Categories
1: Landscape 2: Abstraction Abstract Inspiration

Kurt Jackson

Kurt Jackson (1961-present)

A British painter whose large mixed media canvases reflect a concern with natural history, ecology and environmental issues.

The majority of Jackson’s work reflects his commitment to the environment and the natural world within Cornwall, although he also works elsewhere in Britain and mainland Europe; recent projects include bodies of work on the Thames, the Avon, the Forth, Ardnamurchan and the Glastonbury Festival series. He has been Artist in Residence on the Greenpeace ship Esperanza, at the Eden Project, an ambassador for Survival International and frequently works with Friends of the Earth, WaterAid, Oxfam, Surfers Against Sewage and Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

His paintings frequently carry small commentaries on the scene depicted and show a fascination particularly with the detail of plants and animals within an overall ecology and evoke a calm, spiritual and warm relationship with the landscape, even of apparently bleak scenes.

website

Google images

Importance of feeling and working process

How Jackson approaches landscape composition.

Environmental Activism

Bibliography

Cocker, M., Dunmore, H., Hare, B., Jacobson, H., Mabey, R., Marsden, P., Mooney, B., Packer, W., Taylor, J. R., Smit, T. & Tooby, M., (2010) Kurt Jackson: A New Genre of Landscape Painting, Farnham, Surrey: Lund Humphries.

Livingstone, A. & Kackson, K., (2012) Kurt Jackson Sketchbooks, Farnham Surrey: Lund Humphries.

Categories
2: Abstraction Inspiration

Sandra Blow

Sandra Blow (1925 – 22)

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A Talk About Sandra Blow  Video You Tube

Sandra Blow – A view of her working in the studio on a day to day basis.  Video You Tube 

website of the Sandra Blow Estate

Sandra Blow Google images

Every movement we make is a sort of balancing act

 

What do I know about finishing a painting? i can’t separate the calm, strong vertical movement of this painting from the shifting bands of evening light across its lower right-hand corner. I wouldn’t change what I can see at this moment for another, more ‘finished’ kind of vision”

For me, as well as the natural interactions of colour and line, there is a biological facor in a painting, in which all the parts contribute to the functional whole, as our bodies do. When it ‘lives in that way, it is finishedIn addition, there is a God-sent gift, a balance of magic.

The crucial thing is that although [a shape or colour is] perfect in its place, there is an unexpected quality about it, an element of surprise. It is something I find with great difficulty. It doesn’t come naturally to me…But it occsasionally occurs, as in Green and White(1969) where the thin line next to the two broad bands produces that sort of contrast that stops the composition from being heavy. It gives the thrill of a leap, a daring, a lightness – like Salisbury Catherdral where you have the great heavy spire beside a magically thin small spire which is perfectly, thrillingly balanced with it.” p19

I have two equal sources of inspiration. One is art, first the Renaissance art I saw in Italy at the same time as I sawAlberto Burri and Nicolas Carone…and later African sculpture and, among m,ay other painters, Roger Hilton and Morris Louis. The second influence is nature. I marvel at the beauty and construction of the leaves and flowers outside the studio. I love London skies, because they are framed and one sees them like a moving painting. I’m often amazed at the juxtaposition of trees, parts of buildings and the sky, and constantly changing, subtle colours. I also love great sweeps of moorlands, where you have wonderful undulating lines.

 

influence of african art: pulls and pushes not on an even line. structural tensions.

emotion, vulnerability, exhuberance.

there are certain patterns on the beach, which are sand ridges that are caused by the tide, and when the tide goes out, they’re visble, and running across them are inlets of water, which makes a sort of grid   p147

what matters for blow is where things will go from here. not the work that already exists but the painting that has yet to happen, that may take shape, tomorrow or the next day…  p159

Sandra Blow was an abstract painter who has also used materials such as polyethylene, and willow cane to construct pictures, Blow was concerned pre-eminently with the problems of pure painting: balance and proportion, tension and scale.

