Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Fiona Robinson Parallel Lines of Enquiry


Parallel Lines of Enquiry a recent exhibition of drawings at 

 An Essay

Fiona Robinson’s exhibition Parallel Lines of Enquiry has an overarching fluency and elegance akin to the power of silence.   Nevertheless, the visual and other literacies at play  in each suite of drawings and within the individual works speak volumes about the music, stories and places that inspire her exquisite drawings. 

La Plage, a short story by Alain Robbe-Grillet, is read as an integral component of the exhibition, not simply to create atmosphere, but to reveal its inherent musicality and illuminate the artist’s sensibilities and reasons for being.  The story is also presented in book form.  For me, this a more empathetic counterpoint to Fiona’s intense control and spatial dexterity and adds to the enjoyment of the drawings cerebrally and sensorily.

Constantly moving one’s viewpoint to exploit the interplay between the natural light that makes the Allsop Gallery special and the works reveals the huge subtlety of Fiona’s exploration and control of the linear, spatial, textural and tonal language of drawing.  Some surfaces shimmer accentuating the vibration of the linear chords. 

Her abstractions are the process of interrogating and reflecting profoundly on the parallels between the experienced - rehearsed - and the spontaneous, the unique and the series, the spoken and the written, the scored and the improvised stimuli to her practice.  

These drawings are rich in their internalised dialogue.  The exhibition presents the beauty of art underpinned by structure and craft.  Reiteration here produces resolution and revelation.  We are required to stare in order to hear these drawings.  Their quietness is their loudness.    

Jem Main
Artist and Director
March 2012

In May Fiona will be taking up a residency at Cill Rialaig in Kerry.





Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Visualizar el sonido at

From the 30th march - 25 June at Laboral in Northern Spain
Sound installation, Black corindon Powder, 16 coaxial high-speakers,

DVD players, mix tables, amplifiers.
Variable dimension and Unspecified listening time.
Exhibition view « Staack, galerie Frédéric Giroux, Paris 2010

"In 2007, LABoral held the first LEV (Visual Electronics Lab) Festival, whose initials pay tribute to Lev Thermen, the Russian scientist who was the father of the present-day synthesiser. The founding goal of the festival was to provide an eclectic and qualitative overview of electronic sound creation and its intersections with the visual arts. Throughout its five events, the festival has featured a selection of the most interesting projects by international creators working in this field, spanning from up-and-coming promises to renowned artists."

"The idea behind this international group exhibition is to examine the synthesis between image and sound, the various graphic and physical representations of sound, and its evolution in contemporary art."

"Sound should not be detached from the surrounding that informs it: space, vibration, wave, technique for representation, perception and even visualization. "

Is this last quote a rule or an observation that Fiumfoto, the curator feels should apply to all artists or an indictment of sampling in general?  Something might have been lost in translation but it is a shame about the text as the festival and the work looks appealing.


Monday, 19 March 2012

Radical British sculptor Anthony Caro's groundbreaking exhibition, Chatsworth House, England

Anthony Caro, 'Cliff Song', 1976, 197 x 353 x 129.5 cm (C) New Art Centre

28th March-1st July. The Chatsworth House Trust and the New Art Centre, Roche Court Sculpture Park, present 'Caro at Chatsworth'.

Caro, is often seen as one of the 'old school' British sculptors by many of the young artist fraternity. He emerged in the early sixties through his teaching at St.Martins School of Art, as a radical artist working in welded steel, rather than bronze. He was also very well connected, being an assistant of Henry Moore and through Clement Greenberg, became friends with David Smith and Kenneth Noland in the United States, where his approach changed dramatically towards a new 'American' purist abstraction. His breakthrough piece being 'Early One Morning'. See Caro talking to the art Critic Will Gompertz here...very interesting.
Anthony Caro, 'Early One Morning' 1962, Painted Steel and Aluminium
However, he is still pushing the envelope in his eighties and has retained a deserved grandeur in the pantheon of British art, carrying on from Moore and Hepworth's legacy.
Text from the Press Release: 'This will be the first exhibition dedicated to the work of a single artist to be held in the garden at Chatsworth and will comprise 15 sculptures by Sir Anthony Caro sited around the famous Emperor Fountain, in front of the south façade at Chatsworth. 'Caro at Chatsworth' provides a once in a lifetime chance to see the larger work of Britain's greatest living sculptor in one of Britain's most famous historic settings'

