Gerald Scarfe is undoubtedly a talented illustrative artist. He worked alongside Disney on character designs for Hercules, as well as concept designs and drawings for Pink Floyd’s The Wall movie. The collection in Oriel 1 Gallery in the Arts Centre, Aberystwyth, features a variety of works; from preliminary sketches to theatre costumes – we are invited into the eerie and creative imaginative mind of Gerald Scarfe.
As an art practitioner myself, I was particularly drawn to certain works. His ink work and character design sketches were especially intricate. Scarfe’s attention to detail is so evident in his line work and composition, I found it very insightful and inspiring.
The monochrome work particularly struck a chord for me because it demonstrates informed composition, accurate and detailed drawing and interest in tonality and negative space. I found the piece below particularly interesting.
This piece is so well informed – I adore the manipulation of composition, colour and negative space. I love how Scarfe has used the background colour to his advantage allowing light to seep through the ghostly phantom singers. The sense of repetition, routine, orderliness and pattern intrigues me: it tells the viewer more about the atmosphere of the piece than one would recognise at first glance. The sense of scale evokes a slightly foreboding atmosphere – it feels as though there is a sense of doom brewing and burgeoning – pressure increasing. For me, it’s a tense piece. And I find Gerald Scarfe’s ability to convey that fascinating.
Like Pygmalion I always want to bring my creations to life – to bring them off the page and give them flesh and blood, movement and drama. Paintings and drawings are two dimensional. To give them 3D rotundity one has to make a sculpture. To give them life one needs animation or an actor on stage.Gerald Scarfe
Let me know what these pieces make you feel. And, if you have the chance or opportunity, go and visit the Arts Centre Gallery. The variety of work exhibited is wonderful.
Thank you for reading,