Comments on: Brancaster Chronicle No. 1: Anne Smart Paintings http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-brancaster-chronicles-anne-smart-paintings/ 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 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Scott Bennett http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-brancaster-chronicles-anne-smart-paintings/#comment-601428 Tue, 03 Jun 2014 01:31:21 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7298#comment-601428 Thank you for mentioning Poons here, because that was the first thing I thought when looking at the images of these paintings, besides that they were beautiful. There were many pictures in the 80′s where Larry used lots of white – all the color was blended with white to some degree and so the paintings took on an overall glowing light effect. I dont think they were process oriented at all ,..or any more process oriented than any painting is,. all artists have their process,..their way of getting the picture made. Thats all it is. Larry just happened to need to make very large paintings and he wanted the surfaces to be enlarged along with the scale, so he had to invent a way to do that. Typical easel painting methods would not cut it.So he did what he had to do. I agree with Robin Greenwood that looking at Constable, or any representational painting, and looking at non-objective painting – and that is the correct term here – not “abstract”, because ALL painting is abstract. Every representational or figurative painting is abstract because it is not the thing it represents: it is an abstraction of that thing,…are the same. You don’t change the way you look at them. You still have to use the same way of judging the work, – it comes in via your eyes and its visual and you process it as art. And along with that: Subject Matter and Content are not the same thing.

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By: Larry Harrison http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-brancaster-chronicles-anne-smart-paintings/#comment-225442 Sat, 24 Aug 2013 04:26:43 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7298#comment-225442 Anne Smart’s recent work shown here has a maturity and completeness, even compared to that shown in the exhibition in the Poisson gallery of just a few years ago. There is no sense of it being in transition, but of having arrived.

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By: Sam http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-brancaster-chronicles-anne-smart-paintings/#comment-223992 Thu, 22 Aug 2013 11:08:12 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7298#comment-223992 Was me with the Abercrombie comment. Not made in relation to these paintings, but to a slightly earlier one, the only recent one I’ve seen in real-life. The manner in which paint is handled very different, but I think the basic structural principle is similar.

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By: Emyr Williams http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-brancaster-chronicles-anne-smart-paintings/#comment-223475 Wed, 21 Aug 2013 22:24:30 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7298#comment-223475 Structure which implies an architectonic approach to space making as opposed to a colour driven space. I wonder if the former can be organised before a painting takes shape ? ( I am not referring to Anne’s paintings in this regard just this notion of structure as a general point ) A colour space cannot be choreographed in quite the same way. I am now more convinced than ever of the importance of a dividing line between figuration and abstract art too. This point sharpens it for me. To invent out of thin air something that has a form that is instantaneously new and yet familiar in its connection with a felt understanding of the principles of physical space. In painting, I cannot escape the feeling that colour and its relationship to surface is the best route forward. When structure is mentioned I think it needs to be very clearly defined in relation to painting and sculpture as separate disciplines. The structures you mentioned in Anne’s paintings seemed to be about physical architectures ( my interpretation granted ) that are arrived at in this case through discovered gesture and surface “agitation”, driven by colour adjustment with a pared down palette. Therefore any search for form , phrasing and relational tensions within this definition will seem to be rooted in spaces that are essentially tonal rather than colour created. Can you get surfaces that are painterly and yet create space through colour interaction? I hope so!

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By: Robin Greenwood http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-brancaster-chronicles-anne-smart-paintings/#comment-223434 Wed, 21 Aug 2013 21:02:49 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7298#comment-223434 Not sure this link will work… pic.twitter.com/0mEGurINoS

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By: Robin Greenwood http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-brancaster-chronicles-anne-smart-paintings/#comment-223432 Wed, 21 Aug 2013 21:00:07 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7298#comment-223432 I’d be interested to hear how it nods toward sculpture…? Modelling?

As for the Poons comparison, it has been suggested to me (I won’t say by whom unless they want to put their hand up) that certain Douglas Abercrombie paintings from the seventies/eighties, of a kind of ‘all-over’ pale colouring and diffused structure and hints of richer colour underneath, would be an interesting comparison with these. But then I suspect that Abercrombie was channelling Poons and other Americans at the time…

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By: Emyr Williams http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-brancaster-chronicles-anne-smart-paintings/#comment-223060 Wed, 21 Aug 2013 11:12:15 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7298#comment-223060 The colour and surface “work” are generating structures that are found rather than obscured. I felt the white was /is an ideal unifier as it will keep the colour fresh and naturally facilitate paintings that succeed with higher success rates. Does deeper discovery entail higher risks though? I don’t think it is about needing “big things”, as that immediately indicates hierarchies which simply don’t exist. This is a relatively traditional use of paint which many people have employed , so it seems to be the structures that are being revealed that are new as mentioned? As such, perhaps some more clarity is needed to describe these further. If I have a reservation about this take, it is that it nods towards sculpture a bit. I have mentioned that some close up shots would be useful to see the mechanics of them in greater detail – screens are poor at doing justice as we all know. They are intended to work as wholes sure , but for people who can’t get to see them it really does help to gain a better experience to see a more detailed image.

