This study “An Exploration of the female facial form in painting through Automatism Technique” sought exploration of ways by which different shapes can be employed with the view to transform human female facial form beyond representational renditions.The exploration is based on dynamics of lines into shapes suitable for reinterpretation of the human female facial form. This study looks into possible alternate ways of finding a unique individual style toexpress self in painting through the use of automatism: a technique under the early 20th century art movement called surrealism. The aim of the research is to create conceptual paintings by manipulation of geometric shapes in rendition of female facial forms. The specific objectives are to:Transform the human female facial form using automatism. Portray the human female facial form into segments of organic and geometric shapes. Explore the human female facial forms into positive and negative spaces via juxtapositions and overlapping of shapes. The research looks at the works of artists who have explored the dynamics of shape, as related to the human facial forms in their own way. This led to an evaluation of their work, as their perspective was examined to bear upon the researcher‟s quest to explore female facial forms using automatism. However, the review indicates the artist‟s concerted efforts in a systematic study of the dynamics of shapes on facial form. The methodology used for this research was studio practice based. The researcher made use of photographs of model. Different shapes were sourced from entropic imaging from the subconscious mind. The research design of the study is descriptive, as it interprets by transformation with use of geometric shapes in automatism. The instrument used in the collection of data is basically observational method. Data collected were analysed, hence forming basis for progression of the three stages of research. These research findings established that shape based creation, using automatism as technique stimulates conceptual, radical transformation in visual art creation. The interaction of geometric shapes, engaging other elements results in harmonious relationship; hence, balance as art principle is achieved. Perceptual encounter with subject matter establishes visual relationship and dialogue that stems from accessing subconscious archetypal symbols in artistic creation. The researcher recommends that aspiring artists and researchers who intends to examine this creative context of shape based creation, should make further incisive study regarding geometric shapes and subconscious mind creation; and the blending of both geometric and organic shapes in hybrid creation of forms; And lastly, the focus on use of overlapping and juxtapositions can be superlatively modified to engender development of experimental procedures in artistic creation.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Cover page i
Fly leaf ii
Title page iii
Table of Contents ix
Lists of Plates x
1.0 Background to the Study 1
1.1Statement of Problem 7
1.2 Aim and Objectives of the Study 7
1.3 Research Questions 7
1.4 Justification of the Study 7
1.5 Significance of the Study 8
1.6 Scope and Delimitation of the Study 8
1.7Conceptual Framework 8
2.0 Review Sub-titles 9
2.1 Evaluation of Line Shape and Form 9
2.1.1Shape as Design Component 10
2.1.2 Physical and Psychological Effects of Shapes 11
2.1.3 Expressive Power of Shapes 12
2.2 Review of Related Works 12
2.3 Automatism 26
2.4 Conclusion 27
3.0 Methodology 28
3.1 Instrumentation 28
3.2 Data collection 28
3.3 Data analysis 29
3.4 Conclusion 39
4.0 Introduction 40
4.1 Representational stage 41
4.2 Transformational stage 47
4.3 Distortion stage 54
5.0 Summary Conclusions and Recomendation. 60
5.1 Preamble 60
5.2 Summary 60
5.3 Conclusions 60
List of Figures
Figure i. Songs of Love Georgio de Chirico 13
Figure ii. Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Salvador Dali 14
Figure iii. Azure Day Yves Tanguy 15
Figure iv. Naturalist‟s study Pierre Roy 16
Figure v. The False Mirror Rene Magritte 17
Figure vi. The Mental Doctor Kurt Schwitters 18
Figure vii. Counter Weights WassilyKadinsky19
Figure viii. Twittering Machine Paul Klee 20
Figure ix. Black Trapezium and Red Square Kazimir Malevich 21
Figure x. The Bird Cage Pablo Picasso 22
Figure xi. The Birth of the World Joan Miro23
Figure xii. Explorers YisaAkinbolaji 24
Figure xiii. Death of a Leaf Jerry Buhari 25
1.1 Background of the Study
Shapes exist in both organic and geometric forms.Lamp (2016), posits that“shape is defined by closed lines”. Specific shapes evoke associations with everyday experience. Squares for example are symbols of reliability, stability, and symmetry. The circle has specific significance for artists since the Neolithic era. In the Roman period, the circle was considered a divine shape and thus most suitable for temples. Basic shapes originate from lines intersecting at different angles. Beeson (2009), affirms that “Line is a formal element of art that appears in most two- dimensional works of art, lines can be used in many different ways within a work of art. Understanding how to use line can aid artists in constructing visually effective compositions.”
