Year One - Contextual and Professional Studies

Personal work in relation of other artists

Ronald Hunter 1973-present

“Through multiple layers of paint and texture Ronald aims to evoke a sense of depth, of being submerged. The color layers shine through and bring a distinctive appeal, the viewers will see something new every time they look at it. Each painting evokes its own mood through the color composition and texture patterns.” 

– Singulart

I feel I am influenced by this contextual artists way of producing paintings. In some of my pieces I like to apply paint thickly as can be shown is Hunter’s example paintings shown above. When I stumbled across this artists work it reminded me in particular of my May 2020, Moorland Misery. In particular the use of green pigment in contrast to shades and the way in which the paint is applied.

In some ways I still am inspired by this particular artist in my current practise. For instance in Isolated, November 2020 I used the contrast of cold colours to warm colours which is similar to some of this artists work, an example of this is Architectured no. 1.

Henri Matisse

“His mastery of the expressive language of colour and drawing, displayed in a body of work spanning over a half-century, won him recognition as a leading figure in modern art.”

– Tate

I think subconsciously I am largely influenced by Matisse’s use of colours, lines and mark making. Having reviewed my previous paintings in the last few years and my current paintings, I viewed the similarities to his work. I didn’t initially realise his work was an influence to mine but having viewed my work in general I noticed this.

For instance, in my previous paintings I use quite realistic colours in relation to the subject matter and use dark outlines which can be viewed in Wilson, March 2019. Later this influence can also be viewed in Isolated, November 2020 where I use the darker blue to outline the figure.

Henri Matisse’s work features a rhythm in the compositions that are very fluid and beautiful. I feel my work reflects elements of a similar rhythm across the pieces, which can be viewed Koi Carp, October 2019 within the subject matter and composition.

Year One - Contextual and Professional Studies

My Statement

Bees. December 2020. Lauren Allred

My artwork currently is related to cultural issue that are not mainstream issues. Bringing focus to issues that the average person may not have considered.

For this series of works my practice is using Sculpture, ranging from recycled materials to woodwork and plaster. Within this series I formed a range of 2D drawings that formed into a 3D works. I explored abstraction and symbolism for my works, enabling me to show messages to a viewing audience in subtle ways.

I was inspired from the habitation confinement humans put upon bees that result in diseases for the creature. By forming a series of work inspired by this to enlighten people on the repercussions of bee farms.

This project is still ongoing and I am planning to explore these concepts further within my practice.

Year One - Contextual and Professional Studies

Art Materials used for Shock Value

Moma Definition
Merriam-Webster Definition

Stephanie Sarley

What is this artists material? Video, Performance, Social Media or Fruit?

Stephanie Sarley became a viral sensation with her ‘Fruit Fingering’ series, in which she films herself stroking and prodding pieces of juicy and flesh-like fruit … sexually provocative videos became the subject of censorship and copyright disputes after her work was repeatedly removed, stolen and appropriated online. These videos even resulted in Instagram disabling Sarley’s account three times in one month.

Feminism and Fruit Article/ Interview

Is this porn being portrayed as contextual feminist art?

Personally, having researched this artist I have come to the realisation that I do not consider this art. Yes, art is subjective but I feel Stephanie Sarley is using shock value to get attention on social media. I would suggest this is a form of porn which is being portrayed as contextual, feminist art. Sarley sometimes uses sexual sound effects within her videos, forming the conclusion to me that this is not about art or feminism. I would suggest this is a cover up to allow this type of content on instagram, being posted under the umbrella of feminism, who have strict guidelines for content. Feminism modern times, is a very sensitive subject, which people are afraid to question in fear of offending. Resulting in this ‘art’, being allowed on social media fueling the motive of popularity and monetary value for the ‘artist’.

Banana on Wall

“Bananas! Art world gone mad—this duct-taped fruit sold for $120K.”

