Have you ever become so familiar with something that you stop even seeing it properly? For instance, your home; when it’s freshly decorated it feels like a whole new space, but once you get used to furniture sitting in a certain place or walls and floors being a particular colour or pattern, it’s easy to begin to take it for granted.
This has happened (stylistically speaking) in the art world again and again through the centuries, but one of the most distinctive periods of renewal (and, for some, upset) came with the advent of the Cubists at the turn of the 20th century.
Quite literally breaking down their scenery and setups, removing perspective and reformatting what they saw to create flat planes containing numerous viewpoints, the artists at the forefront of these movements – think Picasso, Braque, Leger and Gris – forced themselves and those viewing their work, to stop taking their experience for granted and look at it anew. Albeit in a slightly jumbled, disjointed and at times uncomfortable way.
But those artists recognised the need to try and see things with fresh eyes, or from a different angle or perspective in order to be present and engage with whatever was in front of them. Abstraction may not take on quite the same form these days, but it still operates on the same basic principle: dealing with ideas rather than actual events.
We’re showcasing the work of some new artists who we are adding to the artrepublic mix – Cleo Barbour, Dave Towers and Mark McClure – each of whose work (coincidentally) is based in abstraction. From bespoke surface design and hand-embellished prints to textural and typographical paint applications, let us introduce you to the latest trio to join our artrepublic family of artists.
Taking inspiration from tropical travels, architecture and Art Deco design, among other things, Brighton-based artist (and shoe designer) Cleo Barbour is known for her strong colour palettes, geometric compositions and hand-embroidered finishes.
A respect for materials runs through Marc McClure’s dynamic abstract work. Whether executed on a grand scale in a public space or on smaller surfaces, the artist’s sculptural (even in 2D) geometric pieces draws attention to scale, structure and the space in which they are displayed.
A career in graphic design, has seen Dave Towers heading up design teams at some of the UK’s best advertising agencies and picking up a number of awards for his work. And this background underpins Towers’ artwork too – layered colours, attention to line and typographical processes showcase an abstraction of ideas as well as form.
We spoke to each of the three artists for a quick Q&A about their work and take on abstraction - find these on our Editorial Page!