David Osbaldeston AP2

Then Notice (2006) Norwich Art Gallery

David Osbaldeston’s occasional series of Notices draw upon the territory of ‘Institutional Critique’, which articulate the artist’s ongoing interest in the relationships between cultural events past and present.

The Notices aim to act as visual and ideological reminders of C18th or C19th leaflets or posters that could be attributed to radical or political movements of the period and produced as agents for change.

Their visual language is now charged with fixed meanings that have long been overtaken by developments in both sociology and technology. The posters are digitally reproduced inkjet prints of drawings that aim to mirror the urgency and authority of the printed word in a contemporary situation that increasingly demands change under quite different circumstances of cultural production.

Blog Notice (2005) Cornerhouse, Manchester
Your Answer is Mine (2006) (Installation View)

Long since confined in any commercial sense to the dustbin as a form of image making, the hand-made etching presents itself as an outmoded technology. In an ideological battle of inappropriate wills between the hand-made and mechanically produced; like some bastard little brother of punk king Jamie Reid’s visual lexicon, or re-articulation of Tristan Tzara’s agit prop. A series of highly subjective reflections and observations fill the yawning surface of a billboard to produce a forced marriage of inconvenience. The laboriously hand-produced images form to complete a single massive etching of a photocopy of a drawing of a collage, rendered in black and white as an image of an image. The authority and logic of design is interrupted by digressive voices, as appropriated artworks appear as cameos, interspersed with an obsessive culture of pie charts and accountability – explored as construction, as fiction.David Osbaldeston’s work is concerned with the production of art and its positioning and reception, both within the gallery tradition and the structures that surround it. His ongoing publishing project Stellar uses drawing, collage and text to produce a critical response to the work of artists and galleries. In Your Answer is Mine obsolete visual languages that once penetrated the public consciousness are recalled as posters and pamphlets form reference points in an advertising copywriters’ allusion to describe what it might mean to maintain a radical view in order to affect one. 

The Top & Bottom of It (2015)

Made for a working situation where daily life is an ecosystem of objects and ideas in constant rotation and transition, the installation is made up of connecting-parts. Active ingredients such as gaps, openings and closings, and a series of graphology reports from previous visitors, offer covert methods of engagement. Central to this and occupying the entire length of the office floor is a fixed railing system upon which effortlessly glides the Mechanism For Future Reference: a tall idiosyncratic wooden-built structure, designed as a moveable sculpture and operational machine.

Held in place by black solid rectangular ‘memory blocks’ the mechanism places the viewer at the behest of technology, enabling them to travel backwards and forwards in space and time. The viewer will have access to the arrangement of artworks displayed in cryptic sequence above and below eye level. (Top & Bottom.) Like some out-of-kilter reference to a future history stuck on repeat, Mechanism For Future Reference inhabits a space between utilitarian workingfurniture and art-object-as-abstract-machine that kaleidoscopically helps reveal time as a substance folding in and against itself.

In a bid to form a parallel universe somewhere between the physical and ephemeral, images are fashioned into objects and objects are formed into images. The works are presented in an unexpected alignment of physical thingsto produce new meanings that require the physical act of opening.

Carlos Cruz-Diez AP2

Cruz-Diez has consistently worked through his career focusing solely on colour, line and (viewer) perception. His visual style can be consistently identified throughout his work spanning his entire career. His work contains an element in which the viewer actively participates in viewing the work because the colour changes and presents a sensation of movement as the relative position of the viewer changes. Cruz-Diez uses the moire effect to produce this sensation of motion by his particular composition of lines. Because the image of his work changes as the viewer changes locations, he refers to this changing effect of the image as “vibrations.” 

Cruz-Diez embarked on a period of intense study where he read a great deal on art history. He identified that to find something new – even the tiniest gap – he would have to conduct meticulous research, much like a scientist, using a methodical approach. The works of colour theorists, scientists like Chevreul, literary figures like Goethe, artists like Albers, Vasarely and Velasquez and the Impressionism movement informed his thinking.

Chromosaturation Environment

Eventually Cruz-Diez came to the realization that color had never been the subject of any artistic discourse. Always dismissed as a mere consequence of form, it spurred him on to further study the eye, perception of color and the way light changes.

Gradually Cruz-Diez developed his discourse; that of color in space, devoid of form. His canvas’ reflect the ever-changing, ephemeral and mobile nature of color unlike the work of the Impressionists, which showcased the changing color of light but only in a motionless way that was in the past, not the present.

