As I have written in an earlier blog, I found the RA Abstract Expressionism exhibition incredibly inspiring. I saw that Cass Art were holding a competition of contemporary abstract expressionist work in conjunction with the curator of the RA’s exhibition. I felt this was something important for me to enter – to engage with a period in art history that I love and to paint my own response to it and to the exhibition.
When I was at my recent life drawing class my tutor and I spoke about the different layers and types of painting within contemporary work – that we have a multitude of styles captured within single pieces, almost as a reflection of our current need for stimulation and entertainment. We also discussed how one moves away from producing a ‘good’ life drawing/painting and start finding one’s own voice – engaging with what it is one wants to express and finding a style to do that.
I had these conversations in my mind when painting the piece below for the exhibition – I wanted to connect with my personal voice, to find a language to start working with. I thought very much about my colour palette, about creating layers and a variety of marks and texture. I used brushes, my fingers, cloths, sponges, water spray – and I tried to work in thin layers, building up the content slowly but spontaneously as I went.
I am really pleased with the resulting piece (which is 1m x 1m). It is a turning point for me – this is the voice I need to embrace, but I am also now inspired to see this is the beginning perhaps of a textural background that I could use with images of the figure over the top. I feel the work I have done exploring mono printing in part 3 could be brought into this work – perhaps by blocking out an area of flat colour and then painting a figure over that. This is something I am really inspired to pursue and will now endeavour to carry out some experiments to see what might work.