abstract art, a systems view

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Imperfect Reverse 18 October – 18 November

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Written by Andy Parkinson

September 12, 2016 at 8:30 am

Turps Gallery presents Summer Mix 2016

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Written by Andy Parkinson

July 14, 2016 at 4:43 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Hickster Projects, Upcoming Exhibition Inherent Vice

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Once a year, in the summer, Hickster Projects holds a platform event in a remote, beautiful part of central Italy, near Siena. The aim is to show innovative and interesting new work in a context that differs both from the city based gallery and the artist-led space. This year’s exhibition, entitled Inherent Vice, features paintings by three artists Nicola Melinelli, Sue Kennington and Nancy Milner (paintings in that order in photo below).

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‘Inherent Vice’ is a term used to denote ‘the tendency in physical objects to degrade because of the fundamental instability of the components from which they are made, as opposed to deterioration that is caused by external forces’. The reference then is to the instability of colour as a medium of communication. If we think of colour as a language, precisely what it communicates is difficult to translate. It continually resists our attempts to pin it down, to systematise it, to tame it. These painters choose instead to treat it with respect, not so much using it, either descriptively or symbolically, as creating contexts in which it communicates in its own way.

Melinelli’s disorientating labyrinths, Milner’s visual buzz as colours meet and Kennington’s surprise spaces, show off the medium in three quite different ways.

Nicola Melinelli (b 1988, Perugia, Italy) is an artist based in Bologna, He had work in MAMBO in Bologna this year and is represented by CARDRDE in Bologna, and A+B Contemporary Art in Brescia.

Sue Kennington, (b 1955 London, UK) is curating Hickster Projects and is showing at Yellow in Varese and in London with Saturation Point later this year.

Nancy Milner (b 1986 Barnsley, UK) has just completed the prestigious Abbey award at the British School in Rome and was shortlisted for the John Moores prize 2016

I was delighted to be invited to write a text (click here) for this show which runs from 21 to 28 August 2016

For further information and visiting by appointment email:

Written by Andy Parkinson

July 12, 2016 at 9:44 pm

Jane Bustin – Rehearsal review in Saturation Point

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Laurence Noga reviews Rehearsal by Jane Bustin

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Jane Bustin: Rehearsal at Copperfield Gallery, London

16 March – 20 May 2016

A review by Laurence Noga

“The systems approach is compatible with the evidence that human decisions are largely based on an intuitive feeling of rightness – Rechtsgefuhl – but seeks to validate this subjective feeling by a massive information input, which stands in true correspondence with reality before being refracted through the unconscious.” Jeffrey Steele (Systems, Arts Council 1972-3)

Jane Bustin’s material approaches allow an open system, without a hierarchy. They include: fresco techniques; oil-washed aluminium; acrylic panel painting with ceramic glazes; mirrored copper with latex; polyurethane; wood; copper; silk; paper; gesso; ceramics and ready-made objects

Together, the artist’s relaxed sense of geometry evident in her idiosyncratic solo exhibition, Rehearsal, at the Copperfield Gallery, her sense of rhythm, and her distinctive handling of material through assembly and editing, effect a powerful coercion…

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Written by Andy Parkinson

May 13, 2016 at 3:35 pm

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#10. Charley Peters writes on Agnes Martin

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See what’s happening at Abcrit…


Happy Holiday, 1999, Tate/National Galleries of Scotland Happy Holiday, 1999, Tate/National Galleries of Scotland

Agnes Martin at Tate Modern until 11 October 2015

Agnes Martin said that inspiration found her and that she could take no credit for it, she just emptied her head – especially of thoughts of herself – and inspiration would come into her ‘vacant mind’. She maintained that her personality and experiences were irrelevant to her work, a belief that has commonly been reinforced by the few people allowed to witness her sitting for hours, waiting for inspiration to appear in the guise of a minute but fully formed mental image. Martin’s gallerist (and eventual friend) Arne Glimcher wrote, “…she was extremely self-effacing and separated her persona from her art. She believed that she was the locus where her art happened, rather than its creator.” Yet critics and curators seem less easily satisfied: who was the reclusive Agnes Martin, and from where did…

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Written by Andy Parkinson

July 20, 2015 at 4:40 pm

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#9. Andy Parkinson writes on Sonia Delaunay

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Read my review of the Tate Modern Sonia Delaunay exhibition over at abcrit. Lots of other interesting things there also… go see


Sonia Delaunay, "Yellow Nude", 1908, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes, Nantes, © Pracusa 2014083 Sonia Delaunay, “Yellow Nude”, 1908, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes, Nantes. © Pracusa 2014083

Viewing the Sonia Delaunay exhibition at Tate Modern (on show until 9 August) I could almost believe that I had been transported to a time and space where decorative or applied art and serious fine art actually co-existed, having equal importance, rather than the gendered separation that was more the reality then and continues, perhaps subliminally into the present. Whilst it may no longer be that we consciously think of one as more important and therefore the domain of men, and the other as less important, being the domain of women, I could suggest that our contemporary suspicion of the decorative is an unconscious carry-over from that sexist separation of domains. It appears that the worst thing that can be said of an artist today is that s/he is “a decorator”, or that a work is…

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Written by Andy Parkinson

June 15, 2015 at 8:49 pm

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#4. Charley Peters writes on ‘Adventures of the Black Square’

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Great review by Charley Peters ending with with some great questions…


Kazimir Malevich, 'Black Quadrilateral', c. 1915. Greek State Museum of Contemporary Art - Costakis Collection, Thessaloniki Kazimir Malevich, ‘Black Quadrilateral’, c.1915. Greek State Museum of Contemporary Art – Costakis Collection, Thessaloniki

Adventures of the Black Square, Abstract Art and Society 1915–2015, at the Whitechapel Gallery, London

It was only a few months ago that Malevich’s monochromes were last in London, venerating his radical contribution to the end of pictorial painting and some proclaimed, to the end of art itself. Tate Modern’s Malevich, Revolutionary of Russian Art (16 July – 26 October 2014) was very much a historical survey; looking back at the long shadow Malevich’s Black Square – a headstone for representational painting – cast over the history of modern art. Adventures of the Black Square, Abstract Art and Society 1915–2015 at Whitechapel Gallery until 6 April clearly and alternatively positions the work’s reductive form (in this exhibition it is Malevich’s diminutive undated Black Quadrilateral that is featured) as the beginning of a new art…

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Written by Andy Parkinson

February 3, 2015 at 7:07 am

Posted in Uncategorized