He uses lines because it is the most efficient tool, devoid of symbolism and leaving only colour without anecdote. Therefore colour becomes a matter of personal preference, which is an emotional connection. Viewers connect with the colour and through this find a poetry in his work.

Over time Cruz-Diez developed his medium of showcasing colour using the latest technology – always referring to the same principles – but demonstrated using increasingly accurate methods.

Integral to this is the notion of integrating people into his art. This is both out of necessity to accelerate the production of a piece – where assistants and family members follow his precise plans – and in the role of the viewer, where he changes the relationship between viewer and artwork from separate entities to that of a fundamental part of the works.

Yago Hortal AP2

SP 75. (2012)

Yago Hortal is a contemporary Spanish painter known for his vibrant paintings inspired by Abstract Expressionism. Born in Barcelona, Spain in 1983, Hortal has said: “I look for a balance between chaos and order, something like a combination between a chess game and a boxing match.” He manipulates the surface of his works by marbling, splattering, and smearing thick, fluorescent acrylic paint in an urgent, spontaneous manner. His paintings have an internal logic, in a similar manner to American artist Tomory Dodge. Having exhibited at Rooster Gallery in New York, Egbert Baque Cotnemporary Art in Berlin, and Espacio Atlantico in Vigo, among others

SP124. (2016)
SP211. (2016)
SP120. (2016)

The color is the main protagonist of the painting that presents Hortal Iago at the beginning of the year in the gallery Senda. Vigorous strokes added to the use of saturated tones show a suggestive visual impact which have great harmony and boldness, multiple shades of color. The forms and combinations of this wide range span across the fabric, a process that culminates in the spread of the paint off the canvas, bursting into the architectural space. Thus, Hortal uses color as a vehicle to convey vitality and impetus to use pictorial masses contributing to the work severe expressive value, with a sculpture or relief.

The execution of the work gives the artist the ability to establish a relationship between chaos and control. This link is manifested by a directed to a natural ease contained, which encompass the clutter correspondence between the elements and the visual coherence of the composition. Use a variety of random shapes, waving and paintings jets to drive the route of looking around the canvas and provide a sense of movement to the representation. The transmission, as accurate, gestures to the fabric, and perceptible evidence of the working method of execution attributes are neat, in an abstract way to express that combines spontaneity with the rational through a formal vocabulary covered suggestive in a large domain of pictorial resources.

SP123. (2016)
ARCO Madrid’19
Galería Senda (Booth 9 F08)

The exhibition ‘H-H. Halley meets Hortal’ has come together after eight months of conversations, e-mail exchanges, and the cross-posting of ideas, studies, and drafts in which both artists responded to each other’s practice.

This led to conversations about things they have in common — and others that differentiate them — inside the world of abstract painting. It highlights the New Yorker and the Catalan, experience and youth, rationalism and randomness, geometry and gesture, two approaches to the mastery of color… a back and forth dialogue about what unites them and what distances them.

At Senda, each artist will exhibit three large paintings, conceived of with the goal of establishing a conversation. In addition, Peter Halley and Yago Hortal have created five collaborative works on paper, signed by both artists.

SP126. (2016)
SP104. (2016)

Mark Rothko AP2

No.1 (1954)
UNTITLED, (1952)

Colourfield Painting:

Section One: The aesthetics of Colourfield, minimal, hard edge, serial and post-painterly abstract painting.

