Contextual Research CPS 3302 Year 3

Contextual Research

These are all my contextual research pages I did this year including the two artists talks. As I have researched so many, I felt that putting them all onto one post would make it easier for my summary and allow me to be more concise and reflective without simply listing all of my research pages and using up my word count.

  1. Alongsiding Exhibition by Anna Lucas – information about Anna Lucas’s small lens based exhibition at a science building at the University of Leicester with reflections and my opinions of specific pieces

2. Robert Phelps artist research – information about the artist, links/images of his website, images and reflection of his work with a particular focus on his uses of colour, YouTube videos giving an insight into his process, how his work will impact on my practice

3. Rebecca Haines – artist research, information about the artist, images and reflections of her work with a particular focus on pattern, texture and colour, YouTube videos giving an insight into her material choices and artistic process, how her work will impact upon my practice

4. New Walk Museum Exhibition – images and reflections of different exhibitions at the New Walk Museum including Indian Modernism, Leicester and the community through the pandemic and the classic art history exhibition that is on permanent display, my opinions of pieces

5. DMU Exhibition – information about rhe exhibition ‘Art by Post: Of Home and Hope’ concerning the community in Leicester coming together in any way possible during the pandemic, images of the work and information, reflections of the works and how the work will influence my work particularly in terms of colour

6. Henry Moore’s sheep drawings – brief information about the artist, information about his sheep drawings, images and reflections of some of the sheep drawings, how the drawings affected my practice and the ways that I collect drawings from life for my project

7. Andy Warhol’s serial cow imagery – information about Andy Warhol and the serial cow imagery, images of the art and reflections, YouTube videos about the work with interesting facts, how the work will influence my project particularly in terms of colour and repeated images/how it is relevant in terms of subject

8. Franz Marc – research into the artist, his fascinations with colour, YouTube videos giving information about his practice, how the incorporation of colour and animals in his work influence my own practice, images and reflections of his works – particularly the horse paintings

9. Artist Talk 1, Grace Ndiritu – information about her and her practice, q&a she answered during the talk, images and reflections of her work, how her work is relevant to me/influences my practice, what I like/don’t like

10. Cheri Christensen – information about the artist and her focuses of colour and lighting, images of her work and reflections, YouTube video explaining her artistic process, how her work will influence my project, what I like/don’t like about her work

11. Pat Saunders-White – information about the artist, images of the art and reflections, links to my work/how it will influence my project in terms of colour and subject matter

12. Artist talk 2, Kasia Redzisz – information about the curator, information about the exhibitions, images of the work and information learned about them during the talk, reflections of the talk and why I found it interesting

13. The Blue Rider Group – information about the group and why it was founded, key focuses of the group, particular focus on colour, information about members of the group and images of their artworks, reflections of the work and how it is relevant to my own project, YouTube videos with information about the group

14. Dana Ellyn – infromation about the artist and her intentions, interviews and videos giving information about her processes, images and reflections of the artworks, how the work is relevant to my project and how it is different, how it will influence my work in terms of colour and pattern

15. Jackson Thilenius – information about the artist and his intentions, images and reflections of the artwork, what I like/don’t like, how the work is relevant to my own project

16. Art on DMU walls – art that was suggested for me to research due to subject matter being animals, reflections of the artworks

CPS 3302 Professional Development Year 3

Professional Development

These are all the professional development posts I have done this year which are featured in my summary. Keeping them all in one area is important and useful in keeping my summary concise and detailed, without having to link every single page which can take away from the 700 word count.

  1. After University Plans – identifying my skills and areas I can improve and seeing which careers are useful to me.

2. Artist Residencies – research into what artist residencies are, finding relevant artist residencies websites, watching YouTube video about peoples experiences, finding potential artist residencies which I can apply to in the future

3. CV post, generic artist CV and Master CV – research into difference between artist cv and resume with examples and my own artist CV/Master CV showing all of my experience and information about me

4. Being an artist, exhibition post – research into different exhibition spaces, different websites/subscriptions you can use for exhibition opportunities or competitions, applications to exhibition opportunities and responses, reflection upon rejections and how I can overcome being rejected

5. Artist website – information about artist websites and their functions/uses, examples of artist websites that I like/don’t like, the process fof making my artist website on WIX

6. Online Exhibition – discussing the positives/negatives of having online exhibition vs one in real life, process of creating my online exhibition on artsteps, feedback of my online exhibition

7. Artist Statement – short artist statement for my website and longer website for exhibitions

8. My Website – my finished website with reviews of each page and screenshots

CPS 3302 Professional Development Year 3

My Website

Here is the link of my finished website. I am very happy with the final look and I feel that the website reflects me and my work effectively. I like the fact that I included a banner of my two favourite artworks at the top of each page, alternating between colours in a thoughtful way. This allows people to see what my work is focused on even when not looking at the artworks page and pulls the website together.

The pages that I decided to include in my website are:

  • Home
  • About the artist
  • Artist Statement
  • Artworks
  • CV
  • Contact

Home Page:

Home Page
Home Page
Home Page

I have kept my home page quite simple with the banner of a purple cow and six images of my work to draw people in. I didn’t want to add any information other than welcome as all of the other information is on the other key pages and I didn’t want to make it too overwhelming. The simplicity of other artist websites is what I liked when researching artist websites and so I decided to apply this to my own website. I included my LinkedIn profile and art Instagram profile at the bottom so that people have ways to see more about me and what I’m involved with. These are showed in the menu and at the bottom of the page which gives people double the chance of noticing them.