Friday, 9 March 2012

'Joan Mitchell The Last Paintings' Hauser and Wirth, London

'My paintings aren’t about art issues. They’re about a feeling that comes to me from the outside, from landscape. … Paintings aren’t about the person who makes them, either. My paintings have to do with feelings’. Joan Mitchell, 1974
Joan Mitchell 'Trees' 1990—1991, oil on canvas, Diptych
We are big fans of Joan Mitchell here at the new Abstraktion Offices (more of this soon). Hauser and Wirth, one of the leading galleries in London, opposite the Royal Academy, is showing a great antidote to th Hockney show, by exhibiting the late paintings of Mitchell that unlike Hockney, show a questioning artist in her late prime and still pushing paint to find its limitations. (See our earlier posts on Mitchell).

Joan Mitchell left America having made her name as an artist during the Abstract Expressionist period in New York. Living and working in France, and influenced by the landscape and Monet, she resisted drawing too much from it, yet furrowed her own approach to abstraction: a loose touch, dynamic energy and leaving a great legacy.

Joan Mitchell 'Then, Last Time IV'  Oil on canvas, 1985
The exhibition also features Mitchell's late, purely abstract paintings. These works range in format including single canvasses, diptychs and tondos. The works display a radical and free use of colour and line, as well as a confident experimentation with composition, scale and physical structure. Each painting showcases Mitchell's mature artistic style that, over a prolific period of three decades, had fully developed into a unique personal language of colour, line and form. Together, these late paintings demonstrate what Richard Marshall describes in the exhibition's accompanying catalogue as the artist's 'pure joy of putting paint to canvas'.

The exhibition is on until 28th April 2012. 'Joan Mitchell. The Last Paintings' has been organised in collaboration with Cheim & Read, New York and the Joan Mitchell Foundation.

Go see...

Installation view: Joan Mitchell 'Tondo' Oil on canvas, 1991,
149.9 x 149.9 cm / 59 x 59 in

Thursday, 1 March 2012

John Cecil Stephenson 'Pioneer of Abstraction' County Durham, England


John Cecil Stephenson, title unknown, c.1933-39


John Cecil Stephenson exhibition, 'Pioneer of Abstraction'  at Durham Art Gallery

Not a hugely known artist on the international stage, Stephenson is known in Britain for being a pioneer of abstraction, when there were few modernists around especially from County Durham.  This will be the first major study of his work in the region including works on loan from national institutions and private collections. Much of the abstraction in the Uk at the time was of a Constructivist nature and the works need to be seen in that context. The artist talks taking place during the exhibition explore this influence, see the list below. On graduating he moved to Mall Studios, Hampstead where his neighbours and immediate circle included Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, Piet Mondrian, Naum Gabo, Henry Moore and the art critic Herbert Read.

Stephenson was one of the core modernists of the 1930's; indeed Herbert Read said that "he was one of the earliest artists in this country to develop a completely abstract style". 'Pioneer of Abstraction' will be a survey of John Cecil Stephenson's work between 1933 and 1939 covering his path from figurative painting to abstraction.
John Cecil Stephenson 'Vortex' c.1933-39
Talks on the artist and modernism in England at the gallery:

'Constructivism and English artists' Monday 5th March 12.30-1.30pm. Talk by Professor Stephen Bann, exploring both the Russian/continental origins, and the later, post-1945 developments. Stephen Bann CBE is Emeritus Professor of History of Art and a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Bristol. In the 1960/70s, he was closely involved with the historical and contemporary aspects of Constructivism, contributing to the 'Systems' exhibition which toured Britain in 1972/3, and editing the anthology of texts, The Tradition of Constructivism (1974, reprinted 1990).

'Le Synthèse des Arts and the Constructivist dream' Monday 12th March 12.30-1.30. Talk by Professor Alan Powers, looking at the relationship between constructivist art and architecture. Alan Powers is Professor of Architecture and Cultural History at the University of Greenwich. He writes and curates exhibitions about British art, architecture and design in the twentieth century. He has also been active as an artist and printmaker, and as a campaigner for the conservation of buildings.

'The constructivist tradition in European art' on Tuesday 26 March 5.30-6.30pm. Talk by Dr. Alan Fowler, the historical context of John Cecil Stephenson's work. Dr Alan Fowler is an art historian and freelance curator with a specialist interest in constructivist art in Britain and its European context. At Southampton City Art Gallery in 2008 he curated "A Rational Aesthetic" - the largest exhibition of constructive British art ever held in the UK.
All these talks are FREE for everyone.