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  • Saligia Art Gallery

Profoundly distracted


An afternoon at the gardens near the duckpond, channeling Monet

Once, if I read somewhere - say on a public art gallery wall - that a painting was a 'deconstructed abstract landscape" I'd say to myself, 'Oh really?' ... or something more profane and even less profound.

But that's the most apt description I can come up with for a series of paintings I've started working on for a show in Wellington end of May.

They've been forming under two primary influences - mood or feelings, and actual times and places in my life.

And while they might look simple, I'm finding that producing good abstract paintings is not necessarily easy.

You need a good sense of colour. Some abstracts - even by past greats such as Rothko or Pollock - just don't do it for me at all.

Our own JS Parker, who died last year, had a fine sense of colour oftentimes - but a good number of his paintings did not really work for me either.

On top of trying colour combinations I've been working to achieve real movement, life and energy within the paint itself. Strong and chunk, thick impasto strokes pushed in various directions, tonal and textural variations, and a focus on light and dark.

At times, I've been taking various elements of a scene or feeling and breaking out an extra panel or two, attached to the main body of the work.

I guess it's experimenting with adding an extra dimension to the painting, that would normally be a single surface.

It's an extension of earlier work where I've added metal elements multi=-layered oil backgrounds.

It seems to be working. Today a Christchurch couple came to Saligia and bought two of my paintings - the best two to date of the new series, wrapped and taken away before I had even signed them or tidied up the back of the boards.

Problem is, they were produced with Wellington in mind - I'm aiming to have about 20 ready for the show, and am a long way off that target yet. Now I'll just have to pull finger and come up with something even better to replace them with. - Alan


Nelson's February wildfires.

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