Group discussion: Anne Smart, Anthony Smart, John Pollard, Alexandra Harley, Nick Moore, Robin Greenwood, Sarah Greenwood, Hilde Skilton, Mark Skilton, Noela James, Patrick Jones, Ben Wiedel-Kaufmann, Matthew Dennis, Andrew Revell, Bob Aldous, Fred Pollock discuss the collages of artist John Bunker.
Opening the discussion with a short statement, Bunker comments: "For me [scale] a bit of a bugbear about collage. The history of collage has had at different times in history a kind of domesticated realm about it; it can be quite diaristic; it can be personal and quite small... [but] I'm also interested in trying to make collages that are very big... exploring the relationship between the materials on a very small level and then materials on a big level is something that's really excited me."
John Bunker, Anthony Smart, Anne Smart, Robin Greenwood, Sarah Greenwood, Alexandra Harley, Patrick Jones, Sam Cornish, Mark Skilton, Hilde Skilton, and Nick Moore visit the studio of painter Emyr Williams.
Alexandra Harley: The "passage of colour isn’t just pure. It may be a pure colour all the way through but the juxtapositions of the other colours around it are changing that colour immensely."
Anne Smart: "I know [Williams' paintings] are going to be about colour, but If I try to forget that, what comes out really strongly is how they make me feel… and I’m minded to think of a painting that relates to both of them: Monet’s 1860 “Women the Garden”, and what that does for me, and what I have always felt strongly about, is the light in it; and both these paintings articulate what light does, and I feel a strong presence of that light and what that sensation can give you spatially."
Robin Greenwood: "The elements in the painting are so much more demanding than one stripe next to another. I feel I’ve seen that sort of thing before – you know, beautifully coloured stripes… but here, I’ve never seen anything quite like this before."
Sam Cornish reflects on As Wide As A Door Is Open: Material Images at Fold Gallery, London (through October 11), an exhibition of abstract painting he co-curated with Kim Savage. The show features works by Christopher McSherry, Dominic Beattie, EC, John Bunker, and Stephen Buckley.
Cornish writes: "The exhibition mixes generations. There is not a single message, more a hunch that if abstract art is to re-appear as a real force in contemporary art it would need to be diverse and excitingly visual, that its engagement with the past of modernist abstraction should be both direct (not dominated by pastiche) and somehow wayward. Above all I think that the strangeness of abstraction needs to be recovered – something which can only happen through the art itself, not through written argument."
In a new video from Lamka Films, Ben Wiedel-Kaufmann interviews artist John Bunker about his work on the occasion of two recent London exhibitions: Six Fugues, curated by Sam Cornish at Westminster Reference Library and Ram Raiders, Snake Charmers and Rope Burns at Unit3 Projects.
Bunker comments that collage
"tends to be driven, historically, as... a domestic thing, a personalized thing... There's that side to it. And then of course you have the other side to it, which is the side I'm more attracted to, which is this intense relationship to the picture plane - that you're breaking it up, you're inverting things, you're turning things 'round.. these different speeds of attack that come into a work. You isolate a gestural piece of painting. You take it away from the happy places it's always lived and you put it somewhere that it doesn't belong automatically. But, then you find these new relationships between these... incongruous things."
"For me [the work] has to be a visual, sensuous experience before anything else. But, I find that sensuousness from the materials around me and I'm determined to bring them into a relationship with the picture plane, with paint, with the history of painting."
Andy Parkinson reviews the recent exhibition John Bunker: Six Fugues, curated by Sam Cornish, at Westminster Library.
Parkinson observes that the fact that Bunker's works are, "made from, 'torn posters, shattered CDs, abandoned chicken-shop boxes,' combined with the painterliness of the gestural flourishes, even in collage there are plenty of those, all adds to their materiality. Nevertheless, I can’t help but think of them as paintings, the construction method of which is collage, rather than collages made with painted elements." In Bunker’s Falling Fugue, Parkinson continues, "the figures (torn and cut shapes and gestural painterly marks), seem to occupy a fairly narrow cubist space, blues often being interpreted (by me at any rate) as sky, which sometimes opens up into a much deeper space than I was first perceiving."
John Bunker interviews painter Sabine Tress about her work. Sabine Tress: Run Run Painter Run is on view at Appels Gallery, Amsterdam through July 4, 2014.
Tress comments: "I think I am more and more looking for a personalised version of painting. And above all I want my work to reflect a very individual view and complex emotions. I don’t know if my work does that but I am attracted by works that do that, plainly speaking... I’d like to work a lot more on bigger formats. Physically, it’s a challenge. The huge format I worked on recently… I had to get on a chair in order to reach nearer to the top. Small formats can be challenging too as I need to control my actions much more. The bigger formats on the other hand, allow me to ‘slam the paint’ on, I have more freedom to experiment, leave the canvas ‘empty’ on certain areas. Bigger formats allow me to have more of a dialogue with the painting. It’s like a person or a presence standing there. It also feels more like creating a very personal reality, something that stands its ground. I imagine sometimes that if I could paint lots of big formats and that I would then be able to live in this painted environment."
Andy Parkinson blogs about the Summer Saloon Show at Lion and Lamb Gallery, London, on view through September 1, 2013.
Parkinson writes that "Forty three painters are represented... Many of them are well known, and many are artists previously not shown... A theatre of competing patterns might also be a description of the summer saloon show. One of the things I like about the Lion and Lamb Gallery is this continued bringing together of different painters, creating a rich dialogue about what contemporary painting is and might become."
Curator Nick Moore writes about the Intimate Abstraction, and exhibition of works by John Bunker, John Eaves, Patrick Jones, Frank Bowling, at The Searchers Contemporary, Bristol, on view through April 5, 2013.
Moore notes: "The title of this exhibition derives partly from the size of the gallery and the choice of smaller works to include in it, but more importantly from the layers of meaning in the word intimate. Intimacy is usually thought of as the feeling of being in a close personal association, a belonging together; a familiar and very close felt connection with another. Genuine intimacy requires dialogue, transparency, vulnerability and reciprocity. The adjective, 'intimate' also indicates detailed knowledge and experience of the other, be it a person or a thing. And so the working processes of the painter with the depth of knowledge and experience of the material they use, have experimented with, investigated and tested through a long relationship (possibly thirty or forty years). This can result in a connection in which there is an emotional range involving both robust conflict, and intense loyalty to the medium being used, a dynamic partnership in which there is give and take. It is this sense of connection with the process that initially drew me to these four painters and the richness of the particular way paint is extended through the inclusion of other materials."
Emyr Williams muses on the collages in the exhibition John Bunker: Vital Signs at the Half Moon Theatre, London through January 28, 2012.
Williams that Bunker is "looking for life in the deathly pit of the rubbish bin: bits and bobs that once served other purposes have been resuscitated, re-energised, reconfigured and pictorialised. Mary Shelley would be proud: detritus, distressed debris, angles, curves and awkward bits, stringy and sticky, tape and paint, stain and scuff, card marred – stuck and torn, ripped and ruptured, rumpled and worn – diagonals forced into framing rectangles that echo the edges, with drawn tears in surfaces that want to be something significant again, something more than they once were: from the mundane to the particular, from the scrap heap to the gallery wall…. It’s alive! An artwork is born."
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.