abstract art

  • Mirror sculpture

    contemporary art mirror reflections circles

    Mirror art. Interlinked rings.

    Mirror, card, acrylic. 30x30x18cm Feb 2024

    A sculpture composed of a mirror with a sculptural form made of card and paper attached to its surface. The card and paper are painted with acrylic paint.

    The interlinking of, and interplay between, the horizontal and vertical forms in the sculpture are significant features of the piece.

    contemporary art mirror sculpture reflections

    The upright sculptural forms are held in place on the mirror by magnets attached to the back of the mirror. The magnets attract small pieces of steel tape that are embedded in the card of the sculpture. This ensures that the sculpture can be held invisibly on the mirror, with no obvious means of attachment such as fasteners or glue.

    The mirror in this piece is a standard rear-coated mirror, so there is a separation between the objects on the mirror and their reflections. Some of the pieces on the mirror are painted a different colour on the side that is facing the mirror so that the underside adds an extra element to the composition. In other works where I don’t want a separation between the objects and their reflections I use front-coated mirrors.

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  • Mirror art – Squaring the Circle

    contemporary mirror art reflections

    Mirror art. Squaring the Circle

    Mirror, card, paper, acrylic. 28x28x18cm Feb 2024

    A mirror piece consisting of a semicircle of card half of which passes inside a box-like construction. The semicircle and box are resting on a mirror so that the semicircle appears to be part of a full circle that enters and exits the box.

    contemporary art mirror sculpture reflections

    The reflection of the box makes the box appear to be half of a square structure, with the circle entering and leaving the interior of the square via its openings where the square is cut. This gives rise to the title of the piece, Squaring the Circle.

    contemporary art mirror sculpture reflections

    The mirror is a front-coated (or first-coated) mirror. Unlike standard mirrors that have their reflective coating on the rear surface of the glass front-coated mirrors have the reflective surface on the front. With a standard mirror the thickness of the glass creates a gap or space between the object on the glass and the reflection, while with a front-coated mirror the object and the reflection are ‘touching’.

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  • Watercolour pencil art – Organic Matrix

    contemporary art works on paper Organic Matrix

    Watercolour pencil art – Organic Matrix

    Watercolour pencil on paper. 20 x 29cm January 2024

    A painting, created with watercolour pencils, depicting a network or matrix of organic forms linked by tube-like structures.

    The work is from the imagination (as you can see), and although it wasn’t created with any particular meaning in mind it probably alludes to the connectedness of life, with the blobby entities being connected to each other by the tube-like structures. I’m not sure whether the blobs are meant to look like slightly unsettling organisms or wonky potatoes. Probably both. The work may allude in some way to the nature of consciousness or intelligence, with the entities possibly communicating with each other like cells in a brain.

    A work on paper created using Caran d’Ache Museum Aquarelle watercolour pencils, which have a very high pigment content.

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  • Black spheres, red sphere

    contemporary abstract art black spheres red sphere

    Black spheres, red sphere

    Digital. December 2023

    An abstract image created using Procreate on an iPad

    The black spheroid forms seem to be holding the smaller red spherical form in suspension between them. The proximity of the black spheres gives the small gap between them the feeling of some form of concentrated energy.

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  • Contemporary abstract art – Red Disc, Yellow Rim

    contemporary abstract geometric art red circle

    Contemporary abstract geometric art: Red disk, yellow rim

    Digital. May 2023

    A geometric abstract painting produced using Procreate on an iPad with an Apple Pencil. This is a particularly useful way to create artwork, as the combination of tools lend themselves to particularly intuitive and spontaneous creations.

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  • Fur in contemporary art

    Fur in contemporary art

    Fur ellipse

    Fake fur, card, acrylic. 30 x 42 x 8cm March 2022

    At first sight this work looks like a dark ellipse painted onto a blue background. Closer inspection reveals that the ellipse is in fact made of fur and that it protrudes some distance from the flat blue surface.

    fur in contemporary art
    A close-up detail of the work.

    The fur is dark and matt, making its texture quite hard to see without close inspection. As a result most casual observers don’t notice. A close inspection is however rewarded with the realisation of what is being looked at.

    This work exhibits my interest in interpreting perception, illusion and expectations.

    Optically deceptive artworks
    Optically deceptive artworks in my solo show at Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens, Cornwall, 2022. The fur piece is the far one.

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  • Distorting mirror art

    Mirror contemporary art

    Mirror art: three convex mirrors

    Convex mirrors, papier maché, metalic acrylic 30x40cm March 2022

    Three convex mirrors mounted behind paper maché painted with metallic acrylic.

    The distorting and illusionistic effects of mirrors are a significant feature of a lot of my work. The mirrors in this piece are mirrors from bicycle rear-view mirrors.

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  • Proposal for a mural – semi-abstract wall figures

    contemporary art mural

    Mural (proposal).

