Expanse Part 3. Project 3 Composition. Artist Research Tacita Dean,George Seurat, Robyn O’Neil, Serse Roma and Simon Faithfull.

Tacita Dean (born 1965) and George Seurat (1859-1881)

These are two very different artists, but have some similarities.

Dean works mainly with film, including drawing, photography and sound. She likes to utilise stories in her large chalk blackboard drawings, these are of  Donald Crowhurst, an amateur English sailor whose ambition to enter a race to solo circumnavigate the globe ended in deception and tragedy. She also exploits the richness of the sea, lighthouses and ships.


Seurat was a French post-Impressionist painter and draftsman. Like Dean, he was highly motivated by the use of drawing media and for developing pointillism and Chromoluminarism, known as  Divisionism.  Divisionism is a style in modern art. It is the separation of colors into individual patches or dots that creates an optical interaction with the viewer’s eye once the colors are on the canvas. The colors used were pure, which were mixed optically when viewed.

Both artists use drawing to create monochrome images which reflect light and dark on different backgrounds, Dean’s on black and Seurat’s on white. Dean uses colour like Seurat, but her’s is the colour of 16 mm film, where as Seurat used a scientific approach to colour with a relationship to harmony and emotion. Both using soft and subtle tonal effects in their drawings.


Fatigues (E), 2012
Chalk on blackboard
Fatigues E: 90 1/2 x 219 in. (229.8 x 556 cm)


Landscape with Houses, Georges Seurat (French, Paris 1859–1891 Paris) 1881–82, Conté crayon. Dimensions; 9 13/16 x 12 9/16 in. (24.9 x 31.9 cm) https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/337676

Robyn O’Neil (born 1977)

O’Neil, similar to Dean and Seurat, is passionate about drawing. Her precise graphite images are about evolution, apocalypse, natural disaster and extinction, very surreal. Like Dean and Seurat, O’Neil’s subjects are illuminated by light and dark, with shadows and marks. Her compositions are unusual with floating figures in craggy and rolling landscapes. Compared to Dean, O’Neil also uses stories and personal memories to inform her art.Lost-landscape_670

The Lost Landscape with rainbow. Based on Caspar David Friedrich. Graphite on paper. 2005. Size; 20 5/8 x 48 1/2 inches. https://www.robynoneil.com/drawings

Serse Roma (born in San Palo De Piave 1952)

This artist works with graphite powder and rubber on paper. Twenty years ago Serse renounced colour in preference for pure drawing, very similar to Seurat. Serse’s passion for a drawing is intense, themes such as, cloudy skies, high mountains, snowy woods, seas without people occur from light and shadow. Serse’s drawing is analytic, detailed, intimate and extreme.



Paesaggio adottivo, 2016-2017, graphite on paper, 13 x 18 cm


I seem to have chosen artists with an extreme passion for drawing, this is because I love the light and dark contrasts they created and the differences in composition, use of materials and development of stories, memories with familiar landscape subjects being treated in large formats, that’s stunning to the eye.

Simon Faithfull (born 1966)

A British artist see the world as a sculptural object. He works with teams of scientists, technicians and transmission experts to help him develop a very personal view of the world. Since 2000 Faithfull has abandoned paper.

I was interested in his ‘Limbo Drawings’ which he makes from using an app on his iPhone called Limbo.  These drawings are made of pixels, so this enables Faithfull to sketch the lines so they are ‘floating’ over the ground. In fact he only draws a part of the image too, so they are restricted in detail. Quite the opposite of say, Serse’s detailed drawing. Faithfull’s new drawings are always dispatched to the world via the Limbo service and added to a growing database which has all of Faithfull’s drawings to date.


Parallel Lines 2005. http://www.simonfaithfull.org/works/limbo-2/


VITAMIN D  New Perspectives in Drawing. PHAIDON. 2005. 




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