Space and surface have been a priority
Yes they always are ..along with everything else but I’ve been concentrating/emphasising/experimenting.
So much has been written So many words that seem so definitive .
“ I can’t stop now I’m in the middle of something” I keep saying to myself., and I know that’s not unusual for anyone. But in my own terms, working with abstract painting, its the “in the middle bit” that hits me. I need to visually belong in those middles.
So I am reacting against two known “techniques” of achieving a continuous surface.
An 18th century ,and earlier, concept of welding together the surface with the use of connected brushwork, and, in more modern times, the use of unconnected brushwork where the power of the marks and their relationships to each other, is capable, through the amalgamation of form, to achieve a resolution. Both of these seem to me to organise the space too much. The first one is obviously representational, and that would be why, and the second could be abstract, “could be” being significant.
My thoughts and work have taken me to look again at levels and layers within a prescribed canvas support. Those levels and layers being primarily about dimensional varieties in areas of paint and ,of course, the colour of paint. Trying not to be seduced, and therefore stopped in my tracks, by the luminosity, breathless brilliance and perpetuity of the still life watercolours we all know and the huge ‘veils’ on canvas we know as well, I am attempting to work with the oil paint. of which I am most knowledgeable , and use my own ‘made up’ glazing techniques to change, and sometimes reverse, the way paint ,as it builds up its surface, can alter, heighten, expand, contract, and own the space it defines as soon as marks hit the canvas.
I am succeeding in allowing colours to ‘work’ on top of other colours and hold their positions, making multiple positions in the same spot. I have had fleeting glimpses of making ‘auras’ around precise moments and trailing them and carrying them through other colours across minute areas and areas which take up larger percentages of the whole.I hope to be able to understand and achieve this more.
The glazes shorten drying time and these actions ,of which there are too many to remember, can be repeated over and over and over without having to hang around for too long.
Could I make this space be abstract in the way I want.
Can i present it in a straightforward ,ordinary way?
Not being overtly anything, not ironic, not sarcastic, not intransigent, not influenced, not logical, not gestural, not pompous, not not not not ….
Just there, or not there, but accountable.
So what’s at the back could be at the front, or take a shift sideways ,that is, if and when it is realised.
Who would know and does it matter? however little attention or prolonged concentration you gave to it , there is a chance you could be “..in the middle of something” .
None of the ‘techniques’ I use are repeatable. I just have to have all the ‘stuff’ to hand in
my studio.This then helps my body to keep my eye free to wander around inside space that is not organised but held and let go, held and let go, held and let go, by my painting movements.
The passages of paint that happen are not forever but need to relate, in moments as a whole. On their own they are restless. Sometimes I get lucky and they rest or settle.
There is no inspiration here. Just an ache.
Whilst for me its totally visual, it is not only a visual.
I had a hint of understanding recently in words .
When I read the poem “Mid-Air” by Caroline Bird, I really believed all my own air to be sucked from me as I become consumed by the space she made.
Here are just a few random passages….
“Step in and it hardens
“Our mouths midway
across the same
“A note almost sung ..’
From “The Air Year “ by Caroline Bird.
What I need to know is ,can I make a space, an abstract painted space which I can and can’t see, that will, from what appears to be from nowhere ,’tune in’ to that overwhelming ache?
Paintings No 1 and No 2 are a pair
Painting No 3 is a one man band
Painting No 4 is a joining
Painting No 5 and No 6 are a pair
In Chronological order
All painted 2020-2021