What is important to me is not geometrical shape per se, or colour per se, but to make a relationship between shape and colour which feels to me like my experience. To make what feels to me like reality.
Laura Jane Scott’s vividly abstract compositions embrace not only the two essential elements of Abstract Hard Edge Painting, colour and structure, but also principles of Conceptual Art. All the works in ‘Take One Shape’ are derived from one simple shape - the rhomboid. They echo paintings by Ellsworth Kelly, with Scott’s use of precise geometric abstractions all having the same core structure but subject to infinitely subtle variations. ‘Take One Shape’ showcases a hybrid of painting and sculpture, a refined visual vocabulary of form and colour.
Scott’s studio is full of rulers, piles of graph paper, scalpels, pens and painted paper. Working in series, she explores the idea of ‘possibilities from limitations.’ Using just one geometric shape as the starting point and drawing on principles from Minimalist Architecture, Hard Edge Abstraction and Conceptual Art she takes this basic geometric form and draws out all the possible arrangements that can be made by laying one shape on top of another. The drawings are small-scale diagrams which are always made on the same style of graph paper. This strict approach hints at both mathematical and architectural practices. What would seem an austere procedural way of making art is precisely what makes it interesting. With her systematic rigour, Scott has successfully dissected the fundamental elements of painting by not only looking at the surface of the painting but seeing it as a way of creating a visual index in which to document the interaction of form, colour and the space they inhabit.
Each of the works in the suite of 40 paintings have a standardised size and the same core elements but with subtle variations in their composition. The linear grid of constructed paintings have all been carefully constructed with ruler-straight edges. The sleek even-coloured surfaces are always sanded down and painted delicately so that they are free of gestural brush strokes.
The enlarged triptych of paintings on the opposite wall are all scaled up from the small-scale diagrams and made in the same immaculate fashion as their smaller counterparts. Fields of saturated clean-edged colour appear to float on the surface of the wall. Scott’s refined colour palette from the paint company ‘Colour Makes People Happy’ is intuitively chosen.
In contrast, a series of pared-down black and white prints of her linear diagrammatic drawings give us the only indication of the artist’s hand. The shapes are hand-drawn, hence the weight of the line isn’t constant and changes throughout the suite of prints. The prints give us insight into the conceptual nature of her working process and the drawings that underpin her constructed paintings.
Within Take One Shape Laura Jane Scott’s desire for formal simplicity through geometric form and her striking use of colour has enabled her to produce a body of work where painting explores a model of architectural form and the colour literally embodies a physical structure.
There is beauty in order. There is beauty in rationality. There is beauty in colour. There is beauty in line.
(Hard-Edge Painting and the Aesthetics of Abstract Order)
Laura Jane Scott studied for her BA (Hons) in Graphic Design at Ravensbourne College in South London. Her work has been exhibited in the Royal Academy of Art Summer Exhibition and was selected for the Creekside Open at A.P.T. Gallery. She lives and works in South London.