Influencers From Precisionism To Vorticism
Precisionism was a movement that started to gather pace in the 1920’s influenced by Futurism and Cubism as well as its strong connections to Art Deco. One of its pioneers was Charles Sheeler, an artist whose work I much admire. Sheeler actually initially was a commercial photographer who focused on architecture and it is this form and structure in his work, which attracted my attention. He was actually commissioned by Ford and his industrial landscapes interest me in their use of line, colour, light and shade, approaches that I have used in some of my works, ‘Light into the Dark’ for example. I am also very keen on the work of his contemporary and fellow precisionist Charles Demuth whose work I also greatly admire.
The connection and my fascination with these groups of artists, from Precision artists through to the Futurists and Vorticist’s, led me to another favourite artist, Percy Wyndham Lewis. As a student I chose to focus on his painting of T.S.Eliot in 1915 and even though, confusingly this portrait was rejected from the Royal Academy’s 1938 exhibition, I was taken by its simplicity and intensity. One feels the softness of the chair and fabrics and yet Wyndham Lewis’s bold lines, so typical of his later work are so clear and sharp that although one knows T.S.Eliot is in a fabric suit he could almost be in shiny grey metal.
My interest in portraiture also led me to Egon Schiele, one of the most important figurative painters of the 20th Century . He created over 3,000 drawings and over 300 paintings. As an Expressionist it is no surprise that it is the emotion in his work which is always so uniquely striking, one’s not sure if some of his work is beautiful or shockingly grotesque. Not that Schiele cared, his work was unapologetic in its methods and subject matter, keen to shock the art world. Again the bold lines and vibrant colours force you to look, to think and for me Schiele is definitely an artist whose work cannot be ignored by anyone who sees it. Schiele’s work is so unlike other artist’s work, refreshing and stimulating, his portraits make you reassess ‘just what is beauty?’