Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Seven from the Seventies at Flowers

Seven from the Seventies Flowers Gallery 16th January - 21st February

This exhibition brings together the work of seven influential abstract painters from the decade, featuring Colin Cina, Bernard Cohen, Noel Forster, Derek Hirst,
Michael Kidner, Jack Smith and Richard Smith.

Each demonstrates a reductive and disciplined articulation of the sensations of light, form, sound, colour and space. Their ordered, procedural and systematic approach to painting opened up new possibilities for future formal experimentation within abstraction.
Michael Kidner Column (no.2) in Front of its own Image, 1970 (c) Michael Kidner Art Ltd., Courtesy of Flowers Gallery
Michael Kidner’s rigorous intellectual approach to colour and form also resonates emotionally: ‘Unless you read a painting as a feeling,’ he has said, ‘then you don’t get anything at all’. Column No.2 In Front of Its Own Image, 1972-3 systematically records the grid or lattice formed by the movement of a three dimensional object in space, itself a solid representation of the intersection of two wavy lines. Exploring the complex effects achieved by the arrangement of simple elements according to a set of self-imposed rules, he generated “visual metaphors for the opposing manifestations of order and disorder in nature.” (Irving Sandler -Michael Kidner, Flowers Gallery, 2007).
Colin Cina, MH39, 1973  (c) Colin Cina, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery
Colin Cina’s MH series has been described as the artist’s “homage to the rectangle” (William Feaver - Art International,1972). Finding a sense of freedom within its formal confines, his lyrical coloured panels are rhythmically orchestrated by vertical lines and chevrons, the relational aspect of which set Cina’s work apart from much Colour Field painting of the time. Like so many younger artists of that epoch in London, most of my paintings then were defiantly big, chromatic works, in loose kinship with those of the New York school of that period - broad and tall and deliberately ‘anonymous’ with respect to paint-handling. New York was then still in thrall to Clement Greenberg’s somewhat uncompromising pronouncements on how a poetic but very new abstract art could be achieved. London’s ‘hard-edge’ painting of that decade was less reverent about the Greenberg approach: you might say, it was more eclectic, more rooted in pioneer Modernist European ideas. – Colin Cina
Colin Cina photo courtesy of R Demarco 1968

With prominent roles in British art schools as well as international professorships, their ideas impacted upon a generation of artists. Colin Cina, and Michael Kidner were tutors of mine when I was at Chelsea but unlike John Carter, a contemporary constructivist and fellow tutor, they were not set on imposing their approach. They were well informed artists with a real sense of the place and influence of abstraction in the UK. They encouraged open enquiry and if anything I remember them being almost reticent to introduce students to their own paintings. However I recall with affection my only Colin Cina studio visit where he shared with excitement the latest evolution in his work. Colin's delight was because he had broken the picture plane with shadows. This nuance of painting, this small adjustment was where our discussions were focussed, seeing the small personal and formal boundaries being tested.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Dragomir Mišina at the Pound

Dragomir Mišina's solo show 'At First Glance' at The Pound Corsham  Fri, 9 Jan 2015 - Sun, 22 Feb 2015

The work has been carefully selected and curated by me and Fiona Cassidy, taken from five different series dating from 2011 to present. During this process we have considered the unusual gallery layout, positioning paintings according to view point, and the relationship which they form when viewed from the distance. Moving closer to a painting, focus shifts to the complex surface of expressive mark making, carefully edited with use of layers, repeated several times. That is where the idea for the title comes from. First impression, from the distance, when viewing the work is different from the impression when observing a painting close up. Each visit to the same painting will reveal something new to the previous time.

This exhibition invites the viewer to look around at the diverse painting techniques, discovering contradictions and connections.

Mickey Mouse was here

Mickey Mouse was here

Last Supper

Monday, 5 January 2015

Adventures of the Black Square Abstract Art and Society 1915–2015

Peter Halley Auto Zone 1992
Following on from the Whitechapel catalogue post it is the Whitechapel again but this time with Iwona Blazwick's curated exhibition that is opening on 15 January, this epic show takes Kazimir Malevich’s radical painting of a black square – first shown in Russia 100 years ago – as the emblem of a new art and a new society. The exhibition features over 100 artists who took up its legacy, from Buenos Aires to Tehran, London to Berlin, New York to Tel Aviv. Their paintings, photographs and sculptures symbolise Modernism’s utopian aspirations and breakdowns.

Presented chronologically the show follows four themes:
‘Utopia’ is expressed through Malevich’s black square, the progenitor of new aesthetic and political horizons, seized by artists fromVladimir Tatlin to Hélio Oiticica.
‘Architectonics’ presents floating geometries that propose new social spaces as imagined by Lyubov Popova or Piet Mondrian and Liam Gillick.
‘Communication’ spreads the message to the masses in manifestos and avant-garde graphics.The ‘Everyday’ embeds routines and objects in the aesthetics of progress as observed in a textile by Sophie Taeuber-Arp or the abstract motifs painted on Peruvian lorries captured by Armando Andrade Tudela. Middle Eastern artists such as Nazgol Ansarinia link Modernism with Arabic and Persian decorative arts; while Western artists such as Lewis Baltz, Peter Halley or Jenny Holzercritique economic and political abstraction.Adventures of the Black Square explores how abstract art has travelled worldwide, permeating our life and times.