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Creativity Art Blog

Art & Crafting Hints, Tips & Discussion

  • Artist's Profile: Amanda Adam

    Artists Profile with painter Amanda Adam

    Amanda Adam is a Scottish painter, printmaker and draughtswoman. Born in Dunfermline, she now resides in Crossford, Fife and is currently undertaking her Masters in Fine Art and Humanities at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD) in Dundee. The artist studied drawing, painting and printmaking at the Leith School of Art in Edinburgh, before going on to complete her BA Degree at DJCAD. Here, we ask Amanda about her processes as an artist, her inspirations and thoughts on the role of art in society.

    AmandaInstal

     

    What kind of art do you produce and how/ when did you start to get involved in making work?

    I am predominantly a painter. My practice is based on landscape, our responses to place and how we function spatially within it. Recently my work has started to come off the wall, taking a more sculptural form. When I started painting at the Leith School of Art, I felt if I could specialise in painting I could expand into any other medium.  However, I always come back to painting as it is my passion, the area in which I lose myself.

    What was the first work of art you remember seeing?

    I don’t remember the first work of art I ever saw but I cried the first time I saw a small Van Gogh paining, a portrait of Alexander Reid in The Kelvingrove art Gallery and Museum, in Glasgow. The sitter was an art dealer who built up a collection of French 19th Century paintings which now reside in Glasgow Art Gallery. Van Gogh and Reid shared lodgings in Paris at the time when the portrait was painted 1887. I just felt really humbled and in awe.Van Gogh

    What medium do you normally work in, and why?

    I work with canvas using a traditional oil paint/ linseed oil/ dammar varnish mix. However I have recently started working in gouache as well. Oil paint does what I need it to do, running, spreading, dripping. I can layer, scratch and cut into it easily.

    Is there any kind of medium/ art techniques that you would like to explore in your future work?

    Moving forward I would like to work with stone and ceramics, but in the more immediate future probably photography, film and sound.

    What subject matters are you normally drawn towards?

    While humans are absent from my landscape-based work, a presence of the viewer suggests itself, making it understood that the terrain is not ‘empty’, but rather filled with the same elements that sustain all life. The chaotic myriad of colours is derived from intangible feelings to which I subconsciously respond; it is that ‘spirit’ of place contrasted with the punctuated presence of line. Lines provide structure to our lives; within the work it is the contours of the land contrasted with man made objects, which offers stability and dynamism. The paintings become installations and sculptures on the very land that I paint, creating their own sets of lines and movements.

    Amanda

     

    If from a traditional art background (i.e. higher education in art) how do you think the institutions you were associated with have formed/ informed your practice? 

    There are advantages and disadvantages to higher education within art.  If you are unsure about your work you can very easily be pushed or swayed into making work which you are uncomfortable with or which you don’t feel is your own natural response. You can feel confined and if you spend too many years in ‘the system’ you can also get too comfortable. The advantages are that you have so many opportunities to practice so many areas of material exploration, through workshops, tutorials and artist’s talks all at your finger tips. Plus a formal art education can open other doors for you in the way of scholarships and awards etc. if that’s what interests you. It has definitely helped me to hone my ideas, allowing me to recognise the subject matter which drives my practice.

    Who are your inspirations in the art world?

    Those who work with sincerity, intensity and passion, no matter what their subject matter or medium; artists whose work comes from the heart.

    Where do you get your inspiration from?

    I am influenced by everything around me, every journey I make in a car, a bus, a train, as the land races past me - I find that very exciting. Walking in the landscape, just being, sitting, feeling, being at one within it.  I like to go to remote places. Residencies are great as they allow you the time in one place to really ‘feel’ your surroundings. The Bothy Project in Scotland and the Clipperton Project are two residencies which I have taken up recently, but there are so many available.

    What kind of studio/ gallery space do you work in?

    My MFA studio is a small office space where I make water based works and more experimental pieces. It’s really a place where I do a lot of small work, make applications, etc. My home-based studio is the top floor of a golf Club, based in a small castle-type building. The scenery, the golf course is beautiful and serene. From the windows I look from Fife right over to the Lothians. But actually my studio is really out on the land where I make site-specific work.

     

    Amanda1

     

    What advice would you give to people who want to get involved in art? 

    Trust your instinct, collect, experiment, ignore your anxieties and be prepared to feel all emotions at the same time whilst making work.

