Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fauvist leanings

This is an early painting of mine, from 1974 when I was in my first year of my B.A. course at Art College. At the time I was having considerable difficulties with the head tutor of the first year students, who did not like my work and seemed incapable of understanding three-point perspective (where the picture plane is tilted either downwards or upwards). My interest in this painting was primarily in investigating how the diverging vertical lines created the sensation of looking downwards into the painting. I deliberately shaped the edges of the canvas to match the perspective (although in later work I found that slanting the edges in the opposite way actually enhanced the perspective effects more).

However, a secondary interest was in the use of colour, the colours becoming naturally exaggerated as I concentrated on noticing the minor variations of shades. What I did not realise at the time, pre-occupied as I was with the perspective and my tutor difficulties, was that there is a strong connection with what I was doing and some Fauvist work. For example, several of AndrĂ© Derain's paintings, notably London Bridge, winter 1906, incorporate a wide angle of view, including some perspective effects created by the spectator looking downwards. However, the colouring of the French Fauvist work is generally so extreme that I think that was what prevented me from making the connection at the time. More recently, I encountered the work of some of the Belgian Fauvists, such as that by Willem Paerels and Rik Wouters, where the control of colour is much closer to that which would interest me.

I do not believe that it would be correct to say that my concept of Experiential Realism was influenced by Fauvism. It is more that I recognise some common concerns, for example, recording perspective as experienced, rather than as required by formal rules. Also that my colour, whilst not as intense as that of the Fauvists, nevertheless becomes intensified through the process of concentrated observation.

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