Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Margaret Sharrow - portfolio presentation

It is that time of year for knocking knees and cursing memory sticks. That time when all single honours art students in their final year at Aberystwyth University School of Art each give a fifteen minute Powerpoint presentation on their art careers to date. They might talk about their artistic influences - but maybe not. They definitely include a review of the past two years' work with a sense of where the work will go next.

I was really interested in what everyone else had to say, and plan to mention some of the work in reviews. But perhaps I should also record what I said - if only to remind myself in case of needing to give the talk again, due to some unforseen hiccup in university marking, Tutor having come down with another round of the flu and, unthinkably, having that tidy black notebook with our marks whisked away by the faeries.

The presentation

Margaret Sharrow, Ynyslas, 2000. Oil on board with sand.

Well, thanks for listening, as it were. I'm registered for third year painting, but I'm just as involved in photography as my work is primarily mixed medium. I'll be talking about my past, present and future work, but within those three categories I will be presenting things thematically rather than chronologically.

I'm showing this image first as it is the first painting I did after a number of years of Not Painting, and denying to myself that this is a vital activity for me. This particular painting shows a strong influence of the Impressionists, which brings me to my first major influence on my work, not a single artist but a gallery.

Claude Monet, Towpath at Argenteuil, Winter, c. 1875

The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, in Buffalo, New York, where I grew up, has a marvellous collection of the Impressionists, including Monet, as well as a very strong twentieth century collection. I was taken on visits there from the time I was very small.

Pop art room, Buffalo, photo by the artist c. 2000

As a small child, I was particularly taken with the pop art, the bright colours, and also the Mirrored Room by Lucas Samaras, though I didn't know then that now I would be studying his Polaroids. You take off your shoes and go in and it's four walls plus floor and ceiling of mirrors, inside and out. If the gallery guard is nice they might close the door for you once you're in.

Margaret Sharrow, Self-portrait in Lucas Samaras’ Mirrored Room (1966), c. 2000

Pablo Picasso, La Toilette, 1906

I also enjoyed the pre-Cubist Picassos, for their bold, weighty figures.

Wassily Kandinsky, Fragment 2 for Composition VII, 1913

And when I was in high school, I grew to love the Abstract Expressionists: Kandinsky, Rothko, Pollock.

to be continued...

on to part 2 of the presentation

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