#11 TOAE Part 2 - Subject of Contemporary Art

I want to talk about TOAE again, in continuation of last week's entry. Last week, I was interested in talking about how the medium of art reflects and is influenced by modern society. This time, I want to focus on the subject matter of contemporary art.

Julia Gilmore, Vespa, Oil on Canvas

The subject matter of art is what the artist decides to depict in his painting, sculpture, etc. For instance still life, portraiture, landscape are a few examples of subject matter in painting. Julia Gilmore is an artist from TOAE, who specializes in still life oil paintings. Similar to the medium of art, the subject in art also have changed throughout time, and it is affected by its contemporary as well.

Shuyu Lu, The Picnic No.01, Hand embroidery on toile, 2012

I was interested in looking at textile art because I wanted to make a comparison with Camal Pirbhai's works. One of the embroidery artists of TOAE, Shuyu Lu captured my attention with her embroidery on a series of toiles. From a far, they looked like typical toile (type of decorating pattern with white background depicting a repeated pattern of pastoral themes in black, blue or dark red) with a few colourful embroidery spots. Once you take a closer look, you realize that there is something unusual about the traditional 18th century French toile de jouy. I took a picture of "The Picnic No.01", a toile with a embroidered iPad on top of various colours of iPad cases, which doesn't fit to the scene. Another aspect I noticed was an Asian baby - this is associated with the artist's Chinese background. The artist's intention was to express her observation of the coexistence of two worlds - handmade (embroidery) vs. mass production (toile), East (embroidered baby) vs. West (people in the background), and traditional (toile) vs. contemporary (iPad). Although we may not necessarily understand Shuyu Lu's piece, we can point out what the subject matter is.

Shuyu Lu, The Picnic No.05, 2012

The Picnic No.05 is another work by Shuyu Lu, portraying the contemporary influence on art. The logos of the two influential social networking websites as known as Facebook and Twitter are embroidered onto the toile. It shows that not only the contemporary technology (such as the iPad) but also the culture we are living in has a significant impact on the subject matter of art.

Julia Gilmore, Roses, Oil on canvas

However, not all artists will depict subject matter that reflects the contemporary lifestyle. Artists like Julia Gilmore concentrates on more traditional subject such as still life.

1 comment:

  1. i saw lu's embroidery work too. it was quite amusing.