Artist comparison 500 words

Louise Bourgeois and Emma Talbot:

When I visited Emma Talbot’s work at the Drawing Room, London I was very intrigued by how her personal life became such a big part of her practice. I found it extremely useful listening to her talk about her work.

I first took an interest into Louise Bourgeois’s work after researching her for part 1 of this course. To begin with, I focused my attention on her use of fluid media and then I started to form an interest into her strong family links and her work. It seemed that the attraction of these two artists, of personal experiences, was something that would be an underlying theme.

Louise Bourgeois: “I transform hate into love”. My understanding of Bourgeois’ work is that she poured a range of emotions into everything that she made, in response to her personal experiences throughout her life. Her work was a type of therapy for herself, and a lot of her emotional drive to create art was fuelled by aggression. Her mother and father were key figures in her artwork for many years. Bourgeois would not draw figures of her mother and father but use concepts that she had thought of to portray their presence in her work. For example, ‘Spider’ was an amalgamation of demonstrating the interests of her mother, with the idea of predator and protector. The “Spider” would not be a one simple concept but an inclusion of many emotions that she felt towards her mother. I personally feel that ‘Spider’ was probably a reflection of her anxieties and fears that was also a theme that ran through her work. I feel that Bourgeois is a very complicated, fascinating artist, one that I would like to take further, perhaps into level 2, to understand her practice and ideas on a deeper level.

Spider 1994 by Louise Bourgeois 1911-2010

Emma Talbot’s work was also very much a product of understanding her personal trauma that she went through. I was drawn to her 3D approach to drawing as this was something that I am keen to challenge. Talbot uses something that I would label as ‘mindfulness drawing’ as a starting point for her work, she draws from imagination. She draws whatever comes to her, some work out and some don’t but she doesn’t get ‘hung up’ on the perfection of drawing. Talbot produces her final drawings or sculptures on fabric’s like silk as she does not like the heaviness of paper and also because she is unable to erase it, any mistakes she makes become part of the work, a reflection of life. She wants the work to encompass the space that it is installed in. Once the viewer enters, they become part of that story. This is something that I was particularly keen to portray in my final outcome. 


Both of these artists resonate with themes that I have just begun touching upon as I work through my own ideas in my practice and becoming a more conceptual thinker as an artist. 

For my final reflection:

“I need to make things. The physical interaction with the medium has a curative effect. I need the physical acting out. I need to have these objects exist in relation to my body.” – this quote by Louise Bourgeois connects with the way I feel about making art. I enjoy the physical interaction of a piece. The laborious task of the drawing I aimed to complete would have encompassed many emotions within the drawing itself whilst also using it as a meditation – making sense of the world around me and experiences that I have gone through. The idea that life was related to this work was so important. 

I wanted my final piece to reflect my own emotions during the laborious task I took on.

Art saved her life and it was a form of therapy. I just completely see myself in bourgeois but perhaps I am not brave enough to be as true to myself as she was.

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