Brancaster Chronicle No. 71: Anne Smart Paintings
13th April 2019, the artist’s studio near King’s Lynn.
Taking part: Anthony Smart, Anne Smart, Robin Greenwood, Sarah Greenwood, Charley Greenwood, Hilde Skilton, Mark Skilton, Alexandra Harley, Noela James, Richard Ward, John Pollard, Emyr Williams.
It´s a great shame that the extraordinary visual properties of Anne´s paintings hardly come across in reproduction. In a world full of screens and photos, they are a convincing argument for real painting, really seen,
I´m beginning to agree with Robin that “Tonight” is perhaps the best of these. I think this has to do with the scale of the variations within the painting, which seems more commensurate with the size of the marks than (for instance) in “Come and Been” where the variously coloured areas seem imposed rather than growing out of the mark-making.
The expressivity of “Tonight” bears a (maybe tenuous) connection to some of Cy Twombly´s works such as the “Ferragosto” paintings (seen abstractly, without the naughty bits), though Twombly´s marks are predominantly graphic and more insistent while Anne´s are embedded in painterly space.
That said, I like “Bloody Grips” and “Wonky Live” a lot too, and it´s good to see “Away and Away” experimenting with cooler colours.
I sometimes think I will be a vegetarian.
Then, at a barbecue , a sausage sizzles and I try to ignore the familiar delicious aroma, but I eat one and I love it.
Too much choice seems to be a common complaint at the moment.
Its not like that in my studio. There are key things I try hard not to do and I have started to succeed.
One of them is not to paint like Cy Twombly.
I can see why he is so attractive and I have always been attracted to the immediacy of his marks ,his colour and his drawing which sits on the top of his canvasses.
Richard…you say his marks are….”predominantly graphic and more insistent’ ….and that is a brilliant description of what I am trying not to do.
I am so happy to read that you think my work here is …”embedded in painterly space”…..believe me that is exactly what I am deliberately, and in my own insistent, pushing way attempting to achieve.
Twombly’s achievements of graphic insistence,for me are complete, and much as I admire that, I think he has ‘done it’.
For me ‘moving on’ is top of my list.
That would be towards a more thoroughly,visually,colourfully,expressively and abstractly and acutely “embedded'” way of making painting.
‘embedded in painterly space’ is a wonderful way of describing Anne’s painting. If I then elaborate with’ weightedness ‘, which for me brings in a feeling of substance and densities , am l talking about the same thing? The point is that this is where l started feeling the most tension. Degrees of weightedness and degrees of densities. ‘Gone and Been’ brought this home to me most strongly. Come to think of it all these paintings had so much to offer …constantly shifting and keeping me involved….complexity with singularity!!!
An excellent discussion!
Anne’s amazing paintings brought many important considerations to the fore.
A lot to think about.
The challenge about creating meaning and how conscious decisions can do the job without making work look contrived.
How much to think, how much to leave to the unconscious.
Avoiding the nebulous and areas that get stuck, (or not).
Enjoying disparate elements in a painting that can create tension such as in ‘Gone and Been’ and [Orbital]Lush Live.
The concept of ‘air’ in a work, rather than making it figurative, could act as a feeling of lightness or ‘breath’.
As I said in the film I love the feeling of opening out in these paintings, and yes the film and images do not do them justice.
Great to see big images of Anne’s work. I think this makes a huge difference on Brancaster to our understanding of them. In fact, I think it is an absolute necessity with these paintings, because when you get in close and can see what is happening, and see how the content is operating, you can read the structure of the painting in a way that is not only different from what you see when the pic is small (which is like looking at it from a distance), it also demonstrates how the paintings are so very unalike to anyone else’s work.
I prefer looking at Anne’s work in close-up, even when looking at it in the flesh. That is when they seem to me to really engage with a very particular kind of abstract structure. It almost doesn’t work at all as “big” structure when viewed from any degree of distance. Richard has already said: “It´s a great shame that the extraordinary visual properties of Anne´s paintings hardly come across in reproduction. In a world full of screens and photos, they are a convincing argument for real painting, really seen.” I would partly agree, but I think this very different way of enabling the structure of a painting at close quarters makes them perhaps just very original, rather than better or worse, or “more real”. It’s an interesting comparison to make with Hilde’s work, which seems to me to have a much more balanced way of explaining itself from both near and far. And there are works by others that go to the further extreme of only really getting themselves together from the minimum distance of a few meters.