Sandra Blow was born in London and studied at Saint Martins School of Art from 1941 to 1946, at the Royal Academy Schools from 1946 to 1947, and subsequently at the Academy of Fine Arts Shortly after the Second World War, Blow studied at the Royal Academy Schools. Here she gained the patronage of Ruskin Spear, Carel Weight and Robert Buhler would remain the pattern throughout her career.

In 1947 she lived in Italy for a year. She motorcycled around the countryside, discovering at first hand the architecture and pre-Renaissance frescos. She came to know the well-known Italian painter Alberto Burri. While Blow did not produce work of her own in Italy, she learnt a great deal from the Italian master of “art informel” and later adapted Burri’s manner of composing with sackcloth, tar and other low-grade materials for her own, perhaps more naturalistic, ends. In the late 1940s she travelled to Spain and France.

1950s: matter paintings

During the 1950s, Sandra Blow was one of the pioneering abstract painters along with Denis Bowen, Patrick Heron, Roger Hilton, Gillian Ayres and many others. She established a calligraphic style in sensitive landscape drawings and a pronounced gestural handling of material in the paintings. Her use of dingy earth pigments like ochre, beige, brown, black and white to some extent mitigated the explosive and expansive spatial feeling engendered by splattered and flying paint marks.

She was sometimes called a ‘matter painter’, introducing into British art a new expressive informality, using cheap, discarded materials such as sawdust, sackcloth and plaster alongside the more familiar material of paint. A tactile as well as visual emphasis on surface resulted in powerful and complex images, exuding a rooted earthiness, yet full of mysterious flux and ambiguity. She worked in Cornwall for a year from 1957 to 1958.

Following her first painting sale, to Roland Penrose (a founder of the Institute of Contemporary Arts), Blow’s career took off. Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, she regularly exhibited with Gimpel Fils, the leading London gallery whose association with St Ives artists like Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson and Peter Lanyon anticipated her move in 1957 to live for a year in a cottage at Zennor near St Ives. Blow was widely exhibited abroad throughout this time, establishing the international profile that her cosmopolitan outlook warranted. Participation in peripatetic displays of contemporary British art saw her work promulgated in Italy, Holland, Germany, the United States and later Australasia.

In 1957 she featured in the first John Moores biannual exhibition in Liverpool and was included in the Young Artists Section at the Venice Biennale the following year. She won the International Guggenheim Award in 1960 and won second prize at the third John Moores exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery in 1961.

untitled 1951  p48

plaster and sacking 1956

winter 1956

cornwall 1958

painting 1957

Space and matter 1959 stormy

1960s and 1970s

From 1960 she went on to teach at the Royal College of Art. David Hockney, Patrick Caulfield and Ron Kitaj were among the students. In response to the optimistic climate of the 1960s, Blow’s palette lightened and for most of the rest of her career, easily manipulated collage materials, like torn paper or brightly coloured canvas cut-outs, littered her often large-scale pictures. The Matisse-inspired decorative manner of her middle and late periods was a seamless collaboration between the constructed and the freely painted.

She was appointed Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art in 1973

Green and white 1969 – 10 foot square offset green quadrants and pale intersecting bands that nevertheless appears to be subtly and continually balancing itself in several directions at once.

green and red variations 1972

1980s

sacking indigo and white 1982

sacking brown and white 1982

Vivace 1988

glad ocean 1989

mid 1990s-to 2006

In moving to St Ives during the mid-1990s, Blow came full circle, reinvigorating a Cornish art scene bereft of the glories she had sampled 35 years before. For the first few years she worked in a beachfront studio at Porthmeor, but later built a large studio and home at Bullens Court above the town.

She exhibited locally but also fulfilled her obligations as a Royal Academician, participating in every Summer Exhibition at Burlington House, where she enjoyed a retrospective in 1994 at the newly built Sackler Galleries. An exhibition to mark Blow’s 80th birthday was held at Tate Britain in 2004, coinciding with the publication of a biography, Sandra Blow, by Michael Bird.

