Exhibition curated by Liam Kelly. Black and indeed white, have held a particular attraction for artists in the twentieth century who were interested in getting back to basics in developing abstraction and pure form. Kazimir Malevich, the founder of suprematism , comes to mind with his ‘Black on Black’ and ‘White on White’ paintings. This exhibition brings together two artists Neil Shawcross and Charles Walsh who explore black in different ways and for different reasons. For Shawcross, the cultural symbolism of the colour has no real relevance. It is chosen out of painterly concerns and an underlining question – how to produce form without line, relying solely on the manipulation of the material properties of paint. There is also a driving, primitive energy that pervades his ‘black’ nude paintings. They resound in a new found physicality and freedom. In this regard the Irish artist Louis le Brocquy’s Tain series has perhaps left an enduring impression. For this exhibition he will create a large figurative frieze and two large mural paintings. Charles Walsh’s practice is firmly rooted in geometrical abstraction. He cites Malevich as a strong influence and is interested in the Suprematists’ project . During his early years at Art College in the North of England he painted landscapes but became increasingly interested in colour theory. The Lindisfarne Gospel with it’s structural tracery and luminous colour was also an influence in his move towards abstraction and ultimately the deployment of the grid or square.Each painting is based on preparatory drawings where each square has a colour reference. The artist then paints by hand and builds up a mosaic of squares distinguished from each other by very subtle gradations of tone. This painted pixilation gives off an optical or sensational energy in which different squares compete for the viewers’ attention. While he has worked in other colours It is his ‘black’ paintings in many respects that demonstrate the complexity and ambiguity of this so called ‘neutral’ colour and its capacity to register the particular as contained in the universal.In different ways both artists are striving towards an energised minimalism – one painterly, figurative and gestural; the other tonal and geometrical: both delighting the eye.
|Published (in print/issue) - 2011
|Into The Black - Ormeau Baths Gallery / Belfast
Duration: 15 Apr 2011 → 21 May 2011