    Photomontage. December 2023

    A proposal for a mural applied directly to an art gallery wall.

    I’ve been experimenting with subjects that are suitable for murals on gallery walls for several years.

    The proposed mural is of a group of semiabstract figures with linked hands. The anatomy of the figures is ambiguous. Are the circular objects at the top of the figures their heads, or are those some form of decoration? Are the large white circles eyes, and are the various indentations mouths?

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  • Abstract acrylic painting: linear and curved forms

    Abstract contemporary art - acrylic black and white based painting

    Linear and curved forms

    Acrylic, paper, collage.    35 x 25cm.    2022.

    A painting from a series of abstract acrylic artworks featuring strongly linear black forms interacting with curving coloured forms.
    Although the black linear elements in the painting are abstract their composition give the impression of a living entity such as an animal or a person – an effect that is heightened by the coloured curving forms, some of which hint at anatomical features such as eyes or ears.

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  • Vinyl records

    contemporary sculpture - vinyl records as art

    Floor sculpture: vinyl records

    12 inch vinyl records     Dimensions variable     May 2022

    A sculptural work composed of a number of 12 inch vinyl LP records arranged on the floor. The records are placed on blocks to hold them above the floor.

    Exhibited in my solo exhibition at Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens, Cornwall, in 2022.

    contemporary sculpture - vinyl records as art

    Part of the appeal of this work, to me, is in the fact that the vinyl records of which it is composed are ruthlessly precise and austere in their physical presence – perfect discs of shiny black plastic – but that they contain in themselves the information for producing music, perhaps the most ethereal of art forms. The manner in which the discs seem to hover above the ground seems to link the physical nature of the records with the floating, insubstantial nature of music. The physical delicacy of the analogue information storage system which contains the information about the music on the disks (the grooves) is also significant.

    There’s another work composed of vinyl records here.

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  • Abstract paintings and mirror art

    Contemporary art abstract paintings

    Abstract paintings and mirror art

    Solo show, Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens, 2022

    Some of my work on display in my solo show at Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens, Cornwall, in 2022.

    The abstract paintings are from a series of gouache and acrylic works on paper featuring simple geometric forms in flat colours. The works are all linked by, amongst other things, the use of the curved shapes with bulbous ends that exhibit an unusual organic quality.

    The three works displayed below the paintings are all sculptural works that feature mirrors.

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  • Abstract digital art – Random Squares and Concentric Rings

    Contemporary geometrical abstract art - composition of squares and rings

    Random Squares and Concentric Rings

    Abstract digital art. October 2018

    Abstract art based on circles, squares and rectangles.
    A major compositional feature of the image is the relatively random distribution of squares on one side contrasted with the very enclosed and restrained concentric distribution of the rings on the other side. This is a deliberate contrast between randomness and constraint. The fact that the squares all have their sides horizontal and vertical is a deliberate feature of compositional restraint imposed on the relatively randomly positioned squares.
    The rings are not perfect circles. This is partly to disrupt any preconception that they should be perfect circles, especially in an image that’s composed of basic geometric shapes.
    The use of squares and long thin rectangles is probably influenced in part by Mondrian and the de Stijl group.

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  • Gallery wall mural visualisation

    Contemporary abstract art as a gallery wall mural

    Wall mural on an art gallery wall – visualisation

    A visualisation of an image applied directly to the wall of an art gallery. July 2018

    A photomontage showing what an image from my series of smoking squares would look like if applied directly to an art gallery wall as a mural.

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  • Minimalist abstract – black square with circle removed

    Contemporary minimalist gouache painting - black square

    Black Square with Circle Removed

    Gouache on paper. 30x30cm. June 2018

    Part of a series of abstract minimalist paintings of black squares with a circle missing from a corner, in this case along with the part of the square that is separated from the main body of the square by the circle.
    This painting is a study of presence and absence. The black square has the quality of a solid, impactful entity while the white circle and top left corner give the impression of absence or negative space.
    In other images the black square itself conveys a quality of negative space, suggesting a black void in the centre of the image.

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  • Abstract watercolour painting: White Circle

    abstract contemporary art watercolour painting - white circle

    White Circle

    Watercolour on watercolour paper. 30x20cm. May, 2018.

    An abstract watercolour painting that plays with the tension between the absolute stable state of a circle and the chaotic state of the rest of the image.
    The perforations along the edge of the paper are an integral component of the composition, being part of the disruptive tension the work.

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  • Ceramic sculpture

    Contemporary ceramics - clusters of ceramic organic cones

    Contemporary ceramic sculpture – organic forms

    Ceramic forms Between 2cm and 25cm tall. 1995

    A group of works composed of clusters of coloured ceramic cone-like forms.
    The forms are individually rolled by hand as cones and are then distorted to create a sinuous waving effect.
    The forms were conceived as purely abstract, however they have an organic feel to them with something of the suggestion of marine or aquatic organisms. They could be worm-like creatures emerging from the sea bed and waving in the ocean currents.

