Ikon Gallery, Birmingham Visit
Last week I decided to visit the IKON Gallery in Birmingham centre for some inspiration. I looked at the work of two artists; John Flaxman and Timur Novikov, which I thought were worthy of writing something about.
John Flaxman was a British sculptor born in 1755 who was known internationally for his illustrations and sculptures. I became interested in his artwork because of his use of line. He drew everyday subjects in ordinary situations. He used just a few lines to define their shapes and was capable of capturing figure and movement in just a few pencil flourishes. One of the thinks I really liked was his drapery and depiction of fabric, the contrast between flowing lines and the angular architecture of buildings that surrounded his figures, and the way he was able to make them sit so compositionally well against each other. The illustrations themselves went beyond the drawing and into the physical, three-dimensional sculpture. Each line became a flowing shape within the sculpture.
John Flaxman began his career as a designer for Josiah Wedgwood, who was famous for his pottery. Flaxman had an interest in the classical and conventional values within art. He travelled to Rome for seven years of his life, where he produced many drawings and illustrations, which were then engraved. His drawing style of using simple lines to define shapes developed over these years.
Timur Novikov (1958 - 2002) was a Russian artist born in Leningrad whose work mostly consisted of textiles pieces. His colourful, in ways childlike artwork seem to have a personal meaning to the artist which is difficult to discern. Each piece is recognisably his creation, and they are extremely tactile pieces, with layered and appliqued fabric. This became more prominent as the artist became blind towards the end of his life.
His artwork is bright and iconic and the way he uses the textures and patterns within the fabric creates something quite playful and humorous. He became ill in later life and lost his sight.
I have also included some examples of his work as a blind artist. I think it is quite interesting how he was capable of recreating images and objects in chinese ink despite his blindness, and that the physical and tactile process of making the artwork was in ways more important than the end result.
His work made me think about the possibilities of using more than two dimensions in my artwork, and also about the physical process of creating, rather than the final piece of art.