I have started on this assignment looking at a few artists whose work and ideas I have some affinity with. I intend to pursue a few visual ideas from my last assignment, considering the urban landscape and the figure and hopefully develop ideas from a brief trip to London where should be doing some sketching and taking photos.


Chowhurry, a practicing doctor but also studied in a drawing class at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts for many years. Working often from the figure and urban landscapes, he is not a slave to the subject but uses it as a point of departure and creates something out of his own vision. While initially working from observation, Chowhurry often completes his paintings months later in his studio. He takes lots of photos of urban environments, the textured layers of old billboards, sides of buses etc and while his paintings are different or separate from his photos, they reflect the rich textures and layered forms of urban life.


Teaches at PAFA, was heavily influenced by the Old Masters. Primarily interested in
the figure, by it’s self or placed in semi abstract landscapes or other environments.
Again, often starting from observation but taking the images into a more imaginative
realm. Film and music are also a source for ideas. He talks about taking big
risks and making messes and being in dialogue with the work.


A contemporary American painter whose work sits within the French tradition
premier coup meaning, ‘all at once’. He generally, trys to complete a painting in
one stretch and as a result the work has much vitality. A lot of gestural marks
coupled with larger, calmer areas of bright colour. His work is very much looking
at the visible world but he is not imitating or copying its appearance. From Brewster’s artist statement on his website he says, ‘the evolution of my artistic approach has been a constant destruction and rebuilding of infrastructures drawing more and more into realms of emotion, mood and poetry detached from naturalistic representation and surface appearance’.


This is a Youtube video I watched recently from an exhibition of the same name held at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, April, 2014 curated by Scott Noel. It show-cased the work of four generations working in the lineage of observational painting from Dickenson to recent graduates. Noel stated at the time, ‘The hope is that the show makes a convincing case, that a space is preserved in contemporary art for just this practice – this search for poetry in a direct and unmediated experience of looking’.

All the work revealed a mastery of the medium and the ability to communicate with the language of paint. Most of the artists work directly from observation or nature and memory/imagination, but not exclusively.There were a few artists, working within the figurative tradition not included in the exhibition such as Vincent Desiderio and Justine Mortimor as they draw more heavily on historical, photo and video sources. Someone from the OCA Fine Art Facebook page mentioned Desiderio who has a few videos up on Youtube. Haven’t had time to explore yet but seems worth bookmarking.

Below, are a few works by other artists relating to the current themes that are an interesting point of reference.


Developed as a result of a few days in London exploring the urban environment and the figure in the environment as a source of visual interest and inspiration for ideas for work. Went to Tate Britain with intentions of seeing the Hockney show but thwarted by the mass of people who booked ahead of me. Nearest I got was seeing a publication, a huge book, an edition of maybe only 10 which included most of his work over the decades. Got to meet another Israeli couple in the coffee bar who came over for the exhibition and Eric Clapton’s final tour! Also went to the Ben Uri gallery and saw some work by German Immigrant artists. Thinking on about displacement, identity, further notes in the sketchbook.


Image 1: Untitled, Mashiul Chowdhury
Image 2: Form in Forest, Martin Campos
Image 3: Figure in Landscape, Martin Campos
Image 4: Voltage Range Overlap, David Brewster
Image 5: Powerlines, David Brewster
Image 6: Italy, Stuart Shils
Image 7: Recent Oil, Stuart Shils
Image 8: Swing Landscape, Stuart Davis
Image 9: Townsquare, Stuart Davis
Image 10: Community, Jacob Lawrence
Image 11: Jamaica,NY, Jacob Lawrence
Image 12: City Landscape, Ken Tutjamnong
Image 13: City Landscape, Ken Tutjamnong
Image 14: Things Behind the Pines, Ken Kewley
Image 15: Hyperallergic, Sangram Majumdar
Image 16: Figures, Nicolas De Staël
Image 17: Les Muscians, Nicolas De Staël
Image 18: Self Portrait, Carolyn Pyfrom
Image 19: Life Study, Miles Richmond
Image 20: Grand Central Station, Jenifer Pochinski
Image 21: In the Field, Janice Nowinski

Mashiul Chowdhury, Learning from the Figure
Martin Campos, Painting the Human Trace
KenTutjamnong, The Love of Painting


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