Selva Oscura 1993

Brilliant Corner II 1993

untitled porthmeor series 1996

porthmeor 1996

clodgy 1996

laurentian trail 2004

final painting 2006 from video dynamic window spiralling into light

 

———————

every movement we make is a sort of balancing act  sandra blow on video.

What do I know about finishing a painting? i can’t separate the calm, strong vertical movement of this painting from the shifting bands of evening light across its lower right-hand corner. I wouldn’t change what I can see at this moment for another, more ‘finished’ kind of vision”

For me, as well as the natural interactions of colour and line, there is a biological facor in a painting, in which all the parts contribute to the functional whole, as our bodies do. When it ‘lives in that way, it is finishedIn addition, there is a God-sent gift, a balance of magic.

The crucial thing is that although [a shape or colour is] perfect in its place, there is an unexpected quality about it, an element of surprise. It is something I find with great difficulty. It doesn’t come naturally to me…But it occsasionally occurs, as in Green and White(1969) where the thin line next to the two broad bands produces that sort of contrast that stops the composition from being heavy. It gives the thrill of a leap, a daring, a lightness – like Salisbury Catherdral where you have the great heavy spire beside a magically thin small spire which is perfectly, thrillingly balanced with it.” p19

I have two equal sources of inspiration. One is art, first the Renaissance art I saw in Italy at the same time as I sawAlberto Burri and Nicolas Carone…and later African sculpture and, among m,ay other painters, Roger Hilton and Morris Louis. The second influence is nature. I marvel at the beauty and construction of the leaves and flowers outside the studio. I love London skies, because they are framed and one sees them like a moving painting. I’m often amazed at the juxtaposition of trees, parts of buildings and the sky, and constantly changing, subtle colours. I also love great sweeps of moorlands, where you have wonderful undulating lines.

 

influence of african art: pulls and pushes not on an even line. structural tensions.

emotion, vulnerability, exhuberance.

there are certain patterns on the beach, which are sand ridges that are caused by the tide, and when the tide goes out, they’re visble, and running across them are inlets of water, which makes a sort of grid   p147

what maters for blow is where things will go from here. not the work that already exists but the painting that has yet to happen, that may take shape, tomorrow or the next day…  p159

untitled porthmeor series 1996

porthmeor 1996

clodgy 1996

The paintings she herself considers pivotal are:

Vivace 1988

glad ocean 1989

untitled 1951  p48

plaster and sacking 1956

winter 1956

cornwall 1958

painting 1957

Space and matter 1959 stormy

Green and white 1969 – 10 foot square offset green quadrants and pale intersecting bands that nevertheless appears to be subtly and continually balancing itself in several directions at once.

green and red variations 1972

sacking indigo and white 1982

sacking brown and white 1982

Selva Oscura 1993

Brilliant Corner II 1993

laurentian trail 2004

final paintng 2006 from video dynamic window spirallibng into light

 

Categories
2: Abstraction

Terry Frost

Terry Frost 1915–2003

Tate collection has the main works from the Terry Frost Estate.

TateShots: Sir Terry Frost You Tube video

Sir Terry Frost Trailer

Sir Terry Frost, RA: A Review You Tube video

Stories Behind the Collection – Sir Terry Frost RA, Grey Painting December-January 1959

Walk along the quay   the idea was initially expressed in collage.

Frost spoke of the ‘walk through space [as] an experience and not a window perspective thing at all it was a Time experience’

it was quite a simple experience. I just happened to notice that the boats were there with a different colour when the tide was out and they were all propped up and there I saw all those semi-circles propped up on a stick…Things were happening to my right and beneath my feet…The strange feeling of looking on top of boats at high tide and at the same boats tied up and resting on their support posts when the tide’s out

With Peter Lanyon

Peter would drive me all over the place, along the coast and up on the moors…he taught me to experience landscape…so you lay down in the landscape, you looked up into a tree…you walked over the landscape so that you understood its shape, you looked behind rocks so that you knew what their shape was all the way round and what lay beyond them, you walked over the hills and the high ground so that you knew what was above and below you, and what was above and below the forms all through, you’re travelling through the landscape.

