Abstraction brings together three artists all working with paint; Alison Britton-Paterson, Jill Campbell and Julia Burns. Their abstract works use a visual language of shape, form colour and line to create compositions which exist independently from visual references in the world. Abstract art is often seen as carrying a moral dimension, in that it can be seen to stand for virtues such as order, purity, simplicity and spirituality.
Alison Britton-Paterson’s artwork does not try to represent social or political views but connects to a shared idea of the unrestricted self that still finds joy in a fleeting glimpse of light and shade. This takes form in its abstract nature, she aims not to invoke emotions with representational imagery from her surroundings, but rather lead the viewer into their own. Through expressive bold brush marks and the use of palette knives to build texture, cracks and negative space become important in embedding a tactile surface and create an awkward balance between the concealed and the exposed.
The landscape of the North East inspires Jill Campbell, where she has lived for the last 12 years. Most of her work is based on an ancient mining landscape called Cockfield Fell where she walks nearly every day. She is fascinated by the Fell's strange, other-worldly, abstract shapes defined by the morning shadows and framed by big dramatic skies. Its pools, pathways, mounds, dips and curves are her motifs. She decides which shapes and colours to play with, then draw and apply layers of paint, using loose gestural marks until she finds balance and a painterly world emerges which celebrates this landscape.
Julia Burns’ abstract paintings are harmoniously balanced studies of colour, shape and form. After graduating from the Slade in 1985 she was commissioned to paint a series of paintings inspired by the River Tyne for chef Eugene McCoy’s restaurant on the top floor of the Baltic Gallery, Newcastle. Growing tired of representational painting, she started to study the Tyne and Sage Building; the bridge, hoops and circles naturally became shapes that leapt into abstract. She explains, “It took me years to get there, there were no shortcuts. They are not spontaneous at all. They require a lot of thought and can’t be rushed, but they make perfect visual sense to me.”