Inspiration: Andrew Forge
I have a new artist to add to the list of those who inspire me. Well, he’s new to me anyway.
Andrew Forge (1923-2002) was born in Kent, UK, studied painting in Britain and became an academic there, eventually coming to the US and finishing out his career at various educational institutions in New England. Up until a couple weeks ago I’d never heard of him. But luckily I stumbled across a notice for an exhibit of his work in a Los Angeles gallery, went, and was completely bowled over.
He painted in several different styles through the years, but the paintings that really grabbed me were his abstract pointillist pieces. Here’s one from the gallery’s web site:
I absolutely fell in love with his version of pointillism. The pointillist paintings mainly fall into two groups: monochromatic (a color field, like the one pictured above) and complementary. The latter tend to be larger pieces (50×80″) which, from a distance, appear fairly neutral in coloring but more complex in structure. Vague shapes like diagonal lines and faint curves can be seen when viewing the paintings from a distance. Then, up close, the individual dots reveal themselves to be brightly colored and mostly grouped in complementary colors, like red dots with green dots, or blue with orange. His dots are larger than Seurat’s tiny dots, about half the size of mine. He also added a few little short lines here and there mixed in with the dots. The dashes lie on top of the dots, and are thinner than the dots, so they completely disappear in the overall dazzle when you step back.
I found the difference between what you see from a distance and what you see up close so fascinating that I kept stepping back and forth to see it. Honestly, I was wandering around in a positive daze, goofy smile plastered on my face. It was the opening reception, so it probably looked like I’d drunk too much of the wine. But in fact I was drunk on the high of experiencing some really amazing art. All I’d imbibed was water.
In the past few weeks I had been contemplating painting some abstract pointillist pieces, and then this show comes along at just the right moment. It electrified me. It’s a confirmation that my ideas are sound, and at the same time it pointed me toward some new avenues that I hadn’t thought about before. I need to go back and study these paintings some more before they go away. Reproductions, especially web images, don’t do them justice.
The Andrew Forge exhibit is up October 23 through December 20, 2008, at the Manny Silverman Gallery in Los Angeles. If you’re in the area (and if you enjoy pointillism like my work, or at least don’t hate it!) I highly recommend seeing this exhibit. Andrew Forge was mainly an East Coast artist, so I don’t expect we’ll get to see much more of his work out here.