Artist Statement and Final Post

When I began the Fine Art course I was confident in the work that I produced, unaware of the journey that I was beginning. I understand that the list below could include posts from before 3rd year but I feel that the previous work was not as informed as my current project and I would like to show the steps that I took to achieve the work that I have set up for the exhibition. The journeys that I present at the start of the second year do show signs of my curiosity in colour and form but I did not push the idea at that point.

If you were to scroll back through my time at Cardiff Met it is possible to see the full transformation through my work. As I step out of the protective covering that is being a student I am excited by the future, but mostly I am glad that I can say that with everything I have had to face these three years I know that I have become a stronger person able to tackle whatever the world has to throw at me.

1. Painting on larger scale!

2. Colour codes (Full set images)

3. Studies in red, yellow and blue

4. 9x A4 Structural paintings

5. Structural colour studies


1. Contemporary Artist (collection)

2. Wassily Kandinsky

3. Sean Scully

4. Carmen Herrera

5. Josef Albers

Installation of Degree Show work 1 & 2

Link to Presentation (Shared on Google Drive)


Artist Statement:

42AB (Ithaca)

This colour series explores the contemporary condition of colour within geometric forms. Inspired by the philosophies of early 20th Century theorists, who collectively explored the potential of colour and form. My investigations have allowed me to re-imagine colour theory with new possibilities for how colour can be approached in contemporary painting. I offer the viewer a vibrant experience that is separate from the familiar bombardment of day-to-day visual encounters.

Indulge me for a moment and imagine every possible colour; Reds. Blues. Yellows. Let them fill your mind. Now I invite you to see what I see.


Contemporary context

I want to return to a point that I made in the Kandinsky post; the contemporary world needs beautiful things that distract us from our technology. Something that is different from the advertisement bombardment or even natural beauty which we have unfortunately become so accustomed to.

I have been focussed a lot on the Kandinsky and other 1900’s artists, but I don’t see that their world is much different from ours. What they lived with as far as politics and economics have parallels; the uncertainty in such a radicalised political environment fro one thing. The contemporary artists that I have found seem to agree with my desire to explore the modernist and other early to mid-1900’s movements. I think we all have a desire to experience what it is to be part of such a pivotal movement, finding new ways of presenting the core of our practice.

For me, this is in the pursuit to understand the language and dynamics of colour, and to use this exploration to chart my own course in the art world.

Click on the names to see more about the individual contemporary artists who have appeared in my research during the project thus far:

Niale Orsmond

Robert Holyhead

Exhibition at Waddington Custot “Colour is”

– A collection of works that bring together contemporary ideas about colour theory and how they can be expressed by current artists, in reference to traditional colour theory ideas. The Anthony Caro “Floor Piece He” is curious as it explores the colour of shadow. While this does not directly relate to my work, it does better represent an idea that I am trying to explore with the white overlayed forms; that light, and absents thereof, can affect the perception of colour. The white is usually used as a tool for illumination, but when overlayed colour it can dull the vibrancy of the colour underneath, creating tonal depth.

Ian Davenport / Morris Louis

Ian Davenport @ Waddington Custot Gallery

Form, Colour and Plan

 – Although work in this exhibition is more early 1900’s than contemporary I would like to suggest that installation method is has a more contemporary feel. I am referencing the exhibit to show how colour can be overwhelming but also infinite in its veriaty. As with a lot of abstract art, there is an argument that it is easy, and can be repeated, but if history can tell us one thing; while artists may seem to imitate one another, the hand of the individual is always present in the artworks!

David Batchelor

Gary Andrew Clarke

– Clarke describes his work as hard-edge painting and geometric abstraction. The work does use colour theory in its composition but it seems to focus mainly on the interaction of the forms. The paintings use the colour to push the forms backwards and forwards, giving depth to the paintings, in addition to the very pure lines that do not mix. While these paintings to not have the textural quality that I prefer they do have a wonderful variety. With his collection reaching into the 100’s it is nice to see what commitment to a project can achieve. I have already mentioned that the possibilities for my colour code studies are infinite and Clarke’s work emphasis’ this for me. The positive thing about my work is that the paintings are done in pairs so that the colours can be mixed, resulting in even greater numbers of possibilities.

