Saturday 24 November 2018

EDAM week 7 : Projections, Scale , Process

A one week  project this week on EDAM course with Lucinda on scale  and process  using projections. 
I had to leave early as I was feeling unwell  with my first cold in 2 years.   After a few days with mornings in bed  feeling sorry for myself I'm on the  mend   tho' going through a lot of tissues....  So I was definately under parr  when it came to  collaborating in small  groups , trying  to make decisions  -  some nice work produced by others   but not by me ! 

Started off   with Lucinda  demonstrating different  way of using  acetates on OHP projector . I liked the idea of projecting images as large as possible and getting inside the painting/ drawing yourself  or putting a  sheet over yourself and having image projected on you or casting the picture around the room. 

  Our small group had fun layering acetates of  our drawings - quite different marks and styles, although  perhaps 4 people was too much - ( there were only a limited number of OHP's). Drawing onto paper from the projections and then switching it off , showed  some interesting results ( below)
  The introduction  of colour and  different kinds of marks
  Using a acetate photocopy of one of my photos of boats at Iron Wharf   gave a different dimension

 Then Janet added  some vigorous ink marks replicating the lines on  projected building

  Final piece after some more additions of colour - not great art or composition but definately a record of processes! 

 I used OHP  projections  as part of  Contemporary Painting  Studio  course with Lucinda -   it wasn't really a technique that worked for me  - I  prefer  to do manipulations etc in Photoshop. However they had  some  dinky little digital projectors  which some people were using  with tablets  etc and  that gave me the push to get round to replacing my laptop ( new one arrived today) and I'm on the lookout now for a digital projector that I can also use for talks. 
I've used a slide projector in the past to scale up my photos ( including sand  dunes in Morocco for quilted piece 'Erg Chebbi' ) so I'm keen to explore new technology.  

Monday 19 November 2018

Anni Albers at Tate Modern: Tactile Sensibility

 A few weeks ago I visited  the Anni Albers exhibition  at Tate Modern.  I first became seriously aware  of her work in Whitechapel  Gallery exhibition ' adventures of the black square'  and then at 'Making, Unmaking' at Camden Arts Centre.   It  was a joy to see   a gallery space devoted to  textiles as art  ( and  for this to be recognized in  reviews of the exhibition  here  and here)   

What  struck me most was  how much the texture  added depth to abstract  work,  seeing the details and the variety of threads and 'stitches'   used in her 'pictorial weaving'  and  interestingly how fading of dyes over time made subtle changes.  She was such an innovator.  

 The larger installations , exploring the relationships between textiles and architecture  and the commission ' 6 prayers'  with their 'scriptural effect'  showed another dimension of her work
  Interesting use of metallic  threads - the silver threads in 'Haiku' (below)  reflecting back light in my  phone camera snap  ( you wouldn't be aware  of it in the  photos online)   
 I enjoyed her sketches and the fascinating  range of samples  and source material   for her  book ' On Weaving'   from student exercises using straw  and string  to fragments of  ancient woven pieces from cultures around the world

 In the final room  were samples of the types of yarn  she used and touchable swatches- reminders of how important the sense of touch is in textiles. I wonder how often they have to replace  them , or what they look like now after several weeks of  fondling and handling!?  

This was one of my favourite pieces - ' City' from  1949overlaid swatches of heavy threads  on a course hessian like background   giving the impression of buildings  In the words of  Nicholas Fox Weber,  the executive director of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, “You see neighbourhoods; you hear populations; you sense traffic rushing along.”

Sunday 18 November 2018

White Paintings: Tate Modern 'In the Studio' & Paul Feiler at Redfern Gallery

 Where possible, Fridays are now my 'London Gallery ' days : travelling  after 10 am cost £17.90 with a  Network railcard  in comparison to the  £47.80  travelling at peak time in the morning for EDAM  on Wednesdays! 
So far  I've  been to the Annie Albers at Tate Modern  and Oceania  at the RA  and with ' Black and White'  with Ashley Hanson  still in my mind , I've  been hunting down relevant artworks  while I've been in the area, discovering  a whole section in the 'In The  Studio' display  of  Tate Modern ( above) and  some exciting works  by Paul Feiler in the Redfern Gallery in Cork Street ( below) 
 Entering the prestigious  galleries in Mayfair  no longer scares me as much as it used  to - if you have a genuine interest in the work , I've found the  staff to be helpful and often generous with catalogues and cards etc .  At the Redfern, there was  roadworks going on outside and I think they were glad to see anyone!
 I sketched these 2  pieces : Oval and Blue ( above) and Porthleddon deep Blue 1962 ( below) to get  to grips with their proportions and compositions. Also to try and work out how many layers there were and in what order - I just loved the flashes of yellow, blue and brown  at the edges of shapes. What at first glance might seem to be a slapdash application of white  is actually   very carefully painted.  I was also very aware of the importance of edges ( as with Patrick Heron)
I  liked  the exuberance of the textured brush strokes  in 'coastal Walk 1959' above' summoning up a sense of place  and  his  sketches ( below)

 While  his earlier more organic work is more to my taste,  his later geometric 'portal' works ( above)  are mesmerising when you see them in the flesh, the subtle layers of colour drawing you in
 ( reproductions just can't do them justice)  The  title  'elusive space' for the exhibition  was very  apt. 

