Here to tear it up.

In this post I am going to research artists whose work revolves around painting images of the face. The main thing I will be looking for is creative artists who express the face in an abstract way. Hopefully inspiration will strike me along the way!

The first artist I will be looking at is Philip Gurrey. Philip Gurrey was born in 1984 in York, and he is relatively new on the scene with his first exhibitions being in 2007.  Philips art revolves around him painting the faces of people in strange but very creative ways. This is what he had to say about his work: “I seek to explore the many facets of the human condition through face and figure in paint; pushing away from reality and an illustrative way of working into the oil paints own unique visceral language.” The interview was taken from

Here is some of his work: 

What I like most about Philip Gurrey’s work is how he paints the eyes differently, and the way he makes them stand out the most in his picture. He does this is a way to try and express multiple personalities of a person in one face. Sometimes he will also take two notable famous or noble people from the past, and merge their features to create these sometimes shocking, but innovative paintings.

The second artist I will be researching is Pablo Picasso. Picasso was a huge name in 20th century art, and this is proven by the fact that I know who he is! He was born on the 25th of October 1881 in Italy, but he spent most of his life in France. I will be looking at the cubism era of his art, as these are his paintings of the face that I liked the most.

Picasso developed the style of cube painting along with Georges Braque in around 1909. What the artists did was find objects that interested them, and then took them apart and started look at the shapes of the objects, and seeing how they could use them in their art. They then put the shapes back together in weird and abstract ways. Wikipedia says this about cubist art: “In cubist artworks, objects are broken up, analyzed, and re-assembled in an abstracted form—instead of depicting objects from one viewpoint, the artist depicts the subject from a multitude of viewpoints to represent the subject in a greater context. Often the surfaces intersect at seemingly random angles, removing a coherent sense of depth. The background and object planes interpenetrate one another to create the shallow ambiguous space, one of cubism’s distinct characteristics.” Taken from: . Here is a cubist painting that Picasso painted:

This is a painting of three musicians (I think!), and I really enjoyed it. The way he has portrayed the faces really made me laugh, although I’m not sure if the painting was intended to be humorous. I have taken some inspiration from this work as it gave me the idea to cut up my image and piece it back together in an abstract way.

The third artist I am going to research is Jim Shaw. Jim Shaw is an American artist that lives in Los Angeles, but was born in M.I Midlands, and is represented by the Simon Lee Gallery, located in London. In his paintings he likes to take the human face and distort it, like this:

A common theme in his portraits of the face is disrupting it by cutting  the face into squares or rectangles and to move it all around so that it is jumbled. I like this idea, and I have definitely drawn inspiration from it. Sometimes he does it a large amount so that one half of the face will be barely recognisable, and sometimes he will just simply move an eye. I think that in my final piece, I will cut my image into rectangles and place it back together like this. Another idea is to take rectangles from multiple different pictures and place them together.


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