The higher the artistic value of artwork is,
the more ways of interpretations it brings,
the more reaction it evokes,
the more aspects it shows to the spectator,
at the same time without losing its identity.
/ Umberto Eco /
Postmodern art gives us a wide variety of artistic expressions and styles. There is nothing like one, canonical style. Artists are allowed to derive the past artworks, combine different elements and create new qualities. Those quotations not only evoke Old Masters and old masterpieces but are also a part of artistic games of associations, where different elements all together create a new artistic reality – like the jigsaw.
The technique that takes much from postmodern culture is COLLAGE – recombining parts out of different contexts. Collage should shock, create extraordinary worlds of imagination, make the spectators think and look for the key to understand the idea and meaning. And here comes the question – what is this KEY and where can we find it?
Collage does not only repeat forms known from the past. It’s an art of creativity using recognisable elements or forms and giving them new meaning and new life. It often brings to art photos of cultural icons – works of art, monuments, touristic must-sees – all together becoming patches of new artistic patchworks, which just wait to be read by the spectator
That is exactly what artworks by Gerard Carruthers are – amazing works, bringing different inspirations to depict and comment, with a journalist’s precision and scientific eye, contemporary reality in every little detail.
|Hotel Chelsea Ghost Stories|
To create an artwork the artist uses with the highest mastery the scheme of photo-relation – common phenomenon of our everyday reality, which replaces culture of language with direct visual objects. He comments, reads, observes and researches. He sorts the events to find the essence of our times and translocates them to the reality of art. His art always talks about real people and events. Each work of art collects small stories by using different conventions and recognisable icons of culture. The spectator has to select all of the pieces presented in the artwork – the photos, clippings and texts – to find connections with new facts, places which appear only for those who concentrate and give as much attention as possible.
A sort of patchiness in Gerard Carruthers artworks could be associated with comic arts where a pop-art design could carry varied social and artistic meanings. This form and style helps the artworks to catch the attention of many different groups of spectators, not always dedicated to fine arts. Artworks become suitable to contemporary mosaic culture.
The basic compositional elements are: photos, texts from newspapers, Magazines and the internet all connected by paint.
|Venitian Book of Secret Codes|
An element of great importance is a WORD, now included in painting spheres. Its basic function is to inform. But the meaning of the signs is readable and understandable only if you know the language. What’s more the word is enriched by many associations that come to spectators’ minds while watching and analysing the artwork. There is always a space to fill with subjective points of view and personal experiences. One more word’s function to add – used in artwork, in completely new context it starts to be a part of a composition itself with esthetical side to its shapes.
There is a connection between the aesthetics of the text and function of graphic SIGN in collage art. All elements – photos, texts, reproductions of paintings – they are visual translocations of particular stories. Moreover by using brand marks, masterworks or football teams’ badges – the artist plays with conventions and brings elements of everyday reality into art by giving it other meanings.
There were many publications on using masterpieces as the elements of different artworks. They are common signs that each person can recognise and which brings the dialogue between the artist, Old Masters and the spectator to a higher level. In the Italian Punk Gothic there is a reproduction of the Mona Lisa – a cult painting and an icon of Italian renaissance art. As a part of a new composition which tells the story of stereotypical Italy of our times, she becomes a symbolical SIGN of Italy – its tradition, culture – the same as Dolce & Gabbana and AC Milan. Now she is much more like a product than an artwork.
|Italian Punk Gothic|
By taking much from brand marks and stereotypical images – both visual and literal – the artist integrates the composition in artistic and meaningful aspects. And what’s more in the same time, the basic artwork interpretation also can bring us to a conclusion about humanity and its condition.
Artworks by Gerard Carruthers talk about social problems. They describe stories of random people, situations or scientific research. His art is a kind of a mirror where we can see both the artistic mastery and the main problems of everyday life. The answer is not only in the art form. It’s also in the TITLES, where many hints and answers are coded. We stand in the front of a mirror and what do we see – art, the world or ourselves?