The online editorial and curatorial project for reductive, geometric and systems artists working in the UK
BORDERLINE (beyond a rational aesthetic) curated by Laurence Noga.
21 February – 22 March 2015
A review by James Campion
©Copyright Patrick Morrissey and Clive Hancock All rights reserved.
This review begins with an analysis of the and then, informed by its
approach, looks at four works that together make up a spectrum of outcomes in this
exhibition. The reviewer proposes a 'decision-
“The artists in this show explore borderlines through a geometry of boundaries. They ask questions about their comfort zones and question the in between through an expanded notion of painting. That expanded notion often takes an intuitive or anti intuitive position between two conditions, which impacts on the density of surface facture, and allows judgement in breaking of a system. There is a deliberate provocation through flatness uneasily composing itself with what it sits upon, or a mechanistic strategy that is hard won, testing viscosity and matter through protracted physical engagement. The atmosphere and specificity of colour, realign the reading of the works, asking questions of the site as a model for the in between, shifting the idea into material form, asking transformative questions of space and place.
Harding, Starling, and Verheul approach their work in a very physical manner testing the behaviour of the paint, manipulating a fusion of the material world with the plastic, emphasizing visual hierarchies and allowing the possibility of a physical extension of the works structure. Blannin, Renshaw and Noga test the relationship between the geometry of architectural spaces and the subjective experience of these structures. Applying a carefully modulated approach, they employ an urbanized geometry, like a cartographical assemblage of signs that gradually shift towards a more systematic internal logic or unexpected disturbance. Phenomenological and structural Implications are combined with elements of secrecy and code in the work of Clark, Batchelor and Crossley. Pushing the element of deciphering further through the density of colour relationships, allowing a metaphysical interpretation, allowing a slippage between the image and the space.”
I approached this show assuming it to be a genre-
However, on closer examination we can see that the show is not so much about a genre within painting but instead, through the accompanying text, it considers some very interesting terms in which to analyse paintings in general. And the works in the show have been deftly selected and arranged so that they act like test cases for this analysis. Of course, the individual works can also be evaluated on many other levels, but I will focus on the relationship between the ideas in the text and four of the works on show.
The important phrase in the text is 'a geometry of boundaries'. The term ‘boundaries'
is used here metaphorically so, for example, we could have the idea of a boundary
I think this way of looking at things is on the right track. It gets away from the
idea that painting consists merely of form and concept. Instead, it conjures an idea
of how paintings can have hugely complex intertwining features that can be put into
a multitude of categories, more specific than just ‘formal’ or ‘conceptual’. This
is not an easy thing to do – it could lead rapidly to a tangled mess of cross-
The text especially encourages us to think about the play between intuitive and non-
Aptly hung on the adjacent wall is Katrina Blannin’s work, Diamond Light 100, which
makes for an interesting comparison. As with Double Rebound (green spots), there
is very little trace of the artist's hand, but unlike Harding, the artist is actively
involved in the making from start to finish. The resulting piece is an immaculately
It is difficult to discern, solely through observation, the decision processes behind
Blannin's line, shape and colour structure. But one imagines that she starts within
a given framework and proceeds in a semi-
In contrast to the speculation surrounding Blannin, Sophia Starling’s piece, Lapping
(Mint), reveals a clearer narrative behind the process. The artist makes a gloss
monochrome on a shaped support, unpicks it, then re-
Finally, I have chosen to look at the piece by Jake Clark. With its relatively casually
applied paint, awkward semi-
It is interesting to observe (on the artist's website) that his other works lean more towards the figurative, depicting poolside scenes, for example, although he has used the same strategy for the colour structure. To observe this applied to different source material, and yet achieving results in a consistent style, emphasises the sophistication of this format.
Clark’s Low Rise had a particular impact on me, because my assessment changed so much after studying it ‘in the flesh’. Without wishing to state the obvious, this show demands live perusal; each work has visual characteristics that are obscured in photographs, and cannot be appreciated without live viewing.
This exhibition is strong because the work it contains is solid, and the curator’s selection successfully illustrates the ideas explored in the text. The works illustrate a spectrum of physical outcomes, but when considered in the terms suggested by the text, allow us to find common ground between them.
Sophia Stirling, Lapping (Mint), 2015, oil on canvas, 190 x 170 x 6 cm
Katrina Blannin Diamond Light 100 (Tonal Rotation with Pink/Green Blue/Black Demarcation), 2014, acrylic on linen, 140 x 140 cm
Alexis Harding Double Rebound (green spots), 2015, Oil and acrylic on panel, 116 x 146 cm
Jake Clark Low Rise, 2014, oil and mixed media on canvas, 90 x 120 x 5cm, signed