Sarah Morris’ hard-edged abstractions are based on architectural details, motifs and the dynamic of particular cities. My connection to Morris’ abstractions is that they are executed in household gloss paint in vivid colours, on square canvases, and that they are based on the grid.
Virginia Cuppaidge’s large scale geometric abstract paintings convey a sense of disembodied, horizontal strips of colour hovering in space. Hard edged strips of colour are mingled with soft edges. Subtle gradations, and flat stripes of pure colour come together to create a mysterious, harmonious and sensuous quality. Cuppaidge is an avowed abstractionist, however there is an intimation of the natural world in her ‘Geometrics’ series. The way that Cuppaidge balances blocks of colour, and her unusual sense of colour make her works stand out for me.
Donald Judd was referred to as a Minimalist, however he objected to this term. He is best known for his large scale sculptures which are arranged in precise, geometric forms. Fitting in with the concept of abstraction, the sculptures had no metaphorical meaning, no reference to the natural world and were devoid of narrative. The purity of the objects themselves were of prime importance, their raison d’être. Towards the end of his life Judd engaged extensively with colour. I see the image I have chosen as a three dimensional object which could also be seen as a painting. The colours resonate with me, they are vibrant, and they demonstrate the relativity of colour.
Morris Louis was aligned with Color Field Painting and Post-Painterly Abstraction. His paintings were free of any external references. Colour was the subject of his paintings. His method of using unmixed colour was intended to distance himself from the work. I was inspired on seeing his ‘Unfurled’ and ‘Stripe’ paintings. I have come from an ink brush painting background and appreciated the brushstrokes, which gave me an insight into the artist. My current practice is concerned with, among other things, colour, and how to make it sing.
Sean Scully is a contemporary artist who paints large, abstract paintings which consist of geometric forms, horizontal and vertical bands, and tessellated blocks of colour. They are atmospheric, emotive and convey the power of painting within a controlled structure. On researching Scully I found him to be inspirational, and on reading that many of his works are painted on aluminium I became committed to paint on aluminium, which was something which I had already considered doing.
Louise Blyton manipulates spatial dimension by creating ‘sculptural’ paintings, which become three dimensional. Her geometrically shaped cavasses turn corners, straddle columns, bend in the middle or jut out from the wall. She identifies with Reductivism in that her compositions are streamlined, simple and colour is restricted. I am drawn to the limited colour range, and the seemingly simplicity of her works, which belie the fact that they are in fact a complex combination of painting and sculpture.
Sol Lewitt was pivotal as a pioneer of conceptual art. He believed that the idea itself was as much a work of art as the finished product. His wall drawings are made by others to clear, and strict, written instructions. He was not concerned with descriptive imagery or any inherent narrative. I am attracted to the vivid colours he often used and his sculptural works or ‘structures’ which were based on geometric shapes.
John McLaughlin is considered to be a pioneer of minimalism and hard-edge painting. His geometric abstractions are inspired by an interest in the Japanese philosophy of Zen and the idea of the void. Devoid of any rendering of the ‘real’ world, his purely abstract works provoke a state of meditation on man’s place in the natural world. McLaughlin was influenced by Kazimir Malevich and Piet Mondrian, as well as Japanese art and Eastern philosophy. My current practice addressing hard-edge, geometric abstraction, together with a long-standing interest in the Japanese aesthetic, has sparked my interest in the work of McLaughlin.
The design of this kimono reflects an influence of Western art in Japan. The kimono is held by the Met Museum and is classified as Costume. The squares and rectangles are evocative of abstract/non-representational painting. Having long been interested in the Japanese aesthetic I am drawn to kimono designs, especially those which reflect an abstract design.
Ellsworth Kelly was a leading exponent of hard-edge painting. Abstract shapes, in this instance the square, are precisely defined and free of gestural brushstrokes. He believed that paintings were objects. Like Kelly, I have been using square panels to create a larger whole. I also wish for my viewer to respond to my paintings instinctively and to experience a physical and mental response.
Looking somewhat like a bleached beach towel Happy Holiday is painted in subtle, ghostly colours. It uses repetition and geometric form to establish a relationship with shapes. However the stripes are not rigidly geometric as the lines are not uniformly straight. There is an otherworldly, or spiritual, content, and a state of bliss is implied in the title. My connection to this work is that is founded on geometry, that it is abstract, and that it aims to elicit emotion.
Hilma af Klimt was a contemporary of Wassily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich and Piet Mondrian. Today she is regarded as a pioneer of abstract art. Her abstract paintings pre-dated those of Kandinsky, who is historically known to be the founder of abstraction. Like Kandinsky, Malevich and Mondrian, af Klimt’s concern was for the spiritual in art. According to her wishes her works were not seen publicly until 20 years after her death. My interest in af Klimt lies in the fact that it was a woman who painted the first abstractions. af Klimt’s abstractions inform my research into abstract art.