Fascinating that Kristy Gorman, a contemporary abstract artist, should use a statement from famous nineteenth century landscape painter John Constable as one of the starting points for her current show. Gorman’s exhibition is called 'Skying' and here’s Mr Constable: "I have done a good deal of skying lately, for I am determined to conquer all and that most arduous among the rest.” So what insights into Kristy’s painting are being offered here?
We don’t look into any obvious skies in this new work. But we do look into fields of colour, bigger and more expansive than any Gorman has made before. In the large paper works Vantage I and II, fields of pink and green respectively are modulated from their edges inwards, from dark to light, and with a control of brushstroke both wet and dry that may well have impressed Mr Constable. There are lozenges and delicate overlaps of colour achieved with typical Gorman precision. Perhaps it might be the careful tonal modulation within two rectangular fields inset into Vantage I and II, that rival the controlled tones in a Constable sky?
Or is it simply a matter of viewpoint? Constable has us looking about his landscapes and up at his magnificent skies. In these Gormans the opposite might be true. Their forms are architectonic and they look like plans, but from on high. They feel almost plein air as we look down on their subtle compositional shifts. Titles like Vantage, Inlay and Lacuna tilt at this, as does her placement of work around the walls, which is varied, sometimes deliberately high and often off centre.
Finally there is the aspect of Constable’s statement that describes his commitment and ambition for his practice. He is “determined to conquer all and that (which is) most arduous…” Gorman is similarly dedicated. These are amongst the biggest paintings she made yet. Working in a bigger physical space, quite a lot bigger than the sunroom at home, enabled this. As did the years of thinking and experimenting, cutting and pasting and painting that preceded this body of work. Much arduous research has (necessarily) informed it. The notion of skying it seems, has charged Kristy Gorman’s explorations of tone and colour, and form in space with a wondrous and limitless sense of possibility.
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Details of works
Vantage (I) & Vantage (II)
ink on Lana Aquarelle 640gsm, 1520 x 1060mm
ink on Lana Aquarelle 640gsm, 1060 x 770mm
ink on Lana Aquarelle 640gsm, 560 x 420mm
Inlay (I) (II) & (II)
ink on muslin on board, 310 x 220mm
All works are from 2016