ADZ4999 Constellation: Concept (After Modernism)

The After Modernism lectures have benefited me greatly as I feel as if I have learnt quite a lot about the different art movements and what these movements entail. During the eight weeks of these lectures I learnt about movements such as modernism, abstract expressionism, pop art, minimalism, fluxus and conceptualism. One of the art movements that I enjoyed learning about the most was abstract expressionism movement. Abstract expressionism is an art movement born from artists living in the 1940s in New York. Around this period of time in America we’re two world wars, the Great Depression, atomic devastation and also a Cold War which prompted art pieces that reflected a very dark time in American history. One of the artists that really interested me about this art movement was the works of Mark Rothko.
Mark Rothko was an American painter of Russian Jewish descent. He is one of the most famous postwar American artists as well as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. Although Rothko did not tether himself to any specific art movements his work is generally identified with abstract expressionism and colour field. One of the reasons I was drawn to Rothko’s work is because his pieces pay a lot of attention to elements like colour, shape, balance, depth, composition and scale. A lot of his later pieces from 1949 and onwards all have a similar look to them. The size of these pieces are all large scale still but instead of being able to have an idea of what the painting is, to me his work seems to base itself more around the colours and space he uses then what the painting is actually meant to be of. Rothko would always avoid explaining what his work was about and he believed that abstract image could represent the nature of ‘human drama’.


‘It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it is well painted. This is the essence of academicism. There is no such thing as a good painting about nothing.’ (Rothko)

Above is an oil painting created by Rothko in 1950 called ‘White Centre (Yellow, Pink and Lavander on Rose). This is one of my favourite pieces created in Rothko’s signature block colour style. What I love about his ‘block colour’ pieces is the layered effect they have. This is to do with the technique of layering paints and also from the colours he chooses to use in his paintings. The colours he uses compliment each other in each of his paintings especially the one above. Also the brighter colours appear to be more forward then the other colours in the back ground which creates a colour illusion. What also helps this aspect is the darker colours that frame each coloured rectangle. This helps to give his paintings a more three dimensional effect and makes the colour contrast very effective. Rothko’s work has also inspired me to use colour for one of my final outcomes in my Outside/Inside project. With my own work I really want to achieve a very colourful and textural look so that I can create a three dimensional effect and hopefully my work will have the same colour illusion Rothko has. Unlike Rothko I will be working on a collection of more small scale pieces. Doing this will help me by being able to concerntrate on the texture and detail on a smaller scale.

Another artist that has inspired me through out these constellation lectures is the work of Willem de Kooning, in particular ‘The Woman Series’.


Above is a painting called ‘Woman I’ created by Kooning between 1950-1952. It’s took Kooning quite a while to preduce this piece as he kept working on top of what he had already created repeatedly until he finally came up with this outcome. The painting itself is quite a bold statement as it ‘reflects the age-old cultural ambivalence between reverence for and fear of the power of the feminine.’ (Museum of Modern Art, 2017) What I really enjoy about this piece is the use of line that Kooning has used. The outline of the abstract Woman in this painting is very harsh and I really like the effect this has on this piece. By doing this he has broken the painting up into segments which I find quite effective and makes the colours of the painting really catch your eye. Kooning has also layered his painting using the oil paints when working on top of areas. This has helped to make the brush strokes in the oil paint more perceptible and leaves a very interesting texture on the painting. The white areas on this painting also help to highlight and make the other colours surrounding it stand out. With my own work I want to use the white as a highlight like Kooning’s work to make the other colours around the area to look more layered and also brighten areas. Kooning has also used colours that compliment each other really well and make this painting very aesthetically pleasing. The little pockets of yellow also bring a very fluorescent and bright vibe to the painting also.

After looking at both Mark Rothko and Willem de Koonings work from the abstract expressionism time period I feel as if I have a better understand of this particular art movement. I have learnt a great deal about how to use colour in different way from two amazing artists and I have also grasped a better understand of ways I can create layered effects and texture using mixtures of colours and also by layering paints.

References (2017). Abstract expressionism. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 May 2017].

Tate. (n.d.). Mark Rothko 1903-1970 | Tate. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 May 2017].

The Art Story. (n.d.). Mark Rothko Biography, Art, and Analysis of Works. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 May 2017].

The Museum of Modern Art. (n.d.). Willem de Kooning. Woman I. 1950–52 | MoMA. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 May 2017].



Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea

On Monday 8th May I went to London to visit a few art galleries. One of the galleries I visited whilst in London was the Saatchi Gallery located in Chelsea. One of the reasons I wanted to visit the Saatchi was because the current exhibition there at the moment (‘From Selfie to Self-Expression’) that I had read about online really intrigued me and I also just wanted to check out other works they had for show there. On this visit I was able to see a lot of pieces which were interactive.

Daniel Rozin – Pom Pom Mirror (2015)

Christopher Baker – Hello World! Or: How I Stop Listening and Love the Noise (2008)

Juno Calypso – The Honeymoon Suite (2015)



Daniel Rozin – Pom Pom Mirror (2015)


One of the pieces that stood out to me was an interactive piece called ‘Pom Pom Mirror’ by Daniel Rozin. This piece is an electronically powered motion sensing mirror powered by 464 motors that shows your reflection using 948 Pom Pom’ s in the colours black and white. What I really like about this is Rozin’s question behind this piece.

Who is Controlling Whom?

Are we reacting to the technology or is the technology reacting to us? I really like the message behind us as it relates to my chosen theme for Constellation: Things Can Be Otherwise – I am a Cyborg. Obviously this piece of work is reacting to us as it is portraying our silhouette but is it also controlling us? By moving our arms around the the air above us and Golding different poses (as seen in the videos above) it is controlling us by subcontiously making us do weird arm motions and movements we wouldn’t normally do.

Piet Mondrian


Piet Mondrian was a Dutch painter that contributed to the De Stijl and Modern art movement and group. One of the reasons I am looking at Mondrian’s work is because I really enjoy the Artist work from this art movement and also because his work can be related to the ideas I have for my final piece for my field project about light.

Composition with Red, Blue and Yellow

What I really like about the piece above are the colours Mondrian have used. In all of Mondrian’s pieces that are similar to the one shown above the three primary colours (red, yellow and blue) are always included and are always the stronger, bolder colours that project from the surface more dominantly than the rest. This is quite an effective look and the thick and thin black framing around each colour is also another good way to help each colour jump out of you like an illusion. Having the colours be able to project without using a white background I find is quite impressive in my opinion. Using white in the background of a piece helps to highlight the intensity of the colour next to it as it is very bright but using very pale colours like the baby blue and lilac have created a very similar effect.

For my final piece for field I would like to create three or four A5 pieces that are based around block colours. The colours I want to use are red, yellow, blue and green. I have chosen these colours as they are all very bright and pigmented colours and the contrast of each I think will look really good as a collection. On top of the block colours I am planning to use light and objects to create shadows onto the paper and drawing them like one of the field projects I completed called ‘Silhouetted Still Lives’. After doing this I want to cut away from the paper and create gaps of which you can see the block colours through when layered on top of each other. I really like this idea and think it will work well. This relates to the field work as I am using light to create shadows and also because I am using different colours and light is colour.