|| Sigmar Polke Evaluation ||


I like this particular piece, because of Polke’s use of colour and texture. While looking at the picture, Sigmar Polke’s mad use of dots and swirls do not allow the eyes to rest on any one point on the painting. You can see where all the layers are;, the top most layer is the line art of the man, followed by the white spots, then the blue, then reds and pink and lastly the yellow, with some random splashes of colours here and there. Between the line art man and the paint markings there is a layer of a print that looks similar to corrugated cardboard, it looks like Polke may have painted on to pieces of cardboard and used them like a stamp and pressed them down on the art. I think the line art is almost washed out because of all the different colours involved, alongside the small drawings in the corner that are also hidden because of all the noise around them.

I think the eyes can be lead around the page to a certain extent, but rather than following around a set path on the painting; your eyes follow the different colours instead. The white dots and swirls are the first parts of the image that stand out the most, followed by other bright spots and the yellow colour, the centre of the man’s face stands out because of the white colouring that has been layered underneath. Eyes then wander to the larger areas of colour. The main graphic device i can see Polke used was over lapping all the layers.

Much of Polke’s work was influenced by historical events and he created paintings that displayed his perception of these events. During his travels in 1971, Polke created more experimental pieces of work while under the influence of LSD. He combined negatives and positives with images of both vertical and horizontal orientations, the results were collage like artworks. He “exploited the raster-dot technique of printing”, he recreated the dotted effect by painting each dot with the rubber end of a pencil. Further experiments with mixtures of traditional pigments and solvents/ varnishes/ toxins/ resins to produce spontaneous chemical reactions. These experiments produced elaborate, abstract paintings. To achieve the raster-dot technique Polke first learnt about it, by looking at newspapers and how the dots occur.


Another art piece I like from Polke would be the untitled one above. The colours used in this painting are very muted in comparison to many of his other pieces of artwork. I like the detail in this art that has been achieved, possibly by the raster-dot technique, as written about previously. This piece of art is more to my preference over the first one because of the detail and more overall narrative nature of it. The butterflies appear to be going into the lantern which could symbolise a possible oppression, if Polke was creating the artwork with a specific event in mind. As well as there being meaning behind the actual painting, I think there was also meaning behind the way Polke put the paints on to the canvas. He first started by adding all the washed out, pastel colours of the background and putting them down in a random thought out fashion of splashes and squiggles and lines. The lamp appears to have been painted on then dotted with white paint, some of the butterflies and insects were put down in the same manner and others seem to have been more intricately painted. The orange building been printed on by the look of the clean lines and sharp edges. The splashes of paint in blue and yellow add another layer to the painting, the intensity of the colour makes it seem to be pushing through the black lines and almost appears on top, even under the orange building, the yellow behind seems to want to be on top of that colour.

I think that the eyes can be led around the painting a lot easier than the previous piece of art. First your eyes lay on the black outline of the lantern and follow over to the insects and butterflies, then your eyes can follow the green line of paint then through to the pink line, only then do you notice the orange building which is hidden by the other similar colours. Graphic devices used in this artwork are overlapping, of different colours and of the different shapes within the art; and perspective on the orange building which appears to be in the background and going into the distance.


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