Assignment 2, Research Point 2: notes & reflections on artists who use floral and leaf motifs

I chose a mixture of artists that I already knew from the list (and liked), and some that I had never heard of before to look into and inspire my work.

Elizabeth Blackadder – I absolutely fell in love with her work. Her awareness of composition is strong. She manages to create a sense of peace, respect and intrigue. She plays with the spaces in between with confidence. Her love for flora and fauna and the natural world is obvious. I watched an interesting video about her and the way she creates a world, and engages with her environment. The use of floral elements in her work help to create something dynamic, since they are always growing, changing and moving. They interrelate with space very well, especially leaves and stems and therefore ‘bring together’ many of her compositions.

Tord Boontje – I knew from the lightshade ‘Garland’ design that made him famous. I didn’t realise how broad his work was, and I appreciate the variety.  His textile designs are dynamic and have a sense of movement. He shows innovation and seems to be apply techniques that we wouldn’t readily think to use –  “Little Flowers Falling” for instance his stencil/cut out work for textile, creating pattern and a flow.

Jane Askey -I found had similarities with Elizabeth Blackadder’s work. However she uses bolder, stronger colour ways. Although initially her work seems to try and capture the beauty of the flowers and items that she chooses to paint, there is a sense on closer reflection that she chooses the objects, textiles and flowers with meaning. They seem to be placed with care and thought.

Her statements on her own website remark on her interest in evoking and working with memories. That she uses still life as a means of exploring many themes and capturing in essence her travels and encounters.

Matisse – Seems to be work magic, he is versatile, and his work is rich with colour, themes, layers, textile, pattern and composition, his work is prolific and there are too many examples to talk and cite here. He applies the flora/leaf theme in a number of ways: as backgrounds in portrait, figure work, interior scenes and as more formal still life studies. I find some of his composition techniques share some similarities with Askey and Blackadder. The way  he ‘flattens’ some of his paintings, by exploring the background and foregrounds, the positive and negative spaces with equal thought and attention.

Interior with Phonograph – Henri Matisse, 1924 / Spanish Still Life are two paintings I looked at a little more closely when reading and researching his work.

Marni – On a completely different tangent, Marni’s printed designs on their clothes are bold, adventurous and very playful with scale. This inspires me to have fun with paper sizes and really working more and more in extremes.


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