From art criticism

Looking through glass

Maya Ahuja-Hofheiz   Dale Chihuly, hailed the ‘worlds most celebrated’ contemporary glass artist recently held an exhibition of his work in Kew Gardens, called “Reflections on Nature”. The exhibition was comprised of a series of works scattered through the gardens themselves in an ‘artworks trail’ (a classic exhibition format for Kew, but a departure for…

Here’s Looking at You, Kid

By Isabella George   The Passing Winter is a strange beast. Standing at around two metres in height, its scale should make it something of an imposing presence in a gallery space. But its four sides of glass mirror condemn the piece to a reflective, somewhat half present state. It only exists when it reflects the person that looks at it, that is, you. Step towards the glassy monolith and you will notice a variety of holes punched into the smooth and glassy exterior. These polka dots are something of a signature for Yayoi Kusama, the Japanese artist behind the…

Art & Interpretation: Knowledge ISN’T always key to understanding.

By Melissa Canham In a generation where we are consistently shaped by our surroundings, the space between the artist and audience, can sometimes be considered to be dominated by critical interpretations and social influences. This has become overwhelmingly apparent, to the point that we can sometimes question whether our own interpretation of a piece of…

“The most famous peach in the world”: Aesthetics, Objectification and Social Media.

Arvida Byström is a revered Swedish artist, using Instagram as a platform for her politically charged digital art. Like many of her contemporaries, she has her feet firmly planted in social media, bringing her own perspective and style to the widening sphere of digital artwork. This type of classical photography that mingles with digital art and high fashion allows us as a viewer to interact with provocative concepts in a new light, creating a new kind of artistic gaze, one which is postmodernist and deconstructive. Byström’s presentation of herself and her art is thus uniquely autonomous; she has full control over the distribution of her images. This allows her a kind of artistic agency that is rarely possible in the world of physical art. With her 230K followers, the reach of her hyper-visual and visceral art is ever-growing and increasingly accessible; subsequently this medium combats the issue of inaccessibility and elitist art plaguing contemporary art spheres.

“Overshadowed” – How do we incorporate Male influence on the female painter into art criticism?

In an investigation of some of the most prominent female painters, spanning from the renaissance period to 20th century modernism, one cannot help but notice that without fail the term “overshadowed” seems to crop up within every description or piece of criticism. Exhibitions are no safe haven from this tendency to measure the value and meaning of a woman’s work in comparison to the masculine ideal, most often by comparing her, or her success, to that of her husband. Jo Hopper and Elaine de Kooning, both established as artists in their own right, after marriage sank publicly into the role…

Ligne Claire: Reading and Pictorial Promise

Back in June I shared an article on Facebook about Ilya Milstein’s illustrations. I hadn’t known Milstein’s work before, but many would find it as familiar as I did then. The illustrator based in NY has drawn repeatedly for magazines like the New Yorker and brands such as Spotify and Red Bull, all in a memorably colourful, flat and cartoony style. Figures are rendered simplistically characterful, whilst backgrounds are rich in detail and everything is coloured harmoniously within palettes of pastel pinks and autumnal ochres.

Living on in Death: The Scientific Art of Honoré Fragonard.

    ‘By Max Campbell’   I am drawn to experiences that blur the beautiful with the grotesque, and so when I happened upon a small, aged anatomical museum in Paris I shrugged apathetically and felt that I wouldn’t be seeing anything out of the normal. Well, I found these. These theatrical “sculptures” are in-fact  anatomical models, called écorchés, which essentially translates to “flayed figures” from French. Traditionally,  Écorchés were models of bodies with the skin removed, exposing muscles, blood vessels and skeletons. They were constructed from a variety of different materials, such as bronze, ivory, plaster, wax, and wood. But not Honoré Fragonard, non. Monsieur…

Commerical Beauty: The birth of album artwork

One of the most accessible forms of art, the medium we are most likely to come into contact with on a daily basis is also often the most overlooked: Album artwork. Since the birth of the internet and MTV, visual art has become an increasing aspect of a musicians medium. Some artists like Billie Eilish even taking this to the extreme by claiming her music videos are as artistically vital to her as the songs they are set to. But even before the birth of the music video, visual art was utilised by musicians through their album artwork.

The transmutative power of painting, as observed by Velazquez

At the centre of The Rokeby Venus (Velazquez, 1651, 122.5 x 177 cm) is a mirror, held by cupid, tilted up to grant the viewer with a blurred image of Venus’ face. Venus herself if turned away from the viewer, and we can only glimpse her profile: rosy cheeks and chestnut brown hair swept into a loose bun. Her reflection, however, is cast in a darker light, revealing a softer jawline, darker hair and heavyset eyes hidden in shadow. The angle is slightly off: we should be seeing a reflection of Venus looking back at herself, yet what we get is a shadowed face at the centre of the painting looking directly back at the viewer.