The Poetry of paint.
Angela Fewer qualified as an architect from University College, Dublin, and worked for many years as an architect both in Ireland and abroad. She returned to college as a mature student and obtained a degree in Fine Art from the Crawford College ofArt.
Fracture: Divided or split into parts – a world of fractured cultures ad global interdependence.
Illusions: something that is not really what it seems- a false appearance or deceptive impression of reality – the mirror gives an illusion of depth.
I would like to set the work within the tradition of Irish landscape painting, and within this context of parallels between identity and the physical world. The work starts when I am intuitively drawn to a particular place or location. There is the Romanticism of Turner and Yeats tempered by the rationality of Mondrian orCezanne – this vital blend of emotion and thought. This is studio work – the research is done on site – the area is walked – sketched with simple linear drawings – many photographs are taken - and in the studio all is blended and transformed. I have spent much time in the last thirty years on Heir Island inWest Cork and am probably familiar with every stone on the island.
Beauty and the Beast - The attempt to reconcile opposites. In between states – fragments – the quest to find a reconciliation between opposites - between various forces – between different cultures –between different ideas – this has always been the focus of my work.
In this body of work,I am looking at nature – at landscape – but using geometry and structure to portray my ideas. There is a conflict here – a tension – that has to be reconciled into a harmony – a vision of peace and tranquillity. I definitely feel the need to relate to the landscape – the work hovers between abstraction and representation - but nevertheless the need is there to connect to visible reality. It grounds the work and prevents it from becoming fanciful. There is a tension in using geometric elements to portray the freedom of nature – but in a strange way, nature and landscape become more intense and "real".
Geometry conveys the intellect and rationality – the man made – as opposed to colour which is about emotion and feelings and nature. Again, I attempt to find a harmony between the two.
The act of painting is a liberating gesture.
"Art has a political function in the sense that it brings something life – enhancing, a desire for life"
"In times of trouble we need even more art, and not less. It is not an extra, it is not superfluous, something marginal; it is something fundamental" Etel Adnan.
Looking at the tradition of Irish landscape painting and the work of Jack B Yeats, Paul Henry,and their contemporaries, we see a desire to articulate a new vision of theWest of Ireland – a vision of an unspoilt rural life and an emerging national consciousness. It was largely Henry`s vision of the West that led to a distinctive school of landscape painting. Sean Keating and Maurice Mac Gonigal were nationalistic in outlook, whereas artists likeCharles Lamb, James Humbert Craig and later Gerard Dillon were identified with a visual code of unspoilt landscape and people engaged in rural life.
My own work reflects the complexity and fracture of the new society we have in Ireland. I have been greatly influenced by the Avant-Garde of the early 20thCentury in Russia, by Cubism, by Cezanne and Ben Nicolson among others, by theBauhaus and the tradition of Modernism, but tempered by the new reality of PostModernism and pluralism, by the idea of Fractals and the emergence of thought on non- linear space. Both the philosophy and art of the Far East has impacted on my work and ideas. The idea of a balance between emotion and rationality is something I strive to achieve, and the idea that images that cannot be expressed in words can still be apprehended emotionally.
Architecture has been a dominant influence on the work. I am interested in the manipulation of space and structure. I am interested in the creation of both depth and pattern,thus creating a tension on the flat surface of the canvas.
The paintings are inspired by the layering and weathering of the landscape, the diagonal lines and patterns in the landscape, the vertical and horizontal bands of ancient rock found around our coasts, the sea, the skies.
Water is one of the fundamental elements of which our planet is made – rock is another. Waterfalls are one of the most spectacular representation of the power and beauty on nature. The oceans are another. Cliffs are the place where elements meet –water meets rock-land-sea-sky.
These elements are conceptualized and abstracted in the paintings.
Coming from a multi-cultural background – which is the way of the future – you ask yourself –what is your identity. Your identity is a mixture of things. It is your own memory of your background, your family, and your own life, Yet, in the end you choose how you want to live.
The process of exploring identity, and what constitutes the "Irishness" of Irish landscape painting occupies many artists today, both from Ireland and abroad.
A recent Fellowship at the International Art Foundation at Ballinglen, Co. Mayo, allowed me to meet many wonderful artists from around the world, and to further explore my interest in painting the landscape of Ireland.
The sculptures explore the relationship between light and structure within architecture. They look like architectural models, but architectural models are generally made from blue prints, whereas these models are highly intuitive. They are assembled like collage, using different architectural styles to form a fragmented whole.The inspiration comes from the ancient ruins that are found around Ireland. DavidLeatherbrow has written beautifully about architectural phenomenology. He talks about shadow and light, and how the production of shadow was once described as the origin of architecture. GastonBachelard talks about the idea of the "dialectics of inside and outside" in his book ThePoetics of Space. He talks about the pre – eminent spaces of reverie as being punctuated interiors – spaces between inside and outside: he includes the cave,the forest, and the ruin. This liminal space allows us to experience ambiguity,which holds us open to the world. There is an osmosis between architecture and landscape.
Angela Fewer November 2018.