Rook & Raven are proud to present Abstract Geometry, an exhibition inspired by the development of the Fibonacci sequence in visual culture. Informing each featured artist’s work, the sequence appears in various manifestations, constant throughout, in a manner paradigmatic of Leonardo Fibonacci’s theorem, published in his 1202 landmark text, Liber Abaci. The text recounts the correlation between geometry and nature, leading to a shift in artistic practice, still evident today, in its similar link to the Golden Section, historically used by many artists as a visual tool.
Line is ‘the sole element of construction and creations… Line is trajectory , movement, collision. Attachment, slicing apart, joining.’ Line is ‘first and last in both painting and in any construction whatsoever.’ (A. Rodchenko, ‘The Line’ (1921) , translated in Art Into Life: Russian Constructivism 1914-1932, Seattle 1990, pp. 72-3.)
Bringing together the work of Vanessa Jackson, Rupert Newman and Vanessa Hodgkinson, whose works are concerned with the use of shape, colour and composition, and the sequences and relationship between such properties, Abstract Geometry is the result of the interrelation of mathematics, nature and art, focusing on how the past is present in contemporary abstract art.
Drawn to the mathematical and philosophical elements of geometry, Vanessa Jackson (B. 1953) found that properties of sequences, shape, and space gave her an ability to construct. Without referencing the appearance of the world , with no overt desire to express herself in her works; instead, offering a structure in which she could manifest experience, and create a space for viewers to dwell, physically and mentally, within the bounds of the canvas. Inspired by the ideologies of mathematicians and philosophers, such as Euclid, Pythagoras and Fibonnaci, as well as the work of the Russian Constructivists, and Sonia Delaunay’s involvement in Chevreul’s colour theories. Jackson sees the multiple functions of geometry to be part of everyday life, from vast architectural structures, to the minutiae of DNA.
I look to construct paintings that offer a space for reflection, geometry in two and three dimensional familiarity of initial recognition. They are made slowly. Slow to make and slow to look at. Slow to unravel or ‘unconceal’…Layers become suspended in the illusion of geometry.’ Vanessa Jackson, Stolen and Contaminated – The Form, The Function, and The Ornament., 2010
Jackson has lived and worked in London since 1971, studying at St. Martin's School of Art (BA) and Royal College of Art (MA). Through her career as an artist, Jackson has been a leading tutor of Fine Art in London, having previously taught at the Royal Academy Schools, the Royal College of Art , and Winchester School of Art where she was made Head of Painting. Her work has been widely exhibited both in the UK and internationally, including exhibitions in London, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Tokyo and New York, and in public collections, including J. Paul Getty Museum, USA. Recent publications include Off The Wall, 2014, a book written by the artist on her wall paintings, with text by Rebecca Geldard, and her works are also included in PAINTING (Documents of Contemporary Art) by Terry Myers, Whitechapel Art Gallery/MIT, 2011, and Contemporary British Women Artists: In Their Owen Words, by Rebecca Fortnum, published by IB Tauris, 2012.
Rupert Newman’s (B.1984) colourful, abstract, crystalline forms are at once therapeutic - balancing colour and harmony, as they are rhythmic illusions. Inspired by the technique and subject matter of the Russian Rayonists, and the composition of the Constructivists and the Suprematists, the heart of Newman’s practice is a nod towards early Twentieth-century French artist, Robert Delaunay, who founded the Orphism movement in art, and relaunched the use of colour during the monochromatic Cubist movement.
Graduating from the Royal College of Art in 2010 (Printed Textiles), Newman has become one of the most renowned projection mapping artists in the field; with commissioned pieces for companies including Warner Music Group, Dom Perignon, The Prime Minister, The Battersea Power Station, Burning Man Festival, and The Royal Society of Arts. As well as light, Newman’s prints, paintings and fabric designs are also sold to buyers and collectors worldwide. Fashion houses include Giorgio Armani, Rebecca Taylor, Chauss, J. Crew and GAP. Newman’s work has been published in Martin Drawber’s New Fashion Print (Batsford, 2008), Simon Clarke’s Textile Design Portfolio (Laurence King 2012) and Sarah Braddock’s Digital Vision (Thames & Hudson, 2012). In August 2014, Newman was selected to be on the judging panel of the prestigious Texprint award, helping to select the top 24 textile design graduates / postgraduates in the country.
The series Printer Paintings by Vanessa Hodgkinson (B.1982) is based on the subtractive CMYK colour model used in printing, whereby she looks at the building blocks of image-making in the mechanical world, and its inevitable obsolescence, as the additive RGB colour model and the digital screen assume control. Taking the immediate disposal of the test sheet, spat out of the typical domestic printer, as a starting point, this series focuses on the role of function and aesthetic in tandem. The need to translate mechanical forms of image-making into paint is a preoccupation seen in Hodgkinson's work, as she focuses on the longevity of materials, and the future of the works in a fast-changing world, where their very subject-matter might soon be long forgotten.
Hodgkinson studied History of Art at Cambridge University; Arabic at Kuwait University; Islamic Art at the Prince's School of Traditional Art, and completed her MA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art & Design. She is currently a participant at the Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht.