fri 22/01/2021

Visual Arts Interviews

An Open Book: Chantal Joffe

Fisun Güner

Huge canvases, bold, expressive brushwork and a full-bodied, vibrant palette. Chantal Joffe’s figurative paintings are certainly striking and seductive. Citing American painter Alice Neel and American photographer Diane Arbus as two abiding influences, Joffe’s portraits are predominantly of women and children who often convey a sense of awkwardness and social unease.

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An Open Book: Bruce McCall

Marianka Swain

Polo played in surplus First World War tanks; zeppelin-shooting as a gentlemanly leisure pursuit; the mighty vessel RMS Tyrannic, proud host of the Grand Ballroom Chariot Race and so safe "that she carries no insurance". These are just some of Canadian satirical writer and artist Bruce McCall’s ingenious retro-futurist creations.

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An Open Book: Conrad Shawcross

Florence Hallett

From complex machines, whirring busily but with no useful function, to structures that allude to the fundamental building blocks of the universe, Conrad Shawcross (born 1977) uses sculpture to explore the big ideas of philosophy and science. A graduate of the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art and the Slade School of Art, he bacame the youngest living Royal Academician in 2013. This year – punctuated by a series of prestigious public sculptures – has been his busiest yet.

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An Open Book: Quentin Blake

Fisun Güner

Quentin Blake, illustrator, cartoonist and children’s author, has, to date, illustrated over 300 books. He is most famously associated with Roald Dahl, but he’s worked with a number of children’s writers, most recently David Walliams, illustrating the actor's debut novel The Boy in the Dress. He is a patron of The Big Draw which aims to get people of all ages drawing throughout the UK, and of The Nightingale Project, a charity that puts art into hospitals.

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10 Questions for Artist Marcus Coates

Thomas H Green

Marcus Coates (b. 1968) is an artist who specialises in projects that involve the natural world. Graduating from the Royal Academy School in the early Nineties, by the millennium he was attracting attention for filmed art events that were both eccentric and thought-provoking.

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10 Questions for Artist Yinka Shonibare MBE

Mark Sheerin

Yinka Shonibare MBE makes work from a less entrenched position than his many decorations suggest. This Member of the British Empire (he adopted the initials as part of his name after receiving the honour in 2005) is naturally also a Royal Academician, an Honorary Fellow of Goldsmiths, and has an honorary doctorate from the RCA.

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10 Questions for Artist Michael Landy

Fisun Güner

Much of Michael Landy’s work concerns destruction or decay. The British artist, who recently turned 50 and is part of the YBA generation, came to prominence in 2001 with the Artangel commission Break Down, which saw all his worldly possessions destroyed in an industrial shredder. His next project saw him scale right down, surprising everyone with an exhibition of beautifully executed drawings of weeds.

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Interview: Artist Richard Wentworth

Mark Hudson

Richard Wentworth is the eminence not-so-grise of British contemporary art.

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Exposed: The Late Flowering of Ana Tzarev

Jasper Rees

“It was a beautiful sunny day and we were just doing our work. All of a sudden the double doors opened of this gorgeous school on the waterfront, built by Austro-Hungarians in the Gothic style.” Ana Tzarev remembers as if it was yesterday the moment in 1947 when she received her first review as an artist. She was 10. A drawing of hers was on display on the classroom noticeboard, depicting the way in which subtle variegations of light and shade played on three differently shaped vases.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Director Ken Russell, 1927-2011

Jasper Rees

In 2006 the thatched house in Lymington on the Hampshire coast which had been the home of Ken Russell (b 1927) for 30 years burned down. All of the director’s original film scripts, including Women in Love, The Devils and Tommy, were destroyed. So was the bulk of the music collection which inspired him to make his groundbreaking films about composers in the 1960s.

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