     

    What do you think is the importance of art in society?

    Art has been part of man since the dawn of time.  It allows us to dream dreams and our souls to dance. Art is life-enhancing, entertaining and defines our personal and national identities, and is the ultimate freedom in expression.

  • Artist's Profile: Nicola Blakemore

    This month’s Artist Profile is Nicola Blakemore

    Originally trained as a graphic artist, Nicola has had a varied career working in public relations, the media and the travel industry. She returned to her artistic roots, becoming involved in interior design, specialised painting techniques and mural work both at home in the UK and internationally. Now living in the Languedoc region of Southern France, Nicola’s work has featured in Country Living magazine, BBC Radio 4 and Central TV. We’re going to hear from Nicola about how she works in the following interview.

    Nicola

    What kind of art do you produce and how/ when did you start to get involved with this?

     Personally I love painting still lifes, but I also paint commissions, and have produced portraits, people, pets and houses. I create murals and also teach at college level, with students with special needs and with private groups on painting holidays.

    What medium do you normally work in, and why?

    I work in all media but I’m exploring more with the potential of watercolour, which is what I’m teaching at the moment.

    Art education background (if any):

    A-level art at school.

    Gallery/ Professional Affiliations (if any):

    I have exhibited in both the UK and France.

    Is there any kind of medium/ art techniques that you would like to explore in your future work?

    I want to get back into oils. I’m also going to use the new Cobra range, which are water-based oil paints. My friend Libby Page loves them.

    What subject matters are you normally drawn towards?

    I’m a big fan of colour, so anything colourful which can evoke a mood or a feeling.

    Nicola3

     

    If affiliated to Gallery/ art collective/ art club, how did you get involved with this?

    I am not affiliated to any galleries or collectives at the moment.

    If from other type of background (i.e. no formal art education) what were the reasons for not pursuing this route and how do you feel this has influenced your art?

    I am a self taught artist.

    Who are your inspirations in the art world?

    I love the vivid colours used by Shirley Trevena and many of the great masters and the Dutch still life painters.

    Where do you get your inspiration from?

    Anywhere and everywhere!

    What kind of studio/ gallery space do you work in?

    A spare room.

    What advice would you give to people who want to get involved in art?

    Just do it. Give yourself permission to ‘play’ and don’t have too high expectations. You can find a friendly group or even learn via the internet, which is where I do some teaching. There is a saying that you should ‘know what you are good at and stick to it.’ I say, ‘discover what you might be even better at and go for it.’

    Nicola2

  • Did you miss the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design Degree Show 2016?

    Some highlights of the DJCAD Art, Architecture and Design Degree Show this year

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    When Degree Show time of year rolls around, a peculiar mix of emotions seem to linger within the walls of University art buildings. The sense of release is almost palpable; an enormous bubble of built-up tension and stress over the last few months having finally burst, leaving the products of true inspiration, hard graft, creative problem-solving and sheer drudgery spread throughout the exhibition. The pieces which really stood out tended to show an ability to skilfully address the universal through the specific, an innate, sensitive and personal relationship with their chosen material, and a skilled, crafted aspect to the resolution of their work. The following works are ones that continue to resonate long after their initially compelling visual impact.

    Excellent drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture and installation works

    Summertonsmall Jasmine Summerton

    Some of the highlights in Fine Art were Jasmine Summerton’s multi-disciplined work, focusing on simply being in the Cairngorms National Park. "Enter, observe, notice, perceive, behold" is her self-styled motto for her project. A collection of prints, a hand-made compass and observatory, and artist’s books collectively indicate a deep, slow methodology. The observatory, made in silver, lightfast and reversible material stands quiet in the room, majestic and mute yet looking like a curious intergalactic vessel. Intimate photographic prints on aluminium afford us small, obscured glimpses into the mystery of the natural wilderness, whilst a series of nine lithographic prints feature the observatory in nine different places across the National Park. Meditative and thoughtful, Summerton’s work speaks of the magnificent and sublime aspects of a dramatic, evolving landscape to which we are humbled to bear witness: the stark isolation of the observatory amidst dramatic scenery highlights our alien-ness, our desire to belong but also not belonging, and also the ambivalence of the human presence in the landscape.

