Painting as Ornament –> acrylic on steel. Formally referring to ornament.

These pieces have become stylised gestures of my pre-existing paintings. The curved structures are much more ornamental works than the bulky office divider double-sided painting. The larger, standing curves have more specificity as a decision, as a formal choice: the curve of the metal and the applied lines as well as the main shape. Refers to the debate within my CRP- painting as object, looking at how contemporary painters have changed up the flat painterly surface, and adapted it into new networks and contexts, particularly in reaction to our consumer culture.  At this point my work completely abandons the canvas, keeping my canvas painting to my private commissions only, which in themselves are bought to be ornaments/decor within people’s homes.

The steel pieces have become quite overworked in their aesthetic, and have shown me that less is more as my work develops. It’s interesting to compare the white-on-steel against the pure steel surface. The material keeps it’s industrial quality/authenticity applying paint straight to the metal. It then presents itself as a real material that has associations. I’m naturally drawn to painting on to a white, primed surface, which is restricting, keeps this overly clean aspect to the work, but also instantly takes the original materials qualities away. The use of white feels too strongly like I’m making the statement ‘I am a painter, and I am making this object a painting.’

The pieces could be bordering on Public Art: freestanding, anonymous, not too specific, durable. It has to be smoothed out because it’s about making sense to the general public, so it becomes understandable. Which is also the language of advertising: speaking to the masses. The work is on the edge of certain types of ‘art’; painting, sculpture, installation. This isn’t necessarily a good thing, there’s an emptiness at this point. I’m working out my formal world, and through this process I’m not explicitly conveying what the work is doing, or what should be taken from it. The work is therefore pretty autonomous. I did want to put a chair in the middle of the curves, creating a space through the architectural aspect/shape of the pieces. Creating some kind of office space/waiting room/booth for someone to sit in. –> Locating painting in a different space. Incorporating abstract painting to an extent, but stylised for other ends.

Plugging into our consumer culture. There’s this idea of hinting at corporate logos, which I want to continue playing with. The steel piece above could almost be conveying the iconic Nike tick. I like the idea of playing on this language of advertising & the corporate through my own personal gestures, bringing these strong logos and symbols in to the realm of contemporary art. The way in which these logos are dominating and instantly recognisable within society is clever and a bit disturbing, often these companies are exploitative through their products; expensive & designed to break.

Still playing with blurred boundaries. Hint of painting still there. I could be much more restricting in how much I choose to reveal. At the moment I’m too conscious that I’m making art. There’s an element of honesty and realness through playing with material and allowing the work to be more free in it’s creation. Continuing to figure out my theoretical language.


Abigail Moffat