Frances Jayne Newman fine art

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MA Drawing, (part-time)

Camberwell College of Arts, 2004 - 2006

Proposal (See below) & Discussion Paper




























 "Out of their works burst almost everywhere a basic tone: The world should not be like this!"

Max Klinger 'Painting and Design' 1891

It seems preposterous, almost absurd, to be discussing art theory and practice at the end of a week in which we have witnessed so many bloody and inhumane events, ending with the terrible tragedy at the Middle school in Beslan. And yet maybe it is at just such times that the role of art can be most sharply and clearly defined.

Leon Trotsky has argued that all great art, is "life-affirming", or as Mike Gonzalez has stated "when all that is human is threatened with destruction art's power is, in some sense at least, at its greatest".

William Kentridge has also importantly stated of Theodore Adorno, rescuing him from those who like to quote too selectively, that he argued "it was now in art alone that suffering could still find its voice, without immediately being betrayed by it".  

The common thread of my work is that of humanity, the plight of the ordinary person. I wish to turn my gaze upon the frequently overlooked and all too often glibly dismissed harsh reality of modern living.

Influenced by nineteenth and twentieth century schools of realism my work draws on practical sources as diverse as Kollwitz, Grosz and Kentridge and theoretically draws on the idea's of Benjanmin & Klinger.

Following Klingers arguments relating to drawing I strive to be a 'creator of visual narratives'.  Drawing as Klinger defines it, has more in common with poetry in its potential for the expression of ideas, it is less complete and concrete in detail, perhaps, than painting, drawing is therefore more suggestive in its scope.  Drawing for me has as its most salient characteristic the subjectivity of the artist and can therefore confront the unbeautiful and the repugnant.

Like Klinger and Kollwitz I understand the concept of "drawing" to include printing, not least because by its nature the print is reproducible, which not only permits it to find a wide audience but also retains the true feeling and mark of the artist.

"... the storyteller joins the ranks of the teachers and sages. He has counsel - not for a few situations, as the proverb does, but for many, like the sage".

Walter Benjanmin 'The Storeyteller' 1933

Human society is built on a complex relationship of separate and at the same time inter-connected ideas and actions that human beings give credence to and act upon. 

I intend, by the practice of drawing as a meditative means, to explore this relationship, with a particular reference to people in a working environment and mindful of the contemporary work ethic. I wish to re-examine how drawing can translate a simple gesture, a facial expression, a tender or tired touch with an absolute clarity of vision, the 'human condition'.

In here recent book Willing Slaves Madeleine Bunting has noted that there is a great tradition of what she calls 'anti-work writing', which stretches back to the beginning of the industrial revolution.

She argues that the thinkers and pioneers of the Enlightenment and their followers truly believed that commerce, machinery and wages would bring freedom to the British peasantry. Others like William Blake, Samuel-Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, and William Cobbert, watching these developments witnessed something very different; they saw capitalism and its machines as a slave driver; they were the 'witnesses to the beast' who had created a demonic and debased world of 'dark satanic mills'.

Crucially Bunting argues that this debate is still taking place, that humanity is allowing an 'overwork culture' to rule our lives. It is through this contradiction that I wish to develop my proposal, to develop my ability to become a 'storey-teller'.

Drawing for me is a place/process where images and ideas stored or seeding in my consciousness first begin to reveal themselves.  To draw feels very natural and I believe is universally understood. A drawing is both the marks made and the space or emptiness that fill it on the surface on which the drawing is made. My work is pre-dominantly figurative.

I like to lose myself in making a drawing, in thinking about the subject and feeling the form and mood. I want to sketch and photograph people in various working environments and employing these visual notes in the studio build up images.

I wish to understand the history and traditions of drawing in more depth and to further explore drawing as a medium in an environment that promotes critical debate.



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