The past two weeks have been devoted to preparing myself for the week I was dreading: final critique week. By luck, or rather a little perseverance, I managed to get both my critiques scheduled early and during the first week. My first critique was painting, which was the critique I was most terrified for. I hung my pieces with fellow artist and peer, Darren Savery, and we took off for some much needed caffeine. When we returned, I walked into the room where there was a rather large number of classmates gathered around my artwork and there was this insect like buzz. I was taken aback, to say the least.
I was happy with the work, but I had created it for myself this time. I wasn’t expecting any positive reception of the works, in fact, I was expecting negative reviews since it was figurative work, yet again. Perhaps I’m a masochist, but I record my critiques so that I can listen to them later – especially if I get stuck in a rut. I have some comments to share from this particular critique. Keep in mind, my painting critiques are cold reads and the artist does not respond until the end.
Did anybody have their body react? I got chills.
Especially the second one, I got goosebumps.
It kind of reminds me of cosmetics, the colour palette. Pastels.
I read two of the pieces to be male.
The fourth one is, the weird part is, I’m used to seeing the pose but reverse and sexual, on movie posters. Here it’s creepy and sad.
I like the sketchy quality of the mark making, the pencil marks.
I feel like the white backgrounds, it gives it a sterile feeling. Is it effective? Is it intentional? Or is it a product of not knowing what else to put there? It could work, it has an interesting, clinical, surrounding.
The large one, it’s effective. It makes me feel like there’s a discussion on eating disorders, bulimia, anorexia, maybe they’re in an asylum.
I like the overlapping, the super imposition of the eyes. More compelling.
I feel that the paintings are crying out for love, and the cosmetic quality calls out to what people do to feel… worthy, it offsets the sadness.
The far one on the right, it’s so different from everything else you’ve shown us. There’s a glimpse of darkness and there is something haunting.
It’s nice to see this work on a larger scale. Or even larger.
These would work printed off and blown up, at any size, the image would work.
The two on the left are bigger than life size, it calls to the body as an object.
I’m a bit overwhelmed by the colour palette if I look at all of them at the same time.
I think canvas works better with the way you put paint on.
I feel like you’ve really nailed it.
I think you can convey the message without necessarily using the figure, making the message much stronger.
If you want to build up the surface more, crush up makeup, use drugstore material. Look up Karla Black.
I get this mixture of ethereal and grotesque, which I think you should embrace – without specifically using the face in some.
From my instructor:
I think one thing you should do now is actually study certain painters, look at how they render the figures and surrounding area. One thing is, composition is a problem in some of them. I agree that you’ve opened up the content in these in a surprising way, and that’s quite a bit of progress. Some of these paintings could be bigger one way or the other [Acouasm]. I don’t mind the evidence of drawing in some of them, when it’s more gestural. This is my favourite piece you’ve done all semester [Noeclexis]. This piece is too long [Candy Floss] it feels like there was no attention paid to these areas. I was thinking about Steven Shearer when I looked at these, he painted boys in long hair. He had the great masters, their references, around him, and what’s that quote? Good artist borrow, great artist steal. He would take pieces of the paintings and meticulously compose them in layers of glazes. I think that now that your subject matter is open, and the washy thing you’re doing is working, you could explore this more – you seem really into it. You could make it feel even more than the figure is coming out from these layers, emerging from these layers. I think you could do more layers, glaze over the whole thing, paint it back in. I think it’s good to focus more on the technical side of the process now, with composition and the facial structure – because it’s really beautifully painted, and those issues wreck the illusion.
Overall, the critique went very well. I’m more excited about painting and I like that my ideas are being embraced – plus I have constructive criticism to make my paintings that much stronger. The studio portion of my semester has ended on a high note – now I just have to make it through the more gruelling academic part.