Archive for August 2011
At hyperalergenic, there’s a brief discussion about how grey can achieve optical effects that other colours cannot. And check out the commentary and pictures of work by Julie Shapiro and Stephanie McMahon. In the two paintings shown there, each quite different to the other, they both make use of grey to enliven the other colours.
Thinking of the use of grey in painting, I was reminded of a visit I made to The Hepworth, Wakefield where I saw that wonderful Winifred Nicholson painting.
Grey used here, elicits a muted sensation in the viewer. (I continue to be amazed that a painting can alter ones ’emotional’ state so easily). The grey seems to mediate the contrast of the blue square and the yellow figure-eight shape at the top left, that I tend to read as a sun. In a way it is a very powerful painting. Slowing me down and provoking stillness takes a certain kind of power. And in another sense, it’s the opposite of powerful: unassuming, careful, tentative even.
Then I remembered a grey painting I saw by Mali Morris, entitled Marvell’s Mower,
quite different in its character than Nicholson’s Quarante Huit Quai d’Auteuil, though it shares the main circle motif on a grey ground,grey on grey, and something of the blue/yellow contrast. (It’s likely that this ‘grey’ is in fact black and yellow). It is darker, and bolder, and the central circle shape looks as though it is moving, at speed, and then not. There’s more enjoyment of the paint, and the process of painting, in the Morris. It is almost as if Marvell’s Mower has action frozen in reflection, whereas Quarante Huit Quai d’Auteuil is entirely reflective
In both paintings grey is definitely a colour, not the kind of grey you get on a cloudy day, but the luminescent grey that you might see only when the sun is shining.
what is it about this site Visual Discrepancies that I like so much? Well the interviews are great, and the art is wonderful
but whenever I come across the name Margaret Thatcher, as I did on this post, I shudder. I remember the miners strike, the selling off of supposedly socialised assets to private investors, the poll tax, etc. etc. etc.
Over the pond there’s a Margaret Thatcher I can like a lot more. The Margaret Thatcher Project mentioned in the reblog is a gallery, you can check it out here.
In a recent blog post at ABSTRACTION, Monk asks what the straight line (i.e. made with the aid of a ruler or masking tape as is the practice in ‘hard edge abstraction‘) communicates. The criticism contained in the question becomes clear:
The simplicity is tempting, the lack of personal exposure comforting, the boundaries certain and readable, the invention of form and colour programmable and the overall appearance decorative but the grit is missing.
My own attraction to the line (not really hard edge, but they start out marked with ruler and pencil) is its potential for pattern making, I am particularly keen on the lines that are made up from the edges of other shapes, forming subjective borders, they are only there by the reading. The diagonal line in the image below is an example. I prefer those lines to the ‘certain and readable’ ones.
I also have a ‘literary’ attraction to the simple line, or stripe (with absolutely no necessity for it to be ruled or taped), contained in my oft repeated quote from Gregory Bateson
What pattern connects (us)?… lines of symmetry… erupting into pattern after pattern… a million lines of colour… a million lines, never precisely repeating: the pattern which connects.
Nevertheless, Monk makes a good point, especially in the suggestion that the grit is absent in the straight line. Sometimes, hard-edge just isn’t as edgy as soft edge! Here’s a failed project I was working on
I was attempting to make a pair, the second painting made from the way the paint ran off the first. It’s awful and I abandoned it. But look how much more easily we seem to understand the straight line, as opposed to the more chaotic ones, which are somehow more risky, and more difficult to think of as ever approaching decoration.
And, isn’t there something else that’s questionable about the straight line? Doesn’t it seem to communicate authority, control, or power, whereas the hand-drawn line has something more human, more vulnerable about it? “Our love is not a victory march, it’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah” – Leonard Cohen.
Nice to get featured at Painters table, the magazine of the painting blogosphere.
It is a wonderful site, pulling together lots that is going on at painting blogs worldwide, so it can be seen all in one place. It is easy to get lost in that blogosphere, following the links could serve as a full time avocation.
I am very much looking forward to this show at Tarpey Gallery, Castle Donnington
I read somewhere a comment by Ruth Solomons to the effect that the work reflects a trend in painting towards honesty and beauty as opposed to showmanship, trickery and illusion. I liked those ideas, though I am not sure I know what they mean. I am looking forward to finding out!