abstract painting the formal and the free…

The danger of ‘Art on Web’, if there is one, is there is possibly too much Art to look at. And perhaps too many twee images…

painters TUBES magazine Abstract Formal and Free

Abstract Formal and Free

a new beginning for abstract painting in the twenty first century?

By the turn of the century there was a significant uneasy feeling among creatives, it was because the conceptual, come installation art form, had dominated contemporary art for decades [in Europe], it had reached the point where it had become ‘institutionally-approved art.’ – and therefore only represented the Art Establishments opinion of contemporary art and no-one or little else. The conventional medium [painting] had not only been ignored unfairly, but often ridiculed by many academics as a serious medium to create a new contemporary art form.

This was more apparent in Europe than it was in the USA. Which had, in the main, accepted and had retained ‘painting’ on the curriculum of universities and art academies. This wasn’t the case in Europe, especially the UK, where slowly but surely ‘painting’ was removed not only from Universities curriculums but also actively eradicated by discouraging students of including painting in their portfolios for year ending assessments (some made a threat of immediate failure if they did so). Talent, skill, colour understanding and artistic authenticity became a thing of the past and all these later day basic elements and knowledge for art creation was declared ‘obsolete’ in favour of a Post Modernistic approach to art where plagiarism was not only allowed but expected of the student.

Not every one agreed with the post-modernism dogma, and many Artists, in general, became tired of restricting themselves to the non-physical involvement of art creation, mixed with the re-making of someones else’s original idea from the recent past and where the actual process of the creation was secondary, or unimportant. Disillusioned with the philosophy of post modernism and conceptualism, where only the ‘idea’ of a work of Art was the thing that was worthy of consideration, traditional painting became more and more attractive to Artists once again. This was despite the uneven handed approach to painting in the Art Education system. Painting flourished, especially with the underground artists, mostly dogged painters from the 1980’s, also the graffiti artists and with help of small exhibitions by the commercial galleries on some high streets and in provisional towns, painting began to prove that it was very much alive and had not ‘died off’ as it was predicted it would in the later stages of the Twentieth century.

The catalyst for paintings resurrection may have come from a movement that became known (in Europe) as the ‘Transavantgarde.’ Achille Bonito Oliva, an Italian critic overseen the new, or more appropriate, renewed an art philosophy that rejected the left wing [political] thinking in art and its corresponding artistic psychoanalysis. They returned to encouraging the use of traditional materials and the creation of Art imbued with not only talent but the invention of new image communication forms or symbolic signs. They gained an international audience in 1982 with an exhibition that was mounted in Rome.

The leading Transavantgarde artists included Chia, Cucchi and Clemente with Baselitz and Keifer in Germany, who are often thrown into the mix of the artists in this re-engagement with painting. What was also significant, was that a few artists in the USA seemed closer to the European Transavantgarde mind set than they did to the ‘pop’ or the ‘hyper-realists’ practitioners (for example, Julian Schnabel).

This goes to illustrate how the Art in the public view (media coverage), the one sanctioned and approved by art institutions, can be misleading, with the implication that Art is binary or lineal. Most artists know that Art is and always has been, dynamic and multifaceted.

We are only in the 17th year of a new century, but these last seventeen years are proving to be milestones in painting development, albeit not to the same extent that Cubism changed how artists think about how they could create a work of art.

The neo-expressionism of the Transavantgarde of the 1980’s led to more and more figurative interest in art creation. And in certain ways figurative abstract painting has asserted itself as the popular choice of many artists. Today figurative abstraction appears at the forefront of recent painting. It can take the form of abstracted human forms, landscape, emotional or personal experiences. The resulting artworks all carry something ‘real’ as the key element in the work of the artist. Art for Art ‘s sake, or Art as the object itself is no longer the main concern.

Picasso once said that… “there is no such thing as abstract painting, everything comes from something..”

What is apparent today is that the visual art playing field has widened and levelled itself to be inclusive rather than exclusive, as it was once was not so long ago.

Realism, semi-realism, abstraction in all it’s forms, gestural, expression, geometric formal, and informal and combination abstraction (objectivity mixed with non-objectivity), photographic/painting montages, video, digital art and graffiti, all have an active role to play in the kaleidoscope of todays visual art world. The whole history of art and art ism’s seems to have merged into an array of visually stimulating and exciting art forms, but only new in the sense that they are created in the ‘here and now’ and reflect that ‘here and now’ – it’s perhaps a more short sighted view of culture that is held today than it was in the middle of the twentieth century.

artists of the revolution

When you think of the word ‘Revolution’ another word automatically springs to mind to precede it….

painters Tubes magazine.
Summer special edition Back Issues (on line only) available soon.

extract from the essay:

…When you think of the word ‘Revolution’ another word automatically springs to mind to precede it. American is one, French and Russian perhaps are others. These Revolutions involved violence, out right war and sudden social changes.  Few people automatically think to put the word ‘Industrial’ in front of that emotive word. Maybe because the ‘Industrial Revolution’ was more of a ‘slow burn’ and happened over time, a slow change to society rather than a dramatic instant thrust of evident and far reaching dramatic changes of the social fabric like the well known revolutions.

Yet the industrial revolution was by far the most important and influential revolution that has ever happened to civilisation since someone in the middle east discovered that a seed bearing plant could be turned into food (bread). That particular amazing ‘discovery’ enabled ‘spare-time’ for humanity to develop other skills and helped to propel a human society beyond the limitations of living as the nomadic hunter gatherers that humans had been living for millenniums up to that point.