  • Presence:
    • Post painterly abstract paintings, like all paintings demand that one sees them in the flesh (22).
    • The colours, shapes, patterns, forms, canvases, stretchers and scale of the paintings are crucial; one has to see them up close (22).
    • The canvases of the sixties usually had thick, solid stretchers: and thus a definite volume and mass; they were environmental as well as painterly (22).
    • Painterly abstract paintings are very physical paintings, paintings emphasize the frontal aspect, one can walk around the sides and look at them from other directions (22).
    • Post painterly abstract and Colourfield paintings are not domineering in the way of Rothko and Motherwell. (22)
    • The very lightness and bright colours of Colourfield paintings dispel the sense of being overwhelmed by the paintings. (22)
  • Colour:
    • Colour was the one element of painting that Sixties art was successful at exploring. (23)
    • ‘My purpose is to render my emotion. This state of soul is created by the objects which surround me and which react within me: from the horizon to myself, myself included. For I often put myself into my pictures, and I am aware of what exists behind me’ (H. Matisse, 143) (23)
    • Colour has been central to postwar and contemporary artists such as Barnett Newman, Joseph Albers and others. (23)
    • The Sixties was an era of which drew attention to the physicality of art works. Colour was another element in the physicality of an art object. (24)
  • Flatness:
    • Clement Greenberg noted that any mark made on the surface of the canvas alters the state of the canvas. ‘[t]he first mark made on a canvas destroys the literal and utter flatness’.  (25)
    • When one confronts a painterly picture, they first see the bare canvas. Its stops the viewer up short. (25)
    • Something is different about Colourfield paintings, one doesn’t at first notice what it is. One looks closer: yes, the canvas can be seen. This bare canvas is not a sly reference on the painters’ part to the manufacture of the painting. (25)
    • The artist is not showing the canvas to the viewer to show how the painting is made, much like a movie camera can move out of frame to reveal lights, as set, etc. (25)
    • The paint on the canvas is somewhat representational, paintwork is referring to somethings outside of itself. (25)
    • Many artists sink into a trance state or muse state when they create. A form of pure meditation. (25)
  • Bare Canvas:
    • Three dimensions are real space. They get rid of the problem of illusionism and literal space, space in and around marks and colours. (26)
    • The limits of painting are no longer present. A work can be as powerful as it can be thought to be. Actual space is intrinsically more powerful and specific than paint on a flat surface. (26)

Section Two: ABSTRACT EXPRESSINISM AND SIZTIES COLOURFIELD PAINTING

  • Presence:
    • Flatness in painting is necessary. (28)
    • Donald Judd said that paintings are rarely, if ever, totally flat. ‘Two colours on the same surface almost always lie on different depths’. Colour, especially oil pain, covering all of much of a painting is almost always both flat and infinitely spatial. (30)
    • Barnet Newman’s paintings empahsised vertically, frontality, flatness, single colour, all-overness, unified space and grand scale. (30)
    • ‘The present painter can be said to work with chaos not only in the sense that they are handling the chaos of the blank picture plane but also in that they are handling the chaos of form. In trying to go beyond the visible and the known world they are working with forms that are even unknown to them. They are engaged in a true act of discovery in the creation of new forms and symbols that will have the living quality of creation’. (Newman, The Plasmic Image) (31)
  • Mark Rothko:
    • Rothko’s art is considered ‘heroic’ because it attempts to achieve something great in the world of Existential suffering. Out of the pain and suffering rise Rothko’s spiritual Stonehenge’s. (34)
    • It is transcendence comes from its aim to go beyond the usual realms of art in terms of content and form. (34).
    • Max Kozloff: “Ignition that results from the impact of a fierce pallet upon an aloof and fastidious temperament [which] flusters exhaustion and begins to hold the haunted spectator longer than he intended”.
    • The closer one looks at the late works, the more one sees that Rothko was exploring the same formal aspects that have always concerned painters: (38)
      • The relation between colour and size, scale and shape.
      • The relation between spirituality and matter.
      • The relation between tone and luminosity.
      • The relation between proportion and colour
      • The relation between surface texture and inner tumescence.
White Centre (1950)
UNTITLED (No. 73), (1952)
UNTITLED [blue, green], (1956)
UNTITLED [red, green], (1956)
UNTITLED, (1949)

Like Richter, I have closely looked at Rothko throughout my progression and practice development. I have studied his method of paint application, mainly the layering of thin coats to build a deep void space of colour. I have concentrated on his choice of colour, principally his colour pairing. I find his piece that use conflicting pigments, more in tune with my current colour choices. I am working with mainly highly tuned, vibrant pigments similar to those I experienced in NYC, but using those colours to create a conflict. This conflict stems from a personal standpoint, reflecting the inner confusion that I am currently experiencing. Immersing myself inside of these pigments (through light), encircling and cradling me at the heart of the conflict, allows me to untangle and manoeuvre my way through.

Joseph Albers AP2

Homage to the Square (1961)

Joseph Albers (Glass, Colour and Light)

