Turps Banana, issue #16

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Turps Banana magazine, issue #16, 2016

Got issue #16 of Turps Banana painting magazine, read it cover to cover, and found a lot of interest in it.

Katie Pratt’s interview with Jonathan Lasker touches on the exacting ways that he applies paint. In some sections of his paintings there are bundles of impasto trenches that seem to be woven together in a way that invites and defies the kind of reading I described in my post on overlapping brushstrokes. Of The Universal Frame of Reference series (one pictured below) he says:

“… those red, yellow and blue forms took about four days in a row of fourteen-hour days. … that’s very exhausting and I dread getting into them.”

They also take me a long time to look at, because I can’t resist trying to figure out how they interlock, in what order they were applied and how they were applied.

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Jonathan Lasker The Universal Frame of Reference (2014) oil on linen 229 x 305cm

This playing with the legibility of the way the paint was applied reminds me of the display caption that accompanied Charline von Heyl’s Jakealoo (below) when it was hanging in the Tate Modern’s Painting After Technology room. It said:

“The artist likes to play with our expectations about layering. At the top right, areas of bright colour are covered with a thin wash of white paint. In the corner below, a black framed window appears to reveal the layers beneath, but these colours are in fact painted on top of the white. Tricks like these emphasise the physical aspects of painting, at a time when viewers are accustomed to the virtual layers of digital space.”

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Charline von Heyl Jakealoo (2012) oil and acrylic on canvas 208.3 x 188cm

Issue #16 0f Turps Banana also featured three articles around perception and/or “disability”. I group them together here because, in different ways, I relate them to my own investigations into painting and my colour vision deficiency.

(1) Tim Buckwalter’s article on Marlon Mullen, a painter who is autistic and mute. Buckwalter is Director of Exhibitions at NIAD Art Centre, which, for more than thirty years, has helped artists with disabilities, including Mullen, to create art.

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Marlon Mullen Untitled (2014) acrylic on canvas 60.9 x 50.8cm

(2) Simon Bill’s article How can we think about abstract painting? Pt.2: Visual Perception, which reconsiders artistic abstraction in relation to neuropsychological insights into visual perception. What inspires me about Bill’s article is his science-friendly approach to understanding how we see art. I think neuropsychology will increasingly reveal to us how varied perception can be from person to person, and within one person in different states (of health, age, etc) and under different circumstances. In turn, I think this will shed light on all sorts of art mysteries in regard to taste and visual pleasure.

Bill’s article also includes a reproduction of Adelson’s checker board (below), which -apart from anything else – is a great reminder to painters that sometimes when you think you need to mix two shades, you really only need one. Believe it or not, ‘A’ and ‘B’ are exactly the same shade of grey.

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Edward H. Adelson’s checker board (1995)

(3) Suzanne Holtom’s article Slipping into a Glimpse: Braque and de Kooning with AutismAs with Simon Bill’s article, Holtom finds new perspectives on artistic abstraction by drawing on recent science – in this case, psychiatric research into autism. This is another one I need to re-read before I can say much about it, but I liked it.

I also like how Turps Banana includes reproductions of paintings by the authors of the articles. This issue included Dodo Magic, by Suzanne Haltom. In it, I see (and enjoy) echoes of Kandinsky, Gorky, and Picabia, and I’m intrigued by the description “oil and canvas thread on canvas”. I’m guessing that sections of painted canvas are sewn onto this canvas, and I’d like to see it in the flesh to see how that works.

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Suzanne Holtom Dodo Magic (2016) oil and canvas thread on canvas 100 x 130cm

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