Sunday, 6 December 2009

Tate: Turner and the Masters

I took a trip to the Turner and the Masters exhibition at the Tate Britain recently and think it’s definitely worth checking out while it’s on. I found the emphasis that Turner put into trying to emulate other great artists of his time really fascinating. It almost became a competition between him and the works he was copying in his own style. He constantly tried to improve on making them more dynamic and hold a greater sense of movement than proving his own technical ability. With his paintings directly next to the ones he had taken inspiration from it was clear he was trying to get his audience to feel what was going on and give a real depiction rather than just try and make something aesthetically pleasing. I found the importance of looking at other artists always useful and a way of expanding my own ideas and techniques, what was interesting to see is even the masters were learning from each other and using the works of those before them to improve their own techniques.

I found how Turner had taken a composition and focussed attention detail in often only a few places and had the rest of the piece covered by his expressive movements an effective way of leading the viewer through his piece, creating dramatic effects and creating a greater sense of depth and a less lifeless mood. Another thing I noticed was that Turner never really complicates his compositions and only focuses on the main aspects he was trying to practice. Through each piece the one element he wants to capture specifically if it was lighting, perspective or texture is certainly clear and shows his development in the pieces that follow.

I found the visit really insightful in how to start taking new ideas and techniques and applying them to my own work and not just relying on a few places for inspiration. I also learnt to try anything and everything even if it doesn’t really work as something good might come of it that I wasn’t even looking for.