Angela's Digital Sketchbook

November 15, 2011

Artist List

Filed under: Assignments — Angela @ 5:44 pm

South Pacific – New Zealand Maori Art
a) Robyn Kahukiwa-Taranga
Robyn Kahukiwa absorbed his background and Maori culture into his art. Maori culture has many stories and myths, and Maori artists begin to express themselves through art after the Pakeha settlers and traders arrived to their land in the nineteenth century. They mostly use natural wood and reddish-clay colours on their creations. Kahukiwa’s Tanranga is the fifth of the series of paintings that she did to present female deities in Maori mythology. The painting establishes emphasis on the woman in the middle, she is highlighted by white lines, her skin is coloured with a shiny texture. She separates the painting into four main parts: the top with coast and woman lying with baby, the left with intervened tree, the bottom with baby floating on ocean, and the right with silhouettes of mysterious figures on top of a mountain-like pattern. There are patterns of triangles and tangled lines in some areas creating rhythm. The colour theme seems constant throughout, there’s large use of brown and purple-blue.

b) Dick Frizzell – three works of art
Dick Frizzell is a commercial artist, so his art style is fairly simple and graphic. He uses vibrant colours and thick outlines. His ‘Legerdemain III’is outlined with many swrling lines, some parts are thicker to create an effect of depth. The colours are simple and primary. His ‘Big Egg Little Egg’ shows strong contrast with the sizes of the eggs and colours of black and white. The writings are also emphasized because of this crontrast. The composition is fairly simple with two objects. Dick’s ‘It’s About Time’ shows an evolution from a popular cartoon/symbol, Mickey Mouse to an aboriginal symbol of Tike Tu Meke, demonstrating how the world, although seems different, is similar in some way.Again, his style is simple, so there are only three specific colours used: red, black, white; brown is used for the outline. It’s very graphic because there’re no depth of objects, they all seem to be on the same plain.The interesting part about this piece is the repetition of the subject (although they’re different, they look the same, and they have the same size and colour); it creates rhythm.

c) Weston Frizzell – three works of art
Weston Frizzell’s work is similar to Dick Frizzell’s, because they are both very vibrant and very graphic. They seem simple because of the colours and composition of the piece, yet the set-up of each creation is sophisticated. Weston’s ‘Ecstacy’ uses a single letter to represent the whole meaning of the word with the help from the background. The word ecstacy is extreme happiness, like euphoria, so with the red and yellow coloured background radiating outwards, the ecstatic feeling is established. The letter E is emphasized because of its size, its placement directly in the middle, it’s the only point of interest in this piece, and because of its colour. ‘Behave A’ is another work of art where Weston used a single alphabet to express the whole meaning of the piece. In this composition, the letter A is emphasized because it’s the only point of interest in this piece. It creates contrast and emphasis with the white background because of its colour black. The faint line at the back creates balance between the piece, like setting a base.’Tree T’ is also symbolic because, again, the alphabet being the only point of focus on the piece. This one has a bit more colours, the background of dark green with some thick brown and beige lines running across. The letter T is emphasized because of its enormous size and light colour on dark background. The colour of beige-brown also represents tree’s colour, the colouring also creates texture like ones on wood.

Canadian – Woodland Artists
a) Norval Morriseau-A Separate Reality, 1984
Canadian Woodland Artists depicts civilization; they express their appreciation for animals and nature through their art work. Norval Morriseau’s ‘A Seperate Reality’ is a mural done with acrylic depicting the First Nations’ belief and respect for other living beings. It was a large piece done with many assistant artists. The piece is vibrant and abstract. The outline is thick, which makes the composition more graphic. The colours are bright and vibrant, have only one value, so there’s an illusion of no depth and the composition seems flat; this factor also makes the piece more graphic. The placement of the elements make the audiences’ eyes follow a spiral motion from the centre.Balance seems to be established because although the two sides have different elements, the basic placement and composition is similar. The elements in this piece seems to be surrounding the green glowing sphere (symbol of earth), which is emphasized because of its placement in the middle and its bright, glowing colour. The elements and symbols of First Nations people are shown with many lined critters/animals and plants are shown and encorperated with the rest of the composition.

b) Daphne Odjig- Roots
Daphne Odjig’s ‘Roots’, like Norval Morriseau’s ‘A Separate Reality’ is very abstract. It is, again, symbolic of their civilization, their worship, and their every-day-activity. Although it is abstracted, many elements of people, animals, and trees can be scene through the difference of line drawing and colours(e.g. the tree roots at the centre). The colours are very specific, only the minimal amount and one value of colour is used、such as brown, blue, yellow, red which all only have one value, only tiny parts are shaded with a darker colour. There are a variety of lines in terms of whether it is straight, curve, or bent. The piece is very graphic because of the thick outlines and flat colours. The lines also guide the audience’s eyes into moving around the piece back and forth, like a replaying motion.

