Jonny Small gave AAL students a great Artists Talk in one of our studios recently. Jonny is a an abstract painter, who developed his practice at BA and MFA at Wimbledon school of art. He discussed the way that he works with obscurity and ambiguity to create images which are not directly decipherable to the viewer.
He told students that at the start of his studies at university he was most interested in portraiture. But he was gradually influenced by his BA tutors, the majority of whom where non-figurative artists. As a result, he his compositions became more ambiguous, and began to slip from distinction. His influences (which can be seen in his approach to painting) include Paul Nash, Futurism, the Horro Vacqui art movement and Vapourwave music!
“My paintings are close to looking like figurative images, but have just fallen out of recognised territory.”
The Artist noted the difficulties of working outside of the support of an institution. Since university, he noted that it is often more convenient to make miniature paintings. Though, smaller canvases aren’t ideal for his practise, as they don’t give the space for a lot of detail.
Since university, and having a break from London, Jonny has found himself returning to portraiture, which might be interesting for Contemporary Portraiture FD students to hear! It was very interesting to hear about the development of the artist’s practise, thank you Jonny.
Two of our 2019 graduates, Heidi Sundvik and Jeremie Queyras, won the month-long Leo Gallery residency. The prize, which included flights, accommodation and art materials, was generously provided by Leo Gallery. Read all about it!
An unforgettable experience in Shanghai
We spent one month in a suburb of Shanghai called ZhuJiaJiao, an ancient Chinese town. Our accommodation and studio were a 90-minute train ride from the heart of Shanghai city centre. We spent most of the first week exploring Shanghai and the old town of ZhuJiaJiao, sometimes in company of Leo Gallery staff who were always available to help.
Our aim was to get immersed in the local history and culture and incorporate our observations in our works of art. The Gallery provided us with any required art materials as well as flights, accommodation and the huge studio. One of the locals was assigned to help us and provided indispensable help with tasks which required technical assistance.
This experience has been extremely enriching professionally as well as on a human level and has pushed our practice to new limits. Although the gallery did not have any expectations and left it up to us what we wanted to do during our time in Shanghai, having those means at our disposal motivated us to go beyond anything we had produced before. During the last weeks in particular, we produced more work than we had thought possible in such a short time. It was a wonderful challenge and opportunity, set in the most interesting circumstances.
During the last week of the residency, the gallery documented all our work and produced promotional videos as well as photographs and a poster. Leo Gallery organised a private view and invited clients and local artists, another occasion to socialise and network. The works created during our residency will continue to be on display for a month and the gallery will be promoting our works for sale.
An unforgettable experience, this residency exceeded all our expectations. We would like to thank Art Academy London and Leo Gallery for providing this opportunity.
Congratulations to our BA students Laura Melissa Williams and Zora Owens, and Fine Art Diploma graduates Heidi Sundvik, Idris Woodroffe and Seema Manchanda on being shortlisted for this year’s Liberty Specialty Markets Art Prize! We were very proud that five of the eight shortlisted artists were Academy students and alumni; their works will be on display at LSM’s London office in Fenchurch Street for one week and they’ll have access to a development programme that includes training sessions, mentoring and workshops.
We had an artist talk from Caleb Madden in our studios last week. Caleb is a sound and installation artist who is greatly influenced by philosophical theories, including Capitalist Realism and Hyperstition. Noise is a central concept to his work, looking at the way noise plays a part in human experience and culture. He completed his BA, MFA and is currently working on a PhD at Brighton University, all centred on the study of sound.
He started being an artist at the age of 18, initially being influenced by rave culture and the ‘Sensation:Young British Artist’ exhibition at Saatchi Gallery. Caleb was interested in the idea of human perception, and the way that culture can have an effect on it.
How does the noise of culture work to modulate and affect the fixed structures that we live with.
He talked about his interest in the concept of noise as a “productive and generative force.” Caleb explained how he had been moved and awakened by noise when visiting a functioning turbine in Southampton. Caleb also discussed the theory that is fed into his current work called Hyperstition: the notion of inventing a future which will effect the mindset of the present.
Thanks to Caleb for the talk, was very interesting to hear about the use of sound in art!
Rebecca Fontaine-Wolf gave AAL students an Artists Talk in one of our studios today. Rebecca is a London-based artist who studied her BA at the University for the Creative arts and MFA at Wimbledon College of Arts. The main themes of her work are “female identity, mortality and desire,” studying the female body and the taboos that are associated with it.
First of all, she talked to students about how she approaches the canvas. Recalling something one of her BA tutors said to her, “never approach a painting with a fixed idea of what you want it to be like, because that will never happen.” Rebecca told students that she doesn’t weigh herself down with a strict plan for her paintings, which usually allows her to let ideas grow organically. She showed students the progression of ‘Daughters of Medusa,’ which at one stage involved her partially whiting out the first painting, then painting something new over the top. The result was fantastic, with the layers creating a story on the canvas.
The artist then went into more depth on the themes of her work. Once Rebecca had done her MFA, her artistic focus became clear. She realised that because the female perspective was so central to her life, it was the most natural thing for her to explore. Her representations of the female body are expressions of the female experience, in menstruation, physical insecurity, womanhood and so much more. Rebecca said that she “only paints real women,” meaning, she paints women that are real to her, women she knows. By working mainly from photos, Rebecca is able to immerse herself in painting independently in her studio.
Rebecca is now Vice Principal of the Society of Women Artists, through which she curates exhibitions. It was very interesting to hear about the Artist’s journey, and the way she celebrates her gender through her work.
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