This is what I am researching on at the moment:
Is pure abstraction still relevant in contemporary painting? I will discuss what constitutes as pure abstraction in relation to the last popular abstract movement: Minimalism. I am not going to define abstraction and discuss its various previous forms. I will research into how Abstraction has progressed since Minimalism to analyse whether it still has a role to play in Modern art.
Firstly, I want to challenge the validity of Minimalism as pure autonomous abstraction in terms of painting. Minimlaism as a concept constantly strived for pure art that was devoid of emotion, subject, content and references to reality. I will look into the works of Frank Stella, Richard Allen and Peter Halley. I want to see if Minimalist fulfilled its aims of abstraction free from representation through geometry, and whether this constitutes as, ‘pure‘ in terms of autonomy.
Secondly, since Minimalism, I want to research into the development of Abstraction and how it appears today in the context of artists Ingrid Calame, Peter Zimmerman and Anselm Reyle, whose work revisits Modernist ideas. How did Abstraction progress from Minimalism and what forms did it take? I will examine what forms of abstract painting are created in contemporary art and the common themes and theories; if there has been a move from extreme autonomy like the Minimalists, or referential art in the form of Abstract Expressionism, reductive abstraction as in Piet Mondrian’s paintings or a creation of something completely new and alien to past ideals. Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe states that,
‘‘One could see it coming when, in the late 1970s, artists and critics of the more literal and sentimental sort started to vociferously denounce what they called and still call, ‘blank Abstraction‘. And despite its detractor’s malicious intent, it was indeed abstraction’s blankness that was at issue. Minimalism…was all about blankness."
Finally, I want to address what is relevant in painting today; current concepts and theories, and whether Abstraction has a place in relation to these. I will identify and categorise modern painting from the last decade and argue that Abstraction has a part to play.
Jennifer Letchet Paintings
My work explores fundamental elements of painting, the relationship between colour and line. I intend my paintings to affect the viewer optically with the illusion of shapes moving and receding. Colour theory is very important to my work. I use specific hues to symbolise ideas or emotions. The contained shapes on canvases seem more like objects than lines. My recent work explores natural and man-made disasters and the impact this has on our environment. I want to record the changing landscape through simplified shapes and colours.