There are many things I intend to do with my ‘free’ time, and I am often ambitious with plans for large paintings, days spent in my studio, drunk on tea and folk music and the gentle smell of paints. But things do not always go to plan and this summer has needed me in other ways. It has needed me as usual as mother, but also as friend: whilst someone I care about a great deal has been (is) extremely unwell. Planned carefree days of abstract painting became focused time, distracting (therapeutic?) art workshops, and fewer hours in the day than I remember. With this in mind I recognise all of my trademark colours; the tones and angles I am comforted by.
Whilst being drawn to the incredible copper sulphate work of Roger Hiorns, Asger Jorn’s ‘Letter to My Son’, Rebecca Horn’s ‘House of Pain’ and Mark Bradford’s ‘Riding the Cut Vein’, I am aware of the therapeutic nature of looking at Art, experiencing as viewer, and reflecting, with absolute conscious projection.
L to R clockwise: Hiorns, Horn, Bradford, Jorn.
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There is a tactile quality to the works I was drawn to in my recent gallery visit to the Tate. And a pain. Ripped, torn, trapped, scratchings, at the limit of feasible mark-making, blistered, sharply crystallised. There is beauty but there is also a still discomfort, an unsettling tension between the artist and materials, or even just between the materials. Jorn’s ‘Letter to My Son’ felt moving and powerfully truthful despite it being unclear what this ‘truth’ might be. Perhaps a personal communication. There is some necessity to work through emotions in my painting and drawing and I am aware of the knots and the uncomfortable angles and the headless figures, and what this can represent. It is, as ever, absolutely critical to create. It is breath and scaffolding and a comfort blanket.