Thanks to my fellow studio ‘inmate’ Zenon I being provided with plenty of background reading. Today’s tome ‘What is Abstraction’ by Andrew Benjamin (1996). Interesting but very philosophically dense read which really only gets going when he responds to W. J. Mitchell’s attack on Greenburg. Good overview of Greenburg’s near total dominance of the field and some interesting painters at end..David Reed and Jonathan Lasker included which, as it 1996, confirms that I missed at least ten years of abstract painting and theory maybe more.
I also picked up on an excellent short article on the Diebenkorn show at R.A. by Ian McKeever which chimed very well with Benjamin’s observations.
It is only now that I made the connection between music and painting…which some 30 years too late as the cover to ‘She Comes From the Rain’ effortlessly did this in 1985. As I trying to be in studio actually painting as much as possible..as opposed to thinking about it..I been building soundtracks for my painting. Today I looked back at 1980 and took the above corresponding sounds for this week..last week it was 1977.
Fascinating to look back at 1980 as it was second year of my degree at Hornsey and I was drumming (allegedly) for art school band ‘Damp Jungle’ then. Music seemed pretty exciting that year with Teardrop Explodes, Birthday Party and Orange Juice all issuing seminal 45s :-).
Well I finally made it back to painting in what must be the most convoluted way possible. To start painting again don’t go via my route. Seven years teaching web design in academia, a fine art M.A. in art research (through drawing) then a abandoned attempt to do a Creative Writing M.A. Oh and then two months sorting out what the hell I was doing in painting in the first place (the Archive)
All of this so that I finally can go into the studio in mid-March 2015 and stare at a blank wall and wonder what the hell it all about….
It seems like a very long way round to arrive back where I started. I studied fine art painting at Hornsey College of Art in 1978-1981. My first love was painting not poetry or songwriting. I was ‘good at art’ at school. I was offered a place at the Royal College in 1981 on painting M.A. which was my dream. I wanted to be the new David Hockney….I almost did it but Margaret Thatcher took away the grant funding and my working-class parents could not afford the £9K, even then, fees.
I have always despised the Tories ever since. I ploughed on and re-applied to the Royal in 1985 (see this post in archive). this application was the high water mark of my early abstraction. I never got back to this level until today. It has taken 30 years to be able to paint full time if only for a couple of months. I am not a part-time painter.
The paintings in the posts above are my finding my way again after all this time. I naively aimed to be the best painter in England between 1981 and 1985……right now I’m just happy to get a second chance. I was however always a serious abstract painter…and that I remain. I dedicate these paintings to my Father who would have been 83 last Monday. I call these paintings ‘second wind’ for an explanation see poem here: