REMARKABLE AND CURIOUS CONVERSATIONS

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CONVERSATION AT ALEX'S

Alex Dewart writes: It seems rather immodest to give an account of a conversation under the heading 'Remarkable and Curious'. What is probably more remarkable and curious is afterwards where each participant spirals off into their own tangential ideas and questions raised by the conversation ...

The following are the thoughts lingering in my mind from the conversation.

On 10th September 2009, Patrick Jeffs and Imogen Welch came round to look at my latest work, which I was still working on in the morning and next day after our conversation. The three paintings were The Ice Cream Summer, The Black Forest and Anenome Jungle. I have been working increasingly more with pattern and these three paintings represent this shift in my practice.

The Ice Cream Summer by Alex Dewart

Alex Dewart
The Ice Cream Summer (2009)
Acrylic on canvas, 1.12m x 1.20m

The Black Forest by Alex Dewart

Alex Dewart
The Black Forest (2009)
Acrylic on canvas, 1.12m x 1.20m

Anenome Jungle by Alex Dewart

Alex Dewart, Anenome Jungle (2009)
Acrylic on canvas, 1.6m x 1.2m

To create a 'manufactured' look, I have used stencils and masking techniques extensively and Pat wondered if this inhibited making changes. I don't think it does as I have changed some areas many times, but it definitely made me try and plan things as much as possible, which I do using computer drawings. This meant that Anenome Jungle took quite a long time, with all the inbetween pondering. Is this a good or a bad thing? Pat was also interested in how I judged scale, planning something on a small screen and then using it to create a much larger painting. I'm still thinking about this one. A particularly useful comment from Pat was on the size of marks in the small trees in The Black Forest. These were one of those 'end of the day' additions to the painting which I knew weren't right, but wasn't quite sure how they should be changed. I'm much happier with them now.

In the compositions, the largest pattern is cut through by other patterned areas. Imogen was interested in these crossover points. I now feel that I need to include as many of these interference points as possible within my compositions. The patterns need to interweave as much as possible and not just be placed side by side.

Imogen Welch writes: I was intrigued with the recent developments in Alex's work, having been in three group exhibitions with her over the last year. The origami paper from her recent prints has now got into the landscape, a patchwork of bold graphic patterns. I was reminded of both her MA show paintings and Japanese classical prints. I found more connections to my own work in this recent work. I have been collaging patterned papers onto three-dimensional objects and Alex is painting patterns collaged onto mountains. The work has quite an eerie feel and there something viral about it, although the examples with a restricted palette are easier to live with. I don't think that's what Alex is after.

Patrick Jeffs writes: I came away from our meeting feeling very positive. There are areas of interest in our work which overlap, i.e. the general reading of a space (in this case landscape) and enjoyment of the juxtaposition of contrasting areas of mark and colour within this space. Of course our methods to arrive at a final image differ greatly. My images emerge during the process of painting whilst yours are meticulously planned on the computer before you start on the canvas; although you do make changes when necessary. I found it really interesting to learn how you develop your images, in particular the techniques that you employ to create a variety of surfaces and patterns. I left feeling quite envious of your store of stencils, masking materials etc, but also exited - the meeting being a stimulus for me to explore other ways of building up surfaces in my own painting. It was a very worthwhile session.

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