About the Artist:

About the artist Page
About the artist Page
About the artist Page

Text says – I am currently a final year Fine Art student developing my practice in painting and developing my professional artistic career. With an interest in a range of subjects including architecture and animals in captivity, I am constantly developing my own unique style. Colour in particular is a big focus in my art as I love how playful and captivating colour can be and how colour can often change the perception of an image. I have experience in a range of media, although I have my own particular preferences that I keep coming back to including acrylic paints onto wood and lino prints. If my style or focus appeals to you, I’d love you to get in touch! 

I decided to include an ‘about the artist’ page so that I could give the viewers some information about me and my intentions while pursuing my passion for art that my statement may not have allowed me to convey. I didn’t have any photos of myself with my artwork that were professional and so I am hoping to get some taken in my degree show so that I am able to update the photo to allow the viewers to see what I look like in a professional manner.

Artist Statement Page:

Artist Statement Page
Artist Statement Page

Text reads – I am currently focusing on exploring the ethics of keeping animals, particularly farm animals, in captivity. This topic is so normalised in day to day life through farms and even animals in the countryside which we see when driving to places. I am hoping to give a voice to animals and allow them to communicate how being in captivity makes them feel and impacts on them. Colour is an important aspect of my work to represent how humans are often hypocrites who claim to care about the welfare of animals but don’t actually do anything to better the situation. Subtlety is important to me as I want to make people see through sympathy rather than disgust or outrage from violent imagery, the innocent imagery is very important to me. The idea of humans being regarded as more important than animals has always saddened me as we are similar in so many ways and animals deserve a lot more respect than we give them. There is more to animals than becoming a food for us to consume or a form of entertainment.

Artworks Page:

Artworks Page
Artworks Page
Artworks Page
Artworks Page
Artworks Page
Artworks Page
Artworks Page
Artworks Page
Artworks Page
Artworks Page
Artworks Page

I added a range of the art that I have created this term in clusters of animals, beginning with cows, then chickens and finally sheep. I have been working on some goat paintings and prints too but these aren’t yet at a standard to be uploaded to the website and so I will do this as soon as I finish them. I presented them in groups rather than muddled up as this is my intention for the degree show and the idea of clusters of animals is something I find interesting as animals are often separated into different groups in farms and different habitats. Some of the images look bad quality but this is due to some of them being done with pastels which creates a matted effect and is difficult to photograph. Overall I am really happy with this page and I’m looking forward to adding more as I progress with my project.

I included the titles of the pieces, material information and dimensions.

CV Page:

CV Page
CV Page

This is my CV page in which I have included a simple CV showing a small amount of information about me, my education and exhibitions that I have taken part in. I didn’t see the point in including areas where I have no experience as this would just be a waste of space and I am looking forward to seeing this develop as I gain experience in my artistic life. Again the short CV goes quite well with the simplicity of the rest of my website.

Contact Page:

Contact Page
Contact Page

This is my contact page which is quite simple yet includes a range of different information to allow my viewers to interact with me in a detailed manner which will help me to understand what they are asking. I am hoping that people do get in touch as it will help me to see how viewers feel about my work and whether I am meeting my intentions of my work.

Contextual Research CPS 3302 Year 3

Art on wall in De Montfort University

Crow painting on wall at DMU

When I was walking to my CPS lesson, I came across these paintings done by a previous student at DMU featuring crows. There wasn’t any information about the artist but I still feel that the art itself is interesting enough to consider in relation to my own work. These paintings are quite realistic and muted in colour which is very different to my own work but these paintings are very effective and could be a good colour scheme to explore in my own work – it won’t hurt. I like that this also demonstrates how different people’s approaches can be to animals with people having their own styles and particular focuses.

Professional Development Studio Practice 3301

Artist Statement

Full artist statement:

I am focusing on capturing farm animals within their enclosures to explore farming ethics and how this affects the welfare of animals.

I use acrylic paints onto small scale board as I love the process of layering paints to create different textures. I have been using small scale board partly because I am used to working small scale from lockdowns last year, but also to emphasise that animal enclosures are often too small, and the animals are trapped within a space. I have started to incorporate abstract colours in my work, even adding unnatural greens to my realistic paintings to show how unnatural it is to keep animals trapped for a show for humans, especially since they are the animals which are killed for food consumption. I am focusing on creating a large amount of paintings as often farm animals like sheep are grouped together in flocks so this, though unintentional at first, works well with my theme.

Within this work, I hope to make the viewer feel empathy towards the animals and make them consider how it would feel to be trapped within a space. Since the lockdowns last year, people will already have some experience of feeling trapped which could affect the ways people interpret my work. By focusing on farm animals, I want to demonstrate the fact that they are deemed unimportant, either being used for show or slaughtered for food for a large amount of humans. The animals featured in my work have different expressions and look directly at the viewer which is ironic as it makes the viewer feel like they are the ones in the cage. This also demonstrates how farm animals have become domesticated, relying on the presence of humans to be fed.

