I was looking at similarities between paintings by Rosa Loy and Neo Rauch, and thinking about the idea of a personal painting style. Somehow, the fact that they’re partners seems to support the idea that the similarities result from mutually beneficial processes (including collaboration), and that this can be celebrated (for example, in a joint exhibition) in a way that “plagiarism” or “derivation” between strangers might not be.
Out of curiosity, I painted a half-assed doodle using techniques that are vaguely derived from looking at their work (in reproduction).
As a quick experiment, it was definitely worthwhile. It made me think about ways of defining edges, filling in colour, etc. that might be useful in future. However …
Rauch and Loy are german artists who grew up in communist east germany during the 1960s. The style of their work references the official socialist realist art of that time. This is significant to the meaning of their pictures. By contrast, I have no personal connection to that art and very little knowledge of its historical context. For me to borrow from socialist art via their work would change the meaning again, and the content of my work would need to make sense in that context. The risk would be that my work would simply look superficially derivative of two very popular current artists, taking the aesthetic but ignoring its significance.
I looked for examples of east german Socialist Realism, but not all of it bares resemblance to Loy or Rauch’s work. This poster at least has the richly coloured, high-contrast modelling of her boiler suit, and the economical illustrative rendering of the machine on the right, both of which are stylistic traits found in paintings by Loy and Rauch.On reflection, my doodle shares very little with socialist realism, and has more in common with de Chirico (another influence on Rauch). Tracing these networks of influence gets complicated quickly. In practice, the best way to work through issues of “influence” and/or “plagiarism” seems to be: just keep painting. Eventually, if I’m lucky, something interesting might result.