The room is a bright ash white and Ivan Seal’s paintings seem to bounce off of the walls and straight towards you, inviting you in, drawing you in. Vibrancy of colour, shape and form, they dazzle you with arousing fascination. Moving closer to the paintings, you can see the sculptural application of paint, applied he said “with whatever is in the studio”, including cardboard. The energy and creative passion that’s inherent in each of his works reveals the playful elements of his methods of composition.
He doesn’t paint objects, he doesn’t paint from photographs, he paints from memories and explores the “thingyness of things”. Moments, a connection, a fleeting vision, a passing of time, a “taste”; memories of these things then play out in his mind as he paints. He is driven by what he is thinking in his own space, in that very personal space that is the artist’s studio; as he paints and creates it’s a little like a form of “escapism”. He is fascinated how memory is like a form of architecture, with doors and windows opening, more and more, leading to more and more rooms. Life he says is like art, things “mushroom” more things growing off other things. It’s reflected in his paintings, layer upon layer. Like language, his painting series and production is like an “endless alphabet, a sentence which has no full stop.”
I was particularly taken by his comment that “making art is totally different to viewing art”, something happens when it leaves the studio. The art itself becomes a language. The paintings are there to let the viewer see, hear and interpret what they want to see, to have the internal dialogue, the “fight” he called it.
Each painting is given a title, which as you read them, the words seem at times Latin names for flowers, or philosophical terminology, then the more you look, they become nonsensical, whimsical even, and yet familiar: cylamwosomboot or helianphorachinantensis. Must be a nightmare for the curator and proofreader of the catalogue! He generates these new words with a computer programme, thus the paintings and words form a new language platform, a unique method of communication, between you and the painting.
The paintings are currently on view at Central, the Contemporary Art Society’s gallery space in London from 24 April until 29 May 2013. The exhibition of paintings is accompanied by some kitsch porcelain ornaments and other small curios from his own collection in low hip high display cases, further highlighting his notion of form and collection over perfection or historical importance.
The talk by the artist was held to celebrate two of his artworks gifted by the Contemporary Art Society to the Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery; the works being “Plemploted fowidead” and the accompanying drawing “ors devurth at seven”.
Written by Vanessa Champion, Photojournalist
Review of other Contemporary Art Society exhibitions and talks see here
STOP PRESS: This is also the same day that Paul Hobson announces he is leaving to join Director of Modern Art Oxford. The Contemporary Art Society is now seeking new director. Paul has made such a difference to the CAS, bringing growth and remodelling, programme development and significant income generation. It has also been under his watch that the CAS acquired their new premises in Central Street, London.