MIRROR WATER Artists
27 07 21
We have collated a selection of painters, photographers, sculptors, and textile artists whose works inspire us. Artwork can be invigorating, challenging, and moving, and we find that encounters with art can inflect our lives in positive and lasting ways.
If you like this list, you’d enjoy the monthly MIRROR WATER newsletter, which always includes discussion of an artist related to the theme of the month. We will also add new artists and images to this page over time.
Tarsila do Amaral
Brazilian painter Tarsila do Amaral’s work is recognisable for its brightness and the ways it plays with scale. While studying in Paris, Amaral wrote in a letter to her parents: ‘I want to be the painter of my country’. This aspiration came true; Amaral is credited with establishing a modernist tradition in Brazil.
Anni Albers initially resisted the pull of threadwork, wanting to work in a craft that was less ‘sissy’ (her words!). But Albers was won over by thread and, as a central figure of the Bauhaus movement, is one of the most celebrated textile artists.
Bailey works across different mediums, including sculpture and painting. Bailey often mixes mediums using layering techniques, blending two- and three- dimensional forms to comment on themes such as race, memory, and heritage.
Known for her feminist approach to Surrealism, Carrington’s paintings have an otherworldly quality. Carrington fans were delighted to learn of the recent discovery of a deck of tarot cards designed by the artist, a project which fits her artistic vision perfectly.
A prominent member of the St Ives group of modernist artists, Hepworth’s wood, marble, and bronze sculptures include pierced forms reminiscent of sand-worn pebbles, and stringed forms that are like mythical instruments.
Kahlo’s paintings blend autobiography with surrealism, often focusing on self-portraiture and natural imagery. Kahlo experienced chronic pain for most of her life and many of her paintings are focused on the body, often in relation to pain but also exploring clothing of different cultures as well as stages of childhood and adulthood.
Hilma af Klint
Hilma af Klint has recently been recognised as a pioneer of Western abstract art, pre-dating Kandinsky. She was an artist and mystic who made visual impressions of spiritual concepts. We recommend the stunning documentary ‘Beyond the Visible’ about her life and work.
Kusama uses installation, sculpture, and painting to explore her experiences of hallucinations, phobias, and issues with mental health. Her work often features polka dots, lights, and bright colours (sometimes all of these elements are combined in her experiential installations).
Kerry James Marshall
Marshall is an American painter who makes symbolic works, often on large canvases. He uses a deep black hue for his subjects, which he has described as a way of showing that ‘blackness in non-negotiable’ and that ‘blackness can have complexity and depth’.
Sculptor Henry Moore mostly produced large bronze and marble pieces depicting human forms, often mother and child and reclining figures. Much of his work is visible as public art, which can blend in with the environment, given his his use of soft curves and natural materials.
We featured Nauman’s work in the first MIRROR WATER newsletter, which was based on the theme of attention. We discussed Nauman’s work with neon as well as one of his paintings in relation to the ways that his artwork demands attention (sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively).
Parks taught himself how to use a camera that he bought from a pawnshop and went on to produce highly expressive and iconic images that capture American life against the backdrop of the civil rights movement.
Painting and quilting are Ringgold’s two central practices. She is known for her ‘story quilts’, such as her Street Story Quilt, a triptych which uses fabric as narrative to depict one Harlem building and its inhabitants across three decades.
Her life’s work, Life? or Theatre?, is an autobiographical series of images that Salomon created while hiding from the Nazis, and which she handed to her friend in a suitcase before her death. She added captions and compiled the images into a book and, in the modern context, the work has the feel of a graphic novel. Salomon was killed in Auschwitz in 1943.
Shore’s photography focuses on everyday life in the US, and he took many of his most famous images on cross-country road trips, where he created travel diaries. He is credited with lending legitimacy to the use of colour in photography.