Anne Smart, Too Too Tutu, 2013, oil on board, 129 x 124 cm (courtesy of the artist)
Painter Anne Smart discusses her work during a group studio visit with Anthony Smart, Mark Skilton, Hilde Skilton, Robin Greenwood, Sarah Greenwood, John Bunker, Emyr Williams, Simon Orman, Kim Earley, Joette Hayashigaw, Alexandra Harley, and John Pluthero.
Discussing her painting process, Smart comments: "there is lots of movement of paint and building of the organisation; and the depths are different. I’m not attempting to get an all-over translucency or veiling, I’m trying to get a constant moving of those areas of looseness and density, surface and recession; opposites, so the blues you might think are going backwards are coming forwards. So there is a constant moving of all the colours and surface and textures and shapes, but as a whole thing. It’s like a hundred thousand things you are trying to achieve to get to that point, and most of them are answering those questions, but in the end you arrive at one answer."
Robert Linsley explores the idea of improvisation in relation to abstract painting.
Linsley writes: "Improvisation does not mean pulling art out of thin air. It is a congerie of techniques that enable the possibility that the new will appear, the foremost of which is repetition—at least that’s what we can learn from Jazz. The Jazz musician/composer aims to create a music, and it is built gradually, over time, by constantly working through a set of motifs, repertoires, devices, mannerisms, techniques, so that the relation between the elements is incrementally changed until the whole edifice, a life’s work, stands apart—a unique construction. This is an eminently pragmatic and realistic approach, because it doesn’t set impossible standards of extempore achievement. Improvisation is more akin to normal living than it is to flights of virtuoso artistic skill. And yet, great improvisers usually are virtuosos, it’s just that they have set their own standards of skill. It turns out that skills are best learned in the act of creation, and so one’s artistic beginnings can be set by—education ceases to be determining. Beautiful and highly individual musical idioms may be based on unusual fingerings or 'incorrect' voicings which have been mastered beyond habit."
Robin Greenwood considers the dual (and competing) roles of paint as both a material and as a "designator and articulator of form and space."
He asks: "how do we reconcile illusion with being abstract? This conundrum is probably why the phenomenological aspects of medium and ground keep being obsessed over, as a desperate attempt to sidestep the problem and make painting 'real' again.... So the problem for painting is this – how to move on into new abstract territory, whilst understanding that to paint any 'thing' is to risk a kind of representation. If we are seriously ambitious for abstract painting, we will want to work our way through and out of that dilemma.
Greenwood finds some answers in the work of painter Alan Gouk, whose work is on view at Poussin Gallery, London, through February 18, 2012.
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.