Free Display

In the Studio

Investigate the processes artists use to make artworks, and how our responses are integral to the piece

© Lee Mawdsley

12 rooms in In the Studio

Gothic Landscape

Lee Krasner, Gothic Landscape  1961

Although this is an abstract painting, the thick vertical lines that dominate its centre can be seen as trees, with thick knotted roots at their base. It was probably this that led Krasner to call the painting Gothic Landscape, several years after completing it. Krasner was married to the artist Jackson Pollock. Gothic Landscape was made in the years following his death from a car crash in 1956. It belongs to a series of large canvases whose violent and expressive gestural brushstrokes can be read as a reflection of her grief.

Gallery label, August 2019

© ARS, NY and DACS, London 2020

License this image

1/12
highlights in In the Studio

Seated Woman with Small Dog

Meraud Guevara, Seated Woman with Small Dog  c.1939

This is one of a number of precise and realistic paintings of women by Meraud Guevara that share a disquieting atmosphere. The sitter wholly dominates the steep angled space, which could not contain her if she stood. A sense of mystery is suggested by the imaginary view (placing the room high above the landscape), the open doorway behind, and the inexplicable, but deliberate, flash of orange beside the door.

Gallery label, October 2016

© Estate of Meraud Guevara

License this image

2/12
highlights in In the Studio

Meditation (with open eyes)

Atul Dodiya, Meditation (with open eyes)  2011

Atul Dodiya’s Meditation (with open eyes) pays tribute to artists and cultural figures who have inspired him. Dodiya has brought together a range of portraits and objects which relate to his upbringing and artistic development. They are arranged in glass cabinets that resemble museum showcases. But they also recall personal displays of souvenirs and sentimental items that are common in Indian homes. The cabinets also act as shrines, celebrating the lives of these inspirational figures. The objects range from the sacred to the everyday. Copies of artworks by other artists as well as those made by Dodiya sit next to photographs and miniature figurines, including incarnations of the Hindu god Vishnu. The cracked surface reminded Dodiya of the damaged landscape of his native state of Gujarat in India, where a major earthquake had just taken place.

Gallery label, August 2020

© Atul Dodiya

License this image

3/12
highlights in In the Studio

Spiral Movement

Mary Martin, Spiral Movement  1951

Martin said that abstract painting had led to a desire to use three-dimensional materials. This work follows a strict mathematical rule, the Golden Section. It dictates the size of different elements, with the aim of creating the perfect composition. Writing about this work, Martin explained, 'I took a simple element (in this case a parallelepiped – a solid figure whose faces are six parallelograms) and subjected it to a system of changes, not knowing what would happen to it…. I think all my work has been based on this kind of curiosity.'

Gallery label, August 2020

© Estate of Mary Martin

License this image

4/12
highlights in In the Studio

The Three Dancers

Pablo Picasso, The Three Dancers  1925

With its emphasis on violence and sex, The Three Dancers was greatly admired by the surrealists. It started off as a realistic representation of ballet dancers rehearsing. While Picasso was working on it his old friend Ramon Pichot died. Twenty years earlier, Pichot and another friend, Carlos Casagemas, fell in love with the same woman, Germaine Gargallo. Casagemas took his own life, having first shot at Gargallo. Recalling these events transformed Picasso’s approach. The distorted angular figures, harsh colours and thickly worked paint surfaces seem to express violent emotions.

Gallery label, April 2019

© Succession Picasso/DACS 2020

License this image

5/12
highlights in In the Studio

Chessboard, Large Version (Original Painted Plaster)

Germaine Richier, Chessboard, Large Version (Original Painted Plaster)  1959

These five figures represent the core pieces in a game of chess: the King, Queen, Knight, Castle and Bishop. The game stages a war in which the aim is to attack and capture the opponent's pieces. Richier’s figures are unlike the elegant designs of traditional chessmen. Instead they are grotesque hybrid figures, part human, part animal. Richier used their distorted forms to reflect the anxieties and despair of Europe after the Second World War. ‘It seems to me that in violent works there is just as much sensibility as in poetic ones’, she said. ‘There can be just as much wisdom in violence as in gentleness’.

Gallery label, June 2020

© The estate of Germaine Richier

License this image

6/12
highlights in In the Studio

Lobster Telephone

Salvador Dalí, Lobster Telephone  1936

Lobster Telephone is an unexpected combination of objects. Dalí believed bringing them together could reveal secret desires. For him, both lobsters and telephones were connected with sex. This work is a classic example of a surrealist object. The surrealists promoted the idea that art could reflect the mysteries of the unconscious mind.

Gallery label, August 2020

© Salvador Dali, Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation/DACS, London 2020

License this image

8/12
highlights in In the Studio

Perspex Group on Orange (B)

Mary Martin, Perspex Group on Orange (B)  1969

This is one of a series of five works that Martin entitled Perspex Group on Orange. For each one she arranged seven pieces of Perspex in a different configuration, assembling them against a large orange square of the same material. The sizes of the different pieces are based on the Fibonacci series – a mathematical sequence in which each successive number is generated by adding together the two previous numbers. ‘One commences with a single cell, or unit, a logical process of growth is applied and the whole, or the effect, is unforeseen until the work is complete’, Martin explained.

Gallery label, January 2019

© Estate of Mary Martin

License this image

9/12
highlights in In the Studio

Water-Lilies

Claude Monet, Water-Lilies  after 1916

For Monet, his garden was an ‘outside studio’. At his home in Giverny, near Paris, he created a Japanese-style water garden. Water-lilies floating on this pond became the main subjects of his later paintings. Filling the canvas, the pond becomes a world in itself. Water-lilies gives us a sense of being immersed in nature. Monet was fascinated with light and its changing effects on the natural environment. Here his focus on the light hitting the water brings his painting closer to abstraction.

Gallery label, June 2020

Courtesy National Gallery, London 2003. Photo:Tate

License this image

10/12
highlights in In the Studio

Ishi’s Light

Anish Kapoor, Ishi’s Light  2003

The distortions created by the reflective surfaces of this sculpture change our sense of space. Kapoor wanted to create the feeling of being immersed in an artwork. He named the work after his son Ishan. But he was also inspired by his experience of an abstract painting - Anna’s Light 1968 - by Barnett Newman. Kapoor wrote of it: ‘It completely surrounds and engulfs you. It astounded me that art could step out of narrative so completely; that art could seem to have nothing to say, and yet engage all the truly important things that there are to say. Of course, in talking about Newman I’m talking about myself.’

Gallery label, June 2020

© Anish Kapoor

License this image

11/12
highlights in In the Studio

Untitled (Bacchus)

Cy Twombly, Untitled (Bacchus)  2008

© Cy Twombly Foundation

License this image

12/12
highlights in In the Studio

Highlights

Gothic Landscape
Lee Krasner Gothic Landscape 1961
Seated Woman with Small Dog
Meraud Guevara Seated Woman with Small Dog c.1939
Meditation (with open eyes)
Atul Dodiya Meditation (with open eyes) 2011
Spiral Movement
Mary Martin Spiral Movement 1951

You've viewed 4/12 highlights

You've viewed 12/12 highlights