Artist Inspiration – Sherrie Levine

Artist Influence, Artist Influences, Studio, Studio 3, Summer Assessment 2018, Uncategorized
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‘After Monet’ from Meltdown (1989)

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‘After Duchamp’ from Meltdown (1989)

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‘After Kirchner’ from Meltdown (1989)

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‘After Duchamp’ from Meltdown (1989)

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Monochromes after Van Gogh Sunflowers: 1-12′ (2015)

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‘Pink SMEG Refrigerator and Renoir Nudes’ (2016)

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‘Orange SMEG Refrigerator and Renoir Nudes’ (2016)

I am particularly interested in the work of Sherrie Levine, especially in the way she uses colour as a method of reduction and quantification, used to renounce the fallacy of the male genius artist through a direct appropriation of the qualities of their works which made them so ‘original’.

Levine grew to prominence in the 1970s, as a member of the Pictures Generation. Her work operates between the realm of appropriation and plagiarism, as she examines historically-esteemed works through their replication, questioning their role as original and sacred art objects, and the political implications of these – often created by males and served at the highest level of commodity.

I am interested in her works which use block colour as a means of reducing the tones of a work down into its inherent properties. In order to create an image, one must use colour as the means of creating the image or object, and their choice of colours is often what is heralded about the work. In her ‘Meltdown’ series of works Levine “photographed reproductions of works by artists such as Marcel Duchamp, Piet Mondrian and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, scanned in the photos, and then processed them through a computer program to reduce each work to 12 pixels. These pixels were then printed using woodcut, removing any sense of brushwork, and therefore ‘master’ artistic gesture. She had reduced the works into colour, quantifying an experience of ‘beauty’ into it’s essential characteristics.

In my own work, I have also been investigating colour, and reducing an experience onto the plane of the colour field. I am very interested in the way that Levine displays her work as pure colour, alone with nothing surrounding it. I have been debating ways in which I could display my own work, and I think Levine’s approach to discovering and displaying block colour in its most overt form is something I would like to take inspiration from within my own work.

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