The Big Abstracts
"Of all the arts, abstract painting is the most difficult. It demands that you know how to draw well, that you have a heightened sensitivity for composition and for colours, and that you be a true poet. This last is essential.” Wassily Kandinsky.
In the early 20th Century, abstract painting freed artists from the constraints of representing external reality and the movement continues to evolve today. Abstraction is a language where colour, line, internal form and composition are the subject matter and drama is created by aesthetic and synaesthetic sensation - it’s pure, visual poetry.
British abstraction in the 1930s was characterised by the work of Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson and Naum Gabo and owed much to the Central Europeans (particularly Miró and Mondrian) as well as the constructivists. In Eastern Europe, painters were more heavily influenced by the Russians (Kandinsky and Malevich). The two traditions meet at London Art in the works of Polish painters Constantine Majrowski and Kasia Banas and British painters Mark Hammond and Rebecca Meanley.
Hammond, who describes his work simply as ‘post-action painting’, is a graduate of The Slade and a contemporary of Gavin Turk, Sarah Lucas and Bob and Roberta Smith. His confident, broad brushstrokes have a life-force which is both yielding and explosive, like Creation itself. Rebecca Meanley’s paintings, by contrast, are rooted in urban, external experience. The shapes move and dance, capturing the rhythms of the city in all it’s jumbled hecticness - It’s visual equivalent of Jazz.
Moving from confusion to order, Kasia Banas (a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw) searches for “internal logic and order” in forms which appear to be inspired by landscape and the laws of nature. Fellow countryman Contstantin Majrowski (post-graduate of the University of the Arts in Warsaw) studied the 17th and 18th century masters but his playful, freeform brushwork recalls Kandinsky. All four artists have work in prominent private collections around Europe.