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Carol Robertson: Circular Stories
Flowers Kingsland Road, 28 November 2014 – 10 January 2015
A review by Charley Peters
It is Robertson’s exceptional handling of colour that is the most impressive element
in this vigorous exhibition. Her circles are either divided bilaterally by a horizon
line, or comprise small sections of alternating colour. Day Painting for R is a large
canvas measuring 213.5 x 213.5cm. It represents well Robertson’s ability to create
movement and presence through the application of colour. A soft gradient, from warm
pink round the canvas edges, to cooler tones in the centre of the painting, supports
a harmonious foreground mixture of brights and pastels. These are not literally optical
works, but at times the painted geometric forms of confidently applied colour appear
to be almost animated. Explorations of light are everywhere in Circular Stories;
the paintings feel illuminated as though behind a back-
Light Catcher #2, 2014, Oil on Canvas, 92 x 107cm
Circular Stories at Flowers Kingsland Road presents a striking new series of paintings
by Carol Robertson. Although resolutely positioned in the traditions of reductive,
geometric abstraction, the works in Circular Stories also suggest a clear understanding
of the natural world, and in particular, it seems, the movement of light over a landscape.
Ten years before completing his 1831 monumental six-
Circular Stories illustrates the embodiment of Constable’s comparison of vision and
comprehension through the precision and vibrancy of Robertson’s painting. Although
The paintings suggest the transience of form and tone as days, months and seasons shift, while never straying from the development of the rigorous abstract language seen in Robertson’s previous work. Reminiscent of the powerful curve of Constable’s rainbow in Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows, Robertson’s circular forms appear as a dialogue between the ephemeral essence of the natural world, the interruptive precision of geometry, and our visual perception as viewers.
Circular Stories -
Despite the meticulous nature of Robertson’s work it still remains decisively connected to the process of painting and its material properties. In works such as Light Catcher #2 and Light Catcher #4 the tooth of the canvas can be seen through several layers of liquified oil paint, while more diluted glazes wrap round the canvas edges, revealing feathery veins of darker colours. The fluid nature of the paintings’ backgrounds adds to the dynamic presentation of the main circular motifs, which appear almost to rotate around the canvas, detached from their more unstructured ground.
Circular Stories -
Robertson has a clearly-
Day Painting for R, 2014, Oil on Canvas, 213.5 x 213.5 cm
Robertson’s paintings are prepared with many layers of poured and stained grounds. This intuitive part of her working process involves developing colour relationships that can change many times during the generation of each painting, the resultant grounds revealing subtle fluctuations in tone and texture across the canvas. Alayrac Dawn is a fine example of this process, in which gentle, warm hues are revealed through a cool grey surface. Across the canvas are gentle horizontal bands of darker tones that suggest a more instinctive method of painting than the precise rendering of the circular forms in the foreground might suggest.
This review listed on Painters Table
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