Page 28 - Studio International - December 1969
P. 28

The four artists whose work is the subject of   relation to each other across a huge field.   tear over the month. The bird seed grid was
     this article were each given materials and a large   It was the culmination of a continuous   eaten with increasing rapidity by the bird pop-
     area of gallery wall, floor or open ground in the   development through the paintings of several   ulation. Interactively, the custodian of this
     Survey '69 'New Space' exhibition, at the CAMDEN   years towards a more direct confrontation   ecological work was a cat. The final result of
     ARTS CENTRE.                              with the public. Joseph's paintings are, both   the chemical boxes was similarly unpredic-
                                               in essence and in fact, very much 'face to face'   table. But as they are metal-lined they become
                                               with the spectator. Their perfectly balanced   encrusted and etched and might be shown in
                                               areas of flat colour do not contain any illusion   another way and at another time. In the
                                               of depth and relate to the world and to the   technique of etching, with which Herring is
                                                people around them. In 1966 he made a 32-  very familiar through his training at the
                                               feet long wall painting, Colour Continuum,  for   Central School, it is the nature of change
                                               Signals Gallery. This was, as the title indicates,   which is vital. He has now extended this
                                               a painting in which the colours, painted in   process far beyond the confines of the copper
                                               vertical stripes down the canvas, did not divi-  plate. The universe is now the space and the
                                               de the space unduly. They were reduced in   material of his work. Herring's attitude is
     In his painting Timothy Dreyer has been con-  tone and the whole painting remained a unity.   open-ended : 'I cannot allow precisely for what
     cerned with the geometrical division of areas   In the 'New Space' exhibition Joseph was   will happen, but far more absorbing is the ad-
     and colours on diagonally hung canvases. The   given the whole volume of a 76 X 33 X 14-  venture of learning from what does happen.
     shapes are outgoing and related to such ex-  feet gallery in which to place his new work.   Information from Nature, a recognizable
     periences as travel by compass-line and sun   Basically, this was a free-standing yellow wall   theme in the History of Art, becomes impor-
     in a primordial landscape. On the walls of a   6 feet high which could be walked around. It   tant at first hand.'
     conventional room these paintings were con-  invited people to be with it rather than to look   Whereas Ed Herring is concerned with
     strained. It was when they were first shown   into it or even at it. This is because his paint-  extensions of unstable material, David Parsons
     outdoors, hung on a tree, that they assumed a   ings, by virtue of their strong combination of   is concerned with propositions in stable
     new importance. Instantly, the flat surface   pure colour and shape, exist in a very real   structure. Like the other three artists he has
     gained a contrast value with the solid world   sense. In Joseph's own words: 'The work I do   recently discovered the effect his work has on
     seen behind it, whilst the shapes within the   is only successful when it operates outside its   the external environment. The right-angled
     canvas were in harmony with those of the   boundaries, in real space. Something like a   grid structures which he has made in the last
     leaves of the tree. It was a significant con-  signal I suppose. I don't wish to create any   two years discipline any landscape around
     frontation, and led to a variable work shown   situation where the canvas is looked into only,   them through the regularity of their form.
     on the lawn at Kenwood in May this year.   and contained within its edges as a separate   Their visual relation to contemporary archi-
     150 flat pieces of four different colours were   illusionist world from actual space. The paint-  tecture is taken further by the tactile quality
     cut out of board and placed on the surface of   ing must be a fact that involves itself in a real   of their hammer finish.
     a walled garden for the public to move and   situation.'                             When Parsons took these works out into the
     arrange at will. The curved geometrical shapes   This revelation of fact is also the philosophical   hilly land of Heaton Park near Manchester,
     were thus removed from the more strictly vis-  basis of the work of Ed Herring and David   he found as he says that 'The grid, initially
     ual area of his paintings and spread out on   Parsons. In the exhibition they shared the   intended to be a standing object, radically
     the most public and tactile area of all—the   public open space immediately north of the   altered its personality when laid flat, likewise
     ground.                                   Camden Arts Centre. Ed Herring's work was   when leaning at an angle of sixty degrees. . . .
     Moonfield, shown on the floor of the Camden   shown on a large sloping area. It consisted of   Flatness became a proposition, the floor or
     Arts Centre, was an interior development of   twenty sealed perspex boxes containing five   ground a defined area in which to work.' Two
     this experiment under static light conditions.   basic water-sensitive chemicals. These react   of these grid structures and the latest work
     Again, it could also be experienced through   to rain water which is routed through them by   which is literally a floor, were placed on the
     the handling of the shapes, their placing, and   a drainage system. The reaction was an   flat lower surface of the public open space in
     the contact of the feet. Elements that were   immediate creation of colour through crys-  the 'New Space' show. They emphasized the
     `locked up' in the canvas painting could now   tallization. Condensation formed on the surface   basic character of the land there, its singular
     be worked with by the public. As Dreyer des-  of the perspex. The situation was one of visual   flatness in the area, and gravity itself. Their
     cribes it: 'In these paintings aesthetic choices   and structural change caused by weather var-  mute stability on this surface was in contrast
     were progressively replaced or limited (and   iations over a month.                  to the noise and movement of the neigh-
     so made more crucial) by geometrical      During the past two years Herring has      bouring traffic on the six-lane road, with its
     demands. The result was that the shapes I   realized a series of widely varying schemes of   long slope to the North. Art as real space and
     used had a large number of geometrical    this nature.  The Tea-Bag Piece located on the   structure was subject to constant light-change
     relationships between them that could not be   moors near Belmont in Lancashire through-  in this setting and the opportunity to see this
     turned to account in a single painting. The   out the winter of 68/9 was a forerunner of the   process over the range of twenty-four hours
     next step, of cutting these shapes out of board   scheme at Camden. A group of polythene   at Camden was also of significance.
     and thus liberating them from the canvas,   bags each containing a measured quantity of   Parsons, Herring, Joseph and Dreyer made
     allowed these strict theorem-like relations to   stream water and a tea bag, were fixed to a   these works specially for the exhibition. As
     be felt in the physical handling of the shapes;   tree. The particular effects of condensation,   they share this desire to work on a large public
     more importantly, the differing degrees and   evaporation and frost were noted on several   scale with many other contemporaries, the
     ambiguities of directionality of the shapes   visits to the area over the winter.    responsibility of arts administrators and of all
     meant that any arrangement of them, however   In the summer of this year Herring made two   civic authorities is clear.
     scattered at random, had some perceptible   works for the 'Environments Reversal' show   In the prevailing climate of social frustration
     structure.'                               at Camden. These were a 1,000-feet canvas   it will be necessary to invite such artists to
     Peter Joseph also made a large-scale work in   strip which connected the gallery with the   carry out community projects, for through the
     the scheme at Kenwood which he organized   open space, and a grid of bird seed on the   primary language of art all people are in many
     with Timothy Dreyer. This consisted of three   ground. The canvas strip was walked on as a   ways admitted into the nature of freedom
     fibreglass discs 7 feet in diameter placed in    path and sustained variations of wear and    through creation. 	□
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