The New York Post Front Cover Headline
Comedian, Maurizio Cattelan 2016

“A ripe banana duct-taped to the wall, all in the name of art. But this is conceptual art. He made several models: first in resin, then in bronze, and in painted bronze (before) finally coming back to the initial idea of a real banana. Whether this qualifies as art, well, that’s up to you! Art is subjective. The price tag—paired with the work’s absurdity—got the attention of social media.”

Vogue Article
Buyer eating the ‘art’.

Is this ‘art’?

Art is subjective, so you could argue that anything is art. Having researched into this I realise that this piece of art has more substance to it than initially preserved via the media. Resulting in a more contextualised work than made out to be. However, I still don’t personally view this as art. But I do admire the creativity behind the concept and the money the artist would have produced from the controversial ‘art’ piece.


To summarise, I think the relation of shock value in art is a medium in the sense of performance. The physical medium may be video, instillation, photography etc but the performance is really the medium. As performance is what makes these works relevant.

Year One - Contextual and Professional Studies Year One - Painting

Themes of Art

Theme of ‘The Human Figure’.

“For thousands of years the human figure has appeared in art. Early cave paintings show figures of hunters simply depicted using a few strokes. In ancient Greece human figures were the main subject on decorated vases. Through the ages the human figure has appeared in portraits, has been used to tell stories or express beliefs, or used to explore what it is to be human.”

Tate Gallery

During my research into the themes of arts, I decided to look into the human figure. I chose this because I have a personal interest to this theme and believe it could benefit my portrayal of figures within my current working projects.

Images that represent The Human Figure:

Artist from all over the world continuously use the human figure as a form of reference to produce work as can be viewed above. They can range from pictures, photography, textiles and sculpture, as well as other forms. Some choose to use the human figure as a realistic reference, like Rineke Dijkstra’s photography. Others observe the human figure and choose to obstruct it within the works like Francis Bacon’s paintings for instance.

Bay Area Figurative Movement, 1950-1965

“A movement of mid-20th-century American artists based in San Francisco who abandoned the dominant Abstract Expressionist style of the period and returned to figuration.”


The Bay Area Figurative Movement, has multiple links to the theme of the Human Figure. The movement focussed upon the figure but was represented in a unique style, largely influenced from Surrealism. Overall, this formed a new way of creating abstraction within art. Personally, I think this movement is a great resource for viewing the human form in an alternate way.

First Generation Artists

The first generation of artists in the Bay Area Figurative Movement were; Elmer Bischoff, Paul Wonner, Richard Diebenkorn and David Park. David Park being the Pioneer of the movement.

Second Generation Artists

The second generation of artists within this movement included Nathan Oliveira, Joan Brown and Manuel Neri.

“These artists rendered genre scenes, local landscapes, and figure paintings with a luminous palette …their works became increasingly idiosyncratic, to the extent that they bled into the Funk Art movement of the San Francisco underground.”



Overall I think the Bay Area Figurative Movement, had a profound impact on art of America. As well as how the human figure is represented, I think the abstraction which was formed in this movement can be viewed in lots of contemporary works, for instance how Jenny Saville manipulate the human figure in forms of realistic abstraction. I’m glad I have researched into the theme of ‘Human Figure’, as well as the Bay Area Figurative Movement as it has enlightened me on alternate ways to represent the figure that I can translate into my future art projects.

Year One - Contextual and Professional Studies Year One - Painting

Outside of Art

Psychology Influence in Art

For this topic of ‘Outside of Art’, I decided to look into the relation of reflecting Psychology within art.

Jacky Gerritsen Art

I like the way this artist reflects the idea of psychology through their art work. The use of tones and colours vary in relation to the context of the work yet are all relative and complimentary. The work is well executed and makes the audience question their own ideas when viewing the work.

I tried to research further into the ideology behind these pieces in particular, yet there is minimal information on the artist or art work online. I found the artist on Facebook and I am fortunate to have gotten a response!

