BSJ

The Butler Scholarly Journal

Category: Art

  1. The problem with the Turner Prize: Deciphering criticism of Britain’s most prestigious art competition

    Ever since its conception in 1984 the Turner Prize has long been a source of controversy, both within and outside of the artistic sphere. Many specific works have provoked a strong public reaction; Tracey Emin’s bed, Damien’s Hurst’s formaldehyde shark and Anthea Hamilton’s recent sculpture, have all excited and appalled in equal measure. However, it is not the controversial nature of the pieces that will be discussed here, it is the debate surrounding the very nature of the prize itself. The right-wing press, particularly the Daily Mail, has long been critical of the prize. Quentin Letts, Mail correspondent, described this…

  2. Interview With An Artist: Alan O’Cain

    During the 2015-2016 academic year Alan O’Cain has been the artist/writer-in-residence shared between Josephine Butler College and St. Cuthbert’s Society. In this interview with Kiran Kaur he discusses ‘The Bikini Line’, an art installation created in collaboration with students, staff and SCRs from both colleges and situated in Durham Botanic Garden from 16th June to 25th July 2016. KK: What is the nature of the installation and what inspired it? AO: In 1946 a total of 167 inhabitants of Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Marshall Islands were relocated by the US Government in order to carry out nuclear bomb testing in the…

  3. The use of portraits as political tools in the courts of early modern Europe

    The infamous painting of Henry VIII by Hans Holbein is one of the best-known images in English history. Instantly recognisable in the modern era, the portrait successfully exemplifies the authority and power of the Tudor king. It still springs to mind at the mention of his name, five hundred years on from the painting’s completion. However, in the early modern period, portraits had political dimensions beyond that of mere representation. The Florentine humanist Leon Battista Alberti contended in the fifteenth-century that ‘painting possesses a truly divine power which…makes the absent present’. (1) Early modern portraits of sovereigns were employed precisely…

  4. The Emergence of Time Within the Spacial System of Comics

    To define the concept of emergence as ‘a process whereby larger entities, patterns, and regularities arise through interactions among smaller or simpler entities that themselves do not exhibit such properties’ (1) helps us to better understand print as Marshall McLuhan saw it: a fundamentally emergent technology. The new oil base for printing came ‘from the painters rather than the calligraphers’, and ‘the smaller cloth and wine presses embodied most of the features required by the printing press… the primary problems of innovation centered around the arts of engraving and casting…’ The goldsmiths and many others were needed to make up…

  5. The story behind ‘Cry for Justice– The Scream’

    A large number of you will have seen or heard about Palatinate’s efforts to reveal the threefold budget spent on art in and around the new Palatinate centre on the science site. New additions to the university’s collection are worth £1.4 million, and include, amongst others, original works by the likes of Henry Moore, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol. These are largely on the ground floor and thus open to visiting students – in fact I would greatly recommend a stroll though – when else will you have a chance to explore a free art gallery by master artists, and…

  6. Art as an investment and other thoughts

    Attending the Butler Scholarly Journal Discussion Forum on the use of public art in universities was a provocative and invigorating experience which, it seems safe to say, certainly challenged some of the opinions originally held by a good number of those in attendance. I went to the event expecting, perhaps, to listen to a number of somewhat defensive talks intended to justify Durham University’s recent hotly contested £1.4 million spend on purchasing and installing works of art as part of the Gateway Development programme. However, the talks given by Durham University’s Dr Hazel Donkin (Department of Education) and Alan O’Cain…

  7. Is science an art?

    After attending the seminar on ‘art in Universities’ I found several points very interesting. The main topic that I would like to discuss is the question as whether science is an art. As a Natural Science student studying Physics and Earth Sciences I am quite opinionated on this issue.  Obviously, this is a very controversial issue with no real right answer; however, I would like to argue the point that the arts and sciences are different topics by their definition. A very good point was made by a mathematician that maths is very linked to the arts. Many mathematical concepts…

  8. Art and Mathematics

    The link between mathematics and art can be divided into two sections: mathematics in art and art in mathematics.  It is surprising how linked these two apparently distinct disciplines are. Firstly, let’s examine mathematics in art.  This section can be further subdivided into the use of mathematics to create art and the presentation of mathematics in art. We will look at the former first. Mathematics appears in art from all periods. Take the Pyramids of ancient Egypt; by examining the proportions of the pyramids, one can find a golden ratio present.  The golden ratio (approximately 1.618) appears in many unexpected…

  9. Fenwick Lawson’s ‘Cry for Justice- The Scream’

    Emma Crosby Both speakers discussed Fenwick Lawson’s ‘Cry for Justice – The Scream’ sculpture, which sits between the Bill Bryson library and the Geography department. Prior to the speaker’s talks, I was far for the sculptures biggest fan. Although I was vaguely aware of its connections to the Vietnam War I felt that, due to the lack of information provided about the sculpture, it could easily be misinterpreted. I also felt that it was in an odd position in the University, as quite frankly the last thing a student wants to see after a long day in the library is…