c) Carl Ray –choose a couple
Carl Ray took simplicity into a whole new level. He uses only one colour to compliment the black outline and white background. ‘Skunk Spirit’, for example, uses different shades of blues to colour in. The style of art is very graphic, again, because of the thick black outline. It seems flat because there are no shadows to bring depth. The black outlines on white background create a good contrast and emphasis. This piece demonstrates, again, on Woodland Artists’ appreciation for animals. This strong and powerful feeling for the subject is created because of the spiral composition, which leads the audiences’ eyes, and the defined and clean brushstrokes make it even more effective in terms of leaving an impression. ‘Communication’ is one that is similar to ‘Skunk Spirit’ because it also has black outlines, white background, and only one colour (reddish-brown, clay colour) to compliment the outlines. Although the style is similar, there are still differences. ‘Communication’ has a lot more thin lines; the variety of line sizes and thicknesses is what makes this one different. There are spiral lines, straight lines, curved lines, thick lines, and tiny-thin lines. The parts with thicker lines tend to be the main body, thus showing emphasis. The tiny-thin, and densely compacted lines create a pattern and shadowy effect. There are many repetitive patterns on the moose’s body, representing muscles. The lines, again, direct one another, thus guide the audiences’ eyes across the whole composition.

d) Jackson Beardy-choose a couple
Jackson Beardy, like other Woodland Artists, express his appreciation towards animals and their spirits. He does a lot of spiritual, symbolic, yet abstract paintings. Unlike other Woodland Artists, Beardy uses a variety of bright, vibrant colours. His ‘Spirits of Duality’ is a good example. In this painting, thin, yet defined outlines were shown (The thickness changes a bit; some are thicker for emphasizing purposes like the sun). The use of animals is seen again, showing his appreciation for animal spirits, and they are hollow. The hollowness is justified by the smaller animals. The smaller ones are coloured in, giving more density. It is like the animals (coloured) have spirits (hollow) coming out, and they are bonded through sun. The colours are all bright, giving a very energetic feel, especially the sun, which also has curved lines radiating out. Another piece that demonstrates the relationship between spirits and the First Nations people is ‘Bird Calls’. This piece is composed of a native woman’s head, but projecting out of it is a bird, and two snakes. The use of colours in this one is very different from ‘Spirits of Duality’; it focuses on wood and warm colours like brown, red, and yellow. These colours are dim, unlike the bright, vibrant colours used in ‘Spirits of Duality’. The focus of this piece is the woman’s head, wrapped around by the black, thick outline of her hair. The red and yellow streaks on her face represents the tattoos and emphasizes her features. The curved lines guide the audiences’ eyes around the piece, from the woman’s face to the bird’s spirit, then down the snake-hairs.

e) Goyce Kakegamic-Family Unity,1981
Goyce Kakegamic’s ‘Family Unity’ is a picture that is, again, recording realistic event with a graphic drawing. The outlines are black and defined, there are difference in density. The shapes are varied, but the basic shape is a sphere/oval. There’s repetition with the shapes and there’s repetition unity with the colours of bright blue, orange, red, etc. The lines are all curved, creating an organic feeling. There are shapes of animals like fish and birds around the two individuals, showing the Woodland Artists’ appreciation for animals. The piece is pretty balanced in terms of symmetry because the curve can be cut in half, one individual and two spheres would be on each side. This piece of art represents the tradition of an older person passing their knowledge and experience to the younger person. This process of eductaion in their culture is seen.

f) Alex Janvier-Morning Star, 1993
Alex Janvier’s symbolic art work is ‘Morning Star’ that he made in 1993. This piece is a ceiling painting (spherical). This piece is composed of a spectrum of colours. The variety of colours and pattersn are what makes this so eye-catching. The colours are all very bright. Since the sphere is divided into four sections, each section has a main colour theme; there’s blue, red, white, and yellow. Although there are various of colours, the repetition in colours is also present within the four sections. For example, the yellow is the dominant in one section, but in other three sections, they are used in a minimal amount, yet they create unity within the piece.The lines are barely visible in this piece, or there’s barely any outlines, simply colours. Like the sun, this piece is radiating energy, but instead of the literal energy, it radiates the energy of originality, colours of comfort, and contemporary Aboriginal art.

