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I have wanted to do a show dedicated to Abstract art for a long time, but up until now have been focussed on group exhibitions. In many ways, the pandemic has been a catalyst for change and a series of themed online shows in 2020, put on through necessity, has given me confidence to repeat the exercise in 2021, or for as long as we are in lockdown. For this exhibition I am delighted to have both Andy Watt and Camilla Ward as guest artists
I love the purity and depth of colour you often find in abstract art which isn’t present in reality and for this reason I decided to hold this exhibition in Winter to brighten up what can often be a dull, dismal and monotone time, especially during lockdown when we can’t be cheered by social activity.
Paintings by Andy Watt
Many people think they don’t like ‘abstract art’ and then find themselves surprised when they respond to the colour, form and composition of abstract work.
Pure abstraction works on the viewer quickly: that combination of colour, form and composition provokes an almost instinctive, instant response – or not. It only takes a few seconds to decide whether you like an abstract painting and I was immediately held by this painting, the first work of his I’d ever seen.
William Boyd on John Hoyland, The Guardian, 6 Oct 2015
Painting by David O’Connor
In an age of imagery, when we are surrounded daily with multiple images on our screens, abstract art can feel pure and distilled, like the difference between a novel and a poem, honed down and refreshing. Abstraction can force us to feel the artist’s energy and mood, using a different part of our brain. It frees us not to have to make sense of the painting but to connect emotionally.
“But nobody is visually naive any longer. We are cluttered with images, and only abstract art can bring us to the threshold of the divine.”
Dominique De Menil, The Rothko Chapel: Writings on Art and the Threshold of the Divine
A lot of pious things have been written about Abstract Art but I think we are past the stage when abstract art was only appreciated by an elite and when the popular view was ‘a child could have done that’! Artists such as Mondrian, Rothko, Pollack, Miró, Picasso, Kandinsky and Richter are household names and more close to home, paintings by Ben Nicholson, Peter Lanyon and Howard Hodgkin have become part of our culture through their representation at the Tate and other major galleries.
The professional artist will arrive at abstraction through a lengthy process and their thought processes and development of techniques will come through in the final painting. Now in the 21st century, art lovers can appreciate abstract painting, either at a purely decorative level or for the deeper connections they make with it.
The whole exhibition is online and as well as our guest artists in this exhibition we are showing some wonderful paintings by David O’Connor, Laura Howarth, Sophia Hughes, Emmy Franks and Janet James.
Paintings by Camilla Ward