Artists use organic shapes and geometric shapes in different ways. Ontavilla(2012),notes that, when attempting to create a piece that looks natural, flowing, soft, or calming, organic shapes are appropriate, also when attempting to create a sense of chaos, anger or rigidity, geometric shapes are used. Geometric shapes are found useful in abstract interpretations of objects normally depicted as organic shapes.
The research explores shapes through free association, otherwise known as automatism in art. Automatism usually refers to accessing of images from the subconscious mind as part of the creative process, as seen in the art of the surrealist movement. Boyle et al (2006), opines that,” in psychology „automatism’ refers to involuntary actions and processes not under the control of the conscious mind.” The research geometrically explores female facial form. Collins (2017), defines the face as” the frontal part of the head from chin to top of forehead, where mouth, eyes, nose and other features are”. Webster. (2017), “defines the face as outward appearance”The face is observed and analysed geometrically in painting. The researcherperceives the face in terms of
squares and triangles in composition of forms. “Among surrealism‟s most important contributions was the invention of automatism, Kleiner and Mamiya (2005), recalls“Automatism is the same as‟ free association‟, the method used by the founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, to explore the unconscious mind of his patients „‟. Freud‟s ideas strongly influenced french poet Andre Breton who launched the surrealists‟ movement in 1924 with the publication of the manifesto of surrealism. In the manifesto, Breton actually defined surrealism as pure psychic automatism, the dictation of thought in the absence of control exercised by reason and outside moral or aesthetic concerns. The artists of this period, who explored the technique of automatism in art of painting include among others, Joan Miro, Andre Masson, Max Ernst, and Salvador Dali. Later, it led to the abstract expressionism of Jackson Pollock and was an important element in the European movements of experimental art.
At the opening ceremony of The Arts of this century museum on 57th street in Manhattan in 1941, Guggenheim, the founder was wearing one earring by Tanguy, the automatist and another by Calder, the abstractionist.Suarez.(2012),observes,she explains to her guests that this showed her neutrality in the conflict between the two often hostile schools of abstract and representational surrealism. Bell, a specialist in American Art, researched the surrealist‟s phenomena while he was curatorial assistant at the museum of modern art in San Francisco. His research led him to the conclusion that:
It remains a dire need, if truth be still an honorable cause, to set forth an option upon the records of time by which considerable humanity might judge for itself the merits and the players in one of our country‟s most unified and degraded forms of expression (Suarez 2012).
“Surrealism as known today is closely related to some forms of abstract Art. In fact, they shared similar origins, but they diverged on their interpretation of what those origins meant to the aesthetic of art‟‟(Suarez,2012),. At the end of the First World War,Tzara, leader of the Dada movement, wanted to attack society through scandal. He believed that a society that creates the monstrosity of war does not deserve art, so he decided to give it anti-art, not beauty but ugliness, with phrases like “Dada destroys everything”. Tzara wanted to offend the new industrial commercial world.
One group of artists, however did not embrace this new art that threw away all which centuries of artists had learned and passed on about the craft of art. The Surrealist movement gained momentum after the Dada movement. It was led by Andre Breton, a French doctor who fought in the trenches during the First World War. The artists in the movement researched and studied the works of Freud and Jung. Some of the artists in the group expressed in abstract tradition, others, in the formal representational tradition (Suarez 2012).
