abstract art, a systems view

Posts Tagged ‘art in the workplace

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”


Art in the University workplace

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I have written from time to time about art in the workplace, keen as I have become, to see good paintings there, pleased on the odd occasion that I find some, and fascinated by the responses of workers.

Why I haven’t thought before about art on display in those particular workplaces called universities I don’t know, especially as there are often galleries associated with them, and also that the buildings are sometimes open to the public. In Nottingham the Lakeside Gallery is part of the University of Nottingham and The Bonington Gallery is in the School of Art & Design at  Nottingham Trent University. It is not so long since I visited the Whitworth, at Manchester University and the other day I was introduced to the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery in the Parkinson Building of Leeds University.

They have some lovely abstract paintings, including work by John Hoyland, Terry Frost (one that I think is particularly good), Victor Vaserely, Victor Pasmore and Trevor Bell.

I have many times been on the campus of Warwick University but never realised that there was art to be seen there, not only at the Mead Gallery, but also on the walls in the University buildings. Click here for an excellent introductory online exhibition.

Gillian Ayres in the meeting room

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In a workplace recently, walking past a room where there was a meeting going on, I saw out of the corner of my eye, artist proofs by Gillian Ayres on the wall. I considered interrupting the meeting to take a look. I also wanted to ask the group whether they had noticed the art, and what difference it made to their meeting. Instead, I determined to go in early next day and see the work before anyone else could get in there.

I couldn’t help it! A bit like Gillian Ayres whos says she paints because “One can’t bloody help it”, nice little video of her here saying that and other things too.

Written by Andy Parkinson

December 13, 2011 at 8:45 am

The Myth Of Tomorrow – Taro Okamoto (via Tokyobling’s Blog) and public art and Henry Moore

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This wonderful blog seems to have provoked a lot of interest.

The Myth Of Tomorrow - Taro Okamoto Sometimes the thing about art in public places is that you just don’t think about it. Even though art has long since been stripped of it’s moral-building and society-building status (Duchamp and his art-antics took care of that back in 1917) public officials still feel it necessary to enrichen our public spaces with what they consider to be worthwhile art. Here’s one I have managed to miss for a very long time indeed: Taro Okamoto’s “The Myth of … Read More

via Tokyobling’s Blog

Public art gets walked by seems to be one of the themes (it doesn’t have to be very public for that to happen. In a workplace near me there is a lot of good art on the walls by important UK artists – largely ignored, see previous blog).
In the comments section of the Myth Of Tomorrow blog there is a piece by Visartstudio including a good story about a Henry Moore sculpture in Toronto

…works that have become significant have done so by digging into our psychological reality and insinuating itself by a process of educating the imagination. Case in point The Archer by Henry Moore in Toronto Nathan Phillips square was supported by the extensive collection of Moore donation to the AGO… More significantly a pop song
Down By The Henry Moore – Murray McLauchlan (1974) summed up Toronto’s relationship to this now significant piece of art. So much so when it alleged removal was used in the first day with out art protest, the controversy drew near 100,000 people into Nathan Phillips square. Digging a bit deeper the art fit the square and became a cultural anchor that suited the site and the Toronto’s city Hall building and has become a bench mark of how Torontonians felt about there city, there future and themselves…

I was in Castleford UK other weekend, at a dance competition in the Civic Hall, and in front of the building is a piece of public art, a Henry Moore sculpture. It is unmistakably Henry Moore so in the pouring rain I wandered across the grass to get a better view.

Henry Moore Draped Reclining Figure 1952-53 © Copyright David Pickersgill and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

© Copyright David Pickersgill and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

I knew that Moore was born in the Wakefield area, but not that it was actually Castleford. The piece also serves as a memorial.

Written by Andy Parkinson

June 24, 2011 at 7:19 am