Andrew Charleson, (2016)
The Shining Hour (Improved)
Oil, acrylic and enamel on plastic and aluminium.
30ins X 40ins
The Shining Hour (Improved)
A poem in 24 iambs to accompany the artwork
Remembered hours light and shade our past.
We search for knowing colours in the form.
And now at patterns do we grasp,
To mitigate our future’s murky loss,
And hope for meaning’s shape to hold us fast.
The title of the work comes from:
How doth the little busy Bee
Improve each shining Hour,
And gather Honey all the day
From every opening Flower!
How skilfully she builds her Cell!
How neat she spreads the Wax!
And labours hard to store it well
With the sweet Food she makes.
In Works of Labour or of Skill
I would be busy too:
For Satan finds some Mischief still
For idle Hands to do.
In Books, or Work, or healthful Play
Let my first Years be past,
That I may give for every Day
Some good Account at last.
Issac Watts – a favourite improving poem for Victorian children
Parody by Lewis Carroll (Dodgson) in Alice in Wonderland
How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!
How cheerfully he seems to grin,
How neatly spreads his claws,
And welcomes little fishes in,
With gently smiling jaws!
Archival Giclée on 3mm Aluminium Dibond
30ins x 40ins
The Naiad or Water-Spirit has been described in fable and folklore from Greek and Roman mythology to the fearful superstition of the middle ages. They appear in Shakespeare, in the romantic poetry and Pre-Raphaelite imagery of the 19th century and now have their own eccentric following on the internet.
Charleson says “Given Romanticism’s association with conservatism, with the idealistic, with the unrealistic and particularly with its prominence in Hitler’s National Socialist cultural agenda there is an understandable tendency to disdainfully dismiss discussion of The Romantic as an heretical threat to the prevailing orthodoxy in contemporary art discourse. There is however a growing argument that sees Romanticism as intractably woven into the fabric of modern psyches and societies and that argues it is ready to be re-animated, re-interpreted and reclaimed for the post-internet generation. Whether this emerges as a new Romanticism of the left or is re-visioned as a global Techno-Romantic movement, it is in the context of this provocative debate that I present my work.”
The starting point for these images is place. In nature, informed by water, trees and tranquillity the camera captures a perception of spirituality. The mythic and the romantic link colour and form to the idea of the numinous.
This work explores the transitional hinterland between inner world experience and external world impression. It is an exploration of imagination and acuity meeting knowledge and intuition. The motivation here is to envision where penetration occurs from one zone into the other and to express this abstractive incursion visually.
Deep colour-saturation makes these images more than natural. Indeed, they are literally super-natural. The extended time-exposures blur not only the image itself but also the line between relative perceptions of the image. By embracing the abstract but retaining their representational essence these images present visual-culture metaphors that explicate the synaesthesic resonance of the spirit.
About LOST MAGIC Photography book:
These photographs were taken at Barden Lake in Tonbridge. It is an atmospheric place where tall dark woods give on to ash-toned water and knurled vines choke the ground. These images are not simple pictorial representations but rather a visual evocation of the forestial muse.
Here then the Dryads play and Aranyani tempers nature’s cruelty with beauty. Perhaps it is the Slavic god Porewit who guides our thoughts – he who protects lost travellers and punishes those who mistreat the forest.
Here it is possible to be conscious of the lost magic in nature. This is a nebulous concept which is scornfully unfashionable in our modern consumer-driven mass-media hustle. Imagination that once would have run through the woods and found the spirit of the place is now chained to a PlayStation controller. The imagining has already been done, and monsters, heroes, elves and sprites come ready-made and with a choice of weapons.
We have lost the ability to be still and to experience the expansion of time into place. We have forgotten our ancient bond to the earth and our primordial connection to the forest, the lake and the woodland landscape. Fairies and Sprites no longer feature in our perception. Oberon now works in PR, Titania is a meth-head and Puck has been remanded for psychiatric reports.
These images address that loss and look with fresh eyes at the possibility of magic conjured from man’s connection to the primitive. They form surreal documentary imagery, reflecting subjective emotion in an objective setting and inviting viewers to exercise the spiritual imagination in their own interpretation of elemental form.
The Magic maybe forgotten but it is not lost. In the woods, through the trees, and reflected in the lake the magic waits patiently for those who have the stillness to seek it out.
About my work. Notes 17.11.15
My abstract paintings use colour, shape, form and gestural marks.
This is not a depiction of a visual reality, nor a representation of an emotion. It is, perhaps, the evidence of a series of performances.
I have spent most of my life using words and certainly I love words, but I am aware that there is a method of communication that is wordless and without reference to a lexicon of imagery. Something sensually primordial.
Much like improvisational music my work contains harmonies, patterns, symmetries and counter symmetries. My aim is to attempt a degree of abstract purity by narrowing, distilling and intensifying gestural performance. My working methodology is to create a structure wherein chance can be allowed to flourish.
Expressionist artwork – intense colour and non-naturalistic manipulation of the paint based on my inner feelings – perhaps as an altenative pathway to a spiritual reality.
Influenced by Malevich’s Black Square which although non-representational still uses the language of geometry. I was very attracted to the idea of Suprematism both in the supremacy of colour in painting and the supremacy of emotion but I felt that there was a purer language than the geometric forms of the neo-plasticists. ( Like Piet Mondrian/Georges Braque/Lazlo Moholy-Nagy - the straight line and the clearly defined primary colour)
Influenced by Rothko, particularly the Seagram Murals and by Newman’s Stations of the cross, although I find the quasi-religioius spirituality and self-proclaimed importance of such work difficult to find in my own work.
More like Pollock, and very much more like Gerhard Richter’s abstract painting, particularly with regard to the repeated layering and revealing.
Existentialist – a painterly effect.
No fixed meaning – some viewers attach their own narrative to the work, nothing wrong with that.
There is a difference between READING and SEEING a work, the meaning of my work is in the seeing. They may be best experienced, rather than analysed.
They are visceral, indeed, it is my intention to bypass the intellect (in as much as that is possible) during the making of the work.
What are they about?
They are evidence of a series of performances. Visceral, wordless, gestural expressional performances without conscious narrative attempting to subvert intellectualism with ritual physicality.