Studio/ Objects, Still Life, Self Portrait

This week we learned about several artists who work with objects, sculpture, and representation in photography. The brief carried an important lesson, that ”even the most seemingly insignificant objects at home can become interesting when appropriated and/or reconsidered through art-making and photography.” The artists we explored are as follows.

Pieter Claesz, Still Life with a Skull and a Writing Quill, 1628.

Fischli & Weiss

“Equilibrios” de Peter Fischli y David Weiss (2016).

Kitchen Table Sculptures by Henry Ward, constructed using only material found on walks around the urban environment.

John Outerbridge, his work explores the issues surrounding personal identity such as family, community and the environment through the use of discarded materials.

Stephen Gill, Anonymous Origami.

Series of photographs of rolled up bus tickets and smeared blobs of toothpaste, a collaboration between Salvador Dali and Brassai from the 1930s.

Grete Stern, Autorretrato (Self-Portrait), 1943.

Torbjørn Rødlan creates portraits, still life’s and landscapes, which simultaneously inhabit, defamiliarize and disrupt the realm of the everyday.

I watched a talk with Torbjørn Rødland, recommened in the brief, Torbjørn Rødland: The Touch That Made You (2017).

Ting-Ting Cheng: Identity and the still life.

Matt Collishaw, Meals on Death Row, 2011 (Re made).

I read a short article about Matt Collinshaw, suggested in brief. There I encountered, for the first time, the term Chiaroscuro, which I investigated further. It led me to an article on Britannica’s web page, which explains Chiaroscuro, from Italian chiaro, “light,” and scuro, “dark”), a technique employed in the visual arts to represent light and shadow as they define three-dimensional objects. I also read an excellent, in-depth article titled Chiaroscuro, on website Draw Paint Academy. Additionally, I watched a couple of YouTube videos explaining Chiaroscuro.

The Power of Chiaroscuro | Art Terms | LittleArtTalks (2016).

Lighting Techniques – Chiaroscuro (2008).

I studied a recommended article Secret symbols in still-life painting, which gives a valuable overview of still life in art history from Carravagio to Picasso.

This weeks task was to create a self-portrait – object(s)
• Using a domestic object, construct a repetition of yourself.
• Consider, your personality and how objects may represent you.
• Approach, hidden abstract, shadows (negative space).
• Natural light / controlled light.
• Explore early 17century painting and object representation.
• Playfulness.
• Tonality, B/W Colour contrast.
• Isolate and Elevate.

I thought back to an article I found online some time ago, which spoke of flowers and their meanings. I had no idea this was even a thing, and I remember being very surprised and fascinated upon discovering it. I concluded it would be a unique approach to completing this weeks task, using domestic objects (and imagination) as my representation, a self-portrait. I investigated online and obtained a comprehensive list of flowers and their meanings, looked through it and decided which flower represents me best. I picked JASMINE – which symbolises unconditional and eternal love, good fortune, positive energy, and settled on creating a sculpture that would portray Jasmin flower. Initially, I was going to work with clay, but as my examination progressed, I discovered various paper techniques that I could use to form the desired flower. I found a video on how to make origami Jasmine and resolved to give it a go. It was much more difficult than I expected, and after two attempts (starting from the very beginning), I gave up. I decided that my flowers look magnificent, even though they were not finished, and I proceeded to photograph them. I was pleased with the results, the beauty of lines, light and paper working together in harmony. Consequently, I determined I will be using this approach further, both in my studio project for the unit and my practice overall.


Origami – Jasmine (Flower) (2016).

Failed, however, still enjoyable attempts on making Jasmine origami.

‘Reference List’

‘“Equilibrios” de Peter Fischli y David Weiss’. Museo Jumex. (2016). [Online video] Available through YouTube. [Accessed on 22/02/21].

‘Lighting Techniques – Chiaroscuro’. EFPlighting. (2008). [Online video] Available through YouTube. [Accessed on 23/02/21].

‘Origami – Jasmine (Flower)’. Surala World – Origami. (2016). [Online video] Available through YouTube. [Accessed on 22/02/21].

Pound, C. (2018) ‘Secret symbols in still-life painting’. BBC. [Online] 19th March 2018. [Accessed on 23/02/21].

Scott, D. (2019) ‘Chiaroscuro’. Draw Paint Academy. [Online] 30th March 2019. [Accessed on 23/02/21].

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Brittanica. (2021) ‘Chiaroscuro’. Brittanica. [Online] Last Updated: 18th January 2021. [Accessed on 23/02/21].

‘The Power of Chiaroscuro | Art Terms | LittleArtTalks’. Little Art Talks. (2016). [Online video] Available through YouTube. [Accessed on 22/02/21].

‘Torbjørn Rødland: The Touch That Made You’. Serpentine Galleries. (2017). [Online video] Available through YouTube. [Accessed on 22/02/21].

Published by Elzbieta Skorska

My name is Elzbieta Skorska. I am a second-year photography student degree at MMU.

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