Larry Poons has made paintings which operate somewhat in this area of closer toned colour / surface – mainly the latter part of the 80′s and through in to the 90′s -, though on a huge heroic scale. His colour structures are complex and the aggregated – very strategically created – surfaces generated surprising and unforeseen scale changes. The works are a bit more overtly process driven if you excuse the slight vulgarity of using the term in this regard. At the time of their showings it was interesting to read of mathematicians finding them akin to fractals in their noting of the micro to macro incidents and passages that are worked up in them (any scales etc). I am not saying these works point towards Poons in this regard but his shadow does seem to loom somewhere in the vicinity, whether acknowledged or as it would seem, not – “Merton Eaves” or “Rum Boat” are just two examples that live in my memory. A comparison pining down differences would be enlightening maybe? One last thing, I can’t remember if anyone asked the question… “Where would you take them next?”

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By: Terry Ryall http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-brancaster-chronicles-anne-smart-paintings/#comment-222674 Tue, 20 Aug 2013 23:34:49 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7298#comment-222674 This is partly a response to John Bunker’s comments(on the Mapping the Abstract discussion)directed towards my thoughts on the opening discussion of the Brancaster Chronicles. In John’s opinion it would seem that I have perhaps placed too high an expectation on the work in the Chronicles and the related discussions, at least on the evidence of the first meeting.
So John, I accept what you say about too high an expectation carrying some problems with it. The difficulty for me in accepting what you say as a criticism of my remarks is that I’m not the instigator of such an expectation, I’m simply trying to interpret the outcome of the exercise as evidenced by the transcript. Out of respect for Anne Smart’s paintings I was trying to probe a bit further to see how general the feeling might have been that there were aspects of her work that were in some way new ie not just new within her own history of working but new in a broader, and therefore more significant sense. Certainly other interesting and fruitful questions arose, particularly Robin’s suggestion that, fundamentally, looking at Anne’s abstract paintings was no different in principle to looking for example at a Constable but,good proposition though it is, it is hardly new. Thank-you and good-night!

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By: Terry Ryall http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-brancaster-chronicles-anne-smart-paintings/#comment-222312 Tue, 20 Aug 2013 14:28:01 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7298#comment-222312 As Noela suggests it is often very difficult to contribute remarks/observations etc. about work if it has only been viewed on a computer screen and particularly so with Anne Smart’s paintings which were the focus of the discussion. Given that at least part of the objective of the Brancaster Chronicles is to address “new issues of abstract art” I wonder how successful the participants (and indeed others) feel this first studio discussion was. An opinion on this based on the transcript (which I understand is edited) is not easy to form with only Robin Greenwood getting close to expressing a sense that he was perhaps looking at something new (in the broad sense) in one particular work but, in my view, drawing back somewhat from that assessment with his subsequent post.
As someone with a slightly hedonistic approach to making art I just wonder whether an earnest intention to break new ground could be so burdensome as to prove obstructive to such an objective.

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By: Robin Greenwood http://abstractcritical.com/article/the-brancaster-chronicles-anne-smart-paintings/#comment-221277 Mon, 19 Aug 2013 10:22:13 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7298#comment-221277 The notion of ‘non-relational’ painting mentioned here needs, to my mind, some considerable unpacking. I’m on record as saying that all good art, and especially good abstract art, is necessarily relational. I cannot see how it can be otherwise, since there exists in abstract art no reference to extrinsic meaning in either the parts or the whole, so meaning must derive from the relationships of its constituent parts, whether they be big, small, indeterminate or specific. As Anne Smart herself says, ‘all the things in the painting cannot survive without each other…’

So I think what was meant in this discussion by ‘non-relational’ was the ‘Greenbergian’ (or is it ‘Friedian’?) formalist and ‘optical’ version of relational art; at least, that is what I took it as, and Anne can correct me if I’m mistaken; and the dismissal of this way of working carries the implication of a search for something more ‘connected’, more physical, a deeper kind of content in the relationships within a painting. After all, we’ve had plenty of non-relational painting before in the history of abstract art; all-over compositions of Pollock and many others; Minimalism; and, for example, lots of painting about ten years ago was making simple centre-focussed compositions and calling itself ‘non-relational’. I imagine Anne Smart would want to distance herself from some if not all of the previous manifestations of an ‘all-over’ way of working; but I’m second-guessing, since we did not get too far into that in this discussion. And there remains in my mind a question-mark over the kind of wholeness or ‘singularity’ implied in the discussion of some of her works, such as ‘Pique Pique’; is this a new thing, or have we been here before? At the time, it seemed to me a less interesting and more familiar way of achieving wholeness than that of other works by Anne such as ‘Too Too Tutu’, and I remain of that opinion.

However, I do think Anne’s linking of ‘relational’ thinking in painting with an overtly intuitive way of working, and her desire to get beyond those limitations into something of perhaps more substance and control, is really interesting. And though I think it is unlikely that you can work that link in reverse – i.e., even though working in an exclusively intuitive fashion in abstract painting may lead inexorably to a kind of optical relational-ism, maybe even to a particularly shallow version of that relational-ism, you cannot say the reverse; that working relationally necessarily implies an exclusively intuitive mode of working – I think it nevertheless confirms Anne Smart’s broad intention is to break new ground.

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