When presenting my work, I intend to have an irregular arrangement yet place them close together to emphasise the confined space that most farm animals have. Going to different locations of farms or animal sanctuaries to collect primary evidence in the form of photos and drawings is important as places use different materials for the enclosures, which is why my work features both standard wooden farm enclosures and wire enclosures. Although both create a sense of being trapped, the painting of the goat behind the wire enclosure is a lot harder hitting and menacing, creating a sense of isolation. My work effectively portrays the confinement that farm animals experience in their lifetime that the viewer can hopefully sympathise with. To develop this idea further, I need to paint a lot more paintings of animals in their enclosures to create a herd of animals so that I can make my ideas more obvious to the viewer. I want to consider my uses of colour more as making my work too abstract can distract from the seriousness of the subject.

I have done research into a range of painters including Henry Moore, particularly his sheep paintings as that subject relates to my work a lot. The works of Franz Marc and Andy Warhol were vital during my colour exploration stages and could help develop my work further provided I am more selective. I like the idea of presenting my work within a gallery on a white wall so that the viewer can fully focus on the work without too many distractions.

Short artist statement for website:

I am currently focusing on exploring the ethics of keeping animals, particularly farm animals, in captivity. This topic is so normalised in day to day life through farms and even animals in the countryside which we see when driving to places. I am hoping to give a voice to animals and allow them to communicate how being in captivity makes them feel and impacts on them. Colour is an important aspect of my work to represent how humans are often hypocrites who claim to care about the welfare of animals but don’t actually do anything to better the situation. Subtlety is important to me as I want to make people see through sympathy rather than disgust or outrage from violent imagery, the innocent imagery is very important to me. The idea of humans being regarded as more important than animals has always saddened me as we are similar in so many ways and animals deserve a lot more respect than we give them. There is more to animals than becoming a food for us to consume or a form of entertainment.

Short Artist Statement for Degree Show (3rd person):

Gemma Sly is exploring the ethics of keeping animals, particularly farm animals, in captivity. This topic is normalised in day-to-day life through farms and animals in the countryside which we see when driving. She has an intention to give a voice to animals and allow them to communicate how captivity impacts them. Colour is an important aspect of her work to represent the humorous irony of people who claim to care about the welfare of animals but don’t do anything to better their situation. Animals are more than food for us to consume or a form of entertainment.

Contextual Research CPS 3302 Studio Practice 3301 Year 3

Contextual Post – Jackson Thilenius

Artist website –

Jackson Thilenius is an artist and architect who has explored a range of topics in his work including still lifes and portraits. I am mostly interested in his works involving the meat industry which show the suffering that animals go through. Although I am not exploring the meat industry specifically in my work and my work isn’t as brutal or serious, I feel that looking at the way he has depicted farm animals could influence me to try to make my work more serious to see the outcome and then if it doesn’t go to plan, at least I can say I tried.

This is a zoomed-in painting of a cow’s eye which shows cows being slaughtered in its reflection. This is quite a distressing and sad image which shows that not only are animals subjected to immense violence and brutality, they also have to witness members of their family or herd being killed before them. The title ‘next’ implies that the cow who is the main subject of the painting is going to be slaughtered next and it creates a sense of impending doom with no way for the cow to escape. This is definitely a message about the meat industry and makes the viewer feel a lot of sympathy for the cows. The details of the cow’s fur work really well and the colours are used to contrast with the silhouette of the slaughtered cows in the eye reflections.

This painting shows pigs in their individual compartments in a slaughterhouse. The main pig is making direct eye contact with the viewer which evokes a lot of sympathies as it seems as though the pig is asking for help. This is made worse with the other pig-sticking their nose through the bars as if they are trying to escape but there is no way of escaping. This could also be an idea of how small their individual compartments are. The blood on the bars adds a sense of brutality which again creates sympathy. I feel that my work resonates with this piece as I do paintings of animals looking/staring at the viewer although my work isn’t as violent or brutal as I am trying to be more subtle with my outcomes. However, I feel that it is important to see how the brutal side of the subject could look, most likely making the viewer a lot more uncomfortable than my own work. Also, this painting seems to be an idea about the meat industry and although my work may be interpreted as that, it is not a direct message about the meat industry.

This painting shows a lot of brutality and violence which is a norm in the meat industry. This painting reminds me a lot of the first painting of the cow’s eye and the reflection of other cows being slaughtered. However, this painting is a lot more graphic and shows the harsh reality of the production of meat. Although this is known by a lot of people, the actual depiction of it would make a lot of people very uncomfortable. It creates a lot of sympathy for the pig that has been killed as well as sympathy for the pig that is still alive who was a ‘witness’ to the brutal murder and is going to have the same awful fate as nothing it does will save it. The hooks and wires in the background make this painting a lot more sinister, even though that is what slaughterhouses look like (not that many people are aware of this other than from films).

Reason that I decided to research into Jackson Thilenius’s work:

I feel that the subject of Thilenius’s work links to mine effectively, although a much more violent and brutal story is told while I am trying to be more subtle in my approach. I find it interesting to see how many different parts there are go animal rights – predominantly being the meat industry and animals living conditions before slaughter. My own work is trying to create sympathy for the farm animals using emotion and the animals having a direct eye contact with the viewer – I hope that the animal itself can get the message across with their cuteness rather than doing art which is too violent or shocking. However, I feel that seeing other people’s approaches to the subject is vital in allowing me to develop my own work.

