3D or 2D: maybe all pictures are things too….

Dark stick composition

Elaine Bolt’s ‘dark stick composition’ on show at James Hockey Gallery, Farnham, 31Aug-7Sep2012

Elaine Bolt makes these great arrangements of 3D objects that are like a still life painting: beautifully composed, gestural, tonal, both abstracted and full of narrative.

These started me thinking about the difference between pictures and objects, 2D and 3D. Of course, a still life starts with objects; a painting of them adds layers of attention from the artist; a photograph selects and amplifies a moment in time.
image of Norman Bryson book 'Looking at the overlooked'
Norman Bryson’s essays on still life, Looking at the Overlooked talks about this, making the case for the importance of still-life in art history.

‘The Moon’, 1978-1980, oil on wood, at Howard Hodgkin

Elaine’s work reminds me of one of my favourite Howard Hodgkin paintings, The Moon, where he has stuck the top of a stool onto the picture. You can still see the wood & the chamfer.

Nancy Holt‘s an example of a conceptual artist always using objects. Maybe Elaine’s arrangement is, like Bryson’s view of still-life, a way to introduce the domestic scale into conceptual art?

Or maybe in the new world where we see everything on screens, we need a new theory where pictures are objects too? Part of the great classification breakdown that’s come post modernism?

image of sky reflected on the ground

Nancy Holt, detail of Hydra’s Head, concrete, water, earth, 1974, Niagara Riverbank, Artpark, Lewiston New York.


One response to “3D or 2D: maybe all pictures are things too….

  1. Thanks for your lovely comments about my work here Carys. I’m very flattered. It’s really interesting to think about the pieces in terms of the relationship between 2d and 3d. I certainly feel that the idea of the still life is an influence on my work. Something to ponder on further I think. Best wishes, Elaine


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