Work

Seville, 2015

2015

"The 'Seville' screen is the first in the series, and the visual approach developed there provided a thread that runs through a number of the later works. 'Flowers for Zaha', 'Orchids and the Void of Lust' and 'Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out', for example, while they are culturally different – insofar as they are about different places – share aesthetic strategies with 'Seville'. 'Seville' initiates the type that Clarke tells us is ‘botanical’, ostensibly playing on archetypal imagery with regard to the place: orange trees bloom against a deep blue background that simultaneously stands for sky and sea. Our first – and perhaps last – response is one of joy and plenty, of celebration of the lushness of the earth, and the legendary richness of Spanish flora. The artist knows Seville intimately. He has a home there, which accounts for the underlying feel of the screen, the joie de vivre that flows out of every square centimetre.

Visually it’s deceptively simple, an exercise in complementary colour, an essay on the relationship of blue to yellow, and mixing to give us a scattering of green leaves that sit in the background. The greens mediate the vibrance of the complementaries settling down the surface area into a consistent compositional whole. A little red comes into play, mixing with the yellows to ripen the fruit into orange. Compositionally, one is reminded of later works by Pierre Bonnard (via Japanese woodblock prints perhaps) in the use of asymmetry and the way the void is made into a positive force in the picture plane as a whole. This carefully unbalanced scene encourages the eye to stay in motion, as it tracks the swaying and rustling of nature at its lushest. There is something of the grand European tradition here also, of the northern European artist celebrating the heat and plenty of the south. We are on the same journey that Eugène Delacroix and, most pertinently, Henri Matisse had made." – author and curator Paul Greenhalgh in The Art of Light.

Stained glass screen in an edition of 10 unique variants plus 3 artist's proofs, published by and available from HENI.