Page 19 - Studio International - July 1966
P. 19

Later a.m.
                                                                                     HORNSEY COLLEGE OF ART Eric Gadsby is a colourist. The
                                                                                     interesting problem which his pictures raise is how to
                                                                                     resolve colour into an acceptable form, in which the eye
                                                                                     can absorb the form without difficulty and concentrate
                                                                                     on the colour. It is a problem which underlies the chang-
                                                                                     ing appearance of abstract paintings since way back in
                                                                                     the days of Rothko and Still, and has been crystallized in
                                                                                     the work of younger artists such as Noland, or, in England,
                                                                                     Robyn Denny. Put another way, does a colourist com-
                                                                                     pose ?
                                                                                      `Does Caro compose?' asked Andrew Forge in a recent
                                                                                     interview in these pages. An obvious 'Yes' (though I for-
                                                                                     get if Caro said `Yes'). But in Noland, for example, there
                                                                                     is a sense in which he does not compose: the diamond-
                                                                                     shaped paintings, quartered into stripes—you feel that in
                                                                                     the end by finding a form and keeping to it, varying one
                                                                                     painting from another only by changes of colour, you do
                                                                                     not notice the form and see only the colours. By repetition
                                                                                     the form disappears. It is a solution which other colourists
                                                                                     as well as Noland have discovered and it has served them.
                                                                                     It is the closed-form approach to colour, and the merits
                                                                                     of one practitioner against another are judged not only
                                                                                     by standards of taste (`Does this colour appeal to my
                                                                                     taste?') but also by versatility in the manipulation of a
          Eric Gadsby Light-weight 1966                                              set form. Gadsby's is the free approach to form in colour,
          Oil on canvas 60 x 72 in.
                                                                                     by a different route he too arrives at a solution in which
                                                                                     the composition is a mere subordinate to the main event
                                                                                     of his picture, the changes of colour.
                                                                                      Light-weight, reproduced here, has possibly more associa-
                                                                                     tions through the forms than his other paintings in the
                                                                                     show,  Tab, Flobe,  etc. In all his paintings, though, the
          Roger Cook Brazen 1966
          Acrylic on canvas 67+ x 66+ in.                                            curves and undulations of the forms have the look of a
                                                                                     kind of fortuitous calculation, symmetrically repeated in
                                                                                     the left and right halves. Like butterfly patterns, with the
                                                                                     difference that here the contours have been magically
                                                                                     preserved intact and not allowed to bleed.
                                                                                      These remarks, I am aware, may seem as marginal to
                                                                                     the paintings as I have said the composition is to the
                                                                                     colour. Non-associative colour, non-descriptive form—the
                                                                                     subject of these paintings is not Nothing, but it is a region
                                                                                     where comment may be superfluous.

                                                                                     May 26
                                                                                     ROWAN GALLERY  By virtue of having twice exhibited pre-
                                                                                     viously (his second one-man exhibition at Rowan Gallery
                                                                                     closed June 23) Roger Cook, though young, is really the
                                                                                     Old Master among this year's exhibitors at  WHITE-
                                                                                     CHAPEL.  The strong point, perhaps the only one, in this
                                                                                     year's New Generation seems to be colour, and Cook is a
                                                                                     colourist. (Incredibly I have so far not seen a single
                                                                                     drawing in any studio, even pinned on the wall.)
                                                                                      Brazen  would belie the implications of its title in any
                                                                                     other context than Cook's pictures. Like all his pictures
                                                                                     here it is in two colours only, one less than Albers, one
                                                                                     more than Reinhardt, in this case orange and shiny black.
                                                                                     Its additional feature is the slight padding which has
                                                                                     been inserted between the stretcher and the back of the
                                                                                     canvas. By a simple stroke we are away from the world of
                                                                                     pure colour and flat spaces, into a new one where there
                                                                                     seems to be a distant second-cousin relationship with
                                                                                     Oldenburg's stuffed objects. This object, though, is a noth-
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