07 February 2022

Duncan Grant and a pillar of Abstraction