Tate trip inspires Perse Sixth Form artists

Amelie Bacon and Elspeth Owen (both Lower Sixth) reflect on their trip to the Tate Modern and Tate Britain galleries.



We explored an exhibit called Capturing the Moment, which looked at the arrival of photography in the art world and how it influenced the course of painting. It hoped to explore the dynamic relationship between the two media through some of the most esteemed artworks of recent times, with paintings such as Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) by David Hockney and Femme en Pleurs by Pablo Picasso, combined with visually remarkable photographs such as A Sudden Gust of Wind (After Hokusai) by Jeff Wall.

This related to our coursework as our theme currently is figuration, so Capturing the Moment allowed us to discover different ways that artists can present the human form and how photography and painting can combine. While at the exhibit, we took some time to really study the paintings in front of us and did some quick sketches of the paintings that we were most drawn to, allowing us to practise drawing the human form in quicker amounts of time.

An addition to the exhibit that I thought added an extra layer of connection between the art and the artist was the use of their own quotes on the wall, allowing the viewer to catch a glimpse of what is happening within the artist’s mind. One of my favourite quotes was from David Hockney – “A photograph is a fraction of a second, frozen. So, the moment you’ve looked at it for even four seconds, you’re looking at it far more than the camera did.” I felt that it displayed a thought-provoking perspective on photographs and made me think more deeply about the importance of the viewer’s eye.



The Happy Gas exhibition by Sarah Lucas was one I felt we had to approach from a socially analytical perspective not just one on the human form, for whilst that was the focus of her work, she used it to discuss serious topics of feminism, freedom, and the British art scene through a unique sense of humour. Some of her works featured images from real magazines in the past that were somewhat linked to our work on ‘the figure’ and they got me thinking about how I could create a section of works based on the control of the female form in society.

Some of Lucas’ works were more directly related visually to the figure such as her sculptures on chairs, which had warped representations of the human form draped and looped around furniture to highlight how we make objects to accommodate the figure. In my mind, this relates to the negative space left behind after the figure has gone. We sat and produced sketches of these works, but as we needed to get the train, I realised that I wouldn’t have time to do a more lifelike sketch so it forced me to come up with a stylised drawing approach which I really liked and wouldn’t have done otherwise!

I am grateful we get the chance to go on trips like this as they are truly invaluable to experience the art world in a more direct way as opposed to researching it online from a classroom. It also opens your eyes to concepts, media, and ideas that you may have not come across on your own, as preconceived ideas of where our projects will go can often limit the scope of the artists we research.


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