Show: Untitled Painting. Andrew Maughan.
Tell: “The artist Larry Poons has a theory that all paintings are mistakes, inevitably abandoned by their creator, saying: ‘When you put a mark on a canvas, it’s a mistake. Otherwise it would be wonderful, it would be finished. But it’s not. After maybe 50 or 60,000 mistakes you give up.’
“I don’t share Poons’ view. For me there are no mistakes, my process of painting is a journey, with no end point in mind. Each mark, each layer, each ‘mistake’ forms part of the make-up of the final painting, whatever that may be. Everything is worked out on the canvas. I have no sketchbook, no plan of action and no predetermined idea of an image, just reactions to what has gone before, culminating in both a final image and indexical references to its making.
“There are several layers of paint on this one and some areas are more bulky than others. The point at which I stop adding paint to the surface is usually at a stage when I can’t decide if the image as a whole works – that point when maybe it needs only one or two more elements (a block of colour, a mark etc.), then I leave it alone.
“I had this painting kicking around my studio for about a month before I added the darker brown/burnt sienna to it, and that was the last element that brought it all together.
“I like it when my paintings look like they could fall apart at any moment and there’s a tension in this one, it’s not quite balanced. I should also point out that some in some areas the oil paint has been mixed with turpentine and, in others, linseed oil, meaning that some areas are flat and dull and others are shiny and juicy looking, which adds to the tension.
“My paintings are non-objective, i.e. there are no intended references to the real world. I don’t abstract anything; I’m merely exploiting the materiality of paint and reacting to the last thing I did. I’ve always worked in this adding more and painting over way, but it’s only quite recently that I’ve removed the figure completely.
“I also used to title the paintings, usually just random things, song lyrics or Geordie slang, whatever, just to separate them. But I wanted to get rid of any possible references or anything that would allude to the work being anything more than just a painting, so the titles had to go. I prefer people to just look at the work and not be swayed into wondering what the artist was trying to say, or what it all means.
“I do look at a lot of art and I’m particularly drawn to artists whose work is a little bit scrappy, and rough round the edges. Joe Bradley’s Mouth and Foot paintings come to mind and anything by Chris Martin, Mary Heilmann, Blinky Palermo, Forrest Bess and Raoul De Keyser is usually good.”
Info: Andrew Maughan lives and works in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK. He is one of 45 artists exhibiting as part of CAVE Art Fair, which takes place at the Baltic Creative Campus, Liverpool, between Thursday 13th – Sunday 16th September 2012.
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