Monday, August 16, 2010
Here's a painting by Adele Whittle. I bought it a few days ago: I had an overriding urge to obtain it for myself, so I did. I rarely buy art, or anything at all. I suppose I am a collector by nature, but certainly not by circumstance. I have neither the money nor the space to accumulate objects in large quantities, be they books, ornaments or artworks. Yet sometimes one needs to act against circumstances and treat oneself. Why not?
Although I can't paint or draw with anything remotely resembling aptitude, I do enjoy good art; but I ought to say a few words about my particular taste. When it comes to literature I am enthralled by technical virtuosity, the complex experiments with form of the OuLiPo writers for instance; but my appreciation in this respect doesn't translate into the sphere of the visual arts. Excessive detail and intricacy in paintings tend to leave me cold: it's true that I adore Escher, but it's his ideas rather than his perfect draughtsmanship that moves me. What I truly like in a painting is colour, energy and luminance -- in a single word, VIBRANCY!
So what instantly riveted my attention about this painting is the way it almost seethes with force and colour under particular lighting conditions. It almost feels alive. Photographs don't do it justice: within the purity and simplicity of the design and the cyclic symmetry of the colour schema there is an astounding play of light reflections. If I wanted to sound pretentious I might say that this quality is entirely in phase with my own aesthetic frequency!
Apparently this style of painting is called impasto and is achieved by thickly laying on the paint with a knife. I guess there's a point when the paint can be layered so densely that the work becomes almost a sculpture rather than an orthodox painting. I have just learned that the root noun of the word "impasto" is pasta. I wonder if it would be possible to create a painting with spaghetti? Certainly a Jackson Pollock abstract would be achievable simply by flinging a dish of spaghetti at a canvas (though I have heard it said that Pollock's work is significantly fractal and not as random as it seems).
Anyway... More of Adele's art can be viewed here. She has paintings in various exhibitions and galleries and cafes around Swansea, and jewellery and objets d'art (including paintings on driftwood and on shells) in selected shops.
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