GEORGIA GRINTER & HARRY CLITHEROE
3.9 - 25.9.22
Throughout art school, Harry and Georgia would sit in their studios, discussing the ways and techniques of layering paint and tone in drawings. Between them, they reference artists for reminders and inspiration such as Althoff, Diebenkorn and Rothko. The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns put a halt to their in-person brainstorming sessions, which adapted into messages. In this way, they were able to continue sharing and exploring their independent thought processes and wonderings in art-making. Book-ended with self-awareness, their shared vulnerability is scattered throughout while often laughing to themselves. They exchange an interminable amount of encouragement between them : keep making work, remembering that the act is part of the adventure.
"Just // Make // WOrk"
G - Did you get your pastels?
H - I did! Still figuring them out but having fun with them. Makes me think about painting lots. Colour too. Ah!
G - Love the colours! And the scratchiness! How do you choose your colours? Mine always seem to get saturated so fast. Think I've done a painting in every primary colour now.
H - I've been looking so much at muted colours and earth tones recently. Trying my hardest to hold off on primary colours or bold until I think its finished - then BOOM, at the last second, I'll add them.
G - Wow, okay, yeah. Add them at the last second! Painting in colour is making my mind blow up. I like them but then I hate them. It's confusing.
H - Blurring my eyes, looking at them in the dark, helps. Stepping really far away does too. I'm sat up in bed at night when only the light from the streets comes in the room. It's basically pitch black, and I'm staring at the wall across the room.
G - We're going to be blind by 50.
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H - I spent the morning doodling, doing loads of drawings from my head. Then I get tired of my own imagined spaces so have to find comfort in looking hard at something real like photos... Then I draw what I see to satisfy the urge. But I keep wondering, how do I combine the two: the pictures in my head with what I really see? It feels impossible. The pictures in my head seem more interesting but endless, whereas real life produces an outcome I find boring and more demanding in process.
G - Ah... I love the images from my head. I don't think they're endless doodles. That's the point, no? Sometimes I think they're so good that I lose the capacity to actually put pencil to paper and make them reality.
H - Maybe they are the REAL WORK.
G - I think we just need to keep going until they start to naturally emerge. I feel like this is how it's supposed to happen. Maybe put them on top of each other in your mind. And then... once you've done all those drawings and been moved by other things, THAT'S when you can start to choose the shapes and tones... At the moment, I'm trying to cram in a load of patterns in a space of someone's dress or in the sky... like filling a space with fizz. I'm not going to do this while drawing something. Sometimes, trying to do too much too soon gets in the way before the image is fully realised.
H - Gosh, Georgia, you really just hit the nail on the head there. Honestly, because we do it, we don't realise we're doing it and we forget. We need to get this down. Diebenkorn had those 10 rules in his studio. He always referred to them when he was getting lost again. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.
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"NOTES TO MYSELF ON BEGINNING A PAINTING"
By Richard Diebenkorn
1. Attempt what is not certain. Certaintly may or may not come later. It may then be a valuable delusion.
2. The pretty, initial position which falls short of completeness, is not to be valued - except as a stimulus for further moves.
3. Do search.
4. Use and respond to the intial fresh qualities but consider them absolutely expendable.
5. Don't "discover" a subject - of any kind.
6. Somehow don't be bored but if you must, use it in action. Use its destructive potential.
7. Mistakes can't be erased but they move you from your present position.
8. Keep thinking about Pollyanna.
9. Tolerate chaos.
10. Be careful only in a perverse way.
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H - I was looking at Rothko's work and thinking about how there is a perfect division in plains of colour in them. It got me thinking about how children tend to draw the ground, like it is a flat bar at the bottom of a page. They put figures standing on that bar of colour and then they put in a background with trees or the landscape. The sky never really falls behind the treesin a child's drawing. Instead, it's just a perfect rectangle spread across the whole landscape. I might try to play with this idea, but I guess there is only so much you can do with that until it becomes too repetitive. I want to escape repetition but somehow I wonder if I can use what I know works, but warp it. I feel like the foreground or bottom of these pictures are often discarded or overlooked, but ironically, it's so essential to the rest of the image. It's like an entry point... like with Rothko's work... You might not look directly down at the painting but you see the foundation in your peripherals, and you feel them. I feel like this allows the viewer to join in the action happening in the middle of an image, whatever is happening there. It's quite a nice thought.
G - This is what I have in my head, but I struggle to comprehend it... I've found it hard to incorporate this concept in my process because when I see something in front of me, I want to go directly to that things which is in the centre. It's hard to hold back from that tendency.
H - I think you can find enough information on the ground to fill a whole page, but I think it's often the hardest thing for people to do well. I think it's about finding a way to use ground as a way to change the perspective and experience of the viewer. You can make things appear as though you're looking down from something 10 ft tall, or like you're a small child looking upwards.
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H - I feel so light and free and inspired right now. All I want to do is art now.
G - That's lush. Art is life. I remembered the other day it's what I get up for.
H - Yes! It's what we get up for! I was having a conversation last week with friends about keeping your guard up a bit more, otherwise it's easy to get hurt. I throw myself head first into situations where I end up feeling heavy amounts of emotion and it's hard work to crawl back out of it. But, I don't want to go through life tip-toeing around, anxious about what the outcome of things will be, and afraid to be vulnerable. I think it's the same with making art. If you're too tentative, hesitant and afraid, the whole experience of making the work produces an undesirable outcome. It's healthy to work through our emotions as human beings... whether it's pure joy or pain from a break-up. Going through the motions means that when we're in the studio, our work is honest. I know it fuels my work.
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"LET EVERYTHING HAPPEN TO YOU: beauty and terror. Just keep going. no feeling is final."
- Rainer Maria Rilke, 'Go to the Limits of Your Longing' from The Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, 1905
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H - I can't help but always use local colour which is annoying me. I need an Althoff approach to colour.
G - Here's what I wrote for notes from Kai Althoff's exhibition:
WOrn down to fine surface // build up paint layers // wide waft built up but with breath // breathing holes // green background, dull on top // fleck of red // lots of shapes the same colour // thick but scratched into // thick noise // nothing outlined // subtle tone or back colour // turn around go from different sides // pink on white on pink // little memories // small // mark's back big mark's front // saturated front // unsaturated back // get out of 3rds ratio - 1, 2 , 3 parts of painting - new perspectives, up close, far away, on top // just paint feelings with similar colours and take patterns you enjoy for journey // same colours on same colours // and then Bam! bit of red.
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Georgia Grinter (b.1995) is an artist based in London. She graduated with BA from The Glasgow School of Art in 2018. In recent years she has shown in group exhibitions with Wondering People 155A Gallery in 2021, Delphian Gallery; Online in 2020, and Warbling Collective 155A Gallery, London in 2020. Solo exhibitions include ‘Traffic Light’; presented by Wondering People at 50 Golbourne Road in January 2022 and ‘Cross Words’; The New Glasgow Society; Glasgow in 2019. She was selected for the residency at PADA Studio in 2019. Press includes It’s Nice That, Artmaze Magazine (Issues 17 and 27), and Venti Journal.
Harry Clitheroe (b. 1996) graduated with a BA Hons in Painting and Printmaking from Glasgow School of Art in 2018 and recently finished his studies on The Drawing Year at The Royal Drawing School. His work has been exhibited in group shows including The Royal Drawing School's 'Best of The Drawing Year' exhibition at Christie's, London in 2021 and The Royal Scottish Academy's 'New Contemporaries' exhibition in 2019. This year he was commissioned to illustrate a text in PAPERBOY Magazine and selected works were featured in Art Review Glasgow in 2018. He currently lives and works in London.