Saturday, November 7, 2009

an affinity for green

Sharon Horvath is featured today on the excellent two coats of paint blog. I will not expand here on the artist or her work as the above blog does that so well. I will just say it was a great find and I was very pleased to read about this artist and view other works.

On a completely different note: personal studio reflections
Below I have posted a work I painted in my Newcastle studio some 4 - 5 years ago - at the time I was rather careless with the work - even though it is painted on a good hard surface in oil paints 2 corners are a little the worse for wear. The truth is I rather despised the painting till recently when it started to make sense to me. This is not the first time some work I have really been put off by and developed a bit of a loathing for becomes much later a work I see quite differently.

'Untitled'  35 x 45 cm, acrylic on canvas 

Below is a 40 x 40 cm acrylic on canvas work titled 'navigating the complex' which was painted in 2004 around the same time as the one above. Simultaneously I was working on very much freer organic shapes and the elliptical form which evolved over time into a more complex abstracted seedpod form. 
This work below has a curious tendency to appear larger than its 40 x 40 cm size. Paradoxically I worked on this canvas for an extensive period of time - despite its size - adjusting colour and composition till it just arrived at what suddenly felt right. 2 years work exploring similar compositions on a larger scale seemed to come together in this one much smaller canvas and this is where I effectively left off from pursuing this compositional approach in my painting.

'navigating the complex' - acrylic on canvas, 40 40 cm

Ovoid forms were curiously compelling and creeping into my work beyond my will it seemed. 

Below: This is a section of the top painting 'untitled' that demonstrates the merging of the organic ovoid forms with the geometry which had obsessed me since living in the inner-city of Melbourne previous to the year 2000 when i relocated north to Newcastle.

In conclusion, this fluid engagement with different qualities and types of forms seems less unexpected, uncommon or awkward that it once did.. However, going back to the year 2001 onwards it was disconcerting to be drawn to the two opposite ends of the spectrum as I painted. Polarities dominated - chaos and order, fluidity and stasis, organic naturalness and tightness. Perhaps now it appears to not be quite the polar opposites I thought it was.

What has been a constant in all my work, over 3 decades really, are the glimpses of something more going on behind the surface. No matter which way I come at the composition this has been something perrenial that has engaged me and characterised my work to a greater or lesser extent..


The Artist Within Us said...

Thank you Sophie for sharing the transition of your work with us. Being able to see how your art evolved, helps anyone looking at it comprehend where you are at now and could be heading.

As for placing a painting aside because it has fallen out of favor only to be rediscovered later, I am sure most artists experience. Even though the earlier artwork may seem imperfect, it still remains an important piece in anyones life.

When I look at some of my own work and see the progression, I am able to chart my own growth as an artists on multiple levels and see if I am on track or have gone off into a totally different direction.

Thank you for sharing and have a great weekend,

Susan Buret said...

Sophie, It is very rewarding to revisit old work when time has given more subjective 'space' and distance from the love hate relationship we often have with our latest work.
The works are visually engaging for me and your considered analysis must enrich your present work.

Sophie Munns said...

Thanks Egmont,
its the 'on track' or 'going off track' part that needs time to become apparent.
And really how can something that is so compelling as to insist it finds the light of day in one's work be 'off track'.
I think that was my quandry - knowing how to sit with such different yet insistent forces so to speak.

Sophie Munns said...

Well said Susan!
It takes a certain element of courage or persistance to push on when one is hitting that wall of deep ambivilence. 'Love hate' is apt.
Your response to the work itself is generous - and much valued.

rachaellee9 said...

Hey Sophie, I can totally relate to the geometric versus the organic. In 2000 I wrote in my journal 'contradictions organic -man made' I was drawn to collecting organic things such as seed pods but was really compelled to make objects using the equilateral triangle and man made material such as metal. I also wrote 'fragility and strength at the same time - self portrait.'
I guess I saw the organic as fragile and the man made as strength and I consciously wanted to be a stronger person, something I think I am still dealing with in my work today... Rach

Sophie Munns said...

Hi Rachael,
interesting to have to sit with these kinds of tensions until they are resolved in some way or make more sense as with the personal meanings you equate to those concepts.
Nothing like ambiguity to keep us on our toes!
thanks for visiting this evening!

em said...

very interesting how the organic won the battle with the angular, and beautiful work. the juxtaposition of the straight and curved shapes makes me feel a tension in the paintings, so they evoke a feeling of struggle... but the ovals end up containing the straight lines, in a foreshadowing of things to come... very meaningful! i love it!

Sophie Munns said...

Thanks Em!
It is great to have comments from someone not immersed in looking at art constantly and from a very different work background. Fresh responses are good to never knows where the comments or insight might issue from that will add very useful thoughts to the mix.
it is fascinating to note how differently we may see the very same thing.

You know Em, the geometric never goes away completely . I have yet to post on work from late 2005 which found another way to be obsessive about squares, circles and lines.

PAPER GIRL said...

Hi Sophie,
Just found your blog this morning while surfing. Really love your work. It really speaks to me... Glad I found you.

Sophie Munns said...

Hi Rosalind,
how delightful to hear from you. I just visited your paintings which have such energy about them I must say! The stories with your work intrigue me. I shall look forward to reading to reading more of your blog too which i just touched on now.

Thanks you for taking time to comment and pass on a really generous and warm message. Much appreciated!

em said...

well, i look forward to seeing it, then!