    Donaldson Gavin Donaldson

    In the gallery space below, Gavin Donaldson’s four large canvases command considerable attention and contemplation, bringing painting back into the spotlight once again. The artist’s bold compositional decisions and muted palette is reminiscent of Nathan Ford’s portraits; they measure over 1.75m wide by 2m high. Two particularly successful close-up paintings manage to strike a perfect tension between two and three dimensions, whilst keeping within the integrity of their canvases' four corners. Donaldson has loosened, pulled and puckered his canvas, manipulating these folds so as to integrate with the contours and planes of the pictured face. As one moves in front of the paintings, a crease across the cheek bone, a protruding lip, a receding eye all virtually fragment and distort these intense portraits. Donaldson's clear technical ability, combined with a loose handling of paint and subtly refined use of mixed media all point to a clear finesse with his materials. The crumpled quality of the paintings evokes encountering a lost, creased image on a street; their stillness resonates as the images slowly take shape before you.

    Bititci Melissa Bititchi

    Another highly notable mention are the sculptures by Melissa Bititci. The artist’s concentric splices of wood, suspended from the ceiling and splattered in a frenzy of colours made from melted children’s crayons are a sensual delight to behold. The shapesvoke East Asian temple adornments and the sparsity of their curation, with each being presented in a totally different way, works well. Also in the same room, don't miss Alexander Allan’s comprehensive, performative and political works and Laura Brown’s photography; both are of interest and show great potential.

    Innovative and expertly crafted textiles, jewellery and more

    AbbieNeave_work_web Abbie Neave

    Both Textile and Metal and Jewellery Design departments boast incredible collections of highly sophisticated, exotic and innovative works. Morag Taylor weaves beautiful tones of orange and blue into her fabrics, creating garments and a textile-based sculpture, and Abbie Neave’s brightly-coloured, jazzy textiles are a visual treat. On the floor below, Hayley Brook pushes the potential of aluminium, silicone and laser-cutting to another level through her explorations of the Scottish landscape; whilst April Black crafts exquisite wooden, hand-carved bowls incorporating tiny specks of silver and copper.

    Overall, the whole exhibition shows a general curatorial strength that includes well-devised thematic links between works, for example transitions between pieces linking the city, nature and the body as a performative arena. Sadly, there are far too many works to be able to comment upon here, including fantastic work in the Animation, Graphic Design and Architecture departments. What is most important is the time and attitude you bring in getting to know and understand the purposes, ideas, materials and complexities of the works in front of you when you enter DJCAD. The works on display have been well thought-out and passionately handled, and it is a privilege to able to engage with them.

    The DJCAD Degree Show is on from the 20th May till the 29th May, at the University of Dundee on Perth Road.

     

  • The Mesmerizing Installations of Katharina Grosse

    Grosse

    Where art seeps into life

    Katharina Grosse is a German artist and writer, born in Freiburg in 1961 and lives and works in Berlin. The artist uses acrylic spray paint fired through industrial spray guns to create immersive, colour experiences. Creating her works on an enormous scale, the works make the viewer aware of their own size in comparison. Grosses’s rainbow-like installations appear to be simultaneously concerned with the nature of observation and the fact of simply being in the space. The artist paints across whole stretches of chosen sites or gallery walls, swallowing up architectural details, or objects that she incorporates into the painting. We realise that the boundaries between where the ‘painting’ begins and where the gallery space or building ends begins to blur, encouraging us to view the whole space as an artistic experience.

    Grosse 2

    Joyful, bold colour

    As she paints, layers of paint build upon one another, creating a patchwork of colours that connect and respond with each other. Textures of rock, sand, bookshelves and even beds appear otherworldly after she has passed her paint over them, and contrast with dripping or cloudy spray gun marks that cover the flat walls. Due to the use of spray paint, her works have a graffiti-like style that evokes a certain tag or signature quality to the works. Through this manner of working, we also feel that these paintings are done quickly and decisively, almost like a performance yet with no audience bearing witness to it.

    Katharina Grosse’s work strikes me as truly joyful. She incorporates a whole range of materials into her work, and challenges us to rethink the nature of a painting, and how we might frame such a concept. Her brilliant, saturated hues spreading across enormous spaces appear to me as a celebration of colour, illustrating that the medium of paint seems more alive than ever today.

  • Artists Profile: Angel Perdomo

    This month's artist's profile is with Angel Perdomo

    Originally from the Canary Islands of Spain but currently living and working in Poland.  A mainly self-taught artist, Angel produces beautiful, if sometimes disturbing portraiture and figurative work which explores states of mind and being.  We asked him to talk a bit about himself and his background.

    angel1

    When did you first get involved with art?

