Visual Critiques are drawings done in response to other students’s work. My drawings were made without preliminary sketches, worked directly from six paintings, work of half the class. Drawings for these assignments become the property of the artist whose painting is the original subject.
1. George Bellows’s lithos of prize fights came to mind as I began “Fighters“. As Bellows’ had done, I increased the distance between the viewer and the main action by adding a row of cat-callers in front. The front row of spectators makes the viewer become complicit as a member of the crowd. I focused the light into a spot light, and added an emotional grasp between the figures, making their gestures less cartoon-like and more anatomically correct to show exhaustion.
2. For “Reflection”, I added a musician playing pipes and a fish in the pond. For the main figure, instead of an ethereal object of contemplation, I changed the figure into a person who contemplates herself by turning the head to look straight down into the water. Unlike Poussin’s Narcissus who is in a reverie of self love, my figure is a good deal more angry, like a wild animal at a watering hole.
3. The larger size cotton printmaking paper used for the “Laken” drawing was a little too soft and large for a bamboo pen. I added space into the composition where the original figure had been cropped at the head and right side. I also added distance between the figure and horizon.
4. At first it seemed silly to do a line drawing of a large, gestural abstract painting. But as shapes began to emerge in the process of drawing “River Pods”, the painting appeared to be full of content just waiting to be called out. I saw the painting completely differently by the time I was done, resurrecting Ana Mendieta’s remarkable earth works and brief intense life.
5. Edvard Munch’s painting “The Scream”, an image that launched a million or more knock-offs, rivaled in frequency only by Grant Wood’s “American Gothic”, inspired my response to a painting of a cut-open fig.
6. I had expected to do a natural version of a hamburger in response to a cartoon-style original; the cows arrived of their own accord.
ABOVE: 1. Fighters, sumi ink & bamboo pen, 7.5 x 10 inches ( 19 x 25 cm), 10/21/11
2. Reflection, sumi ink & bamboo pen, 7.5 x 10 inches ( 19 x 25 cm), 10/21/11
3. Laken, sumi ink & bamboo pen, 15 x 11 inches ( 38 x 28 cm), 10/17/11
4. River Pods, sumi ink & bamboo pen, 15 x 11 inches ( 38 x 28 cm), 10/17/11
5. Fig Scream, sumi ink & bamboo pen, 10 x 10 inches (25 x 25 cm), 10/10/11
6. Cows and Hamburger, sumi ink & bamboo pen, 10 x 10 inches (25 x 25 cm), 10/10/11