The work of Jeff Wall, Hannah Starkey, Tom Hunter and Taryn Simon is used in my OCA manual to help illustate the use of art, literature and real-life in tableau or constructed settings. I am going to research each further as I think they will help me to pick an idea for my assignment.
Jeff Wall, born 1946. Canadian photographer well known for his recreation of history and his staged reality photography. His imagery often combines different concepts within the same frame, encouraging viewers to form their own ideas of what is fabricated and what is real.
It was suggested that we look at this image:
Every single aspect of this image his been placed there purposefully and the picture is Wall’s response and interpretation (and presumably the image conjured by his imagination) in response to the words he was reading/hearing in Ralph Ellison’s novel. As suggested in the OCA course notes, the clutter and chaos in the image are representative of the subject’s state of mind. The image itself is kind of bland, the colours’ dull and the individual props and location very mundane – yet the combining of all elements in the frame, the lighting and depth of field used transform the picture in to something that tells a story, one that for me instills a deep sense of unease.
Another image by Jeff Wall that I am inspired by in relation to this part of the course and heading towards Assignment 5 is the following:
The image above is displayed in a light box in the Tate Modern and is based on a woodcut by painter Hokusai. According the description on Tate’s website the image was shot on multiple occasions using the same actors and the same location on days which had similar weather conditions and then certain elements from these individual images were combined digitally to create the desired effect. So unlike the image above (‘The Invisible Man’) in which every lightbulb was hung physically in the room, ‘A Sudden Gust of Wind’ was put together digitally using many photos. Obviously each individual image was not ‘real’ in the first place as it was a picked location and the actors were of course acting rather than spontaneous passers-by but this image has more of digital influence to bring it in to the land of fantasy than the other.
Hannah Starkey, born 1971 in Belfast. Now lives and works in London, UK. Starkey uses composed scenes within chosen areas to snap what would appear to be candid images of everyday women but is in fact actors in staged positions. The following passage of Hannah Starkey’s Biography page on Sataachi Gallery’s website sums her work up perfectly:
‘Her still images operate as discomforting ‘pauses’; where the banality of existence is freeze-framed in crisis point, creating reflective instances of inner contemplation, isolation, and conflicting emotion.’
Starkey’s images look like scenes from dramatic films, featuring a strong female role. The scenes and backdrops surrounding the subjects look real, yet slightly detached from reality, bordering on the surreal with subtly dreamlike qualities – very similar to what can become the norm in the movies.
The above image is one of my favourite’s because there is so much in the frame for the eye to work out and to admire. It is not easy to view the main subject, a lady with an arm full of coloured bangles and a very intense expression, as the screen busies the mindwith its full spectrum of colour and its shiny and edgy qualities. I still can’t make out exactly what the ‘bars’ are created by – a hanging beaded partition? -a glass window with little cut patterns that refract the light, – silver foil strips? Whatever it is the screen is incredibly pleasing to view, it is complicated and beautiful and intriguing and wholst flitting around the frame to view it in its entirety the viewer’s eye inevitably catches the gaze of the woman within. Also, to the right of the frame is the reflection of the city behind the viewer which makes the scene even more interesting and 3D and brings the whole image to life. The whole composition looks like a candid street photo taken by a passing photographer in the moment but in reality it was, at least in some parts, composed. The image definitely looks like it could have leaped straight from a movie screen and I am very awed by it’s level of engagement with the viewer.
In the OCA course notes it was suggested that I look at Hannah Starkey’s work becuase of the influence of literature in her imagery. One such image is featured in the course notes called Self-Portrait 2 by Hannah Starkey but I cannot find any reference to it on the internet except for a press release by the gallery Maureen Paley which talks of Starkey’s influences. The image in question (as seen in the OCA course notes) was based on Lord Tennyson’s 1832 poem The Lady of Shalott:
The Lady of Shalott (1842)
‘Hunter’s work straddles the factual and the fictional and this gives the stories an emotional depth as well as an aesthetic strength.’pg 113 of OCA course notes
http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/wall-a-sudden-gust-of-wind-after-hokusai-t06951 (accessed on 12/12/2017)
http://rogallery.com/Wall_Jeff/wall-bio.html (accessed on 12/12/2017)
http://www.theartstory.org/artist-wall-jeff.htm (accessed on 12/12/2017)
http://www.saatchigallery.com/artists/artpages/hannah_starkey_september_2008.htm (accessed on 14/12/2017)
http://www.saatchigallery.com/artists/hannah_starkey.htm (accessed on 14/12/2017)
http://www.artnet.com/artists/hannah-starkey/ (accessed on 14/12/2017)
https://www.maureenpaley.com/exhibitions/hannah-starkey-1/press-release (accessed on 14/12/2017)
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45360/the-lady-of-shalott-1842 (accessed on 14/12/2017)
http://www.tomhunter.org/info/ (accessed on 16/12/2017)
http://www.tomhunter.org/living-in-hell-and-other-stories/ (accessed on 16/12/2017)
https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2005/dec/03/photography (accessed on 16/12/2017)
http://whitecube.com/exhibitions/tom_hunter_life_and_death_in_hackney_duke_street_2000/ (accessed on 16/12/2017)
https://www.ted.com/talks/taryn_simon_photographs_secret_sites#t-1029529 (accessed on 17/12/2017)
http://tarynsimon.com/works/innocents/#1 (accessed on 17/12/2017)
http://tarynsimon.com/biography/ (accessed on 17/12/2017)