Comments on: Questions for Lawrence Carroll and Onya McCausland: Enantiodromia Part II 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: Robin Greenwood Fri, 09 May 2014 17:53:37 +0000 Mmm, well, thanks, but I have to say I think it’s stretching a point, when in fact it amounts to no more, as far as I can see, than making your own paint. It just gets vaguer – I don’t see that this retrieves a historical process, at least not for scrutiny. I certainly couldn’t access any of that by looking at the work.

By: Luke Elwes Fri, 09 May 2014 15:44:41 +0000 Hi Robin,
What I mean is that she excavates ground in various parts of the country which may for example be rich with iron ore or chalk deposits, motivated by a desire I imagine (without wishing to speak for her) to retrieve a historical process, to work directly with the substance and (unmodulated) colour of raw pigment as well as the history of the place from which it comes (thus the work’s site specific labelling).
What is achieved is harder to say without encountering their physical presence in her minimal arrangements, which appear both tactile & provisional.
I agree that it helps to have some backstory to the work though, and that seeing her work over time (most recently at the Piper Gallery before it closed last year) helps give it cumulative resonance.

By: Robin Greenwood Fri, 09 May 2014 15:02:49 +0000 Hi Luke,
Can you explain to me how “painting as excavation” would be a desirable, or even achievable, thing. What does it mean?

Also, I’m not up to speed with the backstory – presumably you had to read something to make the work “doubly interesting”?

By: Luke Elwes Fri, 09 May 2014 12:41:59 +0000 Having seen the show (which ends Saturday) it is Onya Mccausland’s pieces that really stand out – especially her large site specific piece ‘Separation’ where a large ply panel coated in warm dark ochre hovers on the white wall while its cool aluminium double lies on the floor beneath. If Matisse’s cut out’s clearly come to mind so do the panels of Ellsworth Kelly. But what make’s the work doubly interesting is it’s material origins, its physical connection to the earth: the patient process by which she tracks down & recovers minerals from the ground beneath us (in this case from Todmorden moor in Lancashire), and the alchemy through which the malleable earth becomes pigment. This is painting as excavation, a meditation on how the buried past might be released back into the present.

By: Katrina Tue, 06 May 2014 22:38:38 +0000 Well I am trying to get my head around some ideas about materiality and construction – here is the back cover description of the book I am reading and you’ll see at the Zero Books website some more from the comments:
Color, Facture, Art and Design:
Artistic Technique and the Precisions of Human Perception by Iona Singh

‘With its appeal to the most subterranean aspects of perception art was always destined to be one of the last bastions of the transcendental in the 21st century.

Color, Facture, Art and Design investigates the “beauty” of art based on the somatic “magic” of the physical body and its relationship to nature, arguing that the sensual affect of expert artistic combinations of art materials: pigments and resins, in some paintings exploits a bridge between the intricacies of human sentience and the external world.

Art is thus more accurately located next to the sciences of language, mathematics, physiology and psychoanalysis. As the “pure mathematics” of the discipline, this materialist definition of fine-art develops guidelines for architecture, design, cultural-studies and ultimately social change.’

I am also looking forward to reading about the ‘picture-object’ (tableau-objet/Kahnweiler/Gris) that Brandon Taylor talks about in his new book After Constructivism, ideas about fabrication, ‘madness’ and the Russian word ‘faktura’. In my own work I have been thinking about architecture folding in on itself in a kind of ‘origamiesque’ sort of way…..

By: Sam Mon, 05 May 2014 07:15:04 +0000 That wasn’t intended to be sarky, I would genuinely like to know!

By: Sam Mon, 05 May 2014 06:22:36 +0000 Hi Katrina. Thank you for the enthusiasm. Can you say what these more interesting lines of enquiry might be?

By: Katrina Sun, 04 May 2014 22:42:13 +0000 Great stuff! It probably doesn’t matter but maybe a painting is a work of art that has got ‘paint’ (liquid colour or pigment) somewhere in the process… I agree with Onya when she talks about colour and the restraint needed in order to explore its materiality and relationship to the viewer/environment – basically perception. Most monochromatic or so called minimalist works/paintings have got a complex set of considerations, contexts and aims and it just takes a bit of time to look carefully, explore and think. This was a very good show that asked a lot of questions about materiality but also construction. I am glad that the questions about the word ‘abstract’ and ‘image’ were sidestepped more or less in these interviews. There are more interesting lines of enquiry here.