Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Generation Painting Symposium: Abstraction and British Art 1955-65

On March 5, I attended the Generation Painting Symposium at Downing College at the University of Cambridge where I was introduced to a lot of British abstract painters, some of which include: Richard Smith (presented by my PhD supervisor, Jo Applin), John Hoyland, Frank Auerbach, Prunella Clough and where I got to hear more about David Hockney and Bridget Riley.

Perhaps the individual artwork that struck me most was a collaboration done by Bridget Riley and Ad Reinhardt titled Poor.Old.Tired.Horse from 1966 (presented at the conference by Moran Sheleg, a UCL PhD candidate). This project consists of a set of pages whereby Riley illustrated a series of "0"s and Reinhardt, in his iconic calligraphic style, wrote poetry around them, which read quite similarly to his other manifesto-like writings. Each page declares a different composition, yet all of them partake in a somewhat chance-like abstraction, not only facilitated by Riley's 0s but also through the shapes that Reinhardt forms with his text, which must subsequently react and work around the existing 0s.

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