I took from the artist’s response my initial ideas of the audience forming their own ideas based on their work. Yet it was insightful to hear this from the artist themselves, who made her art for a particular reason yet doesn’t necessarily share the original inspirations or concepts. Reflecting to the audience that art is made for others and the psychology behind the piece is relative to the person viewing it.

The Relationship between Art and Psychology

‘Art causes reduction and even treatment of behavioral and mental disorders. Concepts like art, soul, love, beauty, relation, justice, perfection, and freedom in each realm of life has its own specific meaning’

The Relationship Between Art and Psychology Article

‘Art invites men to social life and before suffering from mental madness leaves significant effects on improvement of human life.’

The Relationship Between Art and Psychology Article

I can relate to this on a personal level as I believe the act of art does relieve mental health struggles allowing me to express my emotions into the art. Like Aristotle said, “No great genius has ever existed without a strain of madness.”, reflecting the idea that great artwork is formed by extreme emotions which lots of artists can resinate with.

Vincent van Gogh, Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear (1889)

This idea of allowing people suffering from mental illness to create great art, really reminded me of Vincent van Gogh. His artwork within his life really reflects his mental suffering, which can be shown in the image above. Although psychologists do not know what the artist was suffering from, it is widely know he was a troubled man. Yet his work is now extremely valued when it had not been in his lifetime. Though unfortunate he never lived to experience his success, art clearly helped to elevate his emotions as he continued to create work even when he was criticised.

‘Gestalts psychology, a holistic view point in psychology, helped the growth of art psychology. Arnheims’ works especially his significant book «toward a Psychology of Art» played an undeniable role’

The Relationship Between Art and Psychology Article
Toward a Psychology of Art: Collected Essays Book

‘The papers collected in this book are based on the assumption that art, as any other activity of the mind, is subject to psychology, accessible to understanding, and needed for any comprehensive survey of mental functioning’

Amazon’s Summary of the Book

From having viewed summaries of this book I can see how it could have helped build intrigue to the subject of psychology within art, resulting the ‘significant book’ having an ‘undeniable role’. The book covers a wide range of artists and artwork and how these are influenced from physiology and how they continue to influence ideologies.


From my research into ‘Psychology Influence in Art’, I found that most artworks have elements of psychology whether it be vast or minuscule. I found people relate to artwork in an emotive way which then enables art to subjectively be interpreted in the mental headspace of the viewer. This topic is very intriguing when viewing art personally and how viewers when looking at art is of a large scale relative to multiple elements. I think this could influence my personal project by showing subtle themes of Psychology and allow the viewing audience to form their own opinions of the work I produce.


Kamali, N., and Javdan, M. 2012. The Relationship between Art and Psychology. J. Life Sci. Biomed. 2(4): 129-133.

Year One - Contextual and Professional Studies

Journal Article Review

Visionary Anatomies Exhibition Review – Article

This particular exhibition catalogue was reviewed in the USA 2004 and is now currently an archived exhibition at present. When looking into this article I became interested in the art involved yet while doing so I became intrigued in how the article was written and the elements involved in doing so.

Annotated Article Page

Throughout the article Ione uses quotations from the artist work during the exhibitions to develop her own opinions based upon their work. The author uses this to add context to the visual artworks being viewed. Helping me to realise, that when reviewing exhibitions personally, it would be beneficial to add historical context, societal/cultural influences and quotations to inform my opinions.

Annotated Article Page

I found this article very informative, not necessarily to the exhibition but more so to the way the author wrote her review. I was able to see the context in which her ideas came from as well as how she linked these external factors back into the content of the article. I am very glad I found this article when browsing the online De Montfort University Library and I hope to use similar analytical features when reviewing exhibitions in the future, like Amy Ione.

Ione, Amy, et al. Leonardo, vol. 39, no. 2, 2006, pp. 171–172. JSTOR,
Year One - Contextual and Professional Studies

Analysing Artworks

Anna Medieta, Self Portrait, 1973

Anna Medieta Self Portrait 1973

Formal Analysis

The colour of this piece is natural to the human body, yet included contrast of blood. The tones of this piece are very dark and show imperfect organic forms. The face is centrally composed in an unnatural position with the focal point being the nose. The medium appears to be photography, placed into a frame.

