Currently at the Tate Modern there is a wonderful exhibit on Duchamp, Picabia and Man Ray (I HIGHLY recommend it). I was lucky enough to get to go with my Modern art in London class, which meant we had our professor there to give some extra information. I was SO excited to see all the Duchamp work that I had learned about last semester (Nude Descending a Staircase No.2, Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors Even, The Fountain.. etc.), but when I got there it wasn't Duchamp's work that blew me away. More so, I was very intrigued by Man Ray's work, his nudes in particular (surpise, surprise). At first I really couldn't understand how I could've missed studying his work the past few semesters as they do EXACTLY what I've sorda been trying to do with some of mine in terms of playing with light and how it looks on skin (Google Image: "Man Ray nudes" and check out the one of the woman looking to the right with her hand on her head and the incredible little spots of light on her breasts). More specifically I've become really interested in his use of solarization in combination with his nudes. I've always sorda thought solarization was a bit too cliche, and to be honest I had basically written it off as ever being an option of something to try (especially with the nude work I've been doing). Man Ray's work, however, has totally changed my mind on that. What I learned is what the process of solarization can do to nude skin is absolutely beautiful.. I still can't really get over it. Everytime I google his work (which is pretty often these days), I'm just blown away by the beauty if his nude shots, especially the ones of Lee Miller. I definately want to give solarizing a chance next semester and try to imitate some of Man's work.
All in all, I think I learned a couple really important things by way of going to that show.
1) Try not to only look at the work of artists I already know about, because it's usually the ones I've never heard of that really inspire me.
2) Never stop researching new inspiration because there are so many artists out there.. and I've barely cracked the surface of them (and inspiration can be found in all sorts of places).
3) Don't make any conclusions about an artistic process until I know the entire extent of what it can do.