Artistry Behind the Scenes: Special Techniques and Medium
June 18, 2020
Have you ever wondered How the heck did they do that when looking at an artwork?
Imagine the stroke that runs over the canvas, the ink that seeps through, an edge that has been shaped, carved or forged, or the delicacy, boldness, and agility manifested through the process of making. We wouldn't be so enticed by the piece if we haven't wondered about the special approaches taken by the artist. It is the end visual that triggers us, but the technique is what brings life into the art.
In this special editorial, we invite you to roam around our virtual TOAF59 landscape and look at some of the works by our 300+ participating artists. It is our first time running completely digital this year, so no matter rain or shine, we'll be here. Just check your Wi-Fi.
Piece by Piece
'Floral large bowl', Eiko Maeda, Porcelain, 2019, 20 x 9 cm
This floral bowl's pattern is not hand-drawn. In fact, the organic shapes that run along the curve of the bowl demonstrate a traditional ceramic technique called nerikomi, in which various patterns are made by using coloured clay. Each pattern is uniquely crafted, then pieced together to form a patterned sheet. The sheet is then placed over molds to create the pieces. Eiko Maeda emphasizes the above piece with translucent porcelain clay, revealing its true colour and modest ceramic beauty under the light.
When it Shines
'Supportive Maple Tree', Nicola Woods, Ink jet print on transparent film, aluminum leaf mounted on wood, 2020, 20.32 x 20.32 x 0.31 cm
By layering the image over a metal leaf, Nicola Woods emulates the light shimmering through a tree canopy, or the glow of sunshine through a leaf. Nicola uses historical photographic techniques such as daguerreotypes and ambrotypes in her works, where a positive image or a negative image (where light areas appear dark) is backed by a material. In the above work, the aluminum leaf renders a gleaming texture to give a kind of illumination to the sidewalk support trees, with Abbey's Goal rainbow ribbons tied around them, that show support and solidarity for frontline workers and the community during the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Take a Close-up
'A bed of moss', Kylie Sandford, Oil on canvas, 2019, 76.5 x 76.5 x 4 cm
Giant landscapes are awe-inspiring, but there is also beauty in nature through close-ups that hint at its meditative process. From intricate colour patches to the meticulous illustration of shadow and light, Kylie Sandford's realistic painting approach glides between realism and impressionism. It is easy to get lost in her dots and lines of colours, carefully juxtaposed to show vibrancy and texture. Glazing with transparent colour layers, Kylie creates depth in the painting as she captures the spatial harmony of imbricated leaves and mosses.
Hot Wax, Paper and Hand
'Untitled', David Brown, Encaustic Monotype on Paper, Unframed, 2020, 20.5 x 28 x 0.2 cm
There aren't many works that take printmaking to its traditional and direct application of an interesting malleable medium. This Encaustic Monotype is a handmade print. As pigmented wax is slowly melted on a heated metal surface, the fluid wax is transferred to a sheet of absorbent printmaking paper. It is an interplay between the artist's intention and an added element of chance that results from hot wax on paper, exhibiting a complexity from the mixing of simple ingredients.
'Zehn Millionen Mark 2 September 1923.01', Heather J. A. Thomson, 7 Layer Photo-Lithograph with chine collé, 2018, 38.1 x 38.1 x 0.2 cm
The Papiermark was used by people during inflation. Heather J. A. Thomson's work not only captures the historical meaning and concept of currency, but her method of making also addresses the physicality and the artistry of banknotes. Thomson believes the banknotes are objects with stories to tell. She uses a multilayered approach to create Papiermark pieces that involve seven or more photo-lithography layers. The print above features two overlapping blend rolls with rich colours.
These works are available at TOAF59!
Get to know our 300+ participating artists, enjoy virtual events from July 2-12, and browse our curated collections! TOAF is proud to celebrate the 59th anniversary of Canada's longest-running contemporary art fair in a digital format this year.