Thilenius’s work is very realistic and mine is more abstract but I like the smooth appearance of his paintings and the way that the pigs make eye contact with the viewer. A key theme in his work is a sense of impending doom with animals being aware of the violence that their herd or family have been subjected to and the sad sense that there is no escape for them. Their main purpose is meat despite that they are living animals who deserve more than that.

Contextual Research CPS 3302 Studio Practice 3301 Year 3

Contextual Post – Dana Ellyn

Artist website –

Interview with Dana Ellyn

Dana Ellyn is a vegan artist who explores a lot of controversial topics and challenges social norms from religion to not wanting kids and our relationship with animals, particularly in the contexts of which animals we decide to eat. Although I find all of her work interesting with powerful messages being presented within her art, it is the animal subject that draws me in as it is relevant to my subject and her unique ways of working could allow me to develop my work in ways that I haven’t thought of yet.

As well as subject matter, her bold choices of colour interest me as the uses of abstract colour seem to take away from the subject, maybe as a way of showing how the animals are often overlooked by society and not deemed as important, which is something I have been exploring in my own work – although not to the same extreme levels.

This is a fairly large painting of a cow and a dog staring at the viewer. Although the animals are painted in a way that makes them look distorted and disproportional, I feel that the painting is very effective and unique. Since they are painted in a similar way, Dana Ellyn is showing the viewer that there isn’t much difference between them at all. I find the fact that they are staring directly at the viewer very interesting and this is something which I have been exploring in my own work but seeing it achieved in a different way is very inspiring. The green background works well as it reminds me of a field or a park, areas in which cows live and dogs go for walks. This painting raises the question of how can we choose which animals to eat and which animals to have as pets.

Dana Ellyn has had trouble eating meat since she was a child, often feeling sick at the thought of it and having to have her meat well cooked or she would refuse to eat it. Chicken, in particular, seemed to be a big problem for her – reminding me of a phobia that some people have of eating undercooked food, chicken, in particular, being a tough food. She was unaware that being a vegetarian was an option and so only took that step during adulthood, eventually deciding to go fully vegan.

In some of her work, she places animals next to the foods that they become after slaughter, for example, a piglet near a piece of bacon, to make people think more about where their food came from. This is an interesting concept as although many people do know where meat comes from, they may have never been confronted with the animal and byproduct side by side. To Ellyn’s surprise, meat-eaters were more interested in her work than vegans/vegetarians and so she hopes that her art can encourage people to eat less meat or become completely vegetarian/vegan.

In this painting, I love the fact that some of the bare cardboard has been left in the background and the floor as this looks incomplete and careless which could be a reflection of how humans can be careless towards animals. The colours used work well together and the different textures created with brushstrokes are effective. The gaze of the piglet evokes a sad feeling, which is made worse with the bacon next to it as the piglet could be looking towards the viewer for help so that it doesn’t have the same brutal outcome. When I first looked at this painting, I didn’t realise that the words bacon and pig were added beneath but when I looked closer I realised. I believe that this was added in such small writing because it doesn’t matter, people know what they are and still engage in eating meat.

Some of Dana Ellyn’s more controversial works involving the meat subject including ‘Baby Back Ribs’ are images that people do not want to see or think about. This shows that sometimes people who consume animals are content with doing so when it is out of sight, out of mind. But they don’t like to be confronted with the brutality or a dynamic shift that evokes disgust. Due to the outrage that some of her works got in the past, Ellyn tries to get her ideas involving animals across in a more subtle way with animals gazing directly at the viewer in a cute manner to try to get viewers to sympathise with the animals.

This is the painting that was mentioned above which shows a role reversal between humans and pigs. It shows a human baby which has a lot of its back flesh missing with pigs’ portraits hung up like humans have. Though I understand why this painting can be hard to look at as it creates a lot more uproar since it is humans being tortured, it also shows how brutal humans can be. This shock factor could be enough to put a lot of people off of meat, especially since the baby has such a pained facial expression. There is a large contrast between the light wall and the red table/bloody baby and flesh tones. I believe the colours used are to emphasise violence and brutality. I find the dark border – sort of reminding me of a vignette effect works really well as it makes the viewer zone in on the image depicted.

The two paintings above demonstrate some of Dana Ellyn’s paintings in which she paints one animal on one side and one animal on the other. Though they are both painted in different styles, with ‘pitbeef’ being realistically painted and ‘pug/pig’ being painted in a more abstract style with lots of mark-making and pattern, they both show how animals are quite similar and it is unfair to worship and care for some (the pets) yet not care and slaughter the others (farm animals). These paintings remind me of the ‘staring contest’ which I wrote about at the start of this blog post, however, I feel that these paintings explore the ideas in a more interesting way which captures my attention more. The choices of animals used work very well, as Pitbulls and cows both have long faces so their faces fit together well and pugs/pigs both have quite rounded faces. I love the fact that the animals are making direct eye contact with the viewer as this evokes a sense of sympathy yet also makes the viewer uncomfortable which is essential in exploring such topics.

