Modern art is one of the most popular forms of art in the UK, and there are some really innovative things being done. Thanks to social media, the accessibility to modern art has increased.
The scope and variety of modern art gives artists the chance to experiment with new techniques, styles and materials and therefore create designs and projects which have never been seen before.
In this article, some UK artists who deserve to be highlighted for their work will be featured along with where you can see their work.
Born in Devon, Jake wanted to be an artist from a young age, and his work demonstrates his fascination with the Old Masters. Jake describes his work as “a process of conflict with the ambiguous space between representation and abstraction.” He has created works which invoke the style of traditional paintings of the English ruling class but has depersonalised the figures by blurring out their faces.
Jake gets his inspiration from looking at historical paintings and is influenced by artists such as Constable and holds a BA Hons degree from Falmouth University in Fine Art. His most recent exhibition was held at Unit London in June of this year and featured large-scale oil paintings.
While a student at the University of Creative Arts in Rochdale, Ana started experimenting with a material which is increasing in popularity for artists even with its primary usage being in civil engineering. Concrete Canvas was developed by two University students in 2004 and has gone on to be used around the world for projects such as erosion control and containment, with applications including channel lining, concrete remediation and bund lining.
As part of her portfolio for her final degree project, Ana used the material as a base to print onto. Concrete Canvas is a concrete filled fabric which can be formed into shape, hydrated and then left to set until it forms a hard, concrete layer.
To hydrate her pieces of Concrete Canvas, Ana submerged the material for 24 hours and then experimented with different printing styles before eventually settling on using vibrant colours which she found had the biggest impact on the material.
Of the project, Ana said: “Being passionate about textures, and eager to explore printing in a variety of surfaces Concrete Canvas was very appealing to me as it is a material that can be manipulated before being hardened, so I could explore the tactile and material side of it.
“The purpose of this project was to try to see if Concrete Canvas could be printed on to, be used for different purposes, as an art piece, wall and or floor tiles, a product to be used for interior or exterior designs in a small or large scale.”
Following the completion of the project Ana’s work was shortlisted for The Batsford Prize 2019 and showcased her work at London’s Business Design Centre earlier this year.
Exploring the relationship between cartoons and well-known brands, Michael has featured characters such as Pokémon fan favourite Pikachu. Born in Darlington but now working and living in London, his work is bright and vibrant, as is the case with a lot of modern or pop art. As well as painting Michael uses collage to build texture into his work.
“Cartoons hold a strong emotional attachment for many of us, we grow up with them and we often first learn to understand narrative through them,” Michael said back in 2015. “There’s a real visual sophistication to how they operate on such limited parameters, but on a more complicated level cartoons are used as a way to build an emotional bond with their audience to encourage its viewers to purchase merchandise.
“I use Pikachu a lot, he’s so cute and yellow. I love painting with yellow even though I’m told yellow is the worst colour to paint with as collectors don’t tend to like yellow, but I guess I’m a painter not a collector so I’m sticking with yellow.”
If you’re travelling to the US in November, Michael will be exhibiting FLAGGED at its that gallery in Elizabethtown Kentucky from the 11th–30th.
Dealing with important themes such as mortality, society’s need for growth, the conflict between good and evil and a lack of happiness, Barnaby uses a variety of materials to produce his work. Ceramics, however, are something he always seems to return to.
Quite often his pieces will be large and labour intensive, but he is able to balance this with his work as an Associate Lecturer at Central Saint Martins in London, where he has been since 2004.
Recently Barnaby has focussed his work on the Apple and its importance throughout history. This has been combined with his views on today’s society and their need for more.
Alongside a 3m tall apple tree with bone china apples, the MORE MORE MORE exhibition at David Gill Gallery, London, featured a large wrinkled green apple meant to reflect Barford’s view on the state of the country. Alongside the sculptures, the exhibition also featured drawings which utilised charcoal.