    Ever since I can remember I have always drawn and painted.  These activities were always something natural and necessary for me from a young age.  At the same time I have grown as a person and this is reflected in my growth as an artist.

    How would you describe your work?

    I would define it as figurative poetic art, combining experimental concepts with a strong fantastic character through which I create images with open meanings.

    Is there any kind of medium/ art techniques that you would like to explore in your future work? 

    In my painting I usually use a mixed technique on wood. I begin by laying down a layer of acrylic to obtain different textures and at the same time begin to block in something of the basic colour scheme.  Next, on top of this acrylic base, I carry out the more complex work with oil paint.

    In my drawing work I used mixed media on paper.  I use many different techniques, depending on the result I am trying to achieve.

    If affiliated to Gallery/ art collective/ art club, how did you get involved with this?

     I currently don’t have a fixed affiliation with any of these type of spaces.  At the moment I am looking to establish just this type of connection on a permanent basis, either in the Poland where I am currently resident or abroad.

    If from traditional art background (i.e. higher education in art) how do you think the institutions you were associated with have formed/ informed your practice?

     The closest thing to a formal art education which I have undertaken was my time at the Escuela de Arte Feranado Estevez de Tenerife, where I took my certificate in art, and la Escuela de Artes y Oficios de Granada where I took the Ciclo Superior in Illustration.  Despite this I consider that my true artistic formation in self-taught.

     If from other type of background (i.e. no formal art education) what were the reasons for not pursuing this route and how do you feel this has influenced your art?

     My art education has been mainly self- taught. I have learnt techniques and artistic language through practice and experimentation.  I believe that personal, individual practice is essential for the development of an independent artistic personality even if and when this is accompanied by traditional academic training.

     angel2

    Who are your inspirations in the art world?

     I am inspired by all artists who use the human form, but who are not realists, but who instead work in reinterpretation.  Above all I am inspired by those artists who are independent and work outside of established fashions and movements.  For example Francisco de Goya, Edvard Munch, Oskar Kokoschka or Francis Bacon.

    Where do you get your inspiration from?

     The inspiration behind my work comes from different emotional states, unconscious thoughts and anthropology.

     What kind of studio/ gallery space do you work in?

     I work in a space which is both my home and my studio.

    What advice would you give to people who want to get involved in art?

     I would advise them to be deeply passionate about what they do, to the point of being capable and willing to make all the sacrifices which an artistic life involves.  I would also advise that they develop a critical stance in relation to their own work, in order to be able to continually improve.

    What do you think is the importance of art to society?

     I believe that art and culture in general are two of the defining characteristics of the human race.  As a consequence, to deny the importance of art is to deny our own humanity.  For this reason, art should be far more present and visible in society than it currently is.

    Culture should be something which we prize, because culture helps in the development and growth of all people, which in its turn helps to improve society in general.

    angel3

    If you would like to see more of Angel's work or contact the artist you can follow him on facebook  on his website angelperdomo.com or contact him directly through his email, perdomo_art@hotmail.com.

  • Chinese Brush Painting

    New Products and Techniques

    We have some beautiful new Chinese brush painting sets now available to buy in store or online.  They would make great presents for someone looking for a new hobby, and we’ve put together a brief guide to Chinese brush painting, in case you needed some more information.

    chineseBrushSet71L

    An Ancient Chinese Painting Technique

    The technique of Chinese brush painting has existed since about 4000 B.C.  Traditionally the style involves everything from Buddhist religious paintings to landscape and figure painting. There are various different styles involved in the traditional technique such as “blue and green landscapes” which use bright blue, green and red pigments and “ink-and-wash landscapes” which use vivid brushstrokes and different concentration of ink to create images.  Particularly well known are the flower and bird paintings which broke off from more general decorative styles to form their own genre.  The subject matter of this style usually involves flowers (such as plum and cherry blossoms, orchids, bamboo), koi fish or trees (cypress and pines).

    download (4)

    Materials and Methods Of Chinese Ink Painting

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    The distinctive Chinese painting style is closely linked to the particularity of the materials used.  Most importantly is the Chinese Brush.  This is similar to a western watercolour brush but it thins to a much finer tip which allows for a wide variation of line.