Dana Ellyn Youtube video
  • Full time painter based in Washington DC. 
  • In the video she is talking in her studio 
  • Best known for her paintings concerning vegetarianism/veganism and animal Most current series called ‘look me in the eyes and tell me I’m delicious’ where she paints cute animals looking at the viewer with the intention to make the viewer not want to eat the animals as they are too cute
Screenshot from Youtube video
  • Shows some of her vegetarian themed art works – pig painting inspired by the mcgreet painting that says this is not a pipe. In her work she put the text ‘this is not bacon’ in French underneath a pig painting on a bold pink background. Ellyn sees animals and just sees animals but some people see animals and see food which she is hoping to change with her art 
Screenshot from Youtube video
  • ‘To bee or not to bee’- concerning the death of bee colonies and how when bees go away we’re in big trouble as we won’t have any food
Screenshot from Youtube video
  • Inspired by tale of Goldilocks and the three bears, ‘Goldilocks and the three meals’ – pig head is too fleshy, fish head is too fishy and the plate of fruit is just right 
Screenshot from Youtube video
  • ‘you’re gonna eat that?’ Little girl licking her fingers thinking the chick is a chicken nugget and the child on the right represents Dana Ellyn’s complete horror of ‘no it’s a cute little chick, why on earth are you going to eat that’ and then the child on the left represents people who are too young to understand.
Screenshot from Youtube video of Dana Ellyn’s studio

Reason that I researched into Dana Ellyn’s art:

I decided to research into Dana Ellyn’s work as she explores animal ethics subjects which is related to my own work. Some of her work is quite extreme whilst my work approaches animal ethics in a more subtle way focusing more on emotion rather than violent imagery. Despite this, I still feel that it is important to explore how this imagery can affect an audience and see how Dana Ellyn’s experiences with feedback could make a difference. Ellyn’s work is more focused towards the meat industry since she is a vegan but she also explores how we treat the animals we eat -farm animals- so differently to the pets we have -dogs and cats- even though they are so similar. These paintings really make you consider how similar all animals are and how we as a society are so disrespectful to certain animals as we have always seen them as animals we eat rather than seeing them as having a right to live.

I also like Dana Ellyn’s uses of pattern, detail and colour as these are important factors in my own work and so I could adapt Dana Ellyn’s bold colours to see how they affect my work. Colour is such a vital element of my work to draw on the humorous aspect of people who claim to care about animals yet don’t do anything to better their living standards or make any sort of change. Dana Ellyn’s paintings have animals which make direct eye contact with the viewers similarly to my paintings which I find captivating and make you feel sad for the animals – which is an interesting concept in my opinion.

Contextual Research CPS 3302 Studio Practice 3301 Year 3

Contextual Post – The Blue Rider Group

The Blue Rider Group consisted of a range of artists located in and around Munich. It was founded in 1911 by Franz Marc and Wassily Kandinsky. The group represented part of the German Expressionist movement. The group was around from 1911 – 1914, cut short due to members of the group, Franz Marc and August Macke being called into the military for World War 1. The after-effects of the war completely shifted the art scene in Germany.

The Blue Rider Group made art to explore relationships between art, colour, music and spiritualism. The group was formed in rejection of another German group called Neue Künstlervereinigung München (Munich New Association of Artists). They were interested in presenting art that showed their emotions rather than just doing literal scenes or realistic art. Although members approached their work using different techniques or subject matters, they all expressed spirituality through their uses of colour.

Information about the different members of the group:

  • Wassily Kandinsky – He was the focal point and intellectual head of the group with his work becoming semi-abstract in 1912. After the war, he moved back to his home country Russia and was considered the inventor of abstract art over there as he introduced the idea. Although the name ‘The Blue Rider’ was believed to have derived from a 1903 painting by Kandinsky, at that time he hadn’t developed his colour symbolism theory yet and so this is rather unbelievable. Kandinsky was very important in the group as a theorist, publishing essays and an experimental theatre piece for the group, as well as his other visual offerings.

This woodcut, the cover for ‘Der Blaue Reiter Almanach’ portrays the groups’ aesthetics and ideals in an effective way. The use of the prehistoric woodcut technique shows the groups’ interest in the direct representation of Primitivism. The use of the colour blue represents spirituality and the rider symbolises mobility making this woodcut a visual manifesto of the groups’ important concepts (since the blue rider group didn’t have an actual manifesto).

  • Franz Marc – He had a preference for environmental themes in his work – with a particular fondness for animals in their natural environment. His paintings became nearly abstract at the end of his life, sadly lost due to World War 1. During his artistic endeavours, Franz Marc developed a colour theory that ran parallel to Kandinsky’s, yet the two overlapped at points with the pair doing some collaborations together. Spiritualism was something Franz Marc explored in his work throughout his life, with a key idea of his being that animals were much closer to a natural state of spirituality due to them being at one with nature, while humans were too civilised to reach the same state of spirituality – animals were purer in spirituality than humans will ever be.

“Blue is the male principle, astringent and spiritual. Yellow is the female principle, gentle, gay, and spiritual. Red is matter, brutal and heavy and always the color to be opposed and overcome by the other two.” – Franz Marc. In ‘Yellow Cow’ pictured above, Marc through his colour choices was demonstrating femininity resounding in spirituality not being able to be silenced by the opposition.

  • Gabriele Münter – She became companions with Kandinsky and they spent a lot of their time at a house in Murnau outside of Munich. This house became a common meeting point for the members of the Blue Rider group. Locals called the house the Russenhaus (House of the Russians) as a lot of the members came from Russia originally. Münter’s work often had black outlines with bright uses of colour and often have a compact perspective which creates a flat effect. The uses of simplistic shapes demonstrate her influence of folk art and children’s paintings. She never went completely abstract as she enjoyed doing figurative art that showed the reality of life.

