Lockdown has allowed a period of concentrated activity. There is no end result, like exhibiting. It’s just to see where the language of Abstract Painting takes me. I give myself a lot of leeway, as I’m working in an extremely concentrated fashion. I drive up the same lane, past Walter Raleigh’s house every day. I drive slowly and take everything in, looking at the colour, light and shade /a la Cezanne. Then I get to my farm studio and close the door. I stretch up a canvas quite beautifully. I have been a carpenter in NY. Then I stretch a heavy weight canvas over the frame, which has an inch and a half edge. The 5ft by 7ft canvasses are the ones featured here, and I make each one afresh, beautifully stretched anew each time. Then I really try not to plan too much. Improvisation is the key, but inevitably I make a few notes. I then have the weight of paint on the surface. I’m aware of staining technique from Louis and Frankenthaler. I enjoy that, but realise its limitations. Changes or additions can be great or awful, according to choices made. However I’m free to paint out what I don’t like, in a varied way. I’m always varying the surface which I find crucial to a visually exciting picture.
There is a huge amount of History to Abstract Painting, and I’m happy to quote, or use references. This has been my life’s work and there is not much I don’t know about the business. The problem is, which language to use, or combine, in interesting new ways, to make a result which is genuinely surprising to me. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a totality/a whole /complete /resolved etc. At the moment I’m tempted by Gorky/Miro/Surrealism, but that tends towards drawing and literary reference. I’m interested in a physical, colour related, plastic resolution. There are limitations to the language. Humour and political reference generally don’t obtain. It’s a rather serious sort of looking and judging. The audience is crucial, as I need to know I’ve hit a nerve.
Patrick Jones, 2020.
[ Editor’s note: As with all posts on Abcrit, comments on this work are welcome.
In this time of few exhibitions, we hope this might be the first of a series of artists discussing their own abstract work on line.
Robin Greenwood, email@example.com ]