Throughout The expression and emotion which is created

Throughout this essay the differences and similarities between
Tracey Emin’s Sad Shower in New York,
(figure 1) and David Hockney’s, Portrait
of the Artist’s Mother, Mrs Laura Hockney, Bradford (figure 2) will be
explored, comparing the images above as drawings. The aim is to assess the
components that make these artworks both similar and different, investigating
the complexity of the composition and the main body of the subject. The
expression and emotion which is created from these drawings, Matisse argues
that ‘line drawing is the purest and direct translation of my emotion’ (Flam, J. 1978) it is clear that both drawings are emotive,
particularly Emin’s, the quality of line is aggressive, following the precedence
of Louis Bourgeois, referring to direct connections between the artist’s style
and traumatic experiences (Manchester, E. 2001). Similarly, both of the
illustrations will also be explored through the theme of gender, the importance
of the subject drawn being female and consequently, how that affects the
overall interpretation of the work. Emin’s piece has a style which differs to
Hockney, it is more loose and expressive, the Monoprint sketch is quite rough
and portrays a sense of informality where as Hockney’s drawing is very rigid
and proportionately precise, imitating a realistic outline of a figure, with
detail and accuracy. These interpretations will be discussed further, analysing
the use of immediate expression as neither of the drawings have been worked
into or revised thus producing an emotive linear sketch, effectively reflecting
the artist’s initial intentions.

A defining feature of Emin’s drawings is her
minimalist abstract style, she is known for using events and objects from her
own life in order to speak about issues that are usually difficult to address
for example sexual harassment and abortion, it creates a narrative giving
insight to her own thoughts and memories. As an artist, she produces her life
as a series of texts aiming at intimacy in relation to herself and her early
sexual experiences (Betterton 2002, p.27). Emin’s piece provides evidence for
this insight as Sad Shower in New York was
curated after a trip to the city, capturing her personal emotions of feeling
“pathetic and despondent” (Manchester, E. 2001) further supporting the idea
that her work displays a deeper emotive connection to her own personal life
experiences. In contrast to this, Hockney’s portraits play a dominant role in
his work as they depict his relationship and common life style (Aldred, N.
1995) he employed the contemporary genre to describe his contemporary life, his
interests were developing the ability to create an accurate depiction of
relationships, especially couples. From this form of portraiture, he clearly
developed a style in order to capture the ambiguity of the subject which
changes depending on the specific sort of relationship and the status of the
drawing or painting as an artwork (Aldred, N. 1995). This contrast in technique
between Emin and Hockney clearly contribute to the overall style and context of
the work, they are both evidently minimalist line drawings but the circumstance
behind the drawing adds to function and emotion of the image.

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Moreover, Tracey Emin’s Sad Shower in New York monoprint that has been drawn directly onto
the plate which depicts a sense of immediate expression that hasn’t been reworked
into, adjusted or modified. Betterton states that she displays vivid immediacy with
the direct trace of her hand and through the technical procedure of reversal in
the printing process articulates a sense of otherness (Betterton, 2002, p.27) this
method of producing work allows Emin to showcase an individual style and
emotion, the continual lines overlap and appear very loose, portraying a very
definite drawing with no sense of realism. The lines are all permanent and may
appear to lack a form of skill, as the drawing is recognisable as a person but
no definite features are distinguishable, it has no qualities that could be
familiar to represent a certain individual. In comparison to this, David
Hockney’s Portrait of the Artist’s
Mother, Mrs Laura Hockney, Bradford, is a minimalist line drawing,
similarly to Emin it also has not been reworked into or revised to create a
more finalised work. However, the quality of line is proportional and
suggestive, this style causes the observer to imagine the real object, although
minimal there is a use of detail allowing the appearance of the woman to be
imagined, his final work is aesthetic and simple while remaining in proportion,
this contributes to an uncomplicated contemporary style, differing to the work
of Emin contrasting in quality of line and detailed precision.

Additionally, the content of each drawing is
noteworthy as the subject being captured contributes to the overall emotion and
relationship with the artwork, Emin’s Sad
Shower in New York is a self-portrait reflecting a very hopeless emotional
state depicting “fragments of intense emotional confrontation” (Manchester, E.
2001) adding to other works which document sensitive moments experienced,
having an impact on her life. On the contrary, Hockney’s portrait is of his
mother, he had a particularly intense relationship with her, it could be
suggested that her dominating presence is what could have drove Hockney to live
overseas (Wullschlager, J. 2011), however, he returned frequently to visit her
and when she passed away in 1999, Hockney stated that he had always known where
she was and that he felt that he could speak to her. This particular
relationship with his mother could have an impact on the tone and drawing style
of this artwork, though detailed with line the lack of colour creates an
uncompassionate atmosphere, the lines are harsh and unforgiving it would not be
a way to portray or represent a loving relationship. The mother isn’t making
eye contact with the artist, she appears to be disassociated but at ease with
the portrait, her mind is elsewhere as she gazes into the distance, which Hockney
could be purposely suggesting the nature of the relationship, creating
connotations of a negative association between him and his mother, however the
many portraits he has performed of his mother can be more likely interpreted as
to “concretise their close bond” (Sanger, A. 2009). Likewise, Emin’s drawing
suggests the style of relationship with herself, she has captured her current state
and wellbeing, the expression of these negative emotions, could suggest a good
emotional mental health as she appears to be fully aware of all her thoughts,
feelings and behaviours and expressing such emotions through her art work can
be perceived as a healthy way to deal with certain issues or problems.  Therefore, both pieces, Sad Shower in New York and Portrait
of Artist’s Mother, Mrs Laura Hockney, Bradford display a relationship that
can be deciphered from the drawings content, the expression and interest of the
figure being drawn and the artistic elements such as the drawing style can both
contribute to an opinion of the relationship between the artist and model.

