It would be a minor miracle to achieve a small percentage of Umberto Boccioni’s creative output in 66 years…. well 67 years to be precise.
“We shall sing the great masses shaken with work, pleasure, or rebellion; we shall sing the multicoloured and polyphonic tidal waves of revolution in the modern metropolis.” The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism. Marinetti
The influence of Cubism on the Futurist painter Boccioni is apparent in this detail from the painting ‘Elasticity’ (below) and the watercolour study (above). For me, the art world has not moved significantly beyond Cubism in the last 100 years. Cubism established the dissolution of space and time, Futurism added a dynamic context focusing on kinetics.
Once you have decided that the world is multi-faceted and in constant motion, the notion of a fixed viewpoint collapses under the weight of reason and quantum physics. Time waits for no man. Experimental artists, painters, photographers and filmmakers continue to ‘push’ against a wide-open door. The horse has long since bolted.
The Cubists penetrated the illusionistic space of the canvas, and from that moment on, the only way back was a harmless preoccupation with design and a modicum of self-delusion. But why worry, it has kept us all therapeutically occupied ever since.
This is a large oil painting on a 122cm x 92cm professional quality canvas. It is semi abstract and expressionistic in terms of technique and style. It is however, based on nature and the abundant growth seen in the hedgerows of the fenlands of East Anglia. Trees, brambles and woody shrubs such as hawthorn, blackthorn and field maple make up a mature hedgerow. The material and paint is applied with a variety of tools including brushes and palette knives. The surface is built up in heavy impasto layers and translucent glazes over a period of time. I have been influenced by the contemporary artists Anselm Kiefer and Gerhardt Richter.
…..And what you thought you came for Is only a shell, a husk of meaning From which the purpose breaks only when it is fulfilled If at all. Either you had no purpose Or the purpose is beyond the end you figured And is altered in fulfilment. There are other places Which also are the world’s end, some at the sea jaws, Or over a dark lake, in a desert or a city— But this is the nearest, in place and time, Now and in England.
This is a painting about music, rhythm and the rich aural textures and the timbre of sound. The chords and colours of the painting reflect my interest in the acoustic guitar, its tonal range and versatility. The curved and straight lines found in the shape and structure of the instrument are used to provide contrast and compositional harmony. Elements of Cubism are evident in the multi-faceted viewpoints and the intersection of foreground and background spaces.
This painting is part of the geometric tradition of abstraction and is reminiscent of the ‘hard edge’ American abstract painters of the 50’s and 60’s. The colour is applied with a glazing and staining method using successive layers and washes, enhancing both depth and luminosity. Spatial qualities are carefully controlled with certain vertical columns alternately advancing and receding. The addition of iridescent gold paint contrasts directly with the blues, reds and purples of the surrounding space. In different lighting conditions, the metallic and reflective surfaces radiate light.
Working with acrylic is a very different experience from oils. Somehow, the colours are more saturated and intense. This piece is at a critical stage…I haven’t decided yet whether it is finished. We will see.
My painting ‘Half Moon’, currently on exhibition at the Babylon Gallery in Ely has just been bought by a collector. This is a highly textured mixed media painting using cold wax, oil, bitumen and a wide assortment of mark making tools. The exhibition is open until 6th September and I hope you will get a chance to visit if you are in the area. My daughter, Louisa also has a painting in the Summer Open exhibition called ‘Modern Times’.