Analysis from Research

The medium of this piece is ‘photograph on coloured paper’, with a scale of ‘398 × 310 × 32 mm’. This piece was from a set of 9 experimental photographs.

‘Mendieta’s use of blood carries a strongly political message in the form of a call to awareness of violence against women.’

Ana Mendieta’s meaning on the piece

John Millais, Ophelia, 1851-52

John Millais, Ophelia, 1852

The colour of this piece is very natural to the scene depicted, colour matched perfectly as if it was a picture. The tones of this piece are light and inviting, showing organic forms. The body is centrally depicted to draw the viewer to that element of the piece. The medium appears to be oil paints. The piece seems very emotional, I would suggest the female is deceased in the lake. Yet it is a very peaceful scene with the foliage. The artwork could have been inspired by the pre-raphaelites as their is elements similar to this art society.

Analysis from Research

After further research I realise the reason it reminded me of the pre-raphaelites as it was part of this art society. The medium is ‘Oil paint on canvas’, with a scale of ‘Support: 762 × 1118 mm, Frame: 1105 × 1458 × 145 mm’.

‘The plants, most of which have symbolic significance, were depicted with painstaking botanical detail. The roses near Ophelia’s cheek and dress, and the field rose on the bank, may allude to her brother Laertes calling her ‘rose of May’. The willow, nettle and daisy are associated with forsaken love, pain, and innocence. Pansies refer to love in vain. Violets, which Ophelia wears in a chain around her neck, stand for faithfulness, chastity or death of the young, any of which meanings could apply here. The poppy signifies death. Forget-me-nots float in the water.’

Symbolism within the Painting

Year One - Contextual and Professional Studies

Sin, Incest, Satanism in the National Gallery?

The History of National Gallery

‘In 1831 Parliament agreed to construct a building for the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square. There had been lengthy discussion about the best site for the Gallery, and Trafalgar Square was eventually chosen as it was considered to be at the very centre of London. The new building finally opened in 1838.’

History – About the Building

‘With a commitment to free admission, a central and accessible site, and extended opening hours the Gallery has ensured that its collection can be enjoyed by the widest public possible, and not become the exclusive preserve of the privileged.’

History – About the Building

And so the National Gallery was formed by the Government to provide a space for free education, no matter of social class or economic boundaries.

Online Presence

The National Gallery obviously has the famous London location yet in modern times, the galleries artworks are available to a much wider audience via its online presence. Their website enables viewers from all over the world to access and educate themselves or artworks, with a few clicks on the internet. Due to this modern fenominon the ideology of providing free education, no matter of social class/ economic boundaries lives on today.

With the amazing access to the gallery and its online resources, staying up to date on exhibitions and artistic events has never been easier and its all down to the Parliament of 1831 wanting to provide the gift of education.

Providing the Gallery Service

Yet with this amazing access and facilities brings great pressure to the people who provide this service. Resulting in the role of Director, ‘with the responsibility to shape the collection and manage the Gallery.’

“The Director has responsibility, under the Board, for the overall organisation, management, and staffing of the Gallery and for its procedures in financial and other matters, including conduct and discipline.”

Current responsibilities of the Director from the Trustees Handbook

There has been a long list of 15 directors since the role began to present day. The current Direction of the National Gallery is Dr Gabriele Finaldi.

Dr Gabriele Finaldi

Dr Gabriele Finaldi has had lots of experience in exhibitions and art, curating exhibitions all over the world. As well as writing historical academic resources on artwork in general. Meaning that the organisation of exhibitions and the art placements are academically constructed. Forming the best outcome to reflect the artists work as well as being visually appealing to the viewing audience.

