Comments on: Andrew Bick and Mel Gooding: a Conversation at Hales Gallery January 8 2013 Abstract Critical is a not-for profit company aiming to establish a new critical context for all generations of artists involved with ambitious abstract art. Sun, 09 Nov 2014 17:23:33 +0000 hourly 1 By: Natalie Dower Wed, 06 Mar 2013 16:25:13 +0000 Bit of a problem with the interpretation of the term `system` For a start,without an agreed system there would be no possibility of any communication between us taking place at all,but this does not in any way inhibit what we say.
As an example of the value that system can have for the artist, I make no excuse for once again quoting from Rhyming on the Counterattack.

“Anyone who sets out to compose in rhyme imposes on
himself a limitation, which, however, is rewarding. He is
comitted to ending a verse not with the word dictated by
discursive logic but with another, stranger word, which
must be drawn from the few that end ‘in the right way’.
And so he is compelled to deviate, to leave the path
that is easier because it is predictable; now, reading
what is predictable bores us and so does not inform us.
The restriction of rhyme obliges the poet to resort to the
unpredictable: compels him to invent, to ‘find’; and to
enrich his lexicon with unusual terms; bend his syntax;
in short, innovate.”
PRIMOLEVI: The Mirror Maker

By: Alan Fowler Fri, 01 Mar 2013 15:36:01 +0000 Mel Gooding describes the Systems and Construction artists as “neurotic” proponents of “quasi-mathematical certainty” – a picture I wholly fail to recognise. I have known Jeffrey Steele, Anthony Hill, Peter Lowe and Gillian Wise (the living survivors of these two groups) for a number of years and have had many discussions with them about their work. I have also studied and written about the works and writings of the Martins, Pasmore, Ernest etc. – the groups’ past colleagues. Neither in personal conversations nor in their writings can I detect anything justifying the term “neurotic”, nor any claim of absolute determinism. On the contrary, the central tenet of their approach has been concern for their work to have an underlying rationality, whether or not this is immediately visually apparent. The result may not be to everyone’s aesthetic taste, but this quite reasonable concept of an abstract work having some form of logical structure surely does not merit implications of neuroticism. Neither have I recognised claims of mathematical certainty. As Anthony Hill has written: “The mathematical thematic can only be a component: one is calculating or organising something which is clearly not mathematical”. As for “certainty”, Peter Lowe has explained that in his explorations of the visual effects of adopting various possible underlying constructional systems, he is “driven by curiosity to see what something which doesn’t yet exist will look like” – hardly the approach of an absolutist.