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It’s taken me a while to put this blog together; so much has changed since Christmas. I’m now almost 7 months into my pregnancy and it’s becoming very real indeed. However, this particular post is very important to me so here it is:

I had the most amazing trip to Barcelona on 17th Dec 2013. I went to meet up with a new friend I met on Pinterest; the painter, designer and architect Jordi Galí. We met at the Tapies Foundation and had an instant connection. We are both painters and I felt like we understood eachother very well. I hadn’t been to the Tapies foundation before and I loved it. I could see his connection with his environment and everyday objects, his alchemical investigations with materials, his use of drawing and texture. I enjoyed finding out about the political influences in his work and the context of his beginnings as an artist in fascist Spain. In terms of my own work I felt that this was a great time in my practice to see this painter’s work as I am really opening up just now to how materials and textures play an imprtant role in what I make. Moreoever, his fresh, experimental style is something I also strive for.   

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After this visit Jordi took me to the ProjecteSD gallery just round the corner and there we saw an intimate exhibition of the work of Belgian painter Pieter Vermeersch.

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Here’s what the exhibition review said about his work:

‘For his fourth presentation at ProjecteSD, a newly developed series of works of different formats and techniques unfold in the gallery space in parallel with a smooth degrade wall painting that wraps and holds these works to create an immersive painterly installation where two dimensions expand to become three, and where the viewer is confronted between the stillness and the movement of an image that, when looked at long enough, seems to transform itself.

Everything is connected to some part of reality in Vermeersch’s work. His non-representational shimmering colour field paintings that may first appear to be associated to a tradition of monochromatic abstraction, are based on “real images”. Often they result from photographs of his own paintings, paint activities or cloudless skies at sunset that the artist photographs himself and prints in negative, in an attempt to experiment on a “non visible”, elusive or intangible side of reality or “image-making”. The paintings, then, are anything but abstract, but rather moving towards a “realism” that is simultaneously detached and immersive.’

I got this photographic feeling from his work, and the feeling of light, directed light flows, like being underwater and seeing the light coming down from the surface or being in a Cathedral where light streams in from some window high up in the ceiling. Jordi and I ummed and ahhed at the artist’s mastery of paint and flawless technique, very different from our own styles. Jordi observed that he is partial to the use of tonal dégradé in painting. It’s the first time I had ever really thought about it.

There seems to be a lot of abstract painting that isn’t really abstract, as they’ve said here at this exhibition; although this work may seem abstract it is actually moving towards realism, and then there are artists like Hockney who say that everything is abstract or what is abstraction anyway? It seems to me to all be part of a self-consciousness on the part of painters. Painting has been so persecuted over the last century that we have to be careful what we say, always ready to defend our choices.

Over lunch Jordi Galí told me about  life as painter in the 70s and his fascination with Salvador Dalí, and subsequent meetings and experiences he had with the painter, I felt in awe. He also told me about his grandfather who was also a painter and teacher to Joan Miró. Painting is in his family and he didn’t even study it at art school. He studied architecture. He became a famous and award winning painter at a young age and he told me about the whirl wind lifestyle he had as a result, and how he gave it up to become an architect. After some 40 years he’s finally come back to painting. I find his work so fresh and energetic, it’s very inspiring that he could just pick it up this stage in his life and be making work that is so contemporary in style: http://www.pinterest.com/jordiwendy/my-self-2011-2012-2013/  

Next we tried to go to the MACBA where he’s due to have a video exhibited but it was closed so we went to the Joan Miró foundation and saw a temporary painting exhibition there. It was an eclectic exhibition with many very well-known artists’ works all around the theme of horizons. We then went on to look at the permanent collection of Miró’s work. Jordi was like a child in his enthusiasm for this artist’s work, which was delightful to see. His enthusiasm for painting is infectious and inspiring.

Looking at Tapies’ work and talking to Jordi, who was very encouraging about my own work, I feel like I need to focus more on being spontaneous and reacting to my environment and the surfaces I’m working on, the materials themselves, and less to other artists’ complex works or my desire to make more “impressive works” (which I think has been a knock on effect of having my work in the Pair exhibition and feeling a bit unworthy about it, I’ve got to stop trying to impress and just be me and make things).

We talked about our love of Sabine Tress’s work and many other contemporary painters who we both admire. It’s so wonderful to find a person with the almost exact same likes as mine.

Another artist I am enjoying just now is Gary Komarin, pure, fearless painterly drawing!

This was such a great day for me; never able to get away to go to exhibitions and never really knowing any other painters before it really opened my mind and gave me a lot of hope for the future. Jordi and I have stayed in touch and one day we’ll meet up again and go to more shows and have great chats about painting.

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