Choose two works of art in the same medium: paintings or pieces of sculpture or decorative art/design objects etc. These must be works of artyou have physically seen.They must be from the period 1960 to the present and should be by different artists. In choosing your two objects, think about how you can link them in a logical way so that you create a dialogue between the two works.You need to provide a visual analysis of your two art works comparing and contrasting them and, most importantly, explaining any similarities or differences that you see.
Nicholas Canyon by David Hockney
Over the centuries, the art world has invented a wide variety of art styles, movements, and forms. The 20th and 21st centuries have witnessed the rise and fall of many diverse art styles and the emergence of others. All these art styles have been grouped within the larger category of contemporary art and show great variance in skill, media, and technique. Most of the artistic works in this period have made a huge impact either within a short period or a long period. Some of them have even remained popular in the present world. Ideally, the 1980s were characterised by highly conservative political and social ideas. This period also saw the rise of prominent music cultures which were reflected in the art of the time with some artists utilising their skill to illustrate their views on political and social issues.
Appropriation, which emerged in the late 1970s and spilt off to the 1980s, was majorly founded on borrowing. Artists altered images or the objects that already existed. The artists took images of the pop culture and everyday life and created outstanding art from them. Nicholas Canyon by David Hockney is an art of this nature adapted from the area in the Hollywood Hills. Neo-expressionism art, introduced in the late 1970s was a response to the conceptual art, popular in the 1970s. While the earlier art styles disregarded traditional art ideas, the style reintroduced them. The focus was laid in recognisable objects with artists painting intensely giving rise to vividly-coloured art and seemingly rough handling of the art materials. Farewell to Crete by Malcolm Morley is an art that perfectly fits in this style. Both Nicholas Canyon and Farewell to Crete were drawn within the same period, using the same medium and have had great influence in contemporary art, acquiring recognition both in the 1980s and in the modern world. The two artworks, however, vary both in terms of content and the manner in which the artist appears to have handled their materials While David Canyon appears too bright, Farewell to Crete is rather too dull.
Nicholas Canyon is a two-dimensional artwork painted in 1980 by David Hockney. The painting measures 152.4 cm by 213.3 cm and is currently exhibited at a Private collection. The painting is done with acrylic on a medium of canvas. Nicholas Canyon is painted in real fauvist style. David Hockney is among the top and most important living English painters. This painting is undeniably eye-catching just like all other paintings that he has done. Superficially, the intensity of all the bright colours calls and demands for adequate attention which causes the eyes of any viewer to wander all over the canvas medium.
The painting is adopted from the area in Hollywood by the same name located in the county of Los Angeles, Californa. The painting is a perfectly and beautifully arranged representation of the destination. The winding road, black in colour, is marginally exaggerated and artistically juxtaposed against the deeply coloured blue water shades in the background demands the viewer’s attention into the landscape. David Hockney himself commented that he actually admired the wavy lines. The scenery on the painting is presented in a highly expressive manner making it a torrent of multicoloured tones seemingly celebrating Hockney’s love for Nicholas Canyon. Several small houses that are aesthetically placed along the road are coloured and shaped in a similar manner but are however cleverly unique. There are limited or no concerns at all criticising the painting on what is possible or real. The painting is merely a depiction of an artist’s playful imagination coupled with extreme emotional expression. It is an outstanding decorative piece that any pop or fauvist art fan would treasure. Although David Hockney denies the claims that he is a pop artist, he is often categorised to be one by most of his fans following his earlier artistic works.
Farewell to Crete by Malcolm Morley
Farewell to Crete is a painting by Malcolm Morley created in 1984. Just like Nicholas Canyon, the painting is done on a medium of canvas. However, in this particular painting, oil is used to replace the acrylic in Hockney’s painting. The painting measures 203.2 cm by 416.6 cm. This makes Farewell to Crete dimensionally larger than Nicholas Canyon. The painting appears dark, and the artist superficially appears to have mishandled his materials. However, this is not the case as the practice was an art style in the 1980s.
Farewell to Crete forms a basis for Morley’s criticism on beliefs. Although most of his works have caused contestation on beliefs, this work particularly manifests much evidence and appears to be the most ambitious painting. Farewell to Crete is an effect of the combination of Morley’s earlier works in 1982, Untitled and Palms of Vai. The painting is highly dependent on a seemingly complex network of pairs. For instance, the painting on the right depicts two fertility goddesses, on the left and foreground centre a naked couple and the horizon a bull and a horse. All the pairs appear disjunctive. The two fertility goddesses who look out blindly in varied vertical panels have their heads detached from the rest of their bodies. The bronze horse and the clay bull are facing one another even in more varied vertical panels. The bodies of the couple also appear to exist in distinct vertical panels and have their faces hidden. Ideally, the traditional and modern worlds lead to the central pair of the painting. The serene beach coupled with its heroic sands and waters of the time is full of showy beach umbrellas and enhance the view of the blood of the bull. While the Trojan horse and the Cretan bull make the modern world to appear decadent and trivial, the knowledge that the modern world possesses on the Trojan War and the Cretan rites hints that the ancient sands were also drenched in blood and cruelty.
Both Nicholas Canyon and Farewell to Crete were painted by renowned British nationalities who had moved to the United States most probably to advance their careers. David Hockney born in 1937 at Bradford in England moved from his home country and went to reside at Los Angeles in California, United States. He was highly skilled and acted as a painter, stage designer, draftsman, photographer, and printmaker. He made huge contributions in the pop art movement in the mid-20th century. Hockney’s residence inspired the painting of Nicholas Canyon. He owned two places of residence in California where he lived both on and off from 1964. His home in Hollywood Hills was his inspiration to paint Nicholas Canyon.
