What is Abstraction?

The following  article featured  in the St Ives Times & Echo about the current exhibitions in the Penwith Gallery. I found it very interesting and it made me think about my own journey to abstraction.

Whilst I was already on the exploration pathway,  together it was St Ives and having my first child in 2005 that propelled me to abstraction and to my ‘hard edged’ bounded style. It suddenly seemed natural for me to abstract from the landscape in St Ives in a way it hadn’t elsewhere. Also, I needed to work in short bursts of time around a baby.  I was suddenly bounded – by time, by responsibilities. But in between those boundaries I was free!

And it was then that I realised this was “my thing”.  Throw in text and textures and this was the way I was meant to express myself. Abstract art is not for everyone – but it is for me.

The author of the newspaper article clearly believes that where art is purely decorative it has no meaning and is somehow lesser than work with meaning. And of course Picasso claims that; “there is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality”.

I certainly strive to inject deeper existential enquiry into reflecting the human condition and how we deal with the plight we find ourselves in.

I also hope that my work is ‘decorative’ or pleasing to the eye.

My work in the current Penwith Gallery exhibition, Dangerous Goods 2, hopes to fulfil the purpose of abstraction. It is the latest work from my Vessels Series first conceived as a response to the first lockdown of 2020. Vessels refers to the then abandoned boats in St Ives Harbour at that time of eerie stillness and calm but it also has biological and biblical meanings that were on my mind at that strange time.

I’m interested to know your views on  this whole subject of abstraction. Do you like abstract art or don’t you think it is “real art”? Does abstract art have to have deeper meaning or can it be purely decorative?

Penwith Associates Show

I’m delighted to have Damaged Goods 2  selected for the Penwith Gallery’s Winter Associates Exhibition which opened its doors on 20 November.

Damaged Goods 2 is one the first of my paintings incorporating flags from the International Code of Signals and is a continuation of my Vessels series.

The show runs until 29 December.


Spot the Artist

Over 350 A5 postcard sized paintings were on show last week at the historic Porthmeor Studios in St Ives for the annual Spot the Artist charity event on Sunday morning. The event is regarded, in terms of variety and quality of the artwork, as one of the best charity postcard art sales in the country outside London.

All paintings are donated by the artists and sell for £50. The proceeds are shared on a 50/50 basis between art organisations and good causes supported by the local Rotary Club. All the artworks are anonymous – being signed by the artists on the back.

It has art lovers from all over the UK (and even overseas) camping overnight hoping to secure their favourites – or what they hope are worth hundreds or thousands of £s.

I’m pleased to say my donation went early on in the sale and I’ve had people popping into the studio to say that they’d queued hoping to secure mine but it had already gone.