Monthly Archives: June 2011

some things i have been working on

Monday 27 June 2011

an old sheet, pinned up on the wall, especially framed for a sunday viewing…

[sheet pinned to a wall, 2011, mixed media on cotton]

in the lower section of this large abstract painting, we see a delicate layering of muted colours, a dash of yellow interacting with its colour complementary, a violet grey. notice how some colours have subtly stained the fabric, creating a halo effect or aura. this appears to be a very meditative & complex painting, lyrical abstraction doing what it does best, skillfully combining philosophical thought with material process…

let’s take a closer look at this work. in this section of the composition, a solid coal-black shape is juxtaposed with its nemesis, a rising trail of smokey grey, and a deft flick of verdurous green entering the picture plane lower left could allude to the possibility of regeneration from the contaminated ashes. it would seem that all aspects of mankind’s material world are exhibited here – from fossil fuels and their pollutants to the transient, small elements of nature in the quiet unfurling of a leaf…

moving on, we arrive at an intriguing abstract composition, which finds a compelling reference to american action painting, but it also suggests the philosophical exploration of a distant galaxy, looking to outer space, constellations, the milky way, pushing beyond the known planetary frontiers. this is a painting that perceptually ponders on the big questions in life, the universe and just about everything else. the work is made complete by the antique gold frame, reinforcing the ideological concept of travelling through the continuum of space & time…

[cosmic rhythm I, 2011, acrylic on tempered glass, dimensions unknown]

on closer inspection, one can delight in the visual intensity of the overlapping & colliding discs and platelets of rust, olive, ochre, mauve, white and grey, which have some echoes of patterns & forms found in nature..

the artist’s hotplate; it’s a very useful (and used) working surface…

is this a referential nod to van gogh’s chair? (but this is a stool, and it’s missing a pipe and tobacco)

[still life of a painter’s stool, 2002 to now, mixed media on wood]

this is an early work on wood, one of a series of studio still lifes, realised at around the same time as still life of a painter’s jug. it exhibits a characteristically reworked, encrusted surface. the artist has said of this work: ‘it deals with the notion of placement, alignment and subsequent sequence of actions within a given space, dialectically positioned between the opposing forces of standing up and sitting down. it seeks to answer the question – am i sitting comfortably? i also view it as a personal benchmark of my creative process, as it supports the works i make, although i wouldn’t put it on a pedestal’

above, a close-up of the dense, layered surface. below, a serendipitous spot of vermillion red immediately draws attention to the small smatter of paint, implying some key pointers to the artist’s influences, including impressionism, abstract expressionism and post-op art. there is a discreet, psychologcal hitchcockian reference too…

here is the artist’s painting box. apparently, no paints are stored in here, but it is a good height on which to place painterly-type things while working on a painting. this seemingly accidental composition of small vessels and green drapery draws some interesting parallels with flemish still life painting and also the paintings of cézanne, recalling the unfinished painting ‘still life with water jug’ in the national gallery, london…

[still life with plastic pots, 2011, dimensions variable]

to the rear of this composition one can just make out a long strip of white paper  – the loose, gestural brushmarks serendipitously also echo those of the aforementioned cézanne painting…

and seen here, more freely applied brushstrokes and energetic daubs of paint, in a visual concordance of violet-brown and green-grey, the artist’s chosen colour palette of the day…

in this particular work, the artist has explored the transparent new media of acetate film, incorporating chance and process to realise the final composition – it’s a readymade, reusable painting palette – a robust and yet highly flexible surface to work on…

[watching paint dry, acetate film; about four and a half minutes]

after studying the intricate surface patterns & textures evident in this small celluloid artwork for only a short while, one is reminded of max ernst‘s surrealist abstract landscape paintings – a primordial forest or a post-apocalyptic vision of the world…

last weekend i started and finished a painting (for a change). i first pinned a piece of canvas to the wall (on top of the dust sheet exhibited above). i worked into the wee, small hours to try to finish this painting. it is difficult to paint under artificial lights. i stretched the canvas afterwards, then varnished the painting. the painting was an enjoyable exercise in trying out a representational way of working but i am not that happy with the outcome; the dimension and scale feel wrong, it has become too dark & murky, the surface is too shiny and the texture of the canvas interferes with the transparent layers of paint. this painting is nonetheless appropriately titled, in all regards & references, green water

[green water, acrylic on canvas, 60cm x 100cm]

[green water, detail]

current exhibitions

Reunion Refresh @ Reunion Gallery, 5 Feb – 22 Oct 2011

HWAT exhibition 2011 @ Harleston Gallery, 18 June to 11 July 2011

yet another waterlog

Monday 20 June 2011

we’ve had a little rain over the weekend; yet more studies of water falling on water…

surface of lake - beginning to rain

looks like rain…

lake water, starting to rain - circle patterns forming on surface

very lightly, at first…

lake water rain - rain, more concentric circles

concentric circles on the surface of the water…

lake water surface - rain droplets

more rain droplets on water, creating ‘pretty’ patterns…

lake water surface - pattern of rain

raindrops, drumming on the surface of the lake…

lake water - heavy rain

and the heavy beat of the rain plays on…

lake water - heavy rain

and on…

lake water - heavy rain

and on… (be careful what you wish for)

current exhibitions

Reunion Refresh @ Reunion Gallery, 5 Feb – 22 Oct 2011

HWAT exhibition 2011 @ Harleston Gallery, 18 June to 11 July 2011

lichenscape, a material world in macro

Sunday 19 June 2011

lichenscape I is one of my recent paintings, currently on show in an art exhibition at the harleston gallery, norfolk. here is the painting in situ, above a dark grey marble fireplace in one of the upper galleries…

lichenscape painting by artist jazz green - harleston gallery norfolk 2011

[lichenscape I, harleston gallery, norfolk]

lichenscape lichens abstract painting by jazz green - harleston gallery norfolk july 2011

at the recent preview evening someone saw a similarity in the material surface elements of lichenscape to a scientific image which was published in the guardian newspaper that very same day! (friday) – an image taken by the nasa hubble space telescope of the distant galaxy Centaurus A