The colours used in this painting by Münter are very delicate yet have a completely different effect when viewed against the black outlines. The black outlines and bold colours make this work similar to a colouring book page. The application of paint holds texture which with the colour selection works well. Different tones of colour in each section create dimension and make the work more realistic.

  • August Macke – He was close friends with Franz Marc and went on various trips to different places with different members of the group. He also sadly died during World War 1. Macke was critical of the blue rider group in a humorous way.

Macke often painted forms cut into sections/fragments with common angular shapes and often focused on depictions of women doing different things. In the above painting, four women are gathered in a forest with high amounts of contrast between the subjects and the background which pushes them forward and makes the viewer focus on them. The use of the shapes in Macke’s work is often linked to cubism.

  • Alexej Jawlensky – His style involves broad brush strokes and strong colours. At the end of his artistic life, he suffered from arthritis which made painting difficult for him.

The works of Alexej Von Jawlensky, including the painting above, have similarities to a colouring book due to the heavy black outlines and bold solid areas of colour to create contrast. He focused on head portraits a lot in his artistic endeavours to portray emotion, often using bright colours to show how colour can become the essence of one’s being. Expressive brushstrokes are shown throughout a lot of Jawlensky’s work. Although I know this is created using paints, the textures created do remind me of oil pastels which I find interesting.

  • Paul Klee – Until 1914, Klee mostly did watercolour paintings and graphics in his very unique style. He loved to explore form and colour, both figurative and abstract but reduced to the essential. He did small scale work, sometimes miniature. Paul Klee’s exploration of colour began with the Blue Rider group. He became inspired by Kandinsky’s writing and so started an intense study into abstraction and colour, with the two going hand in hand at times. This made him a central member of the group.

The painting above is considered one of Klee’s first fully abstract works and exchanges familiar imagery into a balanced composition of different shapes coloured in a variety of mixed hues that make the piece very eye-catching. Although this piece is rather simplistic, the colours balance yet contrast in areas which makes the viewers’ eyes travel along the painting rather than just staying in one area.

  • Alfred Kubin – His works were much different to the rest of the groups’ colourful explorations. His work is nightmarish and apocalyptic. His preferred medium was drawing ink mixed with watercolour. Out of all the members of the group, Kubin was the only one who wasn’t outlawed by the Nazis.
  • Marianne von Werefkin – She joined the group at a later stage than other members. She focused on women and the impoverished in her work, showing how differently people were treated at the beginning of the 19th century. She often depicted the women in dark coloured clothes to demonstrate the harsh reality of women in her era with a splendid landscape.

This painting demonstrates the experimentation of the blue rider group that was semi-abstract explorations of colour and forms. Werefkin often had loose brushwork and uses of random colour which showed how artists such as Vincent Van Gogh and Edvard Munch influenced her. I feel that the bright yellow highlights on her face work really well to draw the viewer in as a lot of the other colours are quite muddy and dark, so the highlights stand out and bring the painting together.

  • Albert Bloch – He was the only American member of the group who moved to Germany in 1909. Kandinsky and Marc visited his studio and convinced him to join. He developed his own unique style, often incorporating harlequins and clowns dancing and playing instruments in his work.

This painting shows Boch’s connection to the Blue Rider group which has no visible foreground or background and makes it seem like objects are floating. This is to show the combination of the physical and spiritual world. The fruits have their own auras which shows how Boch was giving life to inanimate objects. The fluid and wavy lines also link to spiritualism. Albert Boch continued this style in his work even after the Blue Rider group ceased to exist.

Information learned from the YouTube video above:

  • Many artists during the early 1900s wanted to take their art in a different direction, they didn’t want to just paint and sculpt realistic images. They wanted to express their feelings in their art and make viewers feel the same emotions when looking at their work
  • The blue rider group came together to rebel against the way art was created and created a new art standard of creating work from within rather than from external sources
  • They were a part of the art movement called German Expressionism
  • They expressed feelings and abstract ideas that paved the way for Abstract Art. They wanted to express spirituality in their work, beyond reality and life as they knew it
  • Blue represented a spiritual colour, part of the reason for the name of the group. The action of riding a horse represented the fact that they were riding beyond realism in art

In 1912, Kandinsky and Marc produced a collection of art essays with a woodcut cover created by Kandinsky. This was titled ‘Almanach Der Blaue Reiter’ and the name has only been explained with speculation, nothing was confirmed by the group. Franz Marc has always had a fascination with animals, in particular, horses which he painted a lot through his artistic career and Kandinsky had always been fascinated by riders on horseback, with one of his paintings in 1903 being titled ‘The blue rider’.

Influence of colour on the group:

Each of the members of the group had their own individual applications of colour but all used similar colours in a lot of their works, with blue being a popular colour for all of them. Colour allowed the group to be more expressive and allowed the artists to convey their spiritual feelings in their paintings. Their work was freer than other artists at the time and very eye-catching, no dull work was created.

The colour of music:

Synaesthesia – the ability to hear taste or smell colour introduced Kandinsky to the idea of using colour to represent physical senses. Each colour represented different parts of an orchestra to create a colour symphony in the painting. This was significant to Paul Klee in his progression to abstract art. Yellow – earthly colour, brighter yellow = chaotic feelings. Blue – calming and created balance with the yellows. Reds are powerful to represent drums or trumpets. Green – calmest colour to represent violins. Violet – melancholy and sad to represent horns or bagpipes. Black – represents the finale. Every placement of colour in Kandinsky’s musical pieces was intentional with some pieces taking him years to complete due to the deep considerations.

