A Study of Michael Borremans
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
BA (Bachelor of Arts)
Session and Year of Graduation
Honors Major Advisor
A STUDY OF MICHAEL BORREMANS
School of Art and Art History
For this project, my objective is to create pieces based on the study of the contemporary Belgian artist Michael Borremans, who is famous for creating enigmatic, psychologically-charged and visually staggering works by combining old school techniques and contemporary concepts. By doing this, I hope to learn a new perspective of creating conceptual works.
For those pieces I made, I chose to use oil paints which I always believe is the best media for bringing antiquity to works. In order to get a better idea of Michael Borremans’ concepts and techniques, I read many books about him and his works, including his own book Michael Borremans: as sweet as it gets, Michael Borremans: paintings, Michael Borremans: weight, Michael Borremans: Automat and Michael Borremans: eating the bread; Michael Borremans: Fixture by Martin Germann. Based on the study, I found that Borresmans is particular interested in finding inspiration from traditional artists. It’s easy to see the influence of Velazquez, Goya, Manet and Chardin in his imagery and color palette. Hence, to get started, I picked one of my favorite work, “One” (2003), as my own inspiration. I picked the figure with quiet contemplation in order to create the psychological pain and struggle. In addition to achieve this goal, I decided to disfigure a part of the figure just like Borremans did in many his works. However, in the process, I found it is hard to logically or intentionally make designs since Borremans does not work thematically but intuitively, which makes it hard to get pattern from it. To my struggle, my instructor Susan White advised me that I should also follow my feelings and let the subconscious work. I took her advice, adapted color schemes from Borremans’ work and then followed my own feelings to disfigure my work. When I painted the figure, I tried to make her face more ambiguous which I believe would cause different interpretations from different people so that the psychological pain could be more inner and subconscious than physical.
I believe the study of Michael Borremans not only enhanced my ability to create more detailed and traditional works, but also inspired me that works, especially conceptual works should not be restricted by styles, medias, themes. I think my future work would have more varieties after this study. However, I do find it is difficult to completely follow or interpret the pattern of some contemporary works when artists work intuitively like Borremans did in his works.
Copyright © 2016 Yifan Fu