and very commanding of time and any talent you may have. I enjoy constructing paintings and so composition and perspective are important although I do enjoy manipulating these elements and designing for visual dynamism is key to how I construct and conduct my work. I am ultimately searching for a new aesthetic which is extremely difficult to achieve in a modern day where a vast art history weighs heavy and seemingly every conceivable image has been achieved already. I also believe it is an artists responsibility to push boundaries and chase a style befitting of our time but also to look to the future. Conversely, I am always mindful of the possible complete demise of the image if deconstruction carries to its natural end. I am reminded of a quote Im not entirely sure where it comes from but goes like this: 'Art proceeds with self cancelling steps until all thats left is a blank canvas' Contrary to current doctrines which appear to favor primitive, naive and minimalist ideals I feel that although its acceptable to reduce down to its lowest common denominator and play with ideas of something having innate qualities and no description is necessary I prefer not to completely reduce everything as in abstraction, and as Rose Wylie demonstrates. I am not discounting it, maybe if I live long enough I may end up there myself in later years. However at the present time I have a lot of work to do. Figurative work remains a strong part of my practice as does abstraction, I have retained abstracted elements that describe abstract things and notions, they also describe universal and fundamental elements from science and mans modern understanding of life and the universe. My current work is an exploration of the basis of man and all his foibles and also on a modern societal level where there are issues of reality that I cannot ignore, and so I choose to turn my back on pure philosophical abstraction, and focus on the here and now even if I am doomed to the accusation of illustration and not art!  and god forbid that my work has a narrative! I believe my current style is a natural development for my practice, It is an amalgamation of all the styles I have visited and has elements of all the modernist terminological demarcations of style within it. Whether or not it is successful in its modernist and futuristic aspirations is subjective, however it is true to my love of painting and of the many thousands of previous artists work and all the artists working today. you can view my work here: https://www.johnhoganartist.com