abstract art, a systems view

Turps Banana Issue 11

with 17 comments

I love it when that Turps Banana hits my door mat. I know that I am in for a treat of looking at good reproductions of interesting paintings, reading thought-provoking articles and interviews and then pondering on it all for ages afterwards. Sorry, if I am sounding like an advert. I just can’t help being a big fan.

turps banana 11

It says it on the cover, so I won’t tell you that it is Turps Banana, issue 11.

In issue 11 there are two interviews, or conversations, that I am particularly enjoying, with two very different abstract painters: Katharina Grosse and Jeffrey Steele, the interviewers being Peter Dickinson and Katrina Blannin respectively. Dickinson opens with a statement about abstraction, which leads to a discussion about different definitions, Grosse saying ” I am not an abstract painter any more” where abstraction is understood to be “abstracting from or generating a residue of something seen”. Dickinson proposes a contemporary definition, where it is “the process of thinking and action” the resultant product being a record of that process. Clearly, the paintings/installations of Katarina Grosse come into this category, and so do the paintings of Jeffrey Steele, though the products of these two artists seem poles apart. There is something at least apparently subjective and random in the Grosse paintings in contrast to the mathematical and systems orientation of the Steele paintings, and Blannin does a great job of teasing out the origins, rationale and methods of his approach.

Neither interview is “easy” and both provoke as many questions as they answer (in a twitter exchange with painter Dean Melbourne on the morning we opened our copies of the Turps we acknowledged that our initial response was to feel a bit thick) which I think is what a good journal is meant to do.


Written by Andy Parkinson

July 9, 2012 at 9:41 am

17 Responses

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  1. Whenever anybody or anything makes me feel “a bit thick” I get the feeling I’m being condescended to.

    • Thank you for commenting. I had in mind more that it signalled, for me, a limit to knowledge that was worth extending. When I choose to feel a bit thick in relation to something that’s a good prompt to learn more.

      Andy Parkinson

      July 9, 2012 at 9:54 am

  2. I often feel a bit thick. For me it’s ok to ‘almost get it’ sometimes and I try not to feel too overwhelmed. Depends a bit on what else is going on. Writing about art can be dense and hard work to read. I try not to agonise as there is so much I will never comprehend! so much to do, on the other hand.


    July 9, 2012 at 10:40 am

    • Good point. I used to be a keen Kierkegaard reader and your comment reminded me of one of his (he was referring to the bible) along the lines of “it’s not understanding it that is difficult so much as doing it”. Clearly, for him, doing was more important than knowing.

      Andy Parkinson

      July 10, 2012 at 6:36 am

      • I think you dignify my comments too much Andy. It is just an excuse for fading intellectual capacity! I am a believer in making my immediate world as good as it can be but don’t claim to be doing too much actual good.


        July 10, 2012 at 9:29 am

      • It’s a fault of mine!

        Andy Parkinson

        July 10, 2012 at 9:48 am

  3. Andy, This is interesting. I’m in the USA so am not familiar with this publication, but I am going to reblog it to share with my readers. thanks


    July 9, 2012 at 12:01 pm

  4. Reblogged this on Artist Marketing Resources and commented:
    I found this interesting enough to reblog it from Andy Parkinson’s Patterns That Connect blog–


    July 9, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    • Thank you Marie, Glad you found it interesting and thanks for the re-blog. I got a lot of visitors, if the stats button gets fixed I will be able to find out whether they came from your blog.

      Andy Parkinson

      July 10, 2012 at 6:38 am

      • Turps Banana is a great mag. I download an article from their site. Also your article has great links. I’m sure some of your visitors are via my blog, but I also tweeted and posted to Google+, on Facebook and in my LinkedIN group that has nearly 2K artist members.


        July 10, 2012 at 2:07 pm

  5. I really like the graphics on the cover too.


    July 9, 2012 at 12:47 pm

  6. I must be as thick as a brick cos I can’t find from their site how frequently the issues arrive on your door mat. Monthly? Quarterly? When they get an issue together?

    notes to the milkman

    July 9, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    • Well, if it’s unpleasant to feel a bit thick it must be even worse to feel as thick as a brick! I had another look at the website following your comment and it really isn’t clear how often it gets published, unless you click on “subscribe” and then you discover that a yearly subscription will give you two publications.
      In my experience it is only roughly six monthly, feeling a lot like “when they get an issue together”.
      Turps is a journal written by painters so I think that makes it quite special. They cover figurative painting too. Issue 11 has a really interesting article on Leon Spilliaert (My online friend Dean Melbourne tweeted about how much he liked that one), Ellen Altfest (with the most amazing pictures), Humphrey Ocean, Anthony Eyton and Geraint Evans. All very interesting articles and I found some of it a little disturbing (so much of the work in this issue seemed to be about subjects related to death, a subject I spend all my life trying not to think about – joke).

      Andy Parkinson

      July 10, 2012 at 6:51 am

  7. Agree, there is a certain excitement when turps arrives, like a child on Christmas morning


    August 7, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    • Hi Stuart, thanks for commenting, and for the reblog. I love getting stuff delivered through the post, and The Banana is definitely one of the best things I get. Today, my copy of ‘Photography and the Artist’s Book’ arrived and that was also a moment of excitement. Reading it is a slower and even more enjoyable pleasure.

      Andy Parkinson

      August 8, 2012 at 10:49 am

  8. Reblogged this on Stuart Layton.


    August 7, 2012 at 1:37 pm

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