THE REAL EXPERIENCE OF SEEING

Spring 2017

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Turning to the idea of ‘abstract’ and how abstract art relates to our experiences of reality, I experimented with pushing the boundaries of abstraction. Here, I studied artists from the ‘The School of London’ Group, such as Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach and Michael Andrews alongside revolutionary artists such as a sculptor, Giacometti.  

    All these artists talk in relativity about the difference between drawing, or sculpting the ‘realistic look’ compared to the ‘real experience of seeing’. Where Giacometti talks about depicting what he calls ‘pent-up energy’ within his work, Bacon and Auerbach talk about ‘returning sensation visually’ to the audience through their work and Freud talks about visualizing the factual rather than visualizing a picture.

“ I wish my paintings to be of the people, not like them.” - Lucian Freud.

 French philosopher, Jean-Paul Sartre wrote in his piece ‘The Search for the Absolute’ about Giacometti's’ work;

“.. it is not simply technical; spirit and attitude come into it.”

I feel that through practicing in a style heavily inspired by artist such as Egon Schiele that my work reflects on this idea, as I would state Schieles’ work does also. There's something more. With respect to the classics such as Michelangelo, it's obvious, to me, that there is a massive difference between the atomically correct sculptures and sketches to the thick and raw lines of Schiele or Giacometti's’ work.

 

The question of ‘abstract’ intrigued me. Thinking about ‘how do you yourself define the term? Can a metaphor be abstract? What is the basis of abstraction? Do we recognise metaphorical meaning in abstract art, and if so, how? How does abstract art relate to our experience of ‘reality’? This reminded me of a quote from Auerbach in relation to Francis Bacon being completely opposed to the idea of abstraction, calling it simply ‘pattern making’; “I don't disapprove of abstraction… All painting is abstraction in the sense that one abstracts forms for ones sensations from the object which has given rise to these sensations.” - Auerbach.

 

This is an in depth study of the real experience of seeing in comparison to the reality of an object. Looking at the idea of metaphors and specifically the quote; 

‘Generally, a metaphor is defined as a way of speaking in which one thing is expressed in terms of another, whereby this bringing together throws new light on the character of what is being described.’ - Sheldon Kopp

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