Monday, 11 June 2012

Unit 4 Commission

I was asked to make a painting for studio1 to cover what was once a hatch between two rooms. The dimensions and situation of the piece were determined – approx 100cm x 140cm, otherwise I was given free rein with the work. 

Initially I thought I would paint it as a mural in situ, but realised that the studio is too busy for that, and I therefore cut a piece of MDF to size, and have had it on my easel, on and off, for the past six months. 

This was my first commission and site specific piece of work, and was a more challenging project than I envisaged. The main challenge was my familiarity with the studio, I’ve taught a yoga class there for the past several years. I am aware of how the room is lit by sun and artificial light and how the painting is likely to be seen from the yoga mat at varying angles in the room.  All of this is a help and a hindrance – the hindrance, my self consciousness and concern about how the painting would be received by Pete, the commissioner of the work, and by the numerous students.  I found it difficult to bracket this information and just paint, I kept wondering how it would look in situ and whether it would be liked. Each Monday at my yoga class I would look at the space and try to imagine the painting there.

Over the months it has had many, many coats of paint. Many attempts to create something that would sit well in the studio and not appear incongruent with the nature of Unit 4.  It had layers of floating colour – very Rothko-esque but not right, it had drips and misty colours with circles floating – very lily pad Monet, definitely not right, it was taken into the garden and sloshed with calligraphic marks and shed loads of water, but still it wasn’t right and I feared all the water would warp the MDF. Eventually I settled on an abstracted anatomical theme and predominantly monotone colour scheme.

The result is called Acetabulum  which was installed yesterday with the help of Richard and Peter M with the drill and hammer and lots of support that all would be well and look fantastic.  Hoorah! It hadn’t warped too much and was easily fixed in place.  A smaller series of five works to complement Acetabulum have been made for the hallway, and were also hung yesterday.  
Acetabulum  102cm x 136cm, acrylic on MDF 2012

I’m delighted and relieved to finally install the pieces and complete the project successfully.
Epicondyle 70 x 50cm acrylic & charcoal on canvas
Sacrum 60 x 40cm acrylic & charcoal on canvas

Friday, 1 June 2012

Favourite Artist Series - Soulages

Pierre Soulages

Since I first stumbled across the work of Pierre Soulages in Musee Fabre, Montpellier,  I have been totally transfixed and in awe. Unctuous black textural images that reflect light and colours, are a wondrous study into the depth of black. Sophisticated and elegant these monumental images are quietly imposing and very inspiring.  I was influenced by Soulages investigations into light through using only black, to make my Singularity Series.

Black singuarity series. 2010
Cobbin. Untitled (Singularity Series) mixed media on canvas 2010. Sold

Soulages. 55x46cm Jan 1960

Mel Gooding wrote:

'A painting by Soulages:
expresses nothing,
describes nothing,
refers to no object outside itself,
has no subject but its own nature
It is not about something,

it is something.'

I am very excited that in 2013 there is a Soulages Museum opening in France, that will showcase a large body of his work, donated by the artist. I will definitely need a study trip to France next year.