Instructor Professor Michael Coblyn
|Work on the accent, it will enliven the whole. (Pierre Bonnard)
Narrative Painting = A Narrative is a story that is created in a constructive form that describes a sequence of fictional or non-fictional events. It derives from the Latin verb narrare, which means "to recount" and is related to the adjective gnarus, meaning "knowing" or "skilled". The representation in art, by form and content, of an event or story. Whether a literal story, event, or subject matter—or a more abstract relationship between colors, forms and materials—narrative in visual art applies as much to the work as it does to the viewer's "story" of what they see and experience.
Tableaux = A static depiction or graphic description of a staged event.
Metaphor = A relationship between disparate visual or verbal sources where one kind of object, idea, or image is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them. Artists use metaphor to bridge differences between seemingly dissimilar images and ideas.
Appropriation = The act of borrowing imagery or forms to create something new.
Tableau vivant (plural: tableaux vivants) is French for "living picture." The term describes a striking group of suitably costumed actors or artist's models, carefully posed and often theatrically lit. Throughout the duration of the display, the people shown do not speak or move. The approach thus marries the art forms of the stage with those of painting/photography, and as such it has been of interest to modern photographers. The most recent hey-day of the tableau vivant was the 19th century with virtually nude tableau vivants or "poses plastiques" providing a form of erotic entertainment.
Philosophy of the Course
The need to tell a story is central to cultural longevity and expression. What exactly, in the context of images, is a "story?" In this course we will consider poetic and personal narratives, allegories, and coded narratives, as well as the relation between narrative and representation.
Some of the artists we will be looking at within the domain of narrative art are, Mark Tansey, Edward Hopper, Balthus, Carrie Mae Weems, Eric Fischl and Hughie Lee-Smith to name but a few. Narrative Art, has played an important role in defining what constitutes Post Modernist and contemporary trends in painting. Artists such as Balthus, Mark Tansey, Eric Fischl and Robert Longo have successfully used the compositional device of multiple picture planes to create narrative tableaux. What these artists have in common is that they do extensive research when searching for sources for imagery. In terms of source imagery, they look for the ordinary, the bizarre and the unusual.
Technical explorations will include alIa prima, glazing and tonal ground painting. Drawing will play an integral role in all of the work done in this class and a thorough understanding of design is also a prerequisite (students in this course should have completed the entire 20 credit Foundations Program).
There are 4 primary paintings required in this course, each dealing with a seperate approach to narrative painting:
Assignment # 1: Transcription
To gain an understanding of the context of narrative painting as it relates to contemporary art practice. While this is a studio course in which we will learn new techniques, the primary focus will be on the content of the art works created.