Monday, 28 May 2012

Questions and an answer

Fifteen under-paintings Megan Chapman & Stewart Bremner
In a little over a month, Megan Chapman and I will be having an exhibition of new works at the Art Center of the Ozarks, titled "A place called home".

Megan and I have a home each, spaced four and a half thousand miles apart and we have both spent many months visiting each other's homes. Neither of us having planned to ever engage in such a long-distance relationship, there was never an expectation that not knowing where home was would ever arise. That was, of course, before the internet changed things, leaving us at a point where the places we once called home are no longer quite as clear in our minds as previously they had been. Where, then, is our home?

Given that this has become such a prominent, if unanswered question, and also that both of our recent bodies of work are so autobiographical, it therefore seemed entirely apt that we should title our next show with this in mind. Due to the nature of exhibition scheduling, these considerations, and the title that sprang from them, took place some time ago.

Now here we are, back in the sticky heat of an Arkansas summer and we have a lot of painting to do. Already we have began fifteen pieces, all of them underpaintings that contain a mix of shape, colour and texture. As these pieces progress, we are faced with squaring up the work we have began with the title we have given the show. This seems a difficult task, although one that as abstract artists we have faced before.

The problem has led to several discussions and not a few hours of missed sleep. In the heat and in the stress, the solution was not forthcoming. And then the answer occurred to me, the answer that is always the answer and yet is one that seems somehow to be easily forgotten. The work will conform to the title because the idea behind the title is so very much at the forefront of our minds that in our mark-making, we cannot help but reflect it. This is to hark back to the idea of ├ęciture automatique, that I touched on almost a year ago. Basically, if we relax and just keep painting, we should find our way to a cohesive (and hopefully great) show.

Now to put that into practice…

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