     

    The specific method of brushstrokes is particularly important to creating the style.  It is hard to explain in words how this works, especially as it is so centred on movement.  Here are two links to videos which show the vital energy of the Chinese brushstroke technique.  You can find a wealth of other videos on youtube which will help you to understand the various techniques.

     

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8m4yJ9FrAsM

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qF3EbR8y8go

    images (1)How do I use the Chinese Ink?

    The ink used for Chinese painting is usually ground down from an ink cake or stone (you can use other inks but the powdered nature of the Chinese inks mean that you can create different densities of ink which you cannot get in quite the same way with a liquid ink.)  Chinese painting is generally done on Chinese Paper or Silk.  Chinese Paper has been made with different materials throughout history including pulp, old fishing nets and tree bark.  Modern paper is usually machine made and is sometimes called rice paper in English.  The paper is similar to watercolour paper in that it varies in weight, absorbency and surface texture.

    download (6)

    If you fancy giving Chinese Brush Painting a try, why not check out our related products.

     

  • Things We Love That We Think You’ll Love Too

    A Few of Our Favourite Things 

    The world is full of amazing, talented people creating beautiful things.  One of the great things about modern communications is that you can discover new art and artists all the time, even when they are on the other side of the world.  Here’s our pick of people this month who we think you’ll love and should know about.

    Pixie Cold

     

    Pixie Cold (Svenja) is a Berlin born artist who has been creating an internet fan base since 2009 and a full time professional artists since 2012.  She uses watercolour, acrylics and collages to create her vibrant and energetic work.  Her focus on eyes is a particular feature.  In her own words, she says “the very least thing she intends is to be a conventional artist anymore.”

    pixie

    You can check out Pixie Cold’s work on her website (http://pixiecold.org), her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pixiecoldss/timeline)  or her Youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/PeeGeeArts) .  She also provides tips and product reviews on her Youtube channel which are worth a look if you fancy trying out some of her techniques in your own work.

     

    Paul Lewin

     

    Lewin is a Jamaican born artist who has spent his life in Miami and Oakland where he currently resides.  Although Lewin says he has always been interested in art and worked on creative projects, he decided not to pursue art college as he found the prescriptive nature of school art projects limiting and unstimulating.  Lewin eventually moved into acrylics which is what most of his work is done in today.  He had his first show in 1998 in Miami.  He is inspired by Jamaican mythology, sci-fi and fantasy art and ancient artifacts.

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    You can check out Paul Lewin’s work on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/paullewinart/) or his website (http://www.paullewinart.com).

    Johanna Basford

     

    Johanna Basford is a Scottish born artist who graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in 2005.  She has become extremely well known recently for her beautiful adult colouring books, although she creates a variety of work.  You can check her out on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/johanna.basford/timeline) or on her website (http://www.johannabasford.com) .

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    We love discovering new artist and new art.  Do you have anyone you would like to bring to our attention?  Comment here or on our Facebook page and help the art you love reach more people around the world.

     

     

    ~Fiona MacHugh

  • Easy and Fun Printmaking Techniques!

    Have you ever wanted to try out quick, simple ways of printmaking at home?

    Did the thought of needing specialist equipment or using solvent-based materials around the house put you off? Now you can explore high quality printmaking techniques at home with just a few easy products that we have here in store at iArtsupplies. All you need is a roller, our Seawhite of Brighton water-based block printing ink, some plastic sandwich bags or sheets of acetate to use as your printing ‘plate’ and any drawing materials that you have around the house.

    printingink

    Easy and safe to use printing inks

    All you need to do is ‘ink up’ your sandwich bag or acetate – meaning roller out a thin, even amount of your printing ink (you can even use acrylic paint with some acrylic medium or fabric paint if you want to print onto fabrics, all of which we stock here!)

    Then draw into the wet ink or paint with whatever drawing materials you like to create your design. Get creative! You can use pens, pencils, brushes, but also things like cotton buds, scrapers, old toothbrushes… anything that makes a mark that you like. You can also experiment with pressing materials into the ink that will leave an imprint, or pattern – like leaves, twigs, sponges, bubble wrap, even scrunched up paper or cling film!

    ABurke

    (Photograph courtesy of Alisa Burke)

    Get Creative!

    All you need to do now is press your chosen material face down onto your plate, whether its paper, card, fabric or even canvas, and roller it across the back with a clean roller to really press the surface into the plate. If you’ve applied a thick layer of paint, you may even get a ghost print if you try printing your plate again. Happy experimenting!