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  • Abstract composition of geometrical forms: circles and squares

    Abstract art - geometrical composition

    Abstract composition of circles and squares in red, black and blue

    Abstract geometrical digital composition. 2012.

    This abstract composition is a study in confinement, with the geometrical forms in the composition seemingly squeezed into the space within the composition. The angled square in the composition touches each side of the frame, which itself is a square. This adds to the composition’s sense of confinement as the image has no specific top and bottom and can be viewed in any orientation, giving the impression of ‘no way out’. Not only that, but the square format suggests that the enclosed square and its accompanying circles can almost possess a degree of freedom of movement by being able to rotate within the frame – a form of movement that in reality possesses no more freedom than does the movement of a hamster in a wheel.
    The limited colour palette of red, black and blue gives the composition a certain amount of tranquility, while the combination of colours also gives the work a dynamic quality.

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  • Art in the Environment, Cornwall

    contemporary art in the environment, intervention in the landscape or land art, St Ives, Cornwall

    Art in the environment

    Coloured cord on a granite boulder, Zennor, Cornwall. 2017

    I’ve been producing art dealing with environmental concerns since the 1970s.

    The simplicity of construction of this piece is important. The observer will hopefully notice the almost total lack of endeavour required to create the work, while also noticing the (hopefully) relatively high aesthetic payoff as a result of that endeavour.

    A lot of land art and other art in the environment strive to use only natural ingredients in the composition of the art, good examples being the work of Richard Long and Andy Goldsworthy. This work however consciously uses artificial material in the form of nylon paracord.

    In the work the placing of brightly coloured plastic into the environment refers partly to humanity’s imposition of artificiality onto the natural world. This is partly a message about the despoiling of the environment by our endeavours. The fact that the nylon cord has been simply laid on the boulder (which took the effort of a whole three minutes) helps to reinforce this message, as the cord acquires qualities associated with the detritus of our instant gratification throw-away consumer culture. The fact that the cord is plastic reinforces this further.  However, the brightly coloured plastic actually looks quite pleasing on the rock, so the work is also saying that humanity’s imposition of artificiality onto the environment may have a positive side to it, at least to us (but also that just because something looks nice doesn’t necessarily mean that it is).

    In fact, where would we be without the artificiality that we impose on the environment? Hence some of the ambiguity in this piece.

    The rock is on low heathland behind my house at Rosemorran, Zennor, near St Ives, Cornwall.

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  • Nought and cross. Geometric abstract art

    contemporary art abstract geometric design

    Nought and cross.

    2017

    A digitally created geometric abstract work consisting of diagonals and circles.
    In this work I was chiefly concerned with the effect of creating discontinuous diagonals. The circle helps to focus the attention onto the centre of the image, where all of the action is taking place, as well as adding a degree of three-dimensionality and formal variation to the image.

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  • Abstract geometric sculpture

    abstract modern sculpture - geometric forms from found objects

    Right Angle – abstract geometric sculpture

    Wood, red and blue acrylic paint. August 2017

    It’s hard to tell how big this sculpture is from this photograph.

    It could be a couple of metres tall. In fact it’s closer to five centimetres, as the piece is created from lengths of 2×2 wood (two inches by two inches). The work has a strange relationship with scale. It’s small, but it could be big. 

    At it’s actual size this sculpture looks as though it’s happy at the size that it is, while somehow containing the spirit of a larger sculpture within itself. In some ways it gives the impression of being a large object that is somehow being perceived as being small, as though viewed through the wrong end of a telescope.

    As I mentioned, this work is composed of two pieces of two by two wood. This is a common size of wood sold in long lengths in timber yards for use in general construction projects. This sculpture came about when I picked up two short offcuts of wood from a different project, that each had been cut at 45 degrees at one end, and placed them on a work surface on their angled faces. They instantly acquired a dynamic and vital presence.  Due to the manner in which they rested at an angle each piece looked as though it was embedded in the surface with part of its form submerged.

    One of the things I like about this work is that it is made from extremely simple components – two pieces of wood from a builders’ merchants and a bit of red and blue acrylic paint. Yet it doesn’t look like a work created in the spirit of found objects or ‘detritus art’ in which the work is often deliberately engineered to emphasise its origins in the flotsam and jetsam of contemporary consumer culture (Artists such as Philidda Barlow, whose work I like greatly, and Abraham Cruzvillegas come to mind as good exponents of this genre). The bright red and blue primary colours of the sculpture help, as found object sculpture is often the colour of rubbish. In fact this sculpture could almost be mistaken for a tiny example of the highly engineered works that are quite common in modernist sculpture.

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