David Ryan

 

 

 

Caption

 

 

Caption

 

 

 

[continued from page 1]

 

Clearly, many of the pieces in Vivid explore a sense of arriving at a particular technique, where the manipulation of the material is often clearly visible and, to an extent, openly retrievable as process in the final image. Yet this is never simply an anamnesis – the recovery of lost time, the history of the making –what Yves Alain Bois referred to as an allegory or narrative of process. Due to the ‘excessive’ nature of the final image, it is always much more. There persists here a tension, a dialogue, between the invention of process and its execution and the optical experience of painting as event in itself – which, in fact, gives the illusion of stepping outside of the temporal framework set up by the process.
 
Torie Begg’s work is an example of this ‘spelling out’ of the temporal and manipulative moves in such a way that simply ‘consuming’ the final image or ‘reading’ it, cannot fulfil; one has to engage almost physically. Begg carefully orchestrates a sequence of stages whereby layers of paint build up both a surface and a dominant hue. The physicality of the paint remains self-referential throughout these processes (it is used in a constructive manner almost as a sculptural material). Forming a grid, these processes echo the physical texture of the canvas support itself. They also verge on transgressing the tangible boundaries of these supports, through the coalesced drips that appear at each of the edges. A multi-gravitational, almost weightless sensation can, ironically, result from this highly matter-of-fact material orientated approach. Daniel Sturgis’ Spirit of the Age explores a more deadpan approach to building up overlapping forms. The result is a quasi-psychedelic re-interpretation of colour field painting. Its shaped format accentuates the qualities of a decorative border or detail, which on closer inspection gives way to a quirky individual anthropomorphism of funky shapes which form the broader areas. Sturgis plays with this idea of taste, retro-chic and the sheer exuberance and intensity of colour to produce highly charged chromatic and tightly designed abstractions. Dona Nelson, in a completely different way, also works with repetitive accumulation. Holiday – part of the Stations of the Subway series – explores a disruption of the rigidity of the grid as pictorial base through an unsettling fluidity, which seems to float on top and become a dominant reading of the painting. Words and Voices uses textural relief with some of the forms produced in modelling clay. Here a simple process of repetition of a circular motif, and inversion – from smooth to relief, black to white – lead to a strong graphic image, as though formed by accretion. Nelson’s surfaces are highly synthetic, and also stage an interplay, seen in different guises throughout this exhibition, between rigorous predetermination and spontaneity.
 
[continued]