Both Robin Greenwood and Gary Wragg see abstract art in terms of freedom. Beginning with freedom for the artist, this is ultimately and most importantly a freedom for the viewer. Both artists offer us a freedom to explore, to imaginatively engage with – and be moved by – structures discovered in the process of creation. Both artists envision space as manifold, articulating it with structures which are multi-dimensional, full of diversity. They encourage an active viewer. They want to keep us on our toes.
Complexity is approached in different ways, guided by their very different temperaments and their understanding of the different demands of their medium. Rooted in gestural abstraction, Wragg’s images often seem to shift, with moments of precision emerging from a general disorientating melee. He wants his images to contain an exciting and risky instability and a slowly developing order: his ideal is ‘stillness within movement; movement within stillness.’ Greenwood’s constructions are also improvised, but more securely and patiently realised, with the definite connection of one piece of steel to the next. His sculptures hold together tightly and unfold slowly, moving through space in a way which demands that the viewer also keeps on the move. Together Greenwood’s sculptures and Wragg’s paintings offer parallel conceptions of a world in a state of flux.
Since 2017 Greenwood has been making steel sculptures that hang suspended from the ceiling. We plan to show three of these at Linden Hall. One of the main effects of the suspension is to bring the sculptures into the space of paintings – which are themselves lifted off the floor and hung on the surrounding walls. Seeing how these new sculptures interact with Wragg’s paintings is what I am most looking forward to in Transformations.
Sam Cornish, March 2018