Fiona Rae, Joan Mitchell

Very exciting work. I particularly like the ‘Font Sticker Pour’ series of works.  The juxtaposition in colour, texture and mark making within each layer feels important for me to explore.  The videos on Rae’s site also provided much food for thought.

Pertinent points (from videos ‘Fiona Rae at Work’ and ‘‘Painter, Painter: Dan Perfect, Fiona Rae’):-

Canvasses are similar size to Rae.  Reflection/response on the world.  Performative aspect.  Challenging you on a physical bodily scale. I need to engage more with this concept, to be thinking about scale constantly as I work.

Human Scale Work. I like this element of an inevitable physical response to the work when it is big – it side steps the intellect, engaging a more instinctive response to the work which is again something I need to consider with my own choices. 

Everyone who makes something and stands by it has to have judgement. (Dan Perfect)

Need to feel every area of the painting is convincing in itself.  There is no area that is a ‘hole’. (in talking of when Rae knows a piece is finished)

Intention: experimental, see what is possible, what if?

Use the background as a presence in the drawing. A reminder to always be conscious with my work, to be aware and focussed on all of it, not just the section I am working on.  

What can you do to make it alive, vital, relevant? Something for me to consider further, my intention, my reasons for making the work, what I want to express.

Give myself opportunities to be different kinds of artists within my work (Dan Perfect).

scale, surface, colour, detail, resolution (DP) Helpful checklist for working 

Use of signs, symbols, imagery. ‘In amongst a passage of expressive meaningful brushwork I might place something very inappropriate, almost ludicrous or absurd to see what happens.  Often take things from the outside world and introduce them into the paintings…..can I pull off a serious, expressive paining that includes stuff that we see in our world every day?’ This particularly resonates with me – need to explore further what this means in terms of my own work.  Practice by creating my own series of experiments inspired by Rae’s work (particularly incorporating the ‘cute’ symbols).

painting is a conversation.

As ‘is it interesting?’ not ‘is it abstract?’

Try and turn things that haven’t gone right into opportunities for something else to happen.

Rae describes painting as ‘expressing what it feels like to be in these times now, a response to that in the paintings. Can create a world of paint in which many things can happen.’ This is also meaningful to me – reminder to always be considering content and intention – why am I painting? And asking rigorous questions of my own process to determine its validity.

2014 ‘Fiona Rae at Work’, BBC Arts Online

2014 ‘Painter, Painter: Dan Perfect, Fiona Rae’, Art at Nottingham Castle, Axisweb

In the introduction on this website there are various pertinent points for me to consider:-

[She] rarely if ever painted from life…

In order to prepare herself for painting, she might read poetry or listen to music…

Her paintings were built slowly and carefully; she would stand back and look at a blank canvas or painting in progress for long periods of time, decide where each mark should go, then approach the work to place paint quickly and confidently…

Mitchell’s process is informed by a range of emotional states, points in time, and positions in landscape, and her work is an affirmation that people experience landscapes, emotions and memories in a complex, interconnected way…

This method of working feels like an opportunity for me to create one of my layers in my own work.  Where I disconnect from the figurative altogether and embrace and exploration of an energy or an idea on the canvas.

What can I try in my work?

To experiment making a range of abstract pieces of work inspired by music. This would then be used as a layer for further work to be painted on top.  The layers need to be complete in themselves – paintings that have reached a conclusion and have had time to sit before beginning further work on them with a different intention/aim.  



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