A New Light: Joseph Albers’s Work in Glass

  • Windows bring light into darkness.
  • Window light overcame the darkness or blindness of all that had preceded.
  • Where previously there had been confusion, and vision had been obscured, once the sun’s rays passed through glass there was, literally enlightenment.
  • Windows not only invite brightness but also allow the old to be discarded.
  • Glass enabled Albers to realise his most cherished goals: with this relatively ordinary form of matter, he could make a piercing light shine brightly and the old and dark disappear.
  • With glass, the artist could give exultant voice to a range of resplendent, and seemingly holy, colours.
  • Art should provide something else: a life, an awakening, a removal into another, brighter sphere.
  • Glass’s translucency, its vibrant transmission of colour, its mutability, its ability to be cut, assembled and sandblasted in myriad arrangements that bear no direct evidence of personal handwriting made of all the spiritual and visual possibilities resoundingly, gloriously apparent.
  • Glass is sacred, the stuff of revelations. It represented thinking of another sphere, an acceptance of the inexplicable.
  • As with any mediums in which Albers worked, the artist noticed what others were ding, but still found in it a unique and unprecedented opportunity.
  • Glass permits the process of transformation so pivotal to Albers’s notion of the value of art.
  • For his early assemblages, he picked up disregarded fragments, the garbage became jewels.
  • In later works, glassmaker’s samples acquire a celestial radiance; an orderly grid becomes a source of euphoria; stencils and the machinery of sandblasting help make objects that dance with rhythmic leaps. (12)
  • In the opaque works, the artist achieved an illusion of translucency, so that light that is actually reflected appears to be emanating from a direct source.
  • Homage to a Square:
    • His ‘platters to serve colour’: application of six to ten coats of white Liquitex gesso on top of a hard, unyielding surface creates a luminous and neutral setting where colour can have its fullest voice.
  • Glass as a material was too fragile, the loss too painful. The possibilities for spiritual purity had been truly shattered by human brutality.
Homage to the Square (1962)
Homage to the Square (1964)
Homage to the Square (1962)
Homage to the Square (1962)
Park (1924)

Albers: Glass, Colour and Light

  • Before artists knew how to render light illusionistically- when light could only be represented emblematically (e.g. halo)- it was universally understood as the manifestation of a divine presence.
  • It represented illumination, enlightenment and the grace through which man could orient himself among the dangers and pitfalls of the world.
  • This tradition in the arts began to undergo radical changes around 1800, as first evident in the work of Francisco de Goya.
    • I his prints, Goya used light and dark in terms of their metaphysical meanings but simply as black, white and intermediate values of gray.
    • The struggle for new meanings and aesthetic functions for light and dark is one of the most fascinating phenomena of Modern Art.
    • In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the need to explore light was a paramount concern of artists raging from the Impressionists, who insisted on a morally neutral basis for all visual experience.
  • By containing a luminous inner image within the darker outer frame, and using discrepant scales, he translated the purpose and meaning of medieval stained-glass windows into a modern mode.
  • As in stained glass, the central “light image” can be perceived only by opposition to the darkness that surrounds it.
  • Albers’s played with similar relationships of image to ground, of transparent to opaque, of light as pulsating life against a passive expanse of a single hue.
  • Park (1924)
    • Albers’s imparted to Park a far soberer, intensely disciplined style that would make his later work., leaving behind those impulses rooted in the spontaneity of Germany and French expressionist tendencies.
    • Park sacrifices the exuberant profusion of shapes of the earlier works but retains the lyrical freedom of their wide chromatic range.
    • Yellows, purples, oranges, whites and green give a staccato, syncopated quality to the composition, which the wire-mesh covering adds irregular ornamentation.
    • Albers’s finally did away with diversely shaped elements and substituted them for logical tectonic organization, which orders distinct groups of green, blue and white rectangles into a modular system.
    • The slightly wider strips of leading divide the areas of colours into distinct colours or into checkerboard arrangements.
    • In the vertical configuration of olive-green squares on the left, the thicker strips not only outline the particular chromatic group but also accentuate the shift from left to right of the lower block of squares.
    • Although far from uniform, the arrangement of the individual squares and the linear structure retain an architectural rather than expressive effect.
    • Albers renounced the lavish bouquet of rubies ultramarines, yellows and greens of the earlier panels, reducing his palate in Park to a narrow range of green and blue hues, highlighted by sparse, small areas of white.
    • Instead of arranging distinct colours for variety and contrapuntal complexity, Albers now concentrated on constantly shifting subtle modulations in colour groups, creating what can be called a climate of colour.
    • One small area of Park stands out in serene but insistent contradiction to the work’s severe economy in colour range and the basic form of the square: the two rectangles and squares of a mildly glowing pink to the right of the center.
    • Within the context of the repetitive web of squares surrounding it, the black lines within the pink area declare themselves very eloquently to be a cross, which we can perceive as a purely formal device or as a mystic symbol.
    • Isolated and diminutive, the area asserts itself as the heart of the entire composition and sets the tones to which all others are attuned.
J Scherben im Gitterbild (1921)
Josef Albers in the Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2017.