Abstract Expressionism at the RA

Having thoroughly enjoyed walking around the RAs exhibition on Abstract Expressionism, I was struck by this quote:

‘The act – painting is of the same metaphysical substance as the artist’s existence’ – critic Harold Rosenberg, 1952.

This was entirely true of the paintings I created last year – moreso of some than others. I wanted to FEEL the emotions and use instinct to move my hand. I wanted to be less conscious of the elements which I know I can confuse with reflecting ‘quality’ in order to develop work which felt more authentic: more an experience of working through than an experience of looking to validate with notions of recognition.

And I was fuelled with inspiration walking around this great collection of works, to take further steps down this road: to approach working on different materials, on different scale, with different size brushes (huge as well as tiny), to be constantly challenging myself to feel authentic and not to find a new and comfortable groove, a pattern of remaking which repeats and repeats with little distortion. I want to feel the paint as it moves from palette to canvas. I want to splash myself with it as it moves ever so slightly out of my control, on the edges of my deliberate-awareness, somewhere between conscious and sub conscious. Though I do not want to approach the experience in the same way as Pollock or Rothko I do like the sentiment of David Anfam, co-curator of the RA’s Abstract Expressionism show:

‘…we will be drawn to such emotions as long as we remain recognisably human’ and ‘the dehumanisation that attends aspects of contemporary life such as high technology and cyberspace… may make this art the more attractive to our assailed, ergo jaded, sensibilities’


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