I perceive Anselm Kiefer as an artist who uses art processes as a means of working through trauma. Processes such as scraping, balancing, destroying, distressing, and tenderly shaping, re-enact and evoke feelings, events and actions that the artwork may or may not relate to. The artwork is then the visual memory/archive of those actions and feelings. Kiefer reacts to historical moments, but also draws from myths as well. He works with many different media, often selected for their rich associated meanings.
Antoni Tapies is one of many Spanish artists that came to me at formative moments in my life, as I embarked on exchanges and courses in Spain whilst at school, then spent a year there during a languages degree. Spanish and Latin American art and literature feels closer to me than their English or other European counterparts.
I perceive Tapies' work as poetic and it calls up in me a sense of kinship, relief and hope. Embedded in it is a philosophy and/or spirit that I can't put into words, but I feel it runs through many Spanish artists and movements of resistance.
William Kentridge is an artist who I have been following for decades, whose work includes traditional drafting skills, animations and installations. I appreciate his approach which seems to raise questions, rather like a kindly tutor, rather than being an in-your-face challenge. Hence, his work invites an exchange, an activation of the imagination, a gentle transformative effect on the mind over time.
I am just beginning to study Louise Bourgeois in depth for the first time. Like Kiefer, I appreciate how her working processes are a working out of trauma. I'm very drawn to the aesthetic of her work, related to elements of her childhood, and often working with archetypal shapes and symbols. There is magic and poetry as well as a clear smack to the senses.
I recently viewed films pieces by Howardena Pindell, including Free, White and 21, at the Baltic's 'The Making of Husbands; Christina Ramberg in dialogue' exhibition (2020-21). Her wider body of work includes large colourful mixed media artworks, which are exciting explosions or suggestions of colour. Pindell talks about how the processes through which these pieces come about are metaphors of the issues, feelings and events she is concerned about.
- Additionally I've been looking at Pedro Almodovar, Bruce Nauman and Guy Sherwin for film
- Huma Bhabha (as viewed in 'Against Time' at The Baltic 2020/21), for sculpture, drawing and installation.
- I also keep coming across artist Sharon Lockhart, most recently, her collaboration with the legacy of Israeli dancer and textile artist, Noa Eshkol.