Biography

Sir Terry Frost RA (born Terence Ernest Manitou Frost) (13 October 1915 – 1 September 2003) was an English abstract artist, who worked in Newlyn, Cornwall.

Born in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, England, in 1915, he did not become an artist until he was in his 30s. During World War II, he served in France and the Middle East, before joining the commandos. Whilst serving with the commandos in Crete in June 1941 he was captured and became a prisoner of war. As a prisoner at Stalag 383 in Bavaria, he met and was taught by Adrian Heath. He said of his prison experience that it was a ‘tremendous spiritual experience, a more aware or heightened perception during starvation’.

He started painting while a prisoner of war in Germany 1943. Moved to St Ives 1946 and studied under Leonard Fuller; then studied from 1947 at the Camberwell School of Art under Pasmore and Coldstream. Member of the Penwith Society, St Ives, 1950. In 1951 he worked as an assistant to the sculptor Barbara Hepworth.

First one-man exhibition in London at the Leicester Galleries 1952 and in New York at the Bertha Schaefer Gallery 1960. Taught at Bath Academy, Corsham, 1952. Gregory Fellow at Leeds University 1954–6; taught at Leeds College of Art 1956–9. Member of the London Group 1958. Lived at St Ives 1959–63, then moved to Banbury.

Frost’s academic career included teaching at Bath Academy of Art, the Cyprus College of Art and the University of Leeds. Later he became Artist in Residence and Professor of Painting at the Department of Fine Art of the University of Reading.

In 1992, he was elected a Royal Academician and he was knighted in 2000.

Categories
2: Abstraction Inspiration

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham 1912 –  2004

from Wikipedia

Google Images

Barns-Graham Charitable Trust images

Looking In Looking Out  You Tube video

My Aunt Wilhelmina Barns Graham  You Tube video

 

I want my work to be a simple statement. To have an atmosphere and integrity – this is a presence…To have interesting space relationships, relationships of colour, and colour to form – that is form suggesting colour and vice versa. One plane over another in a totality of image, with something of the fun of the unexpected. A world in itself – of small area against large mass.

 

The positive aspect of working in an abstract way for me, is the freedom of choice, i.e.medium, space, texture, colours, the challenge of feeling out the truth of an idea – a process of inner perception and harmony of thought on a high level…Abstract is a refinement and greater discipline to the idea, truth to the medium thus perfecting the idea, only using that which perfects or adds to that idea.

 

At my age, there’s now no time to be lost. I say to myself, ‘Do it now, don’t be afraid.’ I’ve got today, but who knows about tomorrow? I’m not ready for death yet, there’s still so much I want to do. Life is so exciting. Trying to catch one simple statement about it. That’s what I’m aiming for, I’ll keep on trying.

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham’s work generally lies on the divide between abstract and representational, typically drawing on inspirations from landscape.

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham was born in St Andrews, Fife. She enrolled in Edinburgh College of Art in 1931, after some dispute with her father. After periods of illness,  she graduated with her diploma in 1937. In 1940, she moved to St Ives, Cornwall, in 1940, near to where a group of Hampstead-based modernists had settled, at Carbis Bay, to escape the war.This was a pivotal moment in her life. Early on she met Borlase Smart, Alfred Wallis and Bernard Leach, as well as the painter Ben Nicholson and the sculptors Barbara Hepworth and Naum Gabo.  Perhaps the most significant innovation at this time derived from the ideas of Naum Gabo, who was interested in the principle of stereometry – defining forms in terms of space rather than mass.

Her pictures from this period are exploratory and even tentative as she began to develop her own method and visual language. Later, local shapes and colours appear in the images – the Cornish rocks, landscape and buildings.