For our story, about how the industrial revolution affected Art and Artists, let’s start by making some educated assumptions as to why the Industrial Revolution came about. Without labouring on the individual details too much, you could say it was the need to increase productivity for goods to trade with for a growing population. Initially, the energy needed for these goods was provided by manual labour, mules or horses to haul the wood that gave-up it’s stored energy, directly or through the making of charcoal that provided the power to make other things, like smelting metals or firing pottery. Manufacturers also used ‘water driven’ machinery to increase productivity in food production (i.e. bread). And then the most important source of energy of all was unearthed (literally) as the best energy source of all, Coal. This was, by far, the most important of all the energy sources, because it was cheap, plentiful, efficient and England, in particular, had plenty of it. The fact that ‘Coal Power’ greatly expanded the production of goods is unquestionable and it was to change the face of Western Civilisation as much as ‘ Crude Oil’ did in the latter part of the 20th century.   continued…

Ian Mood – new work

“common ground.” will be exhibited in the art School’s fabulous building and exhibition space.

Featured in the upcoming issue #8 of painters Tubes magazine, will be Ian Mood, a painter who is creating a unique series of work based on his Grand fathers paintings of Stoke-on-Trent. It’s an idea that emerged slowly over time and Ian has now established a project studio in the Stoke City Centre, to make the idea a reality. During our Editor’s visit, Ian introduced him to the trustee’s of Burslem School of Art, http://www.burslemschoolofart.com/, that also have a fascinating story to tell.

Ian’s series of work – “common ground.” – will be exhibited in the art School’s fabulous building and exhibition space. Tubes issue #8 will be discussing the project and taking a general look at Ian’s work over the last years, which includes some unique semi-abstract (expressionist) paintings dealing with the human form and also his earlier landscape paintings…Tubes issue#8….not to be missed.

Painters Tubes in Stoke on Trent UK
Ian Mood in his new studio (Stoke-on-Trent, UK)

image©painterstubesmagazine/DenisTaylor 2018

Pauline Rignall.. Myths

painters Tubes Editor interviews Pauline Rignall at her studio for issue#8

Pauline is a painter who is exploring ‘human sensuality’ through the inspiration of myths and legends in her recent work.  She translates these often suppressed, or  hidden sexual feelings, into vibrant dynamic contemporary art. She is also a gifted landscape artist. Tubes editor, Denis Taylor, visited her recently in her home studio to discover more about her and her art. – You can read the full interview in issue #8 – back issue available soon

extract from essay.

“Myths are dramatised psychology, an expression of the inner life through the creative imagination. They are both universal and personal, being symbolic of the  patterns and energies operating in the cosmos in society and the individual.”    Pauline Rignall

….There was nothing mythical about my recent meeting with pauline Rignall in her cottage studio nestled among the very lovely and quintessential English Derbyshire hills. As I stepped off the train Pauline was waiting to greet me at the gate of the small country railway station. And in less than a few minutes we were sat at her dining table enjoying coffee and a piece of home made cake, talking Art and painting in general. Pauline is a gentle sensuous soul one that is reflected in many of her paintings, albeit not that obvious to the casual observer of her figurative paintings. However, her landscape painting  do reflect a serenity and an appreciation of the beauty of nature that surrounds her.

Pauline’s has a deceptive strength of character that is partially masked by a playfulness and genuine love of Art and literature. I first became aware of her as an artist when she contacted Tubes with a submission to be included in the ‘landscape’ feature of 2017  (issue # 5)…. read more soon..

CPH Art Space

it was a very cold Easter Saturday we visited the Copenhagen Art Space for an annual exhibition…

Denis Taylor Artist at CPH art spaceIt was a very cold Easter Saturday that both myself and Marianne (sub-editor of Tubes) visited the Copenhagen Art Space for an annual exhibition. The venue is situated in the developing Nordhavbn (North Harbour) part of the Danish Capital City. The venue known as ‘Docken’ is a space which is expansive and well appointed. Art Space 2018 is an Art and Culture event that is approaching ten years old. The show runs over three days which may bring to mind Art Fairs in the UK, however this exhibition has the feeling of    a Salon, rather than an Art Fair.

Denis Taylor Artist and Editor of painters Tubes magazine at Copenhagen Art SpaceThe warm laid back welcoming that you get when entering the show made up for the bitter cold wind outside and allowed you to really enjoy what’s on offer. It was a breath of fresh air to witness the space given to each artist who exhibited, of which their were Sixty, all showing high quality, original, authentic work that was diverse enough for everyone’s particular taste. I began thinking that the space and the way it was presented could be a guiding light for the UK and Artists  to organize themselves to mount this sort of exhibition in similar spaces in the UK of which there are plenty available.

For me it was an opportunity to catch up with an old artist friend, Preben Saxild, an artist I had exhibited with in Stockholm at the Heart 2 Art exhibition in 2002. And one who’s work I have been following since before 1998. Preben has developed as an artist from being a very talented abstract expressionist, through to creating his unique landscape phase, and now a new line of work which is montage based, but with his own unique ‘take’ on life, one tinged with ‘irony’ political comment and sheer luxurious image making.

CPH3
Preben Saxild (left) and Denis Taylor (Editor of Tubes) catching up on his new work

Besides some great paintings there were also fabulous ceramic and metal sculptures on show, again I wished that the UK artists and private art galleries could visit these type of exhibitions in Skandinavia and be inspired by the originality of the Art, which is far more adventurous, in style and subject matter, (in my opinion), than most of the UK visual art that I have viewed over the last four or five years (in commercial galleries).
Below are a selection of some photographs (©Tubes magazine) of the venue and the art.