Friday 13 November 2015

Simon Callery Flat Paintings at Fold Gallery

Yesterday,  after a bit of a search I found the Fold Gallery (  nearly going base over apex  missing the 'mind the step' notice).  I'd been intrigued by a posting by Selvedge on Facebook  about textile workof Simon Callery,  the exhibition finishes  tomorrow (14th) so didn't have much time to  catch it. 
From the blurb: "These large -scale flat paintings on show originate  in the landscape  where Callery has worked for the last 2 seasons alongside excavations led by the University of Oxford in Moel y Gaer, Bodfari, North Wales.  
The impact of this landscape and excavation site on the painting results in a group of works that expose all evidence of the making process as significant features in the completed works . They reveal to the viewer multi-layered external and internal surfaces and voids. The canvases have been soaked with highly saturated pigments and have been cut and stitched .They are ragged, torn and perforated."
There's a video here   where he explains about the processes involved.

 I spent about half an hour with these 4 pieces, peering at them from different angles, making sketches and taking notes of my impressions.
What I paid particular attention to was  comparing the top 2 pieces -  the top  one painted with ferrous distemper had been washed which gave a completely different  quality to the holes which were ragged and frayed rather then the  more precise cut holes in the 2nd piece painted with caput mortuum pigment.  In sideways view this gave completely different landscapes of flaps and ragged edges sticking out into the gap, almost touching.
I loved the variation in  subtle tones in the 3rd cadmium red piece  but as there were fewer holes ( and none in the back piece of fabric) , looking between the  layers  was more of  void. Having a 6 inch or so gap  between the layers of canvas gave  such life  to the pieces , it got me thinking how to incorporate that kind of effect in my own work  
I was less struck by the ' Wallspine (Leaf),  although the 3d variation of line  as a result of the folds was interesting. Perhaps it was the colour  which did not have the subtleties  and  variations of the other pieces

 When I got home I fished some of my indigo dyed old quilts out of my packed sealed boxes ( naughty!), looking with fresh eyes at this old log cabin with the torn back, wondering how I can  have both sides on view and how to work into them. Thinking about the qualities of holes.


Margaret Cooter said...

Fascinating - both the work and your thoughts on it.

Liesbeth Williams said...

Thank you for this post. Very interesting. You have probably seen it, but there is an interview with Simon about painting made 10 years ago where he also talks about looking at works from the side, seeking the authenticity of marks, rather than only looking at the frontal image.