Monday, November 20, 2017

Drawing Abstract Forms

Fifth grade students have created drawings inspired by two artists, Filipino painter Hernando Ruiz Ocampo (1911-1978) and contemporary American painter Adam Daily.

Ocampo described his art as an investigation of flora and fauna in "abstract compositions of biological forms that seemed to oscillate, quiver, inflame and multiply." (Wikipedia) Students noticed how his paintings had depth, and that the images felt like spaces which could be entered, despite the lack of "real" visual anchors in the abstract compositions. His bold colors, illumination of the spaces, and organic shapes inspired many students. 

Beefsteak, 1953, Hernando R. Ocampo
Students were also introduced to the dizzying abstract work of Adam Daily, to whom they also wrote questions about his work. That is an enormous plus of studying contemporary artists, we can write them a letter and they may just answer us!  Mr. Daily did write back, and his replies did not disappoint.

M3, 2013, Adam Daily
Here are the questions that students asked, and Mr. Daily's responses:

1. "What inspires you?"
My work is not inspired by a specific outside influence. I have come to my current work through experimentation in my studio, particularly drawing. I find that time spent without a clear end goal or objective can lead to creative discoveries that build into a body of work.

2."Why are the shapes rigid with hard edges?"
The shapes that I use all fit on the same grid. I create a library of shapes in isometric perspective that can be moved in space and still align with other shapes in the same space. This rigid hard edged structure comes from the necessity of having a modular form.

3."Why do you choose such bright colors?"
I love exploring pigment and color. Some of my earliest experiences in art were getting lost in the art supply store and buying colors with no particular plan for what to do with them.  My current paintings allow me to use this color in its fullest without dilution or reduction of intensity. I want to show how powerful color can be and show its interactions.

4."Is your work violent in some way? It seems sort of crazy, or aggressive."
This is a very observant question; I do not intend to make violent work. I am a passivest and opposed to violence. However, my compositions are intended to control and exert force upon the viewer, to make them see what I see, this is perhaps a violent act. This is the reason why there are no empty spaces. Once the viewer has entered the space I do not want to let them out. The space is intended to be both shallow and deep, open and closed, energetic and fixed. There are many interesting interactions of color and form to be found if you look but there is no place where you can rest. Everything is figure and everything is ground, there is no on or off.

5."Do you copyright your artwork?"
No I do not. My work is all hand made. It cannot be reproduced accurately with digital methods.

Armed with so much information on visual, abstract, three-dimensional forms and spaces, students began to make work of their own. Instead of making shapes, they created forms, and the forms were lighted with a specific directional source of the student's choosing to create convincing dimension.

The results are varied and fantastic. Some students found themselves more attracted to the organic forms of Ocampo's style, and others found inspiration in the more severe geometric shapes of Daily. 

Many of the works students created embodied the frenzied movement and vibrations of the inspiration artists, while others has a quieter and weightier presence.

Work will be on display in our upcoming winter art night! 

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