  The previous week, in Tate Modern while paying homage to the 'Cage' paintings of Gerhard Richter in section 'In the Studio'  ( I visit them every time I go there),   I revisited the 'Painting in White'  section I'd studied during the 'Ways into abstract painting '  course, particularly the work' holes'  of Shozo Shimamoto ' 
This time it was  the 'White Painting' by Michael Buthe   that grabbed me, reminding me of the work of Simon Callery  . I hadn't  heard of him before but   it looks like his work is well worth exploring further ( article here
Michael Buthe
Jack Whitten

Shozo Shimamoto 

Piero Manzoni 
Despite loving colour, I'm finding the exploration  of a neutral palette  very satisfying at the moment. It  allows me to explore texture, layers, marks  and composition and tone without the extra complication of  colour ( although I'm still struggling to  get to grips with charcoal). Time perhaps to look again at those gessoed/ primed pieces of old quilts I've been hoarding??

Friday 16 November 2018

Patrick Heron at Turner Contemporay

Every time I go to Turner Contemporary in Margate I say I should go more often - it's only  half an hour by train from Faversham, it's by the sea , has interesting  free exhibitions and an excellent cafĂ©. What's not to like! So  I was very happy to join fellow painting friends Hazel , Teddy and Jean  when it was suggested we made a  visit to the Patrick Heron  exhibition for our monthly Thursday meet-up. 

We talked all the way there ( and back) , had a  quick  look round the Cornelia  Parker installation 'Perpetual Canon' ( above ) before an early lunch and coffee to  set ourselves up  
 It was interesting to compare  loose vigorous mark-making with the  stronger, simpler compositions  with their juxtapositions of colour 
These looked deceptively simple but if you looked closer, especially in a raking light , you could see  the intricate brushwork and layering which gave a subtly complex surface. One of the reasons  it's so important to see painting in the flesh rather than just reproductions 

 Another interesting aspect was seeing his early  and later works hung  together 
I particularly liked  his late gouaches , with their soft chalky bleeding edges, repetition of shapes and dark against dark, ( these were framed behind glass so difficult to take photos of). I haven't used them since I was at school , I either use transparent watercolours or acrylics, but seeing these makes me want to experiment with them again. In some he painted using the tube on wet paper ,  with very exciting marks 
This pair of paintings were hung  next to each other  and I can see why. The shapes of the later abstract painting below, echo some of the forms and colours used in  the earlier , more figurative painting of gardens above. Once you got your eye in , you could see he used the same motifs again and again in other works. 

The layers of bleeding colours  in this 'stripe ' painting ' Lux Eterna' are mesmerising , reminding me of Gerhard Richters 'Cage ' paintings with their hidden depths. Also the edges were interesting and  then I found this statement of how important they were to him. 

 I attempted to draw the  colours and composition  of this piece ' Blue Painting Sept 1961"  in my sketchbook. What drew me to it ( apart from it being like indigo!)  was the very subtle variations in colour of blue  with little tonal contrast ( except for the bright orange complimentary colour right on the edge of course!). The balance and tension are masterly. I've   found before how difficult it is to get an accurate colour match for indigo when printing or on the computer. The picture above is my own photo  which I've manipulated in photoshop  as well as I can to get an accurate depiction of what attracted me  . The pictures of the same piece of work  found on the web (below)  while probably more attractive as posters/postcards give a very different impression of the work 

The piece 'Horizontal Painting  with soft black squares 1959' ( above) was  a favourite when I asked which piece we'd take home with us. Unfortunately  under agreements of loan for the painting you couldn't take photos  . Again, you can see big differences in the different versions found on the web 

In general , it was worth the trip and there was a lot to admire, but while I liked it I didn't love  it, it didn't set my heart racing like some of the work by Peter Lanyon or Terry Frost . 

What was exciting  was the children's workshop that was going on while we were there ( it was half term ) ,  building up pictures in coloured acetate that were then  sealed in a laminator. I wanted to have a go but I  would need to take a child with me ! 
 These coloured paddles  used to demonstrate  colour mixing were fantastic, I wanted to take them home with me , I shall have to ask for some in my Xmas stocking! It was appropriate that the installation ' Dutch Light' with Chatham Dockyards    seen on an earlier visit  was still there.