Friday, 15 July 2011

Automatic writing

The only proof of what you are is
in the way you see the truth

© 2011 Stewart Bremner

Mixed media 5.25" x 8.5"
In 1919, Les Champs Magnétiques by André Breton was published. It was the first known use of a technique he developed called éciture automatique. Described as the "dictation of thought without control of reason", it was seized on not just by the Surrealist movement, but by many abstract expressionists across the century. Reading peripherally about it this week, I realised that this was a method similar to what I had realised in my own work at the start of the year. It was also the method that I used, in combination with the lessons learned while painting with Megan Chapman, to paint sixteen small paper paintings last weekend.

The paintings were created using particularly-chosen music to provide both an emotional focus and the energy to drive my will. I listened to the songs very loudly through headphones, allowing my movements and marks to be dictated by my responses to the music and to how I was feeling at the time. This could very much be described as painting "without the control of reason". It was a freeing and enjoyable experience, although incredibly wearing, and I was unable to paint in this manner for much more than an hour at a time. I consequently worked on the pieces over several staggered sessions, across four days. The results surprised me.

Because you know we do it right
© 2011 Stewart Bremner

Mixed media 5.25" x 8.5"
I had set about these paintings with the intent of loosening up and trying to find my way back into working on my own. Quite unexpectedly, the pieces developed quickly into a small series in their own right and, better yet, gave me motivation sufficient to start my first (solo) painting on canvas of the year.

The pieces share a sense of dynamism, of energy. They also all show a central shape, that I would describe as a body if that did not engender anatomical expectations. The shapes are at once being acted upon by forces and exerting forces of its own. They are part of a story, of something possibly bigger than themselves and looking at them now, I am faintly stunned that I made them.

Don't know how long I've been awake
© 2011 Stewart Bremner
Mixed media 5.25" x 8.5"
Dynamic and energetic is both how I would describe these pieces and my reaction to them. I am genuinely thrilled by where these paintings have led me. It feels like I am at the start of an exciting moment in my work and I can't wait to see how it develops and how I develop with it.

You can find the new paper pieces in my Etsy shop, where I have priced them quite affordably. There has been one sale and plenty of interest already, so don't wait too long to snap one up it it grabs your attention!

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