The History of Contemporary Art

As technologies and the modern world evolves, so do the tools and techniques seen used in Contemporary Art.  The wide variety of artist’s world views and the explosion of pop culture has established art forms based on installation, interaction, performance and so much more.

What does Contemporary Art add?

Contemporary Art is a period of art that stretches from the recent past to the current period, well and truly ‘the art of today’.  The suggested origins of this term vary somewhat, as well as what work is included, but typically encompasses the late 20th century to the early 21st century.  Different from the narrower genres of expressionism, Urban, and Rococo art, the Contemporary title can apply to a broad range of styles and sub-categories. 


Like all the genres before it, Contemporary Art gives a voice to artists and allows them to express and comment on the current issues of life, whether they are making political or cultural statements, capturing everyday moments, or showing things to be glad for.


There is no one goal when it comes to contemporary art.  The artist's origins often play a part in their output and the message their Contemporary Art conveys.  In previous eras, devotions to gods, royals, and paying benefactors influenced or limited artworks, but today we see a wide range of artists who make art influenced solely by themselves. 


The modern era has also allowed art to become a common feature in any person’s home, no matter what class, race, religion or generation they may be.  This means that certain artists become widely collectable and acclaimed.


Three artists in our galleries reflect this.  Doug Hyde, Jennifer Hogwood, and Rebecca Lardner are all contemporary artists widely known for their own way of expressing themselves.  Trent Galleries features art from all three,for you to appreciate, as well as take home. Below offers examples of their work as well as overviews of their styles.


Doug Hyde

Quoted in The Courier, Doug said: “With so much going on in the world which is anything but good at the moment, it’s important to try and get a mood boost from the people and things which are close to you”. This sentiment is evident in his work, with the famous human figures and animals appreciating ideas like ‘memories’ and ‘family’.  Love hearts, biscuits, and sweets are also featured in his collections.


Working with sculptures, such as ‘Life is Sweet’, and pastels like ‘You’ve Stolen my Heart’, Doug has become one of the best selling artists in the UK, hailed as "the most popular living artist in the UK" by the BBC.  His rise to becoming one of the best loved contemporary artists from being unknown has been ‘meteoric’, going from strength to strength.

Jennifer Hogwood

You may recognise Jennifer Hogwood’s signature highland cows (known as ‘The McMoos’) from greeting cards or her paintings, they have become a firm favourite of many critics and art lovers.  Her use of diamond dust means that her pieces always have a sparkle, and the animals have a sense of innocence and peace about them.  No doubt this is helped by the working farm near Hogwood’s studio. Having a field of sheep outside her window must serve for a great boost of inspiration.


In an interview, Hogwood stated that animals “have such individual personalities and a lovely innocence about them. The other major influence on my work is my children. The playful elements come from being with them, seeing how they react to things and their imaginations. I love their way of looking at life.”


Again this love for animals and the playful nature she witnesses in her children are very much evident in her pieces of contemporary art.  Hogwood seeks to make collector’s’ “hearts skip a beat when they see one of my paintings. I want them to feel the emotion I feel when I see a pod of dolphins”.  Take a look at work such as ‘Share the Love’ if you want to confirm this has been achieved.


Rebecca Lardner

Contemporary seascape artist Rebecca Lardner focuses her artwork on the ‘ceaseless activity’ of the coast.  Lardner focuses on places and people that fascinate her, and indeed, looking at her pieces you can become lost in the hub of activity and colour.  Trent Galleries have a number of her works available such as the aptly named Pigeon Parade, or Shore Thing.  Most of Lardner’s pieces have a signature palette of sea colours, blues and greens that make you long for the wash of the ocean and gritty sand underfoot.


With Lardner’s work on your wall, you’re only one glance away from the salty ocean breeze and hustle and bustle of the streets of the coastal towns. 

Trent Galleries

If you are interested in one of the artists mentioned here, or simply need some help finding the perfect picture for your dining area or conference room, Trent Galleries have specialist staff who will be sure to help you with your collection.  Simply get in touch through our contact form.  We have galleries in Oakham, Newark and Beverley, which you can visit to see these pieces.


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