Dominic is a lecturer in Fine Art at AUB and a practising artist who shows with Charlie Smith Gallery in London.
GROUP 7 Exhibition at L’Artishe Gallery Swanage
‘Pure drawing is an abstraction. Drawing and colour are not distinct, everything in nature is coloured.’
Cezanne rolled out the path of modernism, releasing colour and form from depiction and heralding a truth to material. This simplicity is found in work of Group 7, here is proof, as is evident in the renewed interest in abstraction within contemporary painting, that new forms are to be found in the fundamentals of the language of paint. There is a ‘material’ suspension in these works, where trees, grids or squares become loaded with an intrinsic being, a near existential joy, think Cezanne’s apples.
There is no room for irony here, these are seekers after a truth, indeed Brian Bishop’s perfectly rendered ‘squares’ declaim their reality, scumbled marks break out from beneath, paint drips off the cut cloth edge. This search maybe begins with the inchoate drawings of Mike Griffiths, where the potential of what’s not there, absence, lends them formal power, to end with Pete Symons’s film, quite simply light on nature, an end that is really a beginning.
Bonnie Brown’s work ripples with this very light, nature as the intangible floats to the surface, while in Martyn Brewster’s prints colour dips and quivers, a seismic reflection sinking into dark depths. Although there are nods to landscape in the paintings of Ursula Leach, it is not until we come to Fran Donovan and Symons’s work that nature becomes explicit, but it is a nature subsumed to a material formalism of the painters’ language.
Indeed in Leach’s work the colourfields rise up, literally floating off the surface of the canvas.
Colour and form, these are intrinsic to the painter, printmaker and draughtsman. These artists grapple with the intrinsic, what is evident here is the more you seek the truth, the bigger the questions become.