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Work of the Week

Tim Walker

The Wick - Tim Walker, Guinevere van Seenus, 2006

Discover Tim Walker, Guinevere van Seenus, 2006

Tim Walker, Guinevere van Seenus, 2006

Known for his fantastical photographs and narrative-driven tableaux inspired by fairy tales and the uncanny, Tim Walker is one of Britain’s greatest living photographers. After studying photography at Exeter College of Art, he honed his craft as Richard Avedon’s photographic assistant in New York. Since then his extraordinary fashion photographs featuring imaginative sets and props have graced the pages of Vogue, Vanity Fair and Another. He’s also published seven books and enjoyed solo exhibitions around the world, among them the V&A’s 2019 blockbuster Wonderful Things. This photograph from 2006 shows the American model Guinevere Van Seenus lying on top of 20 mattresses in a Vivienne Westwood gown in a stately bedroom at Glemham Hall in Suffolk. Typical of Walker’s eccentric style, it prompts the viewer to question the story behind the frame. Who is she? And why is she there?

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The Wick - © 2016 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Discover Panel 58 from Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series

Between 1910 and 1970, more than six million African Americans moved from the rural South to the cities of the North, West and Midwest, chief among them Chicago, New York and St. Louis. This mass exodus, known as the Great Migration, dramatically altered the nation’s profile. In 1941, the American painter Jacob Lawrence charted this demographic shift in his Migration Series, comprising 60 small tempera paintings. Titled In the North the Negro had better educational facilities, panel 58 depicts three girls in bright dresses writing numbers on a large chalkboard. This picture of children learning in the North contrasts sharply with Lawrence’s depiction of childhood labour in the South. In panel 24, for instance, he shows four bare-chested children working in cotton fields under the sun.
The Wick - Discover Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Bathers, 1923/27

Discover Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Bathers, 1923/27

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was one of the founding members of Die Brücker, an artist group that flourished in Germany before World War I. Inspired by the works of earlier German artists like Albrecht Dürer and those of the French avant-garde, Kirchner is best known for his portraits, landscapes and city scenes featuring lively brushwork, stylised forms and vivid colours. 
In the 1920s, Kirchner moved from Germany to Switzerland. The Alps surrounding his new home in Davos provided a fruitful source of inspiration. This large painting features three nude bathers against a peaceful mountainous backdrop. The rosy-hued mountains stand in striking contrast to the dark green trees and ochre-coloured figures in the foreground. Executed between 1923 and 1927, Bathers is a brilliant example of Kirchner’s desire to paint ‘the appearance of things, not their objective correctness.’ 
The Wick - Robert Motherwell, Untitled, 1990

Discover Robert Motherwell, Untitled, 1990

One of the founders and principal exponents of Abstract Expressionism, Robert Motherwell was one of the finest American painters of the 20th century. Over the course of his 50-year career, he produced a hugely varied yet decidedly abstract output, spanning prints, lithographs, collages and paintings. He also lectured in prestigious colleges in North America and founded and edited ‘The Documents of Modern Art’ series, which published the writings of great European modernists, such as Kandinsky, Mondrian and Picasso.

Born in Aberdeen, Washington, in 1915, Motherwell studied philosophy at undergraduate and graduate level, before focusing on painting in the 1940s. Inspired by the Surrealist theory of psychic automatism, he saw his painting practice as an experimentation in visualising his feelings. In this untitled composition from 1990, Motherwell’s automatic gestures and wondering brushstrokes are executed in his signature palette of black, white, ochre and dusky pink. ‘I belong to a family of ‘black’ painters and earth colour painters in masses, which would include Manet and Goya and Matisse,’ he once said. Catch it while you can at Bernard Jacobson Gallery in Mayfair.
The Wick - Discover Neil Stokoe, Floating Figure II, 1970

Discover Neil Stokoe, Floating Figure II, 1970

Despite remaining relatively little-known outside of the United Kingdom, the painter Neil Stokoe is considered an important contributor to the British Modern art movement of the 1950s and 60s. His work — mostly portraits of people, landscapes and intriguing situations that are difficult to decipher — has often been compared stylistically to that of his contemporaries, notably David Hockney and Francis Bacon. But his profound interest in historic masters like Velazquez, Rembrandt and Titian has also shaped his development as a painter.

With its cool blue-green tones and serene nude bather, Floating Figure II (1970) evokes the season’s light, airy mood and the exhilaration of a refreshing dip in deep cool water. Catch it while you can at London’s Saatchi Yates gallery, where it is currently on view as part of their summer Bathers exhibition.
The Wick - Ugo Rondinone, Burn Shine Fly, 2022

Discover Ugo Rondinone, Burn Shine Fly, 2022

At last year’s Venice Biennale, the Swiss-born, New York-based artist Ugo Rondinone presented his highly anticipated Burn Shine Fly exhibition in the 13th century Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista church. One of the most ambitious installations on display comprised seven life-size flying figures, suspended from the ceiling and camouflaged as clouds. Six were moulded on trapeze artists; one on the 20-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer. ‘When I see him moving on the court, I see a man who can fly by catching the ball so I thought it was a good fit to [make him into] a flying person,’ said Rondinone of his decision to include Federer in the installation.