     

     

  • Gerard Quenum:  Valley of the Dolls

     

    Last year I was visiting the National Museum of Scotland on a day out in Edinburgh when I came up against one of Gerard Quenum’s sculptures for the first time.  I find that art produces several different types of positive effect in me if I like it.  Sometimes it’s a technical appreciation, sometimes it’s a sense of connection with what the artist is representing or trying to say.  And sometimes there is something deeper, something where the visual elements of a piece of work combine to create messages, messages which touch our own visual memories which are connected to experience. These are the pieces of work which you can never forget, which can even come to superimpose themselves over your own emotional memories as a kind of synthesis of all the things which that piece connects for you.

     

     

    gerard-quenum-s-l-ange L'Ange

    For me straight away the sculpture brought vividly memories of my childhood home Nairobi and the city’s copious rubbish dumps, bits of coloured plastic, broken toys, and mangy dogs, but also of the many traditional tribal dolls which as a backdrop were ever present images when I was growing up in one way or another.

    L’Ange is a towering wooden structure ( a reclaimed upended drum) with one of Quenum’s trademarks, a dolls head, blackened and damaged.  The piece if also unique in that the eyes of the doll are actually made out of a wasp’s nest, which happened by chance in Quenum’s studio whilst he was creating the piece.  (You can read about the conservation efforts in relation to this aspect in an interesting article here: http://blog.nms.ac.uk/2013/08/12/for-your-eyes-only-repairing-gerard-quenums-lange/)

    I remember staring up at this piece and feeling the sensation of fire burning, charring the wood and the plastic, and knowing that this was a piece of art and an artist that I was not going to forget in a hurry.

    Quenum was born in 1971 in Porto Novo, Benin and is part of a movement of francophone African artists now starting to receive international recognition for their work.   Quenum’s work has risen from a form of street art springing out of Porto Novo and Cotonou where spontaneous exhibitions are organised in the city streets.  This “Boulev’art” (Art on the Boulevard) is beginning to gain international popularity and Quenum now has a considerable list of joint and solo exhibitions on the national scene under his belt.  As well as exhibiting in Benin and other African countries such as Senegal and Togo Quenum has also exhibited in London, France and Brazil.

    It isn’t hard to see why Quenum’s work has enjoyed some success.  Whether you love it or hate it there is no denying that these altered dolls are both striking and memorable.  I suppose on some level it saddens me that the first reaction people seem to have to the pieces is “that’s weird” or “freaky” or some such thing.  Whilst it is obvious that these pieces are meant to have some unsettling effect, it is a shame to see so many people dismiss the work as an attention grabbing gimmick when there is so much behind this work.

     

    la-vendangeuse(1) La Vendangeuse (The Reaper)

     

     

    Quenum’s work is produced almost exclusively using reclaimed and repurposed materials, most notably wood and bits of old dolls.  The dolls, almost always originally white baby dolls, then undergo a transformation process, usually using fire to blacken their skin and to frizz up their hair. These alien baby dolls, given to African children, are being transformed into something which resembles to a greater extent these children.  They are also being transformed into something which many times resembles traditional African dolls or masks, whilst always at the same time retaining something incongruous.  It is this incongruity which makes people uncomfortable but it is also what makes Quenum’s work so hauntingly beautiful.  There is a disturbing lost innocence about these reworked dolls, something which makes them both comforting and potentially terrifying.  I suppose another thing that they brought immediately to my mind were child soldiers, innocent faces, scarred and marked by the histories of war torn countries.  Can innocence exist where situations of extreme exploitation of the human being exist?  La Vendangeuse (The Reaper) above perfectly illustrates this for me.  The doll here is joined by another familiar childhood figure for Europeans, a stuffed Disney Tigger toy, but it is totally out of place.  The elongated hooded figure reminds me of the many nomadic herds people who are so common a view in many African countries, and the children who are so often occupied with looking after their livestock, carrying their blankets around with them to sleep with the animals.  However there is a darker side to this, The Reaper, is also death. The face of innocence in conjunction with the concept of the Grim Reaper calls to mind again for me child soldiers, agents of death hiding behind unexpected guises.

     

    Quenum’s work is well worth a look at and if you happen to be travelling through Edinburgh go and see the real thing.  At the least its something totally different, at the most it might be a new obsession.

     

     

     

    Fiona MacHugh

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