Sean Scully

Sean Scully re-imagines the history of abstraction as an art rooted in experience, one that seeks to purify how we encounter the world—“something felt and something seen,” as he has said.

From Change and Horizontals by Joanna Kleinberg and Brett Littman

Scully’s work is grounded in reality, unlike mine and a lot of other abstract art, as Scully uses his photography as inspiration for his paintings.

SS2963 Robe Blue 2016 web

It is clear to see in this piece how the materiality of the oil is extremely different from my acrylic paintings. The brushstrokes flow and the physicality of the piece is very different from the work of Ad Reinhardt:

Ad Reinhardt, ‘Abstract Painting No. 5’ 1962

The textural nature of Scully’s vs Reinhardt’s does seem to show the two polarised possibilities of abstract artworks, with some opting for the industrial, digital approach and others the more gestural, analogue approach. There are naturally arguements to support both but I am going to continue with my preference for the analogue. As I enjoy the variety that comes from the acceptance of human error.

David Batchelor

David Batchelor

I am not at all interested in ‘pure’ colour… So if I use colours to begin to dissolve forms, I also use forms to prevent colours becoming entirely detached from their everyday existence.”

Parapillar 7 (Multicolour)

Batchelors rediscovery of colour theories into a contemporary context feels like it is presented as a challenge to places like the White Cube and modernist ideals of purity. Although he fits within the establishment, the work wants to challenge our perception of colour, balancing vibrant colours with structural forms. His book (Chromophobia, 2000) goes into more detail of how these thoughts are based upon art histories attitudes to colour, and makes a fascinating point about how the movements that over used colour (pop art) and those that avoided them (minimalism) are what has given artists today the freedoms of creation. With the emergence of the camera we moved away from the limitations of realistic artwork and into an era of industrial and technological art.

However, I would argue that in a contemporary setting we must explore colour theory as a base for emotional documentation and understanding, rather than continuing in a vain of ‘art-for-arts-sake’.

Sonia Delaunay

Image result for sonia delaunay orphism

Delaunay’s work was more design based as she had textiles and cars made from her patterns. The work is clearly from the cubist period but uses colour in a more instinctive way rather than focusing on the form that the colour take. The mixture of hues and tones creates a visual storm that changes with every glance, depending on where the eye lands the colours can rise and fall like an optic illusion of abstract colour.

The term Orphism is used to describe her and her husbands work which was a small off shoot of cubism that focused on abstract art and the aesthetic qualities in painting, using bright, bold colours rather than the more popular muted tones of the cubist artists.

Ian Davenport and Morris Louis

Ian Davenport – Three Arches series

In dark violet, blue and magenta Davenport creates works that focus on digital primary colours (CMYK) rather than the traditional primary colours (RBY). The purity of the colour from the screenprinting technique adds to the more digital appearance of the work. While the flatness of the work is calming for the eye, I feel that it fits within Kandinsky’s “lifeless” comment. While this may seem harsh, this opinion is based on my personal preference for textural work rather than the prevalence for flatness that Albers promotes. Of course with the preference of teaching contemporary artists Albers colour theories, it is understandable that many artists choose this style.

However, Davenport’s colour drip paintings combine the flat of the digital with the fluidity of painting.

Ian Davenport, ‘Colourcade: Pink, Purple’, 2016, Paul Kasmin Gallery

This reminds me of the work of Gerhard Richter and members of the Abstract expressionists, it is visually exciting and does not finish how the viewer might expect. With these pieces, I feel that Davenport is celebrating the materials that he is using more. In one article that I read this work was likened to the work of Morris Louis who, I would argue, has a more analogue approach to colour, rather than the clinical, crisp and perfectionist style of Davenport:

Image result for morris louis artist colour

The pieces that I have seen of Louis show where the paints were initially added to the canvas, they look more like a natural progression of colour (Aka a rainbow of colour) rather than a set of colours specifically chosen for their complementary attributes (Albers-style). Furthermore, the canvas is allowed to play a role in the composition to emphasise the separation of artwork and wall. Thus, pushing even more focus onto the colour pattern.

Image result for morris louis artist colour

Whereas this is the more gestural version of Louis’ work, with the colours mixing with one another to create an elaborate dance of colour across the canvas.