‘Resembling looming rain clouds on a stormy day, dark lanes of dust crisscross the giant elliptical galaxy Centaurus A. Hubble’s panchromatic vision, stretching from ultraviolet through near-infrared wavelengths, reveals the vibrant glow of young, blue star clusters and a glimpse into regions normally obscured by the dust.

The warped shape of Centaurus A’s disk of gas and dust is evidence for a past collision and merger with another galaxy. The resulting shockwaves cause hydrogen gas clouds to compress, triggering a firestorm of new star formation. These are visible in the red patches in this Hubble close-up.

At a distance of just over 11 million light-years, Centaurus A contains the closest active galactic nucleus to Earth. The center is home for a supermassive black hole that ejects jets of high-speed gas into space, but neither the supermassive or the jets are visible in this image.’
© NASA 2011

hubble space telescope - centaurus A
Image © NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage

[new stars born into a distant galaxy, and there’s a ‘supermassive’ black hole in there, somewhere]

so, this serendipitous, inter-stellar connection has signalled the opportunity to take a closer look at the cosmic surface of this painting…

lichenscape by jazz green - detail of surface textures of painting

lichenscape by jazz green - detail of surface textures - lichen weathering on walls

lichenscape by jazz green - detail of weathered surface textures

lichenscape by jazz green - detail of surface textures of painting

lichenscape by jazz green - detail of surface textures - decay, lichen on walls

lichenscape by jazz green - detail of surface textures of abstract painting - cosmos, material worlds

lichenscape by jazz green - surface elements - lichen textures on painting

lichenscape by jazz green - surface elements of abstract painting - lichen on walls - material worlds

lichenscape - lichen textures - abstract painting - decay elements

my visual influences are many & varied, including the natural, microscopic and biological world, but equally satellite images of the earth and outer space. the link to a faraway galaxy is perhaps a tenuous one to make for this painting, but when i have observed the intricate patterns of mould, algae or lichens growing on a surface i am always reminded of the visual comparisons and sychronicity between such things, even within a discreetly colonised surface there is a small universe all of its own…

such small surface elements are often discovered in places of structural decay or simple neglect, where nature has (naturally enough) taken precedence over the man-made environment, where the material elements of time & nature are etched deep into surfaces, with a sense of solitude or melancholia quietly pervading the scene. i am also intrigued by how seemingly abandoned places are very much ‘alive’ and ‘active’ and resonate with a hidden history…

thinking back to the expanding universe and the cosmos, also caused me to think again of a painting in the tate modern art collection, cosmos and disaster by david alfaro siqueiros.

david alfaro siqueiros - cosmos and disaster 1936, tate modern london

Cosmos and Disaster (Cosmos y desastre) circa 1936. Duco, Pyroxilin, sand, wood on copper mesh over plywood
© Tate/Estate of David Alfaro Siqueiros

duco is a brand of enamel paint and pyroxilin cellulose car paint. it is a painting in which the use of unconventional materials (at the time) seem to give birth to the image, arising out of the process of painting, and yet the artist must have had some initial concepts in its making beforehand – as if the multitude of personal thoughts and feelings surfaced and directed the outcome of the painting. siqueiros ran experimental painting workshops in new york city at around the time of this painting, and one of his students was jackson pollock.

i think i work in a similar way, having in my mind the essence of a ‘subject’ and the materials & processes to realise it, but the conclusion of the work is arrived at through the material engagement with process. i like to discover or unearth small incidents along the way – but i erase things too. the lower left of lichenscape was later blocked out, but some underlying texture still shows through when light hits the surface.

i should like to tackle this subject again (from mould, decay, lichens), to take it forward into more ambitious, larger scale works (but i would need some money and a much larger studio to pursue this!). it is a subject immersed in the material elements of the environment, but like appearance, metaphor and meaning in art, the narrative is subjective, generative and varied.

sadly, lichenscape II (a more muted grey painting) did not survive my long-term ‘critical eye’ and it now resides in a tray in sixteen very ragged canvas pieces… perhaps something new will materialise out of this random act of destruction?

lichenscape I, abstract painting by artist jazz green - not selected for elements material worlds art exhibition, forum norwich, july 2011
lichenscape I, 2010, mixed media on canvas, 95cm x 95cm

are there any questions..?

lichenscape I is currently on show at the Harleston Gallery norfolk, from 18 June to 11 July 2011

current exhibitions

Reunion Refresh @ Reunion Gallery, 5 Feb – 22 Oct 2011

HWAT exhibition 2011 @ Harleston Gallery, 18 June to 11 July 2011