Wednesday, 22 October 2014

More research into Psychology

Freud Perception of Personality - The Conscious mind is our current thinking processes, the Preconscious mind pays attention to the things of which we are aware, but are not paying attention to. We can choose to pay attention to these and bring them into the conscious mind. We can control our awareness to a certain extent, by focusing on one conscious act to include as much of preconscious information as possible. Freud believed that behaviour is driven directly from the subconscious mind and recent research has shown that the subconscious mind is probably even more in charge of our actions than even Freud had realized.

Components of Personality - are an individual’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviors are the result of the interaction of the id, the superego, and the ego. The Id contains our primitive drives and operates largely according to the pleasure principle, it has no real perception of reality and seeks to satisfy its needs. It has 2 major instincts: Eros: the life instinct that motivates people to focus on pleasure-seeking tendencies. Thanatos: the death instinct that motivates people to use aggressive urges to destroy. The Ego is aware of reality and understands that behaviors have consequences. The Ego has to balance the demands of the Id and Super ego with the constraints of reality. 
Super ego contains our values and social morals, and is a counterbalance to the Id. So individuals can either appeal to the basic urges of the Id or the higher morals of the Super ego. Then encourage the Ego to make the 'right choice'.

Freud stated there are three stages within the human growth patterns, and each stage can cause different impacts,the oral stage is the first, the second is the anal stage, and the final stage is the phallic stage. A balance has to be maintained within these stages, and through the changing of stages, or negative behavior can be instilled within a person.

Jungian Psychology - Carl Jung (1875-1961) had the idea of the collective conscious, that all people have the same basic patterns of behaviour. He claimed our minds and our bodies have adapted through the centuries. Jung grouped people into two general attitude groups, the introverts and the extroverts. Introverts are concerned with themselves and extroverts are concerned with everything around them. He believed all people contain aspects of both of these groups, but one aspect is more dominant. The dominant aspect is the basis for a person's personality; the same types of attitudes will be similar when it comes to how they think and act. He believed we have several archetypes of personality, he observed that there are differing but repetitive patterns of thought and actions, he devised main archetypes, these types are all within use he had four main forms.
The Shadow, is the archetype that reflects the deeper elements of our psyche, it does not like to follow rules and because of this trait may venture into new places and into trouble. The Anima and Animus - the Anima is the female and the Animus is the male aspect. The Anima/Animus represents our true self, it is our soul, our creative source. Jung thought that men have a fundamental animus and women as anima, however they may have each other, Jung did believe that women have a more variable animus made of several parts. Jung theorised that the development of the anima/animus  as an infant projection onto their mother and then as an adult projecting onto partners until a lasting relationship can be sustained. The combination of the anima/animus represents wholeness and completion, this completeness brings power and is associated with religious combinations such as the Holy Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Ghost.                         
The Self, according to Jung is what connects and joins both the conscious and unconsciousness, 
Jung's archetypes are elements that we as individual's recognise them in the idea of an image and on a emotional level, and has a profound effect on us and implies a deep and primative origin, therefore they are signifiers of aspects that are beyond our absolute understanding.

Carl Rogers was another influential person on human personalities, and his views were based upon humanistic theories. He believed that human personalities were based on experiences that they had during their life. Rogers felt that all people were born with set behaviours and that people lived life in an effort to achieve the highest acceptance of these qualities. Once a person reached their fullest potential, then they were accepted as a fully functioning person. He felt that people were more likely to become fully functioning if they were raised in an unconditional positive environment, rather than in a conditional environment. He believed that children raised in a home were they were accepted, and praised, are more likely to live a long, healthy life as a fully functioning human.

Freud, Jung and Rogers were pioneers when it came to human personalities and what affected them. Each theorist had their own views, but they all paved the way for personality studies that are still used today. The combination of theories and ideas that these three men implemented have made human personality more understandable, and it allows people to change in order to increase there positive personalities, while allowing any negative traits to be overcome.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Marlene Dumas (b.1953)

Marlene Dumas (born 1953).

Stem (2004) by Marlene Dumas

Taken from the exhibition by Marlene Dumas 'Measuring Your Own Grave' 2008 - 2009

I was fascinated to find out that Dumas works late into the early hours and I would be like that if I didn't have to work!