Artist and movement inspirations of the group:

  • Robert Delaunay/Orphism – influenced Franz Marc and August Macke, particularly the way colour was fractured into different fragments of colour
  • Fauvism – Gabriele Münter and Alexej Von Jawlensky
  • Music – influenced both Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee
  • Edvard Munch and Vincent Van Gogh – Marianne Von Werefkin, influenced by their use of colour to demonstrate the soul

My reasons for researching The Blue Rider Group:

I decided to research into the Blue Rider Group as colour is an important part of my project and so since each member of the group explores colour in different ways, I felt that this would be good to inform some of my colour decisions rather than just making the colour choices up as I go along. I got encouraged to research the Blue Rider Group as a whole by my tutor after they heard that I was being inspired by Franz Marc and I feel that this was a good idea as although the group all have used colours to express particular emotions, they all have very unique styles and relationships with colour which is something that has always fascinated me – two artists focusing on the same subject with the same colour palette and materials very rarely, if at all, produce the same outcomes, each person’s art is completely unique and new and this is a concept which I love about art.

Main sources:

CPS 3302 Professional Development Year 3

Online exhibition

Since I have been having some difficulties being accepted into exhibitions due to the number of applicants or my work not fitting in with other people’s themes or the themes of the exhibitions, I decided to make an online exhibition on the platform Artsteps which I discovered last year. This will allow me to get my work noticed without having to worry about my work being rejected or fees until I have the time to make art for specific themes without interrupting my university study as if I focus on personal work I will fall behind with university work which wouldn’t be a good idea – especially as it is my final year of study.

Starting a new Exhibition
My chosen layout/format

I decided to go with the modern exhibition template as it reminds me of the exhibition spaces within DMU and I thought it would be a good idea to visualise how I want my work to look for the degree show and what changes I should make to improve the outcomes.

Adding images to my exhibition

I added some images of the work I have done so far including their titles, a description, measurements and tags to get my exhibition noticed by more people on the internet/artsteps site. I hope to add more images as my project develops so that I can work out what is most successful for my degree show.

Arranging my artworks on the wall space

I started to put my work onto the wall in clusters of animal groups – one chicken, one sheep and one cow cluster. I hope to make the clusters much bigger as I progress in my project and fill the wall in more so that there is a lot to look at. As my art works are rather small you have to get close to the images to see all the details but I like this interaction between the viewer and the work as it allows them to almost have an up close and personal conversation/exchange which works so well with my intentions.

Another view of the online exhibition
Image of the cluster of sheep
Image of the cluster of cows

I am happy with this exhibition so far and am looking forward to seeing how it progresses further as I produce more work for my project. I hope to receive some good feedback on what I can do to improve and I hope the scale of the online exhibition doesn’t put anyone off.

Publishing Exhibition

Title – Confined Animals

Description – Small scale paintings exploring animals – in particular farm animals – which are confined in small enclosures and have no quality of life, trying to draw on the irony of people claiming to care about animals yet doing nothing to help them through uses of bright colour which could be considered to be taking the seriousness of the issue away, even though the issue isn’t considered serious by most people.

Categories – Contemporary art and Paintings

Audio – none

Tags – Farm Animals , Paintings, Cows, Chickens, Sheep, Acrylic, MDF, Wood, Abstract, Colour

Changing Cover of Exhibition

I made the exhibition cover an image of the work on the wall so that people can understand my intentions and what the work is about.

Finished exhibition:

Chicken cluster and sheep cluster
Zoomed in on chicken cluster
Sheep cluster
Cow Cluster
Zoomed in cow cluster
view of all the clusters

My online exhibition –

Although making an online exhibition requires a lot of time due to glitches in the software, I am still glad that I made one as it allowed me to get my work out there whilst I try to get accepted into real life exhibitions which is proving to be difficult at this moment in time – the life of an artist. The online exhibition has allowed me to overcome these challenges and I look forward to getting feedback.

Contextual Research CPS 3302 Year 3

Artist talk – Kasia Redzisz

Kasia Redzisz is a polish curator and art historian who curated two exhibitions with the non-profit Biennial Foundation.

Biennial Foundation website –

Write about quote on website ‘first of its kind initiative’ 

The organisation has artist residency opportunities and promotes young talent in Romania as well as the art history of Romania. – information about Kasia Redzisz being the first artistic director at KANAL after serving as the senior curator of the Tate Liverpool since 2015 and before that working at the Tate Modern from 2010. Therefore she has a lot of experience and expertise in the curation industry.

Information about the exhibitions:

Information about the ’4th Art Encounters’

Redzisz organised the exhibition with Mihnea Mircan (another curator) in Transylvania which is a cultural crossroads that provides a chance to see art which is unique. 

She proposed that the exhibition be split into two parts, one being an historical exhibition and the other being a contemporary exhibition. 

Information about artists in the exhibition

For the historical exhibition, she wanted the artists to focus on combining art and nature in a way of questioning how we spend time in nature together. Creating a new language in a context of a historical show where artists were going into nature to create art since they weren’t allowed to experiment within the accepted institutional artistic language. Also mentioned was that traditional ways of making isn’t always good for the earth and so sustainability was explored. 

