Comments on: Webb and Holyhead – The Uses of Abstract Painting http://abstractcritical.com/article/webb-and-holyhead-the-uses-of-abstract-painting/ 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: Jai Llewellyn http://abstractcritical.com/article/webb-and-holyhead-the-uses-of-abstract-painting/#comment-158259 Mon, 13 May 2013 13:46:03 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6396#comment-158259 It seems to me that the work of these two artists, particularly that of Webb’s, has provoked much valuable discussion. In this case it is both successful painting and relevant within the broader realm of contemporary practice, albeit abstract or not.
I also find that, as with many discussions of this nature, the point can be lost and we end up arguing over words rather than painting. No words will ever equate to good painting, only painting can answer to painting.

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By: diogdyknees http://abstractcritical.com/article/webb-and-holyhead-the-uses-of-abstract-painting/#comment-98448 Sun, 03 Feb 2013 20:51:05 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6396#comment-98448 I agree with Paul Barker. This is not a criticism of the essay as such, but generally with ‘theoretical’ reviews of painting shows. It feels like someone has gone into a Ferrari showroom and is complaining that they can’t fit a cement mixer and ten sheets of plasterboard in the back.

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By: Sam http://abstractcritical.com/article/webb-and-holyhead-the-uses-of-abstract-painting/#comment-65820 Mon, 03 Dec 2012 07:19:56 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6396#comment-65820 Hi Paul, I agree on the pseudo-politics, and on the mis-match this creates between the images and the words (though one of the general complaints of John Holland and Robin Greenwood, is of a lack of ambition). From what I understand Webb commissioned the essay, but gave Eleanor Moreton a free reign in what she wrote. Transition is not really a commercial gallery in the normal sense

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By: paul barker http://abstractcritical.com/article/webb-and-holyhead-the-uses-of-abstract-painting/#comment-65462 Sat, 01 Dec 2012 19:08:35 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6396#comment-65462 I read a lot of this before I realised it was bringing me down, what alot of words to balance on such tiny pictures. A lot of the article & the responses read to me as a sort of pseudo-politics.
I cant speak about Holyheads work, I cant actually “see” them but the Webbs looked OK. The catalog essay sound like nonsense but thats usually the case with commercial galleries isnt it ? I very much doubt the artists approval was sought.

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By: Paul Petard http://abstractcritical.com/article/webb-and-holyhead-the-uses-of-abstract-painting/#comment-63652 Sat, 24 Nov 2012 19:36:09 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6396#comment-63652 Your article states that children start with painting symbols. This isn’t true, they start by spilling their milk and chucking their food on the floor.

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By: John Holland http://abstractcritical.com/article/webb-and-holyhead-the-uses-of-abstract-painting/#comment-63608 Sat, 24 Nov 2012 16:02:34 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6396#comment-63608 Terry- don’t argue.

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By: John Holland http://abstractcritical.com/article/webb-and-holyhead-the-uses-of-abstract-painting/#comment-63607 Sat, 24 Nov 2012 16:00:24 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6396#comment-63607 Sam-
At the risk of repeating my earlier response, my difficulty with Webb’s pictures is exemplified by their contrast with Braque’s studio pictures that you mention. Where the symbiosis between the figurative source and the final painting is lucid and natural in the Braquea, the Webbs seem hamstrung, the ‘subject’ both obscure and overbearing, the two elements pulling in different directions.

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By: Robin Greenwood http://abstractcritical.com/article/webb-and-holyhead-the-uses-of-abstract-painting/#comment-63555 Sat, 24 Nov 2012 12:05:35 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6396#comment-63555 My urging to ‘make it more abstract’ is an attempt (albeit apparently a failing one) to broaden abstract art, rather than narrow it. I would claim that originality is rare at the moment because of the reliance by many artists upon accepted modes and tropes that go the rounds. One only has to look at all of the illustrations in this article to see how conventional and how similar things are (which is even more telling, given that these two artists start from very different positions). Were we all paying more attention to, and being more creatively imaginative with, the plastic and spatial reality of what we are doing (instead of wittering on about life, the universe and everything), we might see more deeply original things emerging, leading to greater differences between individual abstract artists.

Of course art is subjective, but I see no reason to encourage yet further subjectivity in abstract art, or to endorse yet more discourse that is not broadly speaking striving for objectivity. There is enough of the alternative out there already.

Can I also point out that I have said lots of specifically positive things about art on this site?

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By: Sam http://abstractcritical.com/article/webb-and-holyhead-the-uses-of-abstract-painting/#comment-63526 Sat, 24 Nov 2012 10:21:50 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6396#comment-63526 Ok, maybe it’s not one way, though ‘make it more abstract’ does suggest this. But whatever you are suggesting it does rest on a lot of rejection. Of course that is fair enough to an extent. As an aside, though it seems slightly futile to press this point it’s pretty obvious you are not just refuting me, you are arguing against how Webb’s art works: to suggest otherwise is disingenuous.

I don’t think I suggested that abstract / figuration was a new idea. Indeed when I said they looked back to earlier modernism, I had this aspect of his work in mind. I don’t see why it is necessarily a bad idea, indeed some of the best art of the twentieth century was involved with it. It was the subject of Braque’s great studio pictures. In a very discreet and obviously less ambitious way it is also the subject of Webb’s paintings. I don’t think this denies other types of experience what can be had with art, and I think is worth engaging with on its own terms.

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By: Terry Ryall http://abstractcritical.com/article/webb-and-holyhead-the-uses-of-abstract-painting/#comment-63521 Sat, 24 Nov 2012 10:05:33 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=6396#comment-63521 In the light of the statement that David Webb’s paintings “aren’t abstract” I’m a little puzzled as to how his work can be seen as “part of the present and future of painting and of abstraction”. Surely Webb’s paintings have to conform to some sort of definition of ‘the abstract’ even if it’s just in the sense of appropriating ‘the look’.

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