Contempory artists: interiors

Contempory artists depicting interiors.

Gillian Carnegie

Carnegie paints landscapes, interiors, still life and nudes, but paints more for the physical qualities of the painting than to represent the subject, even though her work is figurative.She uses a variety of history-referencing styles. Barry Schwabsky (Artforum Magazine April 2005) wrote “Carnegie turns back toward the fusty hues of old pictures rotting beneath their own varnish, not to reclaim some former solidarity but all the better to verify her form’s ultimate evanescence”.
She was shortlisted for the Turner prize in 2005, causing quite a debate amongst many critics who did not know of her work. Louisa Buck, one of the judges is quoted in the Independant as saying that the work “is very complex and conceptually rich”. Charles Darwent, Art Critic for the Independent on Sunday, quoted in the same article, was dismissive, claiming she was not that good a painter and that “painting’s over”. He did temer his view somewhat, when he considered that Carnegie “really worries about paint; she uses quite a lot of impasto – it’s expressive, very alive.”

Carnegie Prince

Figure 1. Carnegie, G.(2011-2012) Prince (detail).

Lucy McKenzie

Louise Buck (2013) in her review of the exhibition at the Tate, ‘The Bigger Splash’ observes that Art History is overtly explored in the work of Lucy McKenzie, stating that her work examines how the aesthetics of fascism have been played out in domestic interiors.

McKenzie hereslf (2012) states that she questions the givens of classical painting. The work displayed was inspired by  “Slender Means”, a novel of Muriel Spark, which is set in a delapidated formerly grand house which has been split into tiny rooms to accomodate women “of slender means”. McKenzie uses skills of 19th century interior decoration, which she learnt in a specialised school in Brussels, to produce set-like interiors. They are neither scenery or backdrop, although were later used as decor. They show the scuffs and satins of years of inhabitation and document the story of the 20th century and it’s use of the housing legacy from times of prosperity.

LMK2010_inst_db_web7-600x444 (1)

Figure 2. Slender Means installed in Daniel Buchholz Gallery, Cologne. 2011.

Sabine Moritz

Sabine Moritz is a German artist working in Cologne. She grew up in the former GDR and emigrated with her family to West Germany in 1985.

Her work is strongly linked to the concept of memory. Her first major works are called Lobeda, after the suburb of Jena in which she and her mother and sisters lived. The drawings form a book of the same name and are drawings from memory of images from her childhood. They are graphite on paper and monochrome. The objects depicted are everyday domestic objects such as a radiator, a cooking stove, simple interiors. the perspective is not always accurate, indeed the drawings have a child-like quality. The mood is sad, there is  functionality, stark use of space, isolation and desolation, conveyed in a few simple lines.

Two Washbasins 1993 by Sabine Moritz born 1969
Figure 3. Two Washbasins 1993 Sabine Moritz

Patrick Caulfield
English painter and printmaker.He simplified the representation of objects to black outlines, choosing subjects that were often hackneyed or ambiguous in time.
In her review of the exhibition Patrick Caulfield/ Gary Hume at the Tate in 2013 Laura Cumming commented,”Caulfield could paint the surfaces and spaces of modern life like nobody else.” He used many different idioms and uneringly presented the paradox of picturing the world in two dimensions on a flat surface.
In the 80s he stopped using outlines and turned to silhouettes, with the decor of his interiors appearing like collages, the representations architectural and yet somehow mysterious.

After Lunch 1975 by Patrick Caulfield 1936-2005
Figure 4. After Lunch 1975 Patrick Caulfield

In After Lunch 1975 he combines different styles of representation. What appears to be a photomural of the Chateau de Chillon hanging in a resturant is depicted with high-focus realism, contrasting with the cartoon-like black-outlined imagery in the foreground.
This approach is no longer seen in the work, Interior with a Picture, below:

Interior with a Picture 1985-6 by Patrick Caulfield 1936-2005
Figure 5. Interior with a Picture 1985-6 Patrick Caulfield

The black descriptive line is only used in the corner of the corridor to show the dado-rail and the bannister. Flat blocks of colour determine form and space.the relationships between the different elemnets in the painting are blurred by the use of the two contrasting styles.

Ivon Hitchens (3 March 1893 – 29 August 1979)
A British artist who became part of the ‘London Group’, known for his landscapes. His style was neither strictly figurative, nor astract, and comes close to the Fauvist movement in France. He used colour in a mannner reminiscent of the Fauvists and his open brush work and delicate shades and tones are reminiscent of the informality of Constable’s sketches.

David Hockney

David Hockney is a British artist who has worked in almost every medium – painting, drawing. stage design, photography and printmaking. In his paintings of interiors he explores the spatial ideas of perspective. He painted Van Gogh Chair and Gauguin’s Chair in 1988, using reverse perspective. In his book ‘That’s the Way I See It’ (1993) Hockney reflects upon the painter’s preoccupation with the surface, and compares this with the photographer, whose main concern is the edge. He reflects that acknowledgement  of the edge leads to consideration of the surface. He develops the notion that the surface of a painting is never completely flat and that the marks made lead the eye to appreciate the passage of time. He observes that ‘a hand moving across (the surface) means that time is involved and a line drawn: it has time in it because it has a beginning, a middle and an end and somehow this helps to make a space.’ He links this idea to three pictues, Two Pembroke Chairs 1985, Pembroke Studio with Blue Chairs and Lamp 1985, and Untitled 1985, in which there are many viewpoints. He says ‘the eye is forced to move all the time. When the perspective moves, the eye moves, and as the eye moves through time, you begin to convert time into space.’ Three further pictures, Small Interior, Los Angeles, July 1988, Large Interior, Los Angeles 1988, and Interior with Sun and Dog 1988 are a continuing exploration of this theme. Later, in 1991, Hockney drew Beach House Inside on a Macintosh computer, taking nine hours to produce enough contrast in the reds and browns on the screen in the prints he made from the drawing. Hockney has said ‘I have always believed that art should be a deep pleasure… I believe that my duty as an artist is to overcome and alleviate the sterility of despair…New ways of seeing mean new ways of feeling.’ (Hockney 1993).


Figure 1. Carnegie, G. (2011-2012) Prince Available at: [Accessed 17/02/2016].

Figure 2. Mackenzie, L (2011) Slender Means Available at: [Accessed 17/02/2016]

Figure 3. Moritz, S. (1996) Two Washbasins [oil and acrylic on canvas] Available at: [Accessed 17/02/2016]

Figure 4. Caulfield, P. (1975) After Lunch [Acrylic on canvas] Available at: [Accessed 17/02/2016]

Figure 5. Caulfield, P. (1985-86) Interior with a Picture [Acrylic on canvas] Available at: [Accessed 17/02/2016]


Field, M. (2005) Gillian Carnegie: Flower power. In: Independent [Online] At: (Accessed 07/10/2015)

Hamilton, A. (2011) A Bigger Slpash: More a damp squib than a big splash.
In : Independent [Online] At:
splash-more-a-damp-squib-than-a-big-splash-8307202.html (Accessed 07/10/2015)

Buck, L (2013) Five Contemporary Artists In: The Telegraph [Online] At:…/art/…/painting-now-five-contemporary-artists (accessed 07/10/2015)

McKenzie, L. (2013) Tate Shots At:

Cumming, L. (2013) Patrck Caulfield/ Gary Hume. In: The Guardian [Online} At: (Accessed 08/10/2015)

Hockney, D (1993) That’s the way I see it. Ed Stangos, N. London Thames and Hudson

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