Studio Diary: 22/02

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The painting surface is a much more sparsely populated space with a more disciplined application of pigment. The tar-like black enamel paint (often applied using a turkey baster) pools onto, and bleeds into the un-primed canvas creating rich variations in texture and mark. Pollock’s wife, and fellow abstract painter Lee Krasner described these pieces as ‘painting with the immediacy of drawing… a new category’, a fitting analogy that closely captures the paintings direct and transient nature.
Painting with the immediacy of drawing: 15th March 2016

22/02/17
Painting with the immediacy of drawing:

There are some interesting elements arising from the continuous exploration and development of the ‘synthesis studies’:

 

  • washing the page with various tones of ink and then working into it with a loaded brush: the ink immediately runs and bleeds producing some intriguing blurred and out-of-focus shapes and forms emerging through the wash – not so dissimilar to a series of photographs I produced a number of years ago towards the end of my undergraduate degree (2008/2009) by taking photographs of woodland canopies, sometimes consciously shot out-of-focus, I would further expose them to a soft focus through the process of developing in the darkroom. The resulting pieces often resembling bacterial life forms, or reminiscent of the cosmos.20170223_124048-1
  • the working of washes over previously applied marks: either drying or dried, produces veils of tone describing depth, layering and collage.
  • then the working into these forms with the sharpened end of brush handle, dragging the re-wetted ink to extend and sometimes morph the original forms.

Although producing some interesting and intriguing results, as yet I struggle to see an outcome, or ‘jumping-off-point’, where a new line of enquiry reveals itself through these works.

The other pieces I have been exploring and developing, however, seem to posses a voice, and speak in a different way. They project themselves, pose an air of authority and refinement. Although not yet charting a new course forward through themselves, my instincts tell me to pursue them further.20170223_123211-1The nest like forms created by the mass of interconnecting and crossing lines and marks pulse with an encouraging possibility.

The web like forms seem to reflect, and relate with Pollock’s late ‘pour paintings’, figures of familiar elements deep from within ones subconscious drift in and out of focus, revealing themselves before sinking back below the mass.

The exploration of ‘mark’ I think is what fuels these pieces. They seem an appropriate place from which to start again, as it where on, my return to the studio. Experimenting and extending, a general handling and possibility of mark: fluidity; density; tone; freedom; shape; rhythm; movement; suggestion; aggression; emotion; narrative; expression.

Mark is after all a basic component of, the building blocks of visual language – especially drawing. I approach these pieces as ‘drawing with ink’, (see studio diary: 20/02), to borrow Lee krasner’s term in describing Pollock’s later paintings: ‘Painting with the immediacy of drawing’.20170223_123346

A continued exploration of both styles, is I feel, the immediate course of action, but a heightened focus upon, and sensibility and intuition will be heaped upon the ‘mark’ studies.

Although new to the studio again, I do not feel too much a strain or pressure or expectancy upon these pieces. These things inherently take time. Drawing and Painting are like any muscle, without regular exercise one cannot expect them to deliver optimum performance right away. To borrow a musical analogy, one cannot pick up their instrument after an extended period of absence and expect to hit a tune right away.

Painting and Drawing like any genuine creative practice should be a struggle, it should be draining, tormenting even. One should hold a sharply bipolar relationship towards their activity and the studio. To quote Peter Lanyon, ‘these things are the places where we find our deepest meanings… they take us to the places where our trial is with forces greater than ourselves, where skill, training and courage combine to make us transcend our ordinary lives.’ 

These things should by their nature be difficult to wrestle with. All good art should hurt. We should suffer for our art, indeed we must if we are to find value in it. Or as a colleague eloquently said, ‘pity the happy painter’.

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