Monday, 9 September 2013

Ellen Gallagher at Tate Modern.

I visited the Ellen Gallagher exhibition at Tate Modern last weekend and thought I should blog about it as it was definitely a highlight of gallery visits this year. Gallagher is an artist I previously knew nothing about but was intrigued by a few images of her work I saw on Tate's website. Her mix of old and new textures and imagery worked really well in creating a feeling of nostalgia whilst embodying a desire to push the limitations of fine art. During my visit, I sketched down several ideas and inspirations from the work I saw as photography wasn't permitted. I then decided to create a piece in response (in the picture below) to Gallagher's work using motifs seen in the exhibition. A lot of the artist's work can be seen to question the idea of beauty through the inclusion of wigs and the suggestion that they are necessary to make women beautiful. I wanted to question this idea of beauty and so I chose an image from a magazine of the archetypal pretty model. My aim was then to distort this image through the use of unusual materials, much like Gallagher. I used plastic covered plasticine to create large eyebrows, up until recently seen as a mark of unattractiveness, and googley eye stickers to recreate the eyes. I then wanted to add some texture and so used fake grass for the lips as a way of taking the image out of it's usual, quite flat context of a magazine. I am really pleased with how the piece has turned out as I think I am beginning to develop a style in which I combine textures and unusual media with a contemporary illustrative feel. If I were to pursue this style, I would like to work bigger to allow further experimentation.

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