Page 17 - Studio International - July 1966
P. 17

and high sophistication, making demands on the specta-  May 23, p.m.
                                   tor's conception not so much of what is acceptable as of   HAMMERSMITH  Francis Morland  is a sculptor whose
                                  what may be physically accommodated. One essential  idiom is close to the artists in the already famous New
                                  for me in accepting this kind of painting is a high  Generation  exhibition of last year. He works in the same
                                  standard of sheer perfectionism in the handling. If there  materials  (P.R.F.G.  finished in coats of cellulose paint)
                                  are to be two or three things only in a painting then they  and also teaches at St Martin's, where Bolus, Annesley,
                                  must all be immaculately done. Knowles's paintings are  Scott, King and Tucker are among his colleagues. Un-
                                  still crude. Like the self-taught artists of an older genera-  like these however his career as a sculptor has a past as
                                  tion his paintings have an amateurish look, so that one is  well as a present and a putative future; he is not able to
                                  made to feel that the straightness of a line or the smooth-  say as William Tucker extravagantly did at a recent
                                  ness of a colour is not so important as the seriousness of  (May 24)  I.C.A.  symposium: 'There was positively no
                                  the intention. I was reminded irresistibly of Bernard  English sculpture to speak of before 1960.' Morland has
                                  Shaw's outraged letter of complaint when his hand-  worked in bronze until three years ago and like all who
                                  painted and glued desk from Omega Workshops fell to  have ever done so his work of that period is currently
                                  bits after six weeks.                              labelled 'post-Moore generation'. Comparing the new
                                   I am not convinced on the other hand that roughness in  work with the old there can be few transformations of
                                  the handling of these paintings is inspired by a desire to  style more radical. The break is complete.
                                  leave visible the traces of the object's human origins. All   These large entwining serpentine shapes relate to the
                                  too human, we do not need such reminders. Is it merely a  work of other sculptors in this idiom, speak in a sculptural
                                  question of experience, which training provides ? or of  language which is familiar because it is to a certain extent
                                  finesse and sensibility, on the part of the artist and the  a shared language. What interests me is not the gram-
                                  spectator? In this case, one naturally hopes time will  matical principles of the language nor who invented
                                  refine the process of putting these imaginative conceptions  them, one can safely assume that Morland did not, but
                                  into shape. At present though these paintings could  what this language is used to say. Kiss,  the only title of
                                  appeal to a myopic business-man, but either not a very  the four pieces in the exhibition which has a specific
                                  refined one, or only till he put on his specs.     human connotation, provides a clue to all. The twisting
                                                                                     and entwining shapes are metaphors of the body, head-
                                                                                     less, limbless, featureless, but miming the poses of relaxa-
                                                                                     tion or sexual intercourse like gigantic strings of macaroni.
                                                                                      I am not imagining the human associations of these
                                                                                     sculptures, in fact if I had not been told by the artist I
          Francis Morland                                                            doubt if I would have seen it immediately. Fifth position
          Fifth position 1964
          Resin bonded fibre glass, pink                                             however does have a manikin-like allusion to the ballet
          7 ft x 1 ft 10 in.                                                         stance, though even in this case the finish in two varieties
                                                                                     of shiny and unfleshly flesh-pink emphasizes its air of

                                                                                     May 25
                                                                                     HOLLOWAY  My gaze on the work of my contemporaries
                                                                                     is mostly into another valley. Is the grass greener there?
                                                                                     Between knowing whether it is or whether it merely
                                                                                     seems so, there is the difficulty. Like the changing cycles
                                                                                     of wind, rain and sunshine, I flounder between con-
                                                                                     victions of my own scepticism, fantasy, and objectivity.
                                                                                     Actually it is not greener but different, a different growth
                                                                                     from a different soil.
                                                                                      But with Mario Dubsky's work I am back in my own
                                                                                     valley of thorns, or at least in one where I have been, and
                                                                                     remember and partially know. We were students at the
                                                                                     Slade together at the time of the unlamented domination
                                                                                     of thick dark figurative painting, the artistic M.R.A.
                                                                                     Speaking simply, ours was the valley of the 'Don't call
                                                                                     us, we'll call you' approach to form.
                                                                                      Dubsky's titles,  Trebizond, Roland,  etc., are descriptive
                                                                                     only in a tangential way. Though he has never been to
                                                                                     Trebizond the painting looks nothing like it, even by
                                                                                     somebody who has never been there. Roland (not Sir
                                                                                     Roland) was a friend in Rome, but all Dubsky's paintings
                                                                                     resemble nothing on earth so much as each other. In
                                                                                     other words, like many abstract painters, the titles are
                                                                                     personal mnemonics, convey nothing to us nor are
                                                                                     intended to.
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