Federer secretly modelled for the work while out of action due to injury. During the creative process, the tennis star was suspended from the ceiling in a harness in nothing but his underwear, his face, hands and feet covered in silicone. His participation in the installation was revealed to the public for the first time during the Biennale. For Federer it was a physically challenging but rewarding experience. ‘This is something exciting in itself as it takes you out of your normal world and it sort of throws you into another world,’ he said. ‘But in art, I’m a little bit new and I’ve still got so much to learn.’ Portrait of a Champion, a short film produced by NBCUniversal in partnership with Credit Suisse, follows Federer’s transformation into Rondinone’s flying figure known as Cloud Six. It is now available to watch on Credit-suisse.com.
The Wick - Untitled (Sunglasses), 2021, by Michael Craig-Martin

Discover Untitled (Sunglasses), 2021

One of the leading exponents of British conceptual art, Michael Craig-Martin has probed the relationship between object, representation and language for more than four decades. He began by incorporating readymades into sculpture and rose to prominence in the early 1970s for such provocative works as An Oak Tree (1973), which consists of a glass of water on a glass ledge accompanied by a text written by him asserting that the glass of water is, in fact, an oak tree.

In the 1990s he turned to painting and developed his signature style of bold outlines demarcating flat planes of intensely vibrant colours. Despite this radical shift in approach, he continues to depict common place objects such as furniture, trainers, headphones and vegetables. The present work depicting a pair of purple sunglasses with a zingy green frame against a block blue background is once such brilliant example.
The Wick - Harold Cohen, First Athletes, Athlete Series, 1986, Copyright The Artist

Discover Harold Cohen, First Athletes, 1986

Harold Cohen is hailed as one of the founding fathers of computer art. In 1968, he moved to San Diego as a visiting professor of the University of California and encountered his first computer. In the early 1970s, he became a guest scholar in artificial intelligence at Stanford University and developed his drawing and painting computer program, AARON. Over the next four decades, Cohen produced a myriad of colourful abstract and figurative works using AI technology. Executed in 1986, First Athletes depicts a series of figures, many with their arms outstretched, balancing on balls. It has a strong sense of movement, combined with a fun cheerfulness and glorious bursts of colour. Cohen hand-coloured his drawings until the early 1990s when AARON had mastered both the human figure and colour.
The Wick - Discover Single Form (In Memory of Dag Hammarskjöld),1963, Barbara Hepworth

Discover Single Form (In Memory of Dag Hammarskjöld),1963, Barbara Hepworth

Born in 1903, Barbara Hepworth made her name creating sensuous, abstract forms that echo the natural world. From 1950 onwards, she began working in bronze and revisiting existing artworks and forms to cast them in metal. In 1964, Hepworth finished her monumental five-tonne Single Form bronze sculpture for the United Nations headquarters in New York. The sculpture, which was her largest and most prominent public commission in bronze, commemorated the death of her friend Dag Hammarskjöld, the second Secretary-General of the UN, who was killed in an air crash in 1961. Hammarskjöld was a collector of Hepworth’s works and proudly displayed her 1937–38 sandalwood sculpture Single Form in his United Nations office. Single Form (In Memory of Dag Hammarskjöld) has been displayed in a circular water feature in the United Nations Plaza since June 1964.
The Wick - Discover Hurvin Anderson, Flat Top, 2008

Discover Hurvin Anderson, Flat Top, 2008

The paintings of Hurvin Anderson, which draw on the genres of still life, landscape and portraiture, tackle such urgent themes as community, identity and Blackness within contemporary society. Born in Birmingham to Jamaican parents, Anderson has also explored his own personal relationship with his African-Caribbean heritage as well as societal notions of African-Caribbean males.

His celebrated Black Barbershop series, of which Flat Top is part, is perhaps his most famous investigations into these themes. From the late 1940s to the mid 1960s, the so-called ‘Windrush’ generation of Caribbean migrants was exiled from white churches, bars, pubs and hairdressers. In response, they established their own social clubs, hair salons and barbershops, which came to represent spaces of comfort and self-acceptance.

In Flat Top, two barbershop chairs sit at jaunty angles in front of a pink wall filled with geometric blocks of colour. Scraps of hair pepper the floor, as though the sitters have only just left the shop. In this painting, Anderson conveys both presence and absence, figuration and abstraction, masterfully capturing the disorientated and displaced cultural landscape of Caribbean immigrants.