Intimate Abstraction at The Searchers Contemporary. Previewing 7th March 2013
Intimate Abstraction is an exciting exhibition of contemporary painting, featuring four artists who make use of the elements of collage in various ways, and are concerned with an intimate relationship to the materials they use. Their work has a directness that short circuits concept and fashion, and encourages an engagement with the materiality of the work and the felt experience of it; they are John Eaves RWA, from Bath; Frank Bowling RA, OBE, who works in London and New York; Patrick Jones, based in the Exmouth area, and John Bunker, from London
Curated by Nick Moore, Bristol-based painter, musician and writer, the title of the exhibition derives from associations such as deep, profound, personal, direct, close; all words one could use to describe the qualities of these small abstract paintings. The artists demonstrate different approaches to the painting process, using diverse formats and supports, and are represented by a particular body of work made in series. The works in each series relate to one another in a continuous non-narrative flow, linked by enquiry, intuition and improvisation rather than logical, linear development. For each artist the making of a painting is a journey into the unknown, the outcome is never sure. As Frank Bowling put it,
‘the material landing on the surface (of the canvas) gives me back the information that I need to continue the search – I see if I can find the right balance and make it have meaning for me.’
Of particular interest is that the age of these painters spans four decades – from 1928 to 1967 – giving a sense of the continuity and commitment to a working process and attitude that flouts trends and ploughs individual and often idiosyncratic paths.
This exhibition is an invitation to experience the work, appreciate its sensuousness, to give it time; ‘Paintings …are also to be meditated upon and to be engaged by the senses; to be felt through the eye’ as the late John Hoyland put it.
John Eaves will be in conversation with Nick Moore in the Gallery on Saturday 16th March at 3pm
Image: ‘April Is…1’ John Bunker