Working toward a new exhibition (for Sept '19)

This year I am curating an exhibition of new works.  The preliminary title for this exhibition is 'Colourscapes'. It is predominantly a new departure for me in that the size of the works and the colour schemes for them are different in both instances from those that I have worked in before....Bigger and brighter!!

For a taste of what I mean ...go to 'Current Projects' ( Subsection )

Writings / Comments on current arts interests

 Responses to exhibitions and arts news items

Response to 'That Bed ....'

The Studio - January 2015

That Bed!

The trouble with that Bed, a 'work of art' by Tracy Emin, is that it has, when placed in the Public Domain, no longer retained those elements that might possibly have touched on the fringe of uniqueness or expressed the character of 'Values of Art.  It seems to me that the claims for it to be judged, seriously ( and judge is what we do to evaluate works of art), all relate to the very common experience of thousands, if not millions  of bed users and therefore throws doubt on its uniqueness. It seems to me to be no more than an ORDINARY STATEMENT WITH ORDINARY VALUES.

It could lead one to consider that everyone who alights from a bed and leaves it messy has inadvertently made a work of art. This is a ridiculous notion.

Even more ridiculous is that someone was prepared to give a extraordinary monetary value to it.   The History of Art is full of these 'idiot moments'


New Studio ( Sept 2018 )

Having had to vacate my old studio I have been very fortunate in acquiring a new studio.  in a very short time.  I was lucky ! .  By pure chance I happened upon a person who knew of spaces that were suitable and so here I am/  

    My studio address is  Room 102, Imperial Centre, Grange Road. DL15NQ

      Please feel free to visit on either Mon, Tues, Thurs ( 11.30am - 5.00pm )

The Art of the Abstract

Abstract art is evoked from ideas derived from the experience of life elements ie, real constructs which provoke a wide variety of responses, which could be described as Semi-abstract, or geometric or completely non-objective  These responses, which are resolved as works of visual art, promote a spectrum of visual ( concrete ) and/or theoretical aspects of physical or mental associations with the world which we and the artist have experienced.

A confrontation with this art is, at one and the same time, both communal and private.  Because of the marked difference in the type of experience, there are many different perceptions of and responses to the works.  Thus, one might say, 'pure abstract art' is only that which uses a visual language of form, shape, colour and line to make work which does not refer to the 'normal' visual understanding of the world  ie,  to the viewer, the 'look'   (visual reality ), is not as important as the 'message' ( visual sensation ).

By the end of the 19th Century, Visual Art was freed from the restraints of the logic of perspective, and the need to reproduce an illusion of visible reality.  Artists were now being influenced and driven by radical changes in Philosophy, Science and Technology, to create new kinds of art.  Much of the theoretical underpinning of this 'New Art' was derived from those arguments reflected in the intellectual and social commotion of Western Cultures.  The exploration of IDEAS ( a new construction of reality ), rather than representing an objective or literal view of what is 'seen', becomes a motivating force for artists; resulting in what is often described as the 'Art of Internal necessity' .  Herbert Read was to write that abstract forms relate to a human psychology which was an outward expression of an inner need; a .....' metaphysical anxiety '

One does not need to understand abstract art, one only needs to accept it, as one accepts so many manifestations of human development and change in the 'modern world'.  What one can attempt to do is understand how and why it has developed.  Abstract art is a result of different sets of circumstances in which an artist exists; no more or less understandable than any person, living in a modern world, is forced to reshape their understandings of such a world.  The forms of visual art have changed over time, as the Philosophies, Sciences and Technologies have changed.  These changes are evident in the great 'Movements of Art' ie, Post Impressionism, Cubism, Futurism, Dada & Surrealism, Expressionism, Constructivism & Abstract Expressionism etc.

I think that the categorization of Abstract art in the Tate Gallery is a good guide for a start to any study of the Art of the Abstract.  It lists two dominant types of abstract works; those from recognizable sources ( figures, landscape, manmade, and organic),  and those from Non-representational sources ( colour, geometric, irregular forms, monochromatic & text ).

Finally, an artist central to a study of The Abstract in Painting, and who configures the complexity of the subject in such an economic way, directs you to a view with which I would wish you to approach my work....

' abstract forms are endlessly free and inexhaustibly evocative'    Wassily Kandinsky


The Development of Artistic Expression 

An artist in any genre of the Arts has a growing or developing perception of the world and it is impossible for this not to be reflected in his/her work over time.  My work is perhaps more eclectic than others'  in that I can not restrict myself to any one medium or style.   Although having said that, I  am aware that I do place a very strong emphasis on the place of drawing in my work.  In this sense, there could be seen to be a strong linear component to my 'style'.

Dominant influences in my formative years were the importance placed upon figure drawing from life and the initial craft skills learnt in Lino-ctting & etching/lithography, always underpinned by the necessary sketchbooks and the need to observe/record from primary sources. A little later my three-dimensional understandings were awakened by the practice of work with clay.  The emphasis I place upon SHAPE as a primary force in all artwork has underpinned my teaching throughout my career.

I remember, in my early days, being moved very strongly by the drawings of two very different artists, Van Gogh and Ingres, and I admired the 'freedom and immediacy of the work of Sickert and Whistler and the French artists Vuillard and Bonnard. Later I was to marvel at the depth of this immediacy in the work of Monet and Toulouse Lautrec.  I was also connecting a little with the work of Utrillo.  In the years to come,I needed, constantly, to refer to the History of Art in my teaching and I regarded the reference to differences between artists as an essential aspect of this.  As a consequence, I have never ceased to be amazed by the power of the visual arts to interest and move one.  One cannot ignore Cezanne, Picasso and Braque, Matisse, Chagall or Roualt, Mondrian or de Kooning.

One could go on much further until one reaches the artists of today ( as the previous artists were also the  'artist of the day'). I am still open to current influences but find that I am less tolerant of art where there appears not to be a predominant element of control over the resultant 'work'

I still believe that art ought to be the result of struggle and hard work.  I firmly believe that there is a 'scale of consequence', otherwise there is no reason for artists to exist as a special group because there would be nothing to distinguish them from the non-artist.  Having said that, I am willing to be open to other arguments.