To me her work is reflective of recording experience of individuals, her work is instantly recognisable as the work is usually showing a figure or a face in a close up situation, there is often a neutral ground, she shows people at there most vulnerable and these images are disturbing and yet they are very sensual and force the viewer to confront these difficult situations and the only escape is to walk away or close your eyes.

Her work uses memories intermingled with public death, she uses her daughter as a model and victims of death and torture, not only does Dumas create oil paintings she also uses ink style watercolour images.

Dumas was born in Cape Town, South Africa and grew up under apartheid, she is the youngest of three children and she grow up on a farm, as she grew up she has a clear recollection of the issues of apartheid and how she was friends with a worker on the farm and yet they could never eat together.
Any form of media was strictly regulated and when Dumas was a child she would collect images of girls, models, cartoon characters, she created a fantasy life around these girls and loved to draw these characters.
When Dumas was twelve her Father died of Liver disease and it would be interesting to think that was a defining mark that is resonate in her work. Her work is about the human condition, she is a figurative painter who finds her subject matter from newspapers and magazines.
When I look at her work I see the humanity and are familiar, her brushstrokes seem very uncomplicated and there is an intuitive development that is observed in her work that makes it emotional. Her concentration on depicting death  reminds us all that we will all die and what we will lose when that day comes.

Francis Bacon (1909 – 1992)

'The Brutality of Fact' - Interviews with Francis Bacon by David Sylvester. Thames and Hudson, London, 1987

I feel that I do work instinctively as did Francis Bacon and especially at this moment I am attempting to expand on the visceral elements of my work, and as Francis Bacon states.
"It's an attempt to bring the figurative thing up onto the nervous system more violently and more poignantly." (1987:12)

That statement resonates with me as I am attempting to rework some pieces and I could easily loss the work, and yet I feel compelled to do this, as my work is a constant exploration and to be expanded on if I can. Bacon discusses in more detail how hard it is for an artist who is absorbed in the figurative element of the work. he states that he is attempting to create a more precise image but with a twist. In the work I am creating there is mixed in with the identity of not only myself within the work but of the individual that I am concentrating on, and when I create a piece I always have a sense that I am capturing a moment in time, and I feel that the work has to be reflected of an emotion impact that the viewer gets a sense of, and Bacon comments on his work about trapping an image which is an interesting comment 

"It lives on its own, like the image one's trying to trap; it lives on its own and therefore transfers the essence of the image more poignantly. So that the artist may be able to open up or rather, should I say unlock the valves of feeling and therefore return the onlooker to life more violently." (1987:17).

Bacon was obsessed with the nervous system, he felt he painted from his and therefore wanted an aggressive reaction from the viewer; Bacon discusses his application of paint in his work. Especially when he talks about the 'accidents' and I gained confidence in my own work when reading this book as Bacon's frank commentary is a refreshing viewpoint.

"One possibly gets better at manipulating the marks that have been made by chance, which are the marks that one made quite outside reason. As one conditions oneself by time and by working to what happens, one becomes more alive to what the accident has proposed for one. And, in my case I feel that anything I've liked has been the result of an accident on which I have been able to work. Because it has given me a disorientated vision of a fact I was attempting to trap." (1987:53).

Using oil paints for me creates a sense of constant change, I can damage and destroy in one second and then by one application of another layer bring a whole new dimension to the piece, creating a new facet to the piece by one single stroke of oil paint, this could be done by a brush or a finger and possibly then use of a rag to create a particular mark. 

Jenny Saville - Figurative Artist (b.1970)

Jenny Saville - Figurative Artist (b.1970)

The painting 'The Mothers, 2011 (see Appendix 1) fascinates me as the movement of the mark making works with the painterly area's extends the physicality of the bodies within the piece, the marks make the children seem like they are squirming, so alive! Constant flow of energy like electricity slashes around them, in contrast the face of the mother reflects exhaustion and blankness, shows a reality of being a mother. In public we have an armour that we wear, reflecting that we cope we are born to do this, but we know the feelings, it is fear of failure as parents that I feel and touches me deeply. 
Tonally there is a natural depth, and the linear application creates a sense of chaos, and fluidity that extends the image out of the canvas, you to offer support to the mother, elevating the load that she is struggling to carry.

