Thursday, 23 October 2014


The object painting I decided on eventually involved abstract and geometric shapes.  The inspiration was multi-layered going back to Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth to the present day with sculptural work by the late Sir Anthony Caro, Michael Buhrer, and particularly Charles Hinman whose work I particularly admire.  The precision reminds me of the stones laid in Peruvian temples and the use of hard edges echoes the hard edge styling in motor car design.

My own object painting doesn't have that kind of precision but it alludes to it.  The concept was to use some of the abstract patterns from my Malevich inspired sketches drawn for  the initial exercise.                      

I found it difficult to turn these designs into three dimensional pieces and became particularly hung up trying to make a pyramid, it was easy enough making a 3 sided pyramid but not as easy to do a 3-D four sided pyramid.  I did become a bit preoccupied with this.

For the final piece I knew I wanted to include pyramids as a sort of aerial view of the desert. But playfully I wanted them to either infer Madonna's boobs or a face with protruding eyes.  I also knew that I wanted to hint at Hinman's arrangements, with the close proximity of geometric shapes.  Having been to see the pyramids in Cairo one is very conscious of the ancient and modern co-existing and I  wanted to imply this by the mass of road and/or rail lines in the painting.  I worked the original maquettes with artex, which is fast becoming one of my favourite mediums.  Once dry I felt I wanted to leave the object white much as Nicholson did but when looking at the finished object against the wall I realized that the shapes would be interesting to coat in liquid paint and to see how it would fall over the various elements and what paths it would take amongst the various textures.  So I dropped liquid acrylic paint down from the top to see how it would look.  Thinking of it as a desert scene I decided to use yellow ochre.  However, I now wonder whether other colours could be added.
Because I am seeing the image as an elemental design incorporating ancient ideas and modern I feel I should include the other two primary colours, but am  reluctant to do this as there is something elemental about the idea of pure desert colour, and it is more minimal and therefore basic using just the one colour. I also toyed with the idea of using a frottage technique over the railway lines in black, but then they would be too prominent and detract from the shapes and their shadows which is what makes the picture interesting.   I am reminded of Tapiés and his limited palette so for the time being at least, it will stay as it is.