Tracy Emin as an artist resists any
associations or connotations of her work as stereotypically feminist, and
choses to veer away from feminist traditions (Betterton 2002, p.34) while
resisting this particular label, the context of Sad Shower in New York adheres to the strength of feminine
independency and being in tune with her own emotion and the ability to freely
express them without a conservative shyness of the personal naked form.     Joan
Smith argues that self-revelation in art form isn’t a form of exhibitionism but
rather a conscious reclamation of female identity (Smith, J. 1998), Emin being
the figure of the drawing presents herself without a filter, the situation of
her being in the shower creates a vulnerability, she has no clothes therefore
no mask to hide behind supporting the opinion of Smith where she intends to
portray a strength in independence and identity, combined with her emotions, a
piece which successfully captures Emin as a strong independent figure not
requiring comfort to recover and progress from an emotional experience. In
comparison to this, Hockney’s Portrait of
the Artist’s Mother, Mrs Laura Hockney displays a woman who may appear here
as frail and elderly, she lived a life of religious devotion to not only
Methodism but also her large family, the relationship between Hockney’s Mother
and father appears to be one of equality, Laura Hockney’s obituary in The
Independent reads “she was very much his equal when it came to holding firm
views, which she did not, however, feel necessary to impose on others” this
personality trait of the figure is suggested within  the portrait, her nonchalant gaze contributes
to the idea of independence and strength, a “willing conspirator in the making
of a portrait” (Livingstone, M. 1999). Engulfed in a large high backed chair
her demeanour suggests resilience and tenacity, her hands are crossed over her
lap and her mouth appears to be firmly closed with her lips slightly pursed,
contributing to the idea that Laura Hockney is symbolising a sense of feminist
vigour and liberation as an individual, the body language she is portraying
lacks vanity but successfully ensures feminist identity. Therefore, both pieces
(figure 1 & 2) effectively create feministic connotations, implying that
both of the drawings are comparable due to their female content, both Hockney
and Emin’s content and artistic choices imply noteworthy feminist values.

In addition, the time period in which each art
work was created has the potential to influence the overall style, composition
and content. David Hockney is considered an influential British artist of the
20th century at the J. Paul Getty Museum he was a very important
contributor to the pop art movement in the 1960s, his work, similarly to Tracey
Emin, has the ability to tackle and highlight issues that are typically deemed
controversial within society. The portrait of his mother however, lacks the
social controversy which he before addressed, this though doesn’t certify that
the time period in which he produced this drawing had no influence, Hockney
identifies as a homosexual, his mother has always been very supportive of his
identity, regardless of her own religious inclination, and as an artist which
lead Hockney to adore his parents (Hattenstone, S. 2015). This strength in
relationship between him and his mother creates a juxtaposition to the issue
that homosexuality appeared to be in the 1970s, when this portrait was drawn,
despite the theme of liberation, the 1970s witnessed disturbing attacks of
violence, horrific attacks such as serial killers who preyed on young gay men
in California to the extent of acts of arson which attacked gay churches
throughout the country. These homophobic horrendous events truly contrast to
the supportive family member Hockney chose to capture, creating an artistic
notable concurrence clearly contributing to the context of his work. In
comparison to this, Tracey Emin created Sad
Shower in New York, her artwork typically displays feelings of loneliness
and desolation these emotions are prevalent within this drawing prior to a
visit to this city. New York is most famously described as a ‘city that never
sleeps’ but less common but equally as true is its description as ‘The Lonely
City’ (Lyons, P. 2016) it is evident that Emin was able to extrapolate the
level of alienation that can occur in such a grand scale city, such context
clearly contributed to the negative feelings figure 1 was drawn under. Consequently,
both Hockney and Emin become influenced from their location and the time period
in which they were crafted, it would be near impossible for events and
situations that hold great significance to wider society to not impact the
content in which they choose to express artistically.

In conclusion, it is clear that both Tracey
Emin and David Hockney express elements in design that are similar and
different, as artists they are influenced by many contributing factors such as
gender, relationships and position in society. Their drawings, Sad Shower in New York and Portrait of Artist’s Mother, Mrs Laura
Hockney, Bradford, portray elements of such comparison, their designed style
of drawing and contemporary feel, both adhere to the creation of individual
emotional pieces. As artists, they both are influenced by emotional events
which occur in their lives and use this method of expression to supply the
artistic field with notable drawings being open to interpretation as well as
relatable pieces, as the artists’ emotional state is something that a viewer of
the works could have experienced at one point in their life, humanising the
artist as a being, a non-superior. Finally, even though differing in style
their use of immediate expression is what effectively reflects the artists
initial intentions portraying a raw display of thoughts and sentiments.