Abstraction has become a tool with which artists use to describe and communicate ideas and themes beyond a canvas. Artists are asking more of us as viewers, but by looking beyond the surface there’s a chance we can find a more far reaching and profound experience of the art.
‘Abstraction is not a new concept,’ says gallery director Sarah Wiseman. Some of its earliest forms were seen in the ink splashes of 11th century Chinese painting, for example.’
‘The challenge now is for artists now is to keep on pushing through to discover something seen, or unseen; play with the structure and different elements or materials. Through observation and conceptual thought, they peel back the layers to create new ways of seeing the world.’
‘These four artists are all different in their approach, but they are also interested in abstraction, and its many guises in contemporary art.’
Inter-disciplinary artist Nathalie Moisy explores a variety of concepts using mixed media. She is especially interested in contemporary issues with her subject matter ranging from celebrity culture to global warming. She is influenced by her time in Japan, exploring traditional pigments and inks, which she uses to give an intensity to her painting.
Andrew Hood explores urban environments around the world, using gestural marks, splashes and scribbles. His paintings are inspired by his energetic drawings made on location, often using an elevated perspective. He is bold with his use of materials, and will work in an abstract way to suggest movement and light. A traveller at heart, his paintings capture the bustle of city squares and plazas, as well as the the rugged countryside that surrounds his home.
Simon J Harris’ impressively scaled paintings immediately draw the eye with their glossy, reflective surface. He will often contrast the rough, natural canvas with sharply juxtaposed areas of paint, and painstakingly applied layers of lacquer and pigments. Simon’s paintings are largely informed by his academic research into abstract theory and historical painting. In the last two years, since being accepted onto an Early Researcher Award Scheme following his PhD, his work has had some exciting new developments as he continues to explore the tensions between the abstract and figurative arenas.
Although Carol’s work is undeniably figurative, her use of abstract mark-making is also evident in her sculpture. Her work examines the intangible; life, love and human relationships, using dynamic figures inspired by her drawing which she keeps up daily. Her sculptures, which begin life hand-built from clay have an expressive, almost open surface, as if they have been pulled together from abstraction.