Malcolm Morley was born in 1931 in north London. He was a British-American painter and artist who pioneered various art styles. He worked both as an expressionist and a photorealist among other varied styles. He had a troubled childhood as his family was victim to the World War II bombing. Later in life, he visited New York in 1957 which at his time was the major location of Western art in the world. In 1958, he moved to New York where he met other artists who helped in establishing his painting career. He taught various art schools in New York in the 1960s and 1970s. Morley won the inaugural Turner prize from an exhibition organised by Whitechapel in London. He bought an abandoned church in New York State where he spent the rest of his life. At his death in June 2018, he still resided in New York.
Apart from the artworks having been authored by artists of the same nationality, they were painted during the same time. The two works fall under contemporary art. This implies that the works were painted in a similar social and political setting. The works share in the kind of freedom expressed by the artists. They use colours freely create their works. The varied colour compositions in the paintings imply a transition, freedom, and deviation from the traditional art regulations. Both artists concentrate on important social aspects. While Hockney paints nature, Morley deals with past events but still crafts the painting in such a way that it fits well in contemporary art by the use of colours.
Critically, the two artists had different inspirations for their artistic works. Often, art critics tend to link the biographical lives of the artists with their artworks. In this sense, the works could be viewed in the lens of experiential painting. While Hockney’s painting exhibits clarity, Morley’s work appears rather ambiguous. While both artistic works are attractive, Morley’s work is a higher emotional appeal compared to Hockney’s work. Farewell to Crete could be viewed as an expression of Morley’s dark childhood. He was a direct victim of the Second War which led to his family losing their home. Additionally, Morley at his teens was sentenced to three years in prison after engaging in petty theft. These experiences made Morley able to easily relate to violence and hardships. His ambiguous painting explains it all; his disintegrating childhood and unrewarding teenage.
Hockney’s work, on the other hand, was greatly inspired by his travel. The enthusiastic colour and the seemingly simplified forms in Nicholas Canyon are a reflection of experimentation and love for adventure and scenic destinations. The lifestyle in Los Angeles became an important feature of Hockney’s work. The brightness depicted in his work is symbolic to his own life; having schooled with reputable people and taught by recognisable teachers. Apart from recognising his talent at a young age, he grew in extreme self-awareness. His reputation in the art world pushed his school to award him a diploma even without meeting all its set regulations. He demanded to be assessed in art only and refused to write an essay which was a prerequisite in his final examination.
Although the two artistic works are painted on the same medium, canvas, the painters used different materials in their works. This could perhaps be used to explain the easily identifiable differences between them. Morley uses oil in his painting which is predominant in most of his works. Hockney had also used oil in his preceding paintings but changed in the painting of Nicholas Canyon. In the painting, he uses acrylics. The two artistic works also differ in the possible use of photography. Hockney’s work depicts an extreme use of photography particularly for the purposes of documentation. Morley’s work does not appear to use any photography skills.
The paintings also differ in the use of colours. In Nicholas Canyon, the colours appear perfectly balanced. Both the background and the content colours are well blended giving rise to a stable art piece. The colours in the painting are exceptionally warm and appear to be drawing the viewers together to share in the experience of the artist. Morley’s painting is composed of contrasting colours which heighten the ambiguity in the painting. The contents in the painting provoke tension. The goddesses have their heads disconnected from the rest of their bodies. This detaching combined with the superficially incompetent use of clouds makes Farewell to Crete an epitome of art tensions.
While Nicholas Canyon is based on nature, Farewell to Crete concentrates more on the supernatural. The contents in the latter can hardly be explained without closely borrowing from the disciplines which concern themselves with beliefs. The essence of the supernatural in the painting is to revive ancient art which was dying in the period as only a few artists explored traditional art. Nicholas Canyon, on the other hand, is purely modern; depicting exaggerated natural scenes. Hockney simply presents the appearance of the ideal scenic environment.
Overall, Nicholas Canyon and Farewell to Crete are two paintings done within the same period exhibiting some similar features though very different when studied in details. The paintings, on a similar medium display varied use of colours both in composition and brightness. The works also deal with varied themes having been painted by painters from varied biographical backgrounds. The works are a good representation of varied art existing within the same period.
Brenson, Michael. 1984. Grand-Scale Malcolm Morley Morley. April 13. Accessed December 13, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/1984/04/13/arts/grand-scale-malcolm-morley.html.
Clearwater, Bonnie. 2005. Malcolm Morley: The Art of Painting. FL: Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami., North Miami.
Hall, Heinrich. 2017. Exploring Crete 2017 Diary – Day 13: Farewell. April 29. Accessed December 13, 2018. https://www.petersommer.com/blog/greece-travel/crete-diary-2017/souda-flowers.
Hockney, David. 1980. Nicholas Canyon. Accessed December 13, 2018.
Michael, Galerie. 2017. A Look into the Contemporary Art Styles of the 1980s. July 1. Accessed December 13, 2018. https://galeriemichael.com/2018/01/analyzing-periods-of-contemporary-art-the-1980s/.
Morley, Malcolm. 1984. Farewell to Crete. Accessed December 13, 2018. https://www.saatchigallery.com/artists/artpages/malcolm_morley_7.htm.
Rosenthal, Norman. 2013. Malcolm Morley at the Ashmolean: Paintings and Drawings from the Hall Collection. Ashmolean: Oxford.
Wroe, Nicholas. 2013. (October 4, 2013). "Malcolm Morley: 'The moment anyone said my work was art, I had this block – I took a long time to find myself.' October 4. Accessed December 16, 2018.
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