Historical exhibition was situated in fairly contained, traditional gallery space – white cube painted green to counterpart the black and white colours of archival images featured in show. Space was split into six different parts. 

Contemporary show was just down the road, important for viewers to make parallels between the historical and the contemporary. 

The contemporary exhibition involved exploring feminism in art. Some of the works in the exhibition aren’t directly feminist, some have a community of charity based practice, very big part of how they live their lives and see themselves.

It was situated in a transport museum which had train tracks on the floor. Approximately 33 artists were involved in this exhibition, but this number includes collectives and groups. 

View of the exhibition
Detail of a sculpture in the exhibition

The contemporary exhibition still had links to nature through the materials used or imagery included in the works. Caramel used in one of the sculptures, coal in another sculpture. Recycled mount boards/walls from previous exhibition 

Full sculpture (refer to image above for detailed segment)

Sculpture with sponges, metal and caramel. Interested in natural processes, mechanisms and substances. Sculptures evolve – science fiction and post humanistic themes. Cooked sugar which leaks and is very sticky which adds a sense of the sculpture being alive which links it to nature, animate and inanimate matter. 

Another sculpture in exhibition

Sculpture piece – Czech artist grew up on farm and actively cares about the land and our relationship with the land. Interested in the mechanisms of food production and damaged ecology of food production through big companies not caring about land. Also interested in social realism, utopian moment when social realist figures are very much alive and in perfect sync with machinery. 

In background you can see Lala’s photographs. Reconnecting with the identity of the place she was born. Haystacks, changing over times, shapes of them are determined by humans and animals that eat them, nature and elements. Mark the complex and wounded territory of the balkans. Photographs are used as a frame for the exhibition to locate the show, show the artists legacy and where they situate. 

Sculpture and painting

Space lures you to go more into the exhibition, move into the exhibition. Painting – commissioned to do it in response to the biannual tactic. Living nature of nature and the pleasure that we can get from being with nature. 

Video and sculptures

Pinky fleshy curtain contains commission for biannual of a film about plants that are able to eat and digest meat. There is a region in Romania where there is a certain climate where the plants are still present – unveiled the unsettling similarities between humans and the plants digestive systems. The sculptures represent the plants and was the first time that the artist worked with glass. 

Painted canvases

The artist who made these works is interested in minimal aesthetics and relationships with technology. Painted onto canvas, inspired by imagery of Apollo 13, blue planet (earth from distance) inspired theological differences. 

View of the exhibition
Work based on the floor – zoomed in attention to detail

This work represents intersectionality, experience of being a queer black woman. Body presence with nature, colonialism. Drew upon times she felt excluded because of her roots, race and appearance. Soil, braids of hair, her body cast in woks, plants sprouting from soil. Utopian vision of nature, had to be watered so it didn’t dry out in biannual 

Paintings involving death

Soil work was shown in front of two colourful paintings – one ‘rehearsing death’, sunbathing or dying. Very religious work, painted after the premature death of her sister, showing the meeting point of life and death. Second painting called ‘roaming’ where she is looking for her sister in a landscape. Feminist angle in this work 

Image 1 of changing sculpture
Image 2 of changing sculpture
Image 3 of moving sculpture and half way point

The Sculpture piece showed in the above 3 images was borrowed for the biannual and is a series of 9 sculptures, your view of sculpture affects how you see, choreography changes the way you see it. The third image shows the meeting point in the exhibition, showing how objects in an environment can change a space.

Duo of sisters, work based around the fashion industry

Duo of sisters with a feminist approach. They do a lot in terms of animal rights and food waste. Analysing language and visual style of activism. Sleek costumes on sleek bodies associated with fashion companies and modelling. Want to see if activism can not only be radical but a socially accepted way of life and society. Selection of five videos. 

Paintings involving the Chipko movement

Four paintings a nod to historical moments, depicted the chipko movement of women embracing trees and protecting them from being cut away. Associations based on women protecting seeds and rivers. Nod towards women. 

Feminist paintings involving the sexualisation of women

Porn industry focused work and how the sexualisation of women’s bodies is out of their control. Puts women in nature to allow them to reclaim their sexual imagery.


Final installation – polish artist dealing with nature and ecology for many years. Large amount of fabric, made collectively in river that they were navigating through during a residency. The ceramics are a nod towards the artists general practice with a fascination of working with clay as a material – naturally produced too so another link to nature. 

Kasia said the exhibitions were like a local economic force in the pandemic which helped to influence young artists. 

My opinion of the talk:

Although I have no intentions of becoming a curator anytime soon, I found Kasia’s talk very interesting as it allowed me to see her thought process in initially coming up with the idea for the exhibitions, as well as the way she put the exhibition together with careful consideration into the arrangement of works and where they were situated in the context of each other. The works in the exhibition were very diverse and I liked that they all connected to nature and feminism in sometimes subtle ways as it made you think about the works more. The curation is just as important as the art works and I feel that people who curate are very talented in putting in a good show.

The links to nature in both the historical and contemporary exhibitions are very relevant to my own practice as animals are currently my main focus and so it was refreshing to see how different artists incorporate natural themes into their own works, The use of colour was very influential in some of the pieces too and 8 was fascinated to see them all as the talk progressed.