Tag: abstract art

A conversation with Fiona Grady. When light activates art.

Uncategorized July 28, 2017

Fiona Grady (born 1984, Leeds) is an abstract artist whose practice recognises the relationship between architecture, installation art, and decoration. She plays with light, surface, and scale; often using traditional mediums in a modern context. Her geometrical pieces work as atmospheric printed stained glasses that change with the light of day, emphasising the passing of time and the ephemeral nature of the work itself.

The concepts of repetition-discontinuity or inside-outside work here, altogether, by creating systems, apparently static, that interact with their surroundings as if they were alive. Is in the process of reflection, when the light enters through the windows and touches the skins inside the room- walls and bodies-, the moment the artwork becomes unlimited.

Grady studied BA Fine Art at the University of Wales in Cardiff before completing a Masters degree in Fine Art at Wimbledon School of Art (UAL). Grady has been short-listed for several printmaking prizes including Neo-print Prize 2014, Bainbridge Open 2012, and Clifford Chance’s Survey of MA printmaking 2011. She currently lives and works in London.

Image courtesy of The Art House, Wakefield and Axis

Could you describe your artistic process?

I create large site-responsive drawings on walls, windows, and floors using sequences of dispersing geometric shapes. The drawings are spatial systems composed from repeating intervals that expand in proportion or direction. The use of repetition is a means to set in place an unconscious balance or understanding that can be interrupted by the introduction of a changeable factor.

What kind of feelings, ideas, or emotions do you wish to communicate with your artworks?

My work is site-responsive; when I approach a new installation I consider the function of the site, it’s architectural features and the purpose of the project. I aim to create pieces that have motion within a space, either through the movement of the shapes I introduce, or the interaction with outside factors such as daylight. I don’t seek to tell the viewers how to feel, but I purposefully choose colour palettes that respond to the loudness or quietness of their venue.

Repetition occurs in my motifs and placement. I use geometric shapes as they have rules attached to their forms, by using them repeatedly I can explore their restrictions and introduce subtle changes that allow the artworks to move or grow.

Cathedral, 2016

What are the possibilities of working in the wall vs. the traditional canvas?

I’ve always considered my primary practice to be drawing. When studying I trained as a printmaker rather than a painter so I’ve never felt a strong inclination to work on a traditional canvas. I began working directly onto walls during my Masters, partly led by my admiration of the artist Sol LeWitt. I found that a wall drawing can only ever be the perfect size as you are restricted by its physical layout. In addition, creating site-specific works introduces a range of factors that are out of your control, these limitations can help determine and influence the final result. I find these challenges exciting.

Field Drawing, 2015

Image courtesy of The Art House, Wakefield and Axis

Who or what inspires you?

The artists that have the most influence on my practice are Sol LeWitt, Agnes Martin and Daniel Buren. Each of them has a very strong sense of identity and utilises the transformative qualities of art. For Sol LeWitt his use of geometry is inspiring, his works are puzzles that are never really solved, only interpreted by their viewers/makers. Agnes Martin’s use of colour is almost spiritual, her exhibition at Tate Modern was very powerful. Despite the simplicity and subtleties of her paintings, I find them moving. On the much bolder scale, I am fascinated by Daniel Buren’s early line paintings that he installed in public spaces, many without permission, to question where art belongs.

Shutter, 2016

What are your future projects?

At beginning of July, I’m having my first solo exhibition in Germany at a space called Adhoc in Bochum. Each year they invite a selection of artists from around the world to create a site responsive artworks for the gallery. I will be making a series of wall drawings using geometric forms. I’m really excited about the opportunity to work abroad and keen to explore a new art scene to meet the artists there. I also have a couple of solo projects later this autumn. I’ll be making a series of new works on paper and a digital artwork for a crypt gallery in Hastings as part of Coastal Currents, an annual art festival. It’s going to be a challenging space to work in as it’s a listed building but it’ll be a great canvas for my drawings. Plus, I’ve been invited to present work for Coventry Biennial. The details are still secret but what I can say is that it will be first time I exhibit wall and window drawings together. It’s going to be a busy and fun year!


Front cover image: Umbra Slip, 2017
Created for Sid Motion Gallery

Johanne Lykke Poulsen. Painting with water

Uncategorized January 19, 2017

Today I want to introduce you the work of Johanne Lykke Poulsen (1989). This young Danish visual artist works with large abstract paintings, though her artistic practice also involves text and vocal based sound art. She finds in natural elements like water a constant source of inspiration. And it is through a soak stain technique that we feel the halo of her works. A glow that has to do with the concept of the sublime related to nature. The wild and uncontrolled nature is here expressed through explosions of colour, infusing a sense of greatness to the work in an affective and sensible way that wraps you with wonder and admiration.

Johanne Lykke Poulsen is a graduate from The Jutland Art Academy in Aarhus, Denmark (2015) and has been an artist-in-residence at The Danish Institute in Athens (2016), Taekker Air Berlin (2016) and Residency Unlimited in New York (2014). After living and working in Berlin, she recently relocated to Copenhagen.


No Storms (2016)

What does the relation between water and color mean to you?

In my work, color and water are two significant components that compliment each other. They are necessary and important. One couldn’t be without the other.

What kind of feeling or emotion do you wish to communicate with your art works?

I aim to let my art communicate an open-ended aesthetic sensibility rather than specific emotions. I think of communicating emotion in an abstract way. American painter, Agnes Martin said that sensibility is the same as beauty. I like the idea of communicating sensibility.


Wild Greens (2017)


Poem by a Tree (2016)

Where do you find beauty?

I grew up in a country with a coastline so long that no matter where you stand you’re less than 20 miles away from the sea. Water is a fundamental element in my work. I find beauty in water both physically and emotionally. Water is complex, sublime.

Who or what inspires you?

Agnes Martin and Helen Frankenthaler are true inspirational sources to my work. These two strong women’s work motivates me to paint everyday. I remember when I first came to New York in 2014, I saw Roni Horn’s installation of glass sculptures filled with water at House & Wirth. Her work with water made a huge impression on me. As I also work with text, I find inspiration from Cy Twombly, Gertrude Stein and Sylvia Plath.


Two Rose Tall (2016)

Could you describe your artistic process?

I am not sure where a painting exactly begins to me. I believe in intuition. Its a religion to me. It’s a fine balance, of course, and naturally our intuition is affected by so many things – culture, experience, trends, other artists, the internet and so on. Though, I would say my process involves quite a lot of intuition. My paintings can start as a note on a small piece of paper, as an impression that another painting made on me or it can start with me simply pouring paint onto the canvas. As I paint, I apply thinned layers of acrylic paint onto the canvas. I always work on the floor. With the high ratio of water I work with, it is necessary to paint horizontally. The repetition of using water in my work has become a ritual in my studio practice.

Future projects for 2017? 

I spent the first week of 2017 moving from Berlin back to Copenhagen. Im excited about being located in my home country again for a while. With that said I love travelling and exploring new cultures as it gives me inspiration and energy to be creative. Right now, I am in Costa Rica exploring a whole new climate and environment. I am hoping the cloud forests and waterfalls will leave their marks on my next paintings. In the spring, I have a one month residency in Portugal. There I will produce field studies of the surrounding landscape and implement this in a new series of large scale paintings.


White Water Falls (2016)

Learn more about Johanne Lykke Poulsen here.