Joseph Mallord William Turner, 'Sunset: Study for 'Flint Castle, on the Welsh Coast'' circa 1830

Joseph Mallord William Turner
Sunset: Study for 'Flint Castle, on the Welsh Coast' circa 1830
Watercolour on paper
support: 274 x 375 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

The Clore Gallery at Tate Britain re-opens with new displays of painting and watercolours by Turner and Constable. To coincide with this the American artist Vija Celmins was invited to make a selection of works on paper by Turner. In the adjoining gallery the artist has also selected four drawings and related prints of her own from the ARTIST ROOMS collection (open until April 2013). Here she talks about how she has been influenced by Turner’s practice. You can see the similar subject matter in the two images below. What do you think?

Joseph Mallord William Turner, 'Study of Sea' circa 1820-30

Joseph Mallord William Turner
Study of Sea circa 1820-30
Watercolour on paper
support: 143 x 217 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

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Vija Celmins, 'Ocean Surface Wood Engraving 2000' 2000

Vija Celmins
Ocean Surface Wood Engraving 2000 2000
Wood engraving on Zerkall paper
image: 207 x 257 mm
ARTIST ROOMS Acquired jointly with the National Galleries of Scotland through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008© Vija Celmins

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We do share, I think, a love for the material we use. Turner leaves the mercurial attributes of watercolour as evidence, and I push the natural density of charcoal, graphite, and mezzotint, so both of us acknowledge the physicality of the material as part of our work. I think we also both like wildness - the wilderness, the impossible image to capture and wrestle onto that small piece of paper. We are also not confessional artists looking to express ourselves but are more observers and describers of the world outside.