As well as the role of Director for the museum, curators have a huge impact on the exhibitions within the gallery. The role of curators is to use informed thinking to position the artworks of a particular exhibition, enhancing the artists work and the overall outcome of the display.

‘Sin’ Exhibition

7th October 2020 – 3rd January 2021

The National Gallery isn’t afraid to exhibit controversial ideas ‘The first exhibition in the UK exploring sin in art will be staged at the National Gallery this autumn.’

‘Sin will bring together paintings from the National Gallery’s collection dating from the 16th to the 18th century with loans from important private and public collections including modern and contemporary works by Andy Warhol, Tracey Emin, and Ron Mueck. There will be 14 works on display.’

This particular exhibition is available to view from the 7th October 2020 to the 3rd January 2021, in Trafalgar Square, London. Yet it is also available to view online and well as press-releases that are available online. Which is great for me currently as I am not able to travel to the gallery but I can still learn about the exhibition and get an online experience.

‘Sin’ invites visitors to reflect on a fundamental concept that pervades our lives and history, but also to marvel at the ingenious ways artists have addressed the subject across time.’

Dr Joost Joustra, Howard and Roberta Ahmanson Research Curator

This particular exhibition explores a wide range of debateable concepts, you only have to look at ‘An Allegory with Venus and Cupid by Bronzino, which is featured in the collection. This painting is very controversial and has a range of disturbing themes to the modern day critic, such as ‘Sin’, ‘Incest’ and ‘Satanism’.

An Allegory with Venus and Cupid by Bronzino

Yet when curated in a particular way by historically, religiously informed individuals. It allows the combination of art to bring forth debates and learning, whether viewed online or in person. Reflecting the original 1831 purpose of the gallery to provide a space for free education, no matter of social class or economic boundaries.


Year One - Contextual and Professional Studies

The Studio

Cecily Brown

“My process is really quite organic and starting a painting is one of the best parts for me. I always start in quite a loose and free way. I often put down one ground colour to begin with and then play off that. For the first day or two, everything moves very quickly – sometimes almost too quickly – then there’s often this very protracted middle period of moving things around, changing things, editing.”

Cecily Brown Website

From Cecily Brown’s description of how she creates her works I assume she needs a large working space to loosely apply the paint. Meaning that her studio space will be adapted to her way of working which most possibly is a large room.

Having researched further into Cecily Brown’s studio space I can assess that my assumptions where correct. Reflecting in a larger scale, that all artist’s working studios (whatever location/space) is directly linked to the work they create.

Cecily Brown’s Studio, New York, October 23, 2012

Cecily Brown’s Studio

As previously stated Cecily Brown has a large sized studio, which can be viewed below. The scale of her paintings in relation to the artist, reflects the mass size of her studio which ultimately enables Brown to complete large scale artworks at ease.

Cecily Brown in Her Studio

Rachel Wetzler (Apollo Magazine) on Brown’s Studio:

“Cecily Brown’s studio – an airy, light-filled loft overlooking the bustle of New York’s Union Square – is, at any given moment, home to as many as 50 works in various stages of completion. When I visit one afternoon in July, paintings and drawings of loosely defined figures emerging from energetic arrays of sweeping, abstract strokes seem to line almost every available surface, propped up in stacks against the walls or lying on the floor to dry. In spite of the summer heat, the studio is busy with activity.”

– Apollo Magazine, 3rd November, 2018


Celily Brown appears to use her studio as visual inspiration showing her own artworks and well as a practical way to create her humongous paintings. From observation of her studio she appears to use brushes, paints, palette, tissues, inks, easels, stationary and a trolley. As a result of both of these factors, Brown adapts her studio space to enable the creation of her works to be completed at ease.

My Studio

For my studio I set up the desk in the corner facing the wall so that I wasn’t distracted by the beautiful view yet still able to take inspiration from it. I then attached imagery to my working area from artists work which I am inspired by. These vary from Tracey Emin to Dante Gabriel Rossetti.