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Figure And Ground

Works of Ian Watson
Virtual Tour
Sep 10, 2022

Artizan Gallery

Aug 25, 2022

Figure And Ground

Figure And Ground

Exploring the qualities of figure painting

During the pandemic, I found myself trawling through my sketchbooks, and so began asking myself a question I had habitually asked before: When painting, how much, or how little, paint needs to be put on the canvas in order catch The Spirit in The Mass (David Bomberg)? So, I started, once again, to look at the pictorial conundrum of Figure and Ground. I made many drawings, trying to ‘essentialize’ the figure, often in the merest geometrical analysis. These images were developed as rapid sparse oil sketches or reversed using monotypes. Sometimes the ground became painted surface only, or was literally cut away, leaving the figure as collage material. Often patches of prepared ground, or canvas were left untouched. Occasionally an accidentally formed second figure suggested itself in the final image, the ghost of a minotaur perhaps…

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