g) Jim Logan – A Rethinking on the Western Front
Jim Logan’s ‘A Rethinking on the Western Front’ is, like the title, a rethinking on the western front. It is a parody of Michaelangelo’s ‘The Creation of Adam’. Again, focusing on the idea that the world is one place, Jim Logan changed Adam into a First Nations man. Unlike Michaelangelo’s heavenly background and clouds, Jim Logan painted Earth and children, so it is more earthly. It has many components to this piece; there are stars, planets, and a giant Earth at the background, the mid-ground has a giant red bird-block and green turtle-block as a base for the people on the foreground, where the Aboriginal man and the children carrying a woman is on. There is also a picture of evolution on the top left corner, which shows how humans evolve from half-ape, to Aboriginals, then to a white man. The writings also express his thoughts of racial discrimination. He is against the idea that caucasian men have more power when Aboriginals are the first people to appear on the earth. The colours vary and they are all very bright. There are almost no shading in this piece, except for the people, so it creates a very flat surface; this represents the flat and graphic style that Native artists have.There are also, almost no outlines, which is copying the Western style of art where it is more realistic and less graphic. It is a piece that mixes different styles together.

h) Carl Beam- choose a couple of artpieces
Carl Beam’s artwork are ones with mixed media; they are mostly composed of a photograph and collaged with something else. He is passionate about world issues, so as an activist, he makes the message really strong to get across. ‘Sauvage’ (1988) is a piece that puts emphasis on the red, blood-like writings since the message is war. The photo is divided into many pieces, which symbolizes men who fought lost parts of their body and families are broken because of the lost of lives. The whole composition is monochromatic except for the red writings, which really puts emphasis on it. On the bottom, there’s a gun, again, symbolizes war and fighting. It is remorseful and expresses the theme of war, loss of lives, and blood shedding. ‘Sitting Bull and Whale’ (1990) is dealing with another world issue: whale hunting/killing. He is made with etching on Arches paper. It is, again, like a collage that puts two pieces of art/photograph together. There is a red photo of an aboriginal man on top of a black and white picture of whale being “taken care of”. More emphasis is put on the top red picture because of its brighter colour and also because it is bigger, placement is on top and centre of focus.

Plains Art
a) Jane Ash-Poitras – Living in the Storm Too Long, 1992
Jane Ash-Poitras’ ‘Living in the Storm Too Lon’g looks like a collage of paintings and other components of stereotypical First Nations peoples throughout the centuries. These tiny paintings symbolize their cultural and political oppression. Jane is trying to tell the society to respect their culture and history instead of making fun of them. A lot of the symbols are meaningful to the culture. The four skulls, for example, symbolizes that the ancestors of the First Nations are buried in the land. There are many elements to this art; it is composed of many photos of historical figures, exerts from articles and written information, date, symbols (skulls), and drawings for stereotypical First Nations symbols at the bottom. Every piece of information and multimedia component is emphasized due to its light colour on the black background. This work is symmetrically balanced by the components, and it’s seperated into two parts: the factual and multimedia top part and the black background with drawings’ bottom part.

b) Joane Cardinal-Schubert 
First Nations Affiliation: non-status Blood (Kainai) (b. 1942)
 Self-Portrait as an Indian Warshirt, 1991
Joane Cardinal-Schubert’s ‘…Self-Portrait as an Indian Warshirt’ is a self-portrait which represents her background and culture. She identifies a cultural arguments and controversies by referring to Emily Carr, a famous Canadian artist in the Group of Seven who has already passed away. She wrote a series of ‘Letters to Emily’ and included in this piece (The letters discuss her every day life, no matter if it’s the political, personal, and artistic aspect which she face problems in). Like Jane Ash-Poitras’ Living in the Storm Too Long, this self-portrait is like a collage. It uses multimedia and placing each component accordingly to create this composition. There are many layers to this composition, which creates depth. Blue-coloured background dotted with white is like a night sky with many shining stars while the projecting triangles are like trees in the woods. The passionate colour of red is used as a second part background where the sun is involved, radiating heat and warmth. The red is also contrasting with the blue background. The red is placed on the same plain as the white, which represents snow, mountains, and trees (some blue blocks represent the warmer areas). In the foreground, lots of personal information are seen because pictures and writings were placed. The picture of herself is emphasized because of the realism contained within a symbolic, abstract piece of art. The placement of each element in the foreground lead the eyes of the audience around from right to left, top to bottom, then back again.


1 Comment »

  1. Overall a thorough response and analysis of the artwork. Which would you say was your favourite?Which was your least favourite?
    What would you take from these pieces to adapt into your own art? Anything at all?
    Ms. McKay

    Comment by ymartblog — December 19, 2011 @ 8:12 pm

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