In 1941, Bell through his researches, realized that the two forms of expression formed two distinct trends of surrealism with marked differences. One could be qualified as automatism, the other, as veristic surrealism.“Automatism, explains Bell, is a form of abstraction. It has been the only type of surrealism accepted by critical reviewers after the First World War” (Suarez2012). Basically, two different interpretations of the works of Freud and Jung divided the two groups. For the purpose of personal analysis, Jung had talked about not judging the images of the subconscious, but simply accepting them as they come into consciousness, so they could be analyzed. This was termed automatism.
The subconscious mind, is the receptacle of all mental activity not directly perceived by consciousness from which memories, feelings and thought can influence behavior without realization of it (Brown,2009).“The subconscious mind stores all of your previous life experiences, your beliefs, memories, skills and all situations you‟ve been through and all images you‟ve ever seen” (McLeod 2013).The practice of Surrealist Art strongly emphasizes methodological research and experimentation, stressing the work of art as a means for prompting personal psychic investigation and revelation(Abdullah, Lewis and Kulper2016).
1.3 Statement of the Problem
In 1941, Guggenheim owner of Art of the century museum in Manhattan, at the opening combined works of Calder, an abstract surrealist and Tanguy, a representational surrealist in a gesture symbolic of the need for holistic transformation of Surrealist Automatism. The problem of the study is the non exploration of transforming form, from the female face using automatism technique of surrealism in painting.
1.4 Aim andObjectives of the Study
The aim of the study is to create conceptual paintings by manipulation of shapes derived from female facial forms using automatism. While the objectives of the study are to:
i. explore conceptualization of female facial form using automatism;
ii. integrate organic and geometric shapes in automatist painting compositions; and
iii. Juxtapose and overlap shapes in process of facial form painting using automatism.
1.5 Research Questions
The following are the research questions for this study…
i. How can space be explored for conceptual reinterpretation of facial form?
ii. What ways can organic and geometric shape elements be manipulated in painting?
iii. How can juxtapositions and overlapping of shapes be effective in painting
1.6Justification of the Study
The researcher looks into possible ways of developing artistic creation derived from accessing subconscious mind images. The researcher‟s intent is to develop automatism as a technique. The need to search for deeper means of interpreting form propelled the research to look for inner necessity which involves the representation of images derived from the inner mind rather than the real world. More so, artist should explore the automatist space to increase conceptualization in art, with view to improve artistic creative efficiency and qualitative research methods.
1.7 Significance of the Study
The study is significant in the sense that it purports to kindle pre existing wealth of surrealism‟s automatism technique, as it will inspire artists to look further in line with subconscious mind for artistic creation. The study explores experimental creation, which will serve as thrust for both upcoming and old artists who find exploration of facial forms using shapes an avenue for research on subconscious creation that sees art and psychology as related sources of creative inspiration.
1.8 Scope and Delimitation of the Study
The research scope is focused on use of geometric shapes, such as squares and triangles as element for facial modeling while, the study is delimited to exploration of female facial form in making visual creative statements.
The conceptual framework hinges on Debord(2013), premiere surrealism manifesto of 1924, launched by Andre Breton (1896-1966) in Paris, France. The manifesto is a philosophy that aims to liberate the mind by emphasizing the crucial and imaginative powers of the subconscious mind. And Partsch&Morrisons( 2004), Philosophy of self expression tagged “Inner Necessity” in relation to the works of the German artist Franz Marc(1880-1916). The framework‟s ideological inspiration serves as motivation forthe researcher‟s visual creativity, by transformation of female facial forms, into compositions of geometric planes from subconscious mind.The researcher‟s visual creations are inferred from subconscious images, derived from the inner mind rather than the real world,a departure from the idea that artists create works to imitate nature or to illustrate a literary theme or human emotions
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