(Appendix 1)

JENNY SAVILLE - The Mothers, 2011, Oil on canvas - Accessed 23/02/2014 

Interview between Jenny Saville and Michael Stanley, Director of Modern Art, Oxford

Saville states witnessing plastic surgery made her work more expressive in the way that she had think as if she was applying skin/cover to the canvas, the skin she painted was an artifact and had to be realistic especially on such a large scale, she felt that she was exploring the myth of the feminist ideal.
Saville looks at her work as figurative not portraiture, she recognises that the work is overtly autobiographical.
When working with carcasses felt the masculine aspect of herself as part of the work, she sees the work as landscapes, and believes that she is a frustrated abstract painter, with a passion for the figurative.  
Furthermore pregnancy and childbirth really gave her the sense movement and the work became an energetic act. The reality of reproduction, life and birth, there is such power to birth, the babies looked ancient and also new, she was part of a real human history when she gave birth.
Saville goes on the explain that due to the fast growth of the children that drawing allowed her to show the human development within a short period of time, helped her to explore movement.
Then she discussed how art history has influenced her work, Saville explains that having children has given her confidence in her ability, also that using the memory of art history has allowed her to dip in as if from a large soup bowl, but not a direct reference she declares that she is not a post modernist artist, and yet she has been influenced by art of the past. 

Research into Psychology

The idea of Transference - Sigmund Freud

Transference was identified by Sigmund Freud, he noticed that his patients formed an attachment towards him, caused by something other than the patient and Doctor relationship.
Transference occurs when a person takes the perceptions and expectations of one person and projects these onto another person. We as individuals tend to become the person that others assume we are.Transference usually occurs from a childhood relationship which could be from a person that they knew or a figure that they idealised, and that power and also a sense of expectations is transferred to another individual, and this can create positive and negative outcomes.

Types of Transference

Paternal transference
We turn the other person into an idealized father-figure. Fathers can become powerful, authoritative and wise. We want that sense of control and we can develop a sense of trust and compliance. We could see leaders as distant, powerful individuals.

Maternal transference
The relationship we often develop from our mothers regarded as a source of unconditional love, seen as mythical related and there is more of an emotional and primitive response.

Sibling transference
When parents are absent in our childhood, we may substitute these with sibling relationships. This is an increasingly significant pattern as families fracture and mothers spend long hours at work and are often away from the child during the critical early years.

Other transference
We also transfer non-familial patterns onto other people. We form stereotypes, and transfer these patterns onto others. We also form idealised prototypes, and project these onto people when we need the appropriate roles. 

Friday, 7 March 2014

Reflective response

Reflective response to the research and reacting to the work I create.

When I paint I want to create work that reflects and communicates to the viewer how I view the world and individuals and how I respond to the actions of others, and in doing this I am transmitting information and the perception of what I create, I feel that I try to show the reality of how I feel is transferred into the work.
So a light overview has been given to the psychology of what possibly drives my work and obviously this will be returned to again and looked at in more depth. However I felt that I wanted to start investigating different artists and their influence on my work, especially considering their techniques and what drives them to produce the work and how that can be discussed alongside the work that has driven me to produce in these last few months.
I recognise that I place my thoughts/emotions and reactions to situations on to a canvas and then I expect a viewer to gauge that information that I have described to them in a visual context, and I do think that painting for me is a form of therapy, so the work I produce is a cathartic experience and therefore is the opinion of the viewer of no value to me? And in reflection is this work about pure selfishness and the individual's I paint have I devalued them as individuals? So when I paint these individuals and I am using them to relieve my anxiety so I project onto them I feel that I could be using them, however I do feel that I am attempting an interpretation of  their situation at some level and the work maybe more a commentary rather than a limited unyielding expression of transference. With the work I produce there are loose aspects of transference but I could also add that I also study the individuals so am also touching on the subject of anthropology, this is discipline looks at where humanities and social aspects and sciences are made to confront each aspect of cultural relations.

When I deal with people and due to my lack of confidence I tend to tip toe around these individuals as I am attempting to gauge their reaction to what I am attempting to say and I do have a need to be accepted and feel a sense of respect, and yet when I paint I am there in the moment and once the work is created there is for me a sense of the real reflecting back at me out of the canvas, as I don't have to communicate in a polite, non - conflicting tone. I can just paint the rawness and be emotive as I feel I can be.
When I use the word 'Emotive' in regards to my work I am thinking of the intention of that word, creating in an emotive way is using the emotions as internal instruments in an attempt to express the inexpressible, how I feel in a way that is not in an abstracted variation but rather a reaction to the reality of human existence.