Mystery: option 4, project 3, second task

The second task is to choose an option for the next exercise, 4.2, and then research the four artists associated with that.

My preferred option here is narrative (b) and so the artists to look at comprise first, Paula Rego (1935-) whose work I was first introduced to in Drawing Skills 1 way back in 2018/19. Her pastel drawings/painting of dancers contrasting almost comedically with the luminescent delicacy of Degas’ ‘petit rats’.

I’ve written a lot, or possibly the same thing several times, about Rego. The links are here and largely for my own record as I can see no way this post is making to an assessment.

The remaining three, William Hogarth, Raquib Shaw, and William Kentridge, I know much less about although I know I will recognise Hogarth’s work when I see it.

William Hogarth 1697-1764)

Described as a pictorial satirist, caricaturist and proponent of comic strip-like images taking pokes at prominent personages of his era, Hogarth must have been the social media of the day and many people’s worst nightmare.

His penchant for bawdiness appears in many of the paintings here.

It appears he was also somewhat self taught due to having had little encouragement from his father. t

William Kentridge (1955-)

Strip clip taken from the Tate and reproduced here in the spirit of fair, academic, non-commercial use.

These images show a more subtle form of narrative whereby the missing elements have to be inferred.

Kentridge seems to have had quite a politically oriented upbringing in apartheid South Africa, with barrister parents who represented the most marginalised. His drawings and films reflect the torn and messy narratives of a world of division and inequality of justice.

More Sweetly Play the Dance. Uploaded in 2016.

This has the look of those early moving pictures of horses running around a lamp (cf the Zoetrope), but my goodness the performance of the players (are they live or filmed?) and the music are collectively mesmerising. Drawing that flickers, silhouettes, slow and repetitive movements, dramatic imagery, evocative music; illustrations of labour, forever hauling someone more privileged around? death and injury – it looks to me as though the whole of black oppression is here. Towards the end, a woman appears in a mockery of military uniform – a pencil line skirt – holding a gun above her head while she dances White ballerina style en pointe on a moving trolley pulled by two men. A real stomach punch of an installation.

Kentridge has a touch of the McKeevers about his approach to making work – it develops, it isn’t planned, there’s no storyboard; but there’s also no sense of metaphysical agency. Kentridge is oddly tolerant about whether a piece of work is worthwhile or finished, and then he seems to tip suddenly into decisiveness. He’s theatrical in that he understands and uses physical presence on a stage. Interested to see he challenges the ‘objectivity’ of judgment in art. Video uploaded in 2014.

Raqib Shaw (1974-)

There’s something gloriously modern about these Indian flavoured, fantastical, near-vanitas pieces of tumbling swirling and exotic colour. This strip slip is taken from his own website and reproduced here in the spirit of fair, academic, non-commercial use.

Known for his “opulent and intricately detailed paintings of imagined paradises, inlaid with vibrantly coloured jewels and enamel. His paintings and sculptures evoke the work of Old Masters such as Holbein and Bosch, whilst drawing on multifarious sources, from mythology and religion to poetry, literature, art history, textiles and decorative arts from both eastern and western traditions, all infused with the artist’s imagination.”

Raqib Shaw – ‘Taking Craft to a Crazy, Romantic Extreme’ | TateShots. Uploaded 2018.

This video shows Shaw in his studio which is an extensive space in what used to be a sausage factory. Some might argue it still is because Shaw has a team of assistants who do the laborious work of pointing paint into tiny grooves made on the surface of what I’m not sure. The drawings are from projections of tracings. Clearly, Shaw has a unique style and I’m rather drawn to its riotous colours and Bosh-esque compositions which have a hyper-realistic quality to them.

I’m going to add Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri (1932-2002) because of his very different cultural perspective in which narrative is almost a living thing. I saw this video a few years ago and although it felt uncomfortably as though the ‘posh white woman’ [my term] had somehow adopted him like a stray animal, his way of working and the origins of it transcended any indignity that position could have saddled him with.

Link to art work

Link to wiki page


Riotous, fun, meaningful, colourful, contemporary narrative works speak to me. Tjapaltjarri, Rego, Shaw, Kentridge all in their various ways give me a lift in terms of my thinking and ways of expressing a story. Most of all, I like the filmic possibilities although my repertoire of skills isn’t up to Kentridge’s. I probably need to say at this point, that as narrative is the core theme of my personal project, I am tempted actively to invest in this exercise as potential assessment material.


AI Art. see

Drimmer, S. 2021. How AI is hijacking art history. The Conversation. [online] Available at Accessed 25th February 2022.

Hockney, D. 2001. Secret Knowledge. Avery Publishing Group.

Korkmaz, B. 2011. Theory of Mind and developmental disorders of childhood. Nature, Paediatric Research 61 pp 101-108. [online] Available at Accessed 25th February 2022.

Theory of Mind in animals: see

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