At the suggestion of the College’s Principal Hubert Wellington, Barns-Graham became a member of the Newlyn Society of Artists and the St Ives Society of Artists but was to leave the latter when, in 1949, the St Ives art community suffered an acrimonious split, and she became a founder member of a breakaway group of abstract artists, the Penwith Society of Arts. She was also one of the initial exhibitors of the significant Crypt Group. In the same year she married the art critic David Lewis (they divorced in 1960).

She travelled regularly over the next 20 years to Switzerland, Italy, Paris, and Spain. With the exception of a short teaching term at Leeds School of Art (1956–1957) and three years in London (1960–1963), she lived and worked in St Ives. From 1960, on inheriting a house outside St Andrews from her aunt Mary Niesh (who had been a support to her throughout her art college years), she split her time between summers in Cornwall and winters in Scotland.

Barns-Graham’s series of glacier pictures that started in 1949, inspired by her walks on the Grindelwald Glacier in Switzerland, reflect the idea of looking at things in a total view, not only from the outside but from all points, including inside. In 1952 her studies of local forms became more planar and two dimensional, but from the mid-1950s she had developed a more expressionist and free form attitude following journeys to Spain.

In the early 1960s, reflecting the turmoil in her personal life, Barns-Graham adopted a severe geometrical form of abstraction as a way of taking a fresh approach to her painting. Combined with a very intuitive sense of colour and design, the work often has more vitality than is immediately apparent. Squares tumble and circles flow across voids. Colour and movement come together and it is at this point in her work that St Ives perhaps exerts the least influence; rather, this approach more likely reflects an interest in the work of Josef Albers who was exciting UK artists at this time, in embracing new possibilities offered by the optical effects of a more formulaic abstraction.

Nonetheless there is evidence to suggest that many images did stem from observations of the world around her. This is seen in a series of ice paintings in the late 1970s and then in a body of work that explores the hidden energies of sea and wind, composed of multiple wave-like lines drawn in the manner of Paul Klee. The Expanding Form paintings of 1980 are the culmination of many ideas from the previous fifteen years – the poetic movement in these works revealing a more relaxed view.

From the late 1980s and right up until her death, Barns-Graham’s paintings became more and more free; an expression of life and free flowing brushwork not seen since the late 1950s. Working mainly on paper (there are relatively few canvases from this period) the images evolved to become, initially, highly complex, rich in colour and energy, and then, simultaneously, bolder and simpler, reflecting her enjoyment of life and living. “in my paintings I want to express the joy and importance of colour, texture, energy and vibrancy, with an awareness of space and construction. A celebration of life — taking risks so creating the unexpected.” (Barns-Graham, October 2001) This outlook is perfectly expressed in the extraordinary collection of screen prints that she made with Graal Press, Edinburgh, between 1999 and 2003.

Post-war, when St Ives had ceased to be a pivotal centre of modernism, her work and importance as an artist was sidelined, in part by an art-historical consensus that she had been only as a minor member of the St Ives school. In old age, however, she received belated recognition, receiving honorary doctorates from the University of St Andrews in 1992 and later from the universities of Plymouth, Exeter and Falmouth . In 1999 she was elected an honorary member of the Royal Scottish Academy and the Royal Scottish Watercolourists. She was awarded a CBE in 2001, the same year that saw the publication of the first major monograph on her life and work, written by Lynne Green — W.Barns-Graham : A Studio Life (Lund Humphries). This publication was followed in 2007 by The Prints of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham : a complete catalogue by Ann Gunn (also a Lund Humphries publication). Her work is found in all major public collections within the UK.

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham died in St Andrews on 26 January 2004. She bequeathed her entire estate to The Barns-Graham Charitable Trust, which she had established in 1987. The aims of the trust are to foster and protect her reputation, to advance the knowledge of her life and work, to create an archive of key works of art and papers, and, in a cause close to her heart, to support and inspire art and art history students through offering grants and bursaries to those in selected art college and universities. Information about the trust and its activities is to be found at http://www.barns-grahamtrust.org.uk

Copyright

Barns-Graham Charitable Trust

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KY16 6AT”