Author Archives: Fatma

About Fatma

Second Year Fine Art: Painting and Drawing student at the University of Northampton

‘Create, Connect, Converge’

The Spring Show at Avenue Gallery was put together by 23 second year Fine Art and Fine Art: Painting and Drawing students, at the University of Northampton. The exhibition was titled, ‘Create, Connect, Converge,’ and aimed to show a creative connection of a thematic showcase of art work inspired through the non-visual arts. Working on a set date for the show (18th March – 21st March), the students had to fund raise for the show, publicise it, as well as create work. For my role during this process, I was one of the curators of the exhibition and also set up the cake sale for fund raising. As curators we organised the show thematically, as well as harmonising the colours and tones. The show was a huge success, it created a real buzz with a great turnout, including the input of YBA artist, Gavin Turk.

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I worked for six weeks on this 6ft x 6ft oil on canvas painting, that I chose to exhibit for the show, titled, ‘Lady Macbeth: What’s Done cannot be undone, to bed, to bed.’ The primary influence for the painting came from the written play, Macbeth, by William Shakespeare. The play is believed to have been written between 1603 and 1607 and is considered to be one of Shakespeare’s darkest and most powerful tragedies. Macbeth tells the story of a brave Scottish general who receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders King Duncan and takes the throne for himself. He and Lady Macbeth are then wracked with guilt and paranoia forcing Macbeth to commit more murders to protect himself from enmity and suspicion. The bloodbath and consequent civil war swiftly take Macbeth and Lady Macbeth into the realms of arrogance, madness, and death. The play dramatizes the corrosive psychological and political effects produced when evil is chosen as a way to fulfil the ambition for power.   Inspired by Lady Macbeth’s psychological state in Act Five Scene One of the play, wherein Lady Macbeth confesses her guilt shown through her sleepwalking subconscious. She quotes, “What’s done cannot be undone, to bed, to bed,” intensifying her confused state of mind, tangled with guilt for the sins she has pushed her husband to commit.

The painting is intended to convey the chaotic nature of Lady Macbeth’s mind. By using the hair of the female to encompass the majority of the canvas, covering the face, as well as the identity of the female it enhances how chaotic the psychological state of the mind can be. This is mirrored in the format of the image, painted upside down once again heightening the sense of instability, the chaotic nature of the mind. This painting should suggest that there is something quite not right and this is not just a painting of a female with hair over her face, there are much deeper psychological meanings beneath the exterior, another one of Shakespeare’s influences.

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Subject Future’s Week – Marcus Harvey

On Wednesday 29th January English YBA painter, commissioner, educator and writer, Marcus Harvey, gave a talk at the University of Northampton. His talk discussed his life and journey through the art world. Harvey opens up by giving information of the art market, “your gallerists would like you to have regular, trajectory work. You need to know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. If you are a painter they expect coherence and rhythm.”

During the early 80s Harvey attended Goldsmiths in London, this was the beginning of his series of abstract bed paintings, and the beginning of his painterly practice. He claims he, “never got away from the interaction with the canvas becoming the object first.” Harvey likes to interact in a formative way with the object and what the canvas is stimulated by. It seems that he very much likes to explore the limitations of credible licence with paint. Whilst at Goldsmiths he was deeply influenced by the clarity of Michael Craig Martin’s work, bringing in the overlapping of line drawings with paint. With time he lost the element of drawing altogether and focused on the tension of the surface.

Harvey’s work tends to be autobiographical and tries to bring political concepts of the time into his works. “Maybe I got too carried away with the narrative of the paintings.” He explains that the much contested ‘Myra Hindley’ piece made up of the children’s handprints, was a way of him representing photographical truth and fact. The handprints were a very dark way of getting across information, emotionally, visually and politically. Harvey also made a more sculptural painting of Myra Hindley but “didn’t want to be seen as someone making the most of his first piece.” Harvey states, “I didn’t know the reaction it would get, the disruption it would create, and I didn’t do it for the publicity. I just thought of it as a space for a portrait-maker to present people of currence at the time. I thought to give a thoughtful response, I didn’t know how much of an uproar it would cause.”

Harvey’s work strongly relies on the dialogue between the artist, the painting and the photograph. “I can’t say I find photography in its own form an art form for me. As a painter I set myself rules. Paintings allow the interaction with the object or the subject through photography.” The developing narrative of the emotion of paint gives it a context, this fascination with painting is stuck or suspended into a two dimensional object. He has explored with sculpture, especially when depicting landscape scenes. However Harvey believes that, “painting does not have a counterpart in the digital medium. For me, nothing has replaced painting and nothing will.”

Personally I found Harvey’s talk the most intriguing during Subject Future’s Week because he is depicted as such a controversial artist and it was useful to hear from himself of his intentions as a painter, especially for the Myra Hindley piece. I found his naivety of the public’s reaction for this painting quite surprising, yet it was very beneficial to hear from the artist himself his reasoning for creating such an unapologetic form of artwork. Having been at this talk, I can really see Harvey’s passion of painting and how much he values it as a means of communication. The most interesting concept I took from this talk was how he places painting at the top of almost a hierarchy of representation and how he sees photography as merely a tool to help the final outcome of an art work, which is his view is the irreplaceable outcome of painting.

‘First Post: My Artwork’… Fatma Ummanel

For the first post I thought I would discuss my studio work and artistic style. My practice follows the exploration of hair through the process of line. Currently in my studio practice I am working on a series of quink and bleach drawings which explore the layers and tones within line, as well as the convolutional nature of hair. These raw renderings have a quiet scrutiny about them, studying the textural entanglement of line. This interest in hair and line was influenced by a figurative project from my first year, wherein I used watercolour paint to replicate the fluency of the body and hair under water. As well as my practice analysing the depth of line, it also evaluates the textural surface and the materiality of the process of application. To me, the erosion of the ink creates an intangible presence as the intensity of the first application of the bleach continues to fade, raising questions of sustainability. Going forward I would like to experiment with creating similar effects of the quink and bleach technique but with oil paint.

My oil paintings are usually ‘patchwork like’ in style, especially within my portraits. The quink and bleach studies, as well as my oil paintings mix elements of portraiture and hair touching on themes of identity as well as this fascination with the materiality of the chosen medium and its application. “The fate of line is more complex and requires a special description. The transference of line to a free environment produces a number of extremely important results. Its outer expediency turns into an inner one. Its practical meaning becomes abstract. As a result, the line discloses an inner sound of artistic significance.” V. Kandinsky ‘On line,’ 1919 (C. Butler & C. Zegher ‘On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century, 2010) Line is all about mark making and especially my use of line in these ink drawings suggests an inner complexity, it continues to alter as it reacts with the medium and the surface. Its literal meaning can become abstracted when taken out of context. I enjoy the representativeness but also the ambiguousness of my practice.

I like to think my work eludes to a vision of Henri Mattise, “remember, a line cannot exist alone; it always brings a companion along. Do remember that one line does nothing; it is only in relation to another that it creates a volume.” I find that this notion encompasses my work, as the “essence of drawing (and of painting) is line exploring space.” (Andy Goldsworthy)meeee hand work work2