patternsthatconnect

abstract art and systems thinking

Archive for February 2012

Alan Gouk at Abstract Critical

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If you missed the Alan Gouk exhibition at Poussin Gallery, London in January/February, as I did, then these two videos at Abstract Critical of him talking about the paintings in the show are the next best thing. More than touring the show, he has a lot of interesting things to say about his approach to abstraction, his working practices and colour.

There’s also this related article What Paint Does with some interesting comments.

Written by Andy Parkinson

February 28, 2012 at 8:45 am

Alex Hubbard “Horse Camp No. 1”

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At The Indiscipline of Painting show at Mead Gallery I am finding that it is the works that didn’t necessarily grab me on first viewing that I am becoming more and more fascinated with, now that I have been to see the show a few times. By the way, this exhibition can take many visits and still have lots more to give. If you’ve only been the once, go again! If you haven’t yet been, it’s on until 10 March 2012. If you just cannot get there at all then the catalogue is excellent.

Alex Hubbard, Horse Camp No. 1, Image courtesy of Simon Lee Gallery

Alex Hubbard is possibly known more for video and performance than for painting (?) and seeing the videos does seem to shed light on the painting as it is less a visual investigation, more a product of a performance. It looks like the horse-shoe/’C’ shapes were sprayed repeatedly at random through a stencil onto a yellow ground, the stencil eventually breaking down from overwork. Made horizontally (some of Hubbard’s videos have the appearance of tabletop paintings, reminding me of Leo Steinberg’s “flatbed picture plane“), a layer of fibreglass has been added, and coloured resin has been pushed into it, apparently you get about 30 minutes to do this before the resin dries. Hubbard has said elsewhere that

The mechanics of me pushing resin into the fiberglass before it dries becomes the gesture, one that looks painterly but is borrowed from the labor of making the thing.

Written by Andy Parkinson

February 14, 2012 at 8:45 am

A Postcard for Terry Greene

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Thanks Terry for sending me your art postcard. I have at last got one for you. I posted it yesterday so with a bit of luck you may already have it. I wasn’t brave enough to send it naked, I put it in an envelope (I don’t mean I ever had any intention of  walking down to the post office without wearing clothes!)

Zig, 2012, acrylic and marker pen on paper, 6" x 4"

Written by Andy Parkinson

February 13, 2012 at 9:30 am

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Jack Bush Paintings

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The University of Warwick has an excellent public art collection of over 800 art works. They are often on show right where studying is being done, and you can phone and make an appointment to view specific pieces.

part of the original buildings, designed by the modernist architect Eugene Rosenberg who also selected the first works of the collection, nine in all, two of which were the Jack Bush paintings.

I had learned long ago that there were Jack Bush paintings here but only recently taken the time to go and see them. The only time I had seen any of his paintings in the flesh previously was in a one person show at the Serpentine Gallery in 1980.

Anyway no photographs in this post I am afraid, for copyright reasons, but here are links to photos of the two paintings I saw: Joseph’s Coat and Charcoal Band.

Even more outrageously colourful than I had expected, breathtaking to view, they are hung as a pair, and high up so that perspex cases are not necessary. Climbing the stairs, I got a really good look at them both, Josephs Coat from Bush’s Fringe series, on the left, slightly larger than Charcoal Band, one of his Sash paintings, on the right. They look like oil rather than acrylic colours.

We have the modernist architect Eugene Rosenberg to thank for the selection of these and other colour field paintings in this collection:

I am committed to the belief that the artist has an important contribution to make to architecture. The bond between contemporary art and architecture is not easy to define, but I believe they are complementary – that architecture is enriched by art and that art has something to gain from its architectural setting. If asked why we need art, I could give answers based on philosophy, aesthetics, prestige, but the one I put high on the list is that art should be part of the enjoyment of everyday life.

Written by Andy Parkinson

February 9, 2012 at 8:45 am

Abstract painting and maths

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The Mathematics Institute at the University of Warwick has a number of abstract paintings on the walls. One of them is painted directly onto the wall.

This magnificent work by Ian Davenport entitled Everything, is the result of pouring paint (via a syringe) from the top of the wall, one stripe at a time. The colours run down the wall and form little pools on the ledge below.

Following a predetermined system Davenport seems to combine both control and chance, the colours taking the path set for them, yet sometimes meeting and mixing with others, their specific forms allowed rather than delineated.

There are smaller paintings than this, some of theme equally concerned with the process of painting, and with the “deliberately accidental”, Callum Innes‘s words for the process he adopts of dividing the canvas into two, painting a quarter with a flat colour leaving the other quarter exposed, and then taking the same colour and applying it to the other half of the canvas before “unpainting” it by rubbing it off with turpentine, leaving a ghost of the original colour.

Down the corridor from this painting is almost its opposite. A painting that has little interest in ghosts of paint, or even in paint that is flatly applied. Gillian Ayres‘ paint stands a couple of inches off the surface of the canvas, thick and physically present.

Apparently the mathematicians here are fond of the abstract paintings, and are surprised when we are surprised by that. “After all” they say “we are used to working with abstract concepts”