Fine Art Forum: Artist Talk, Wed. 30th January 2013, WCA

My painting practice, which utilizes the law of gravitation, shifting and tilting the paint while it is still wet, has evolved independently from the practice of Alexis Harding, All the more I was impressed by discovering some similarities in the making of our works.
The lecture he had given in WCA was a very good opportunity to learn more about his work and to find out in what sense our works are similar and how they differ from each other. Below I give the results of my findings in a form of a summary list:
(A: Alexis Harding, E: Eleonora Bourmistrov)

A: the use of the language of modernist abstract painting, reaction against this in the process, exchange of one idea through another; the resulting abstract work is decorative and optimistic in a post-modernist sense.
E: the language of semi-abstract painting referencing desert and desert-like landscapes with emphasis on geological processes and physicality of the surface, replicated on canvas as well as simulated in the making; the resulting work aims to find beauty in destruction.

A: oil, gloss paint
E: acrylic, pigments, natural materials: sand, ash, industrial materials: glass, mirror splinters
A & E: paint spray
E:. fixing sprays

A & E: law of gravitation + human intervention, chance and control; physicality and sensuality of the process and materials; risk taking
A: utilizes grids, lines, dots, text and other reiterative structures using elaborated devices and then tilts the wet canvas, letting the material slowly escape from it over a long period of time; leaving the painting doing the work; using devices facilitating this, ruination in the making, exchange one idea through another, the slow process allows correction and improvement
E: a complex and very quick process of numerous decisions, actions, reactions and interventions in the course of the process, interaction with the painting, modelling and sculpturing, on one side, creating a painterly illusion of 3-dimensionality, on the other side; very vague preconceived ideas, the end is unpredictable; no other devices but the own physical body; no mistakes (apart from some small ones at the start of the process) are allowed: either success or failure, no cancellation

A:  supervision of a slow process of the work development by itself over months that allows intervention in this process to change the work
E. very intense mental and physical engagement over a very short period of time of the work making

What is it they want to say with their work?
A & E: They celebrate creation, dissolution and transformation.
A:  a post-modernist formal approach: subversion and corruption, imposing the form and structure (grids and lines) on fluidity of paint, liberation from this constrain (eradication of the ‘past’) in the process of self-development of an artistic idea
“Pictorialism has been an unexpected residue of the very direct collision of materials I use to make these paintings. I want to manipulate the core ingredients of painting, their dumb attributes, through a type of subjective filter - to see an urban entropic image come out of the other end.” - Alexis Harding
E: nature as a starting point; artistic depiction of dissolution and entropy in the course of physical processes (expressed in geological and tectonic movements), partly applying and simulating these processes in the making of the work. The idea of a desert (a sort of a mental grid) as an ideal spiritual place,a place of escape, is eminent, transgression of boundaries between painting and sculpture
To paraphrase Alexis Harding:
“Pictorialism in my work is an unpredicted residue of the techniques and materials I use to make it. I manipulate and simulate physical processes, alongside with the options offered me by painting and sculpture, through my intuition and subjective decision making - to see an entropic image of a desolated, yet beautiful landscape results at the end.” –Eleonora Bourmistrov


   Studio of Alexis Harding                                                                            


 Colour Thumps Triptych, 2010, Oil & Gloss Paint on MDF, 30 x 22 cm each

Snapped Noose 2010, Oil & Gloss Paint on MDF, 244 x 122 cm     

 Black White into Grey Oil 2010, Oil & Gloss Paint on MDF, 110 x 80 cm

Undre St Victoire 2007,  Oil & Gloss on MDF, 160 x 152 cm    

Alexis Harding was born in London in 1973. He studied at Goldsmiths College from 1992-95. He lives and works in London.