IDEA 22 Student

Lisa Yuskavage | Contemporary & Post Modernism

Lisa Yuskavage [b. 1962]

Lisa Yuskavage is such a thrilling artist. Her work really throws you for a loop. Looking at her work made me feel like I wasn’t giving her paintings privacy, yet when I showed my step-mother her work she felt it was vulgar and was almost offended by their sexuality.

The more I researched her work the more I loved it. Her paintings make you think about how you may perceive the female form. I think it is an interesting conversation.

Her surreal landscapes, dramatic lighting and emotional colours give her paintings an other worldliness that feels cinematic.

Yuskavage’s work feels like it is re-creating the “male gaze” but instead of between people it’s a dynamic between the vulnerable painting and the viewer. (Obviously not every single painting is this same theme but the majority feel this way to me.)

Her female figures are cartoonish, sexual, vulgar, angelic, young, and a variety of other seemingly conflicting characteristics. But perhaps that points to the fact that just because we perceive a female body as vulgar that it can be angelic at the same time, that bodies can be more than one thing at one time.    

Roy Lichtenstein | Abstract Expressionism & Pop Art

Roy Lichtenstein | 1923 – 1997

Roy was born in New York City and was constantly immersed in the NYC American culture. Since a teenager, Roy sculpted, painted and drew. He spent a lot of his time the American Museum of Modern Art as well as the Natural History Museum.

In the fall of 1946 after his father passed, Roy was invited to join the faculty at OSU as an instructor. While teaching he also worked on getting his Masters Degree which he did receive in 1949.

In June of 1961 Lichtenstein began fooling around with the idea which had originally started while he was at OSU, which was to combine comic characters with abstract backgrounds.

“It occurred to me to do it by mimicking the cartoon style without the paint texture, calligraphic line, modulation — all the things involved in expressionism”.


His work is extremely popular, and definitely used without proper knowledge of the artist all over the internet. I see people posting his comic book character art all over social media sites like instagram or pinterest (which I also frequent with slight shame).

I liked researching him since his style is something that so many people enjoy maybe because that 1950’s comic book style is so beloved by so many people.  Plus some of it makes me laugh because it is quite dramatic. (Which lets me know I’m not alone). I think my favourite things he does is his sculpture. I really quite love it because it seems too bright and odd to be physical.

Max Ernst | Cubism, Dadaism, & Surrealism

Max Ernst | 1891 – 1976

Other than art, Max Ernst was very interested with psychology and psychiatry and actually studied both in University. He was inspired by Sigmund Freud and this fascination with the mind made its way into his work. Ernst often shows images of birds in his work.

This comes from his weird link as a young child when his pet bird died and moments later his father informed him his sister was born. I guess this might be part of why he has this peculiar personal link between birds and humans. In his art you see his alter ego known as “Loplop” which is shown as a bird.

Ernst was a solider during the first World War and came out of it deeply disturbed and traumatized along with a large criticism of western culture.

His work was viewed as quite controversial (such as “the  Virgin spanking Christ”) and was quite prolific and influential in art at the time.

I didn’t think I really loved any of his work, but after researching him and looking through about 300 pieces, I found tons I connected with. Definitely an artist I’m glad I got the chance to appreciate.




Otto Dix | Expressionism, Fauvism & Early 20th Century

Wilhelm Heinrich Otto Dix | 1891 – 1969

Wilhelm was a German Painter and printmaker. His works focused on the brutality of war and German society. Dix was profoundly affected by the first world war, where he fought for the German Army. Otto Dix had a recurring nightmare where he is crawling among destroyed homes.

Otto Dix had been surrounded by art since an early age. His ambition to become an artist was nurtured in his cousin’s (Fritz Amann) studio. I thought this was quite interesting since I grew up surrounded by art (my father is an artist). I always felt very lucky having someone encourage and nurture a love of art and expression. He also took an apprenticeship with the painter Carl Senff and began painting landscapes, and was then later accepted into an art driven school.

Post war, Otto became influenced by expressionism along with Dadaism and started incorporating collage elements into some of his works. In 1924 he had developed a very realistic style of painting where he used thin layers of oil paint over a tempura underpainting.

One of the best things when researching Otto Dix was learning how controversial two particular paintings were. One titled “the Trench” showed dismembered soldiers after battle.

The museum it was displayed in hid the painting behind a curtain. The mayor of Cologne cancelled the purchase of the Trench and then forced the director of the museum to resign. Another painting titled “the War Cripples” was burned.

I couldn’t find why it was burned. I’m assuming it was very upsetting. Plus the Nazi regime did not like Otto and actually forced him to leave his position as a teacher at the Dresden Academy.




Odilon Redon | Impressionism & Post Impressionism

Odilon Redon | 1891-1916 was actually named Bertrand-Jean Redon. Odilon was  a nickname given to him stemming from his mother’s name which was Odile.

Redon had always been an excellent drawer, even as a very young boy, but later dabbled in quite a few different mediums.

He took up sculpture, etching and lithography, later in life he took up pastels and oils which would dominate his work.

His father wanted him to be an architect but unfortunately Odilon failed the entrance test to the school his father wanted him to attend.  His art career took a break when he went to serve in the army during the 1870 Franco-Prussian War.

Odilon Redon’s works were meant to be explorations of his inner feelings and psyche. His work was to represent the ghosts of his own mind. So lots of his works (the ones I like best) show strange creatures with a healthy dash of nightmare fuel.

“The logic of visible at the service of the invisible” – Odilon Redon speaking about his art.



Honore Victorin Daumier | Realism, Pre-Impressionism, & Pre-Raphaelites

Honore Victorin Daumier (1808-1879) was a frenchman, painter, caricaturist, and sculptor.

He was incredibly productive making over 500 paintings, 4000 lithographs, 1000 wood engravings, 1000 drawings and over 100 sculptures.

Past, Present, Future

He is best known for his successful caricatures of political figures, and the wealthy. Daumier was witty and talented and a multidisciplinary artist. During his life in Paris, France went through two revolutions and frequent regime changes. His caricatures gave him a loud voice and platform to express the social and political unrest. Honore Daumier actually got arrested and spent six months in jail due to his image of the King as Gargantua. Which is the ultimate success for a political cartoon. If you aren’t jailed, was it successful?

I find his work so exciting and clever. I personally love political cartoons because they find a simple way to illustrate a clever, typically humorous, social or political commentary. So happy to have learned about this artist as each of his works is bursting with emotion.


George De La Tour | Neoclassicism, Romanticism & Rococo

George De La Tour (1593 – 1652) was a French painter known for his beautiful simple candlelit works.

The Repentant Magdalen

Apparently De La Tour’s early works were reflected realism, but after being quite influenced by Caravaggio and the use of chiaroscuro, his works became more dramatic.

Magdalen with the Smoking Flame

These more mature works were marked by the simplification o the human form and the interior candlelit or torchlit scenes.

When looking at his paintings they feel intense and dramatic. The lighting makes them feel secretive to me like I should lean in to see or hear something I’m missing.

I love the idea that artistic talent is genetic, so the fact that his son was his pupil as well was an interesting fact to me. Tragically, De La Tour and his wife died in 1652 due to the plague in Luneville.

Newborn Christ

Jan Havickszoon Steen | Baroque

Beware of Luxury

Jan Steen 1626 – 1679 was a Dutch painter famous for his “messy” and chaotic scenes.  His family ran a tavern called “the Red Halbert” and he later also ran a tavern called “the Snake”. His works are known for their sense of humour, incredible light and colour and chaotic structure. The Dutch actually had a phrase that stemmed from his paintings. When they referred to a messy scene they would call it a “Jan Steen household”.

Woman at her Toilet

Personally I love all his “messy” works. I find them joyful and interesting. Each object having meaning almost like a clue as to what is actually happening. The colours are beautiful, but the pieces come across as so dynamic and almost like the kid books, “ISPY”. You can look at them for so long and just keep noticing new things. The rambunctious nature of them give them so much movement and feel almost like a scene from a movie.

Rhetoricians at Window

Raphael | High Renaissance & Mannerism

Raphael “Raffaello Sanzio Da Urbino” (1483-1520)

Madonna of the Goldfinch

Raphael was an Italian painter and architect. He was admired for his works’ ease of composition, form, clarity, and depiction of the neoplatonic ideal of people. He was very influential from a young age. He was orphaned at eleven years old by the death of his mother first, then his father. After his father’s death, he had the responsibility of taking over his father’s workshop. Though a daunting task, his success surpassed his father’s. Raphael was a very productive worker and created a large body of works. His career has three phases: one, are his early years in Umbria; two, is his time absorbing the art traditions in Florence; and the third, being his many years spent working for two popes in Rome.

He became influenced by Leonardo De Vinci’s works which made his own art more dynamic and complex. He is best known for his Madonnas.

Madonna of the Grand Duke

Hugo Van Der Goes – Late Gothic and Early Renaissance

Hugo Van Der Goes (1440-1482)

Van Der Goes was a master flemish painter. He was famous for his important altarpieces and portraitures. He was regarded as an incredible portrait artist in Europe, which was seeing a gain in attention towards portrait art with the rise of the individual likeness.

Portrait of an Old Man

Not much is known about him before 1467. He served as the dean of the painters’ guild of Ghent from 1474 TO 1476. During this time he painted the Adorationi of the Magi a.k.a. Monforte Altarpiece. In 1477 he decided to become a frater conversus (a lay brother) at monastic community of the Roode Klooster.

Many of his original works have been lost. He tried leaving behind illusionism, and started using a limited range of colour and expressive distortion of figures and spaces.

Adoration of the Shepards

Van Der Goes suffered a mental breakdown where he tried to kill himself. He had a lot of anxiety and depression.

Apparently since there aren’t a lot of original works found, and the ones that are available only show a short period of time in his life, it’s hard to determine an evolution of style.