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Project Advisor 1
When I began my time at Bard College, I was already deeply interested in children’s Art. The ideas supporting my senior project reach all the way back towards the end of my Freshman year. The last few years have consisted of practicing, preparing and researching for what would become my thesis. Evocation encompasses a large body of paintings, prints and sculptures inspired in part by my own childhood artwork. After discovering a box of nearly five hundred drawings from my childhood during the summer of 2021, I have sought to infuse my interest in the expressive and symbolic tendencies of very young artists with all that I’ve learned during my formal studio education. And whereas many modern artists have attempted to find inspiration from non-western Art historical and cultural sources, I have pulled from my own childhood Art history.
My current work seeks to combine my growing knowledge of painting, drawing and Art history, with the unselfconscious rawness of my younger artistic self. Evocation is also a dialogue with Abstract and Neo-Expressionism, but intensely personal; connecting the strategies of modern art-making with my own childlike Art language. Rather than merely painting large renditions of my childhood artwork, I realized very quickly at the beginning of this year that there would need to be an intense consideration and application of the formal conditions of Modern and Postmodern art-making as they pertain to composition and space. I focused on artists whose innovations in Modern pictorial space seemed the most instructive. The early works of Willem De Kooning, the Synthetic Cubist phases of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, as well as Max Beckmann and Phillip Guston’s work have helped me greatly in this regard. Up until the beginning of this year, I was truly working in a process of drawing and collage rather than pure painting; not only did my understanding of, and approach to pictorial space change, but there has been a complete shift in the tools I implement. This year, I incorporated several different processes of paint handling, color choices and non-traditional artmaking tools. This includes the utilization of bowls of thick paint, painting with children’s mops and brooms, a new form of collage, and applying various mediums of paint itself. I hope with Evocation, I have been successful in achieving what I have cast out to do; a synthesis of the expressive language of children’s art with a broadened understanding of the methods and theoretical foundations of Modern and Postmodern painting.
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Gary, William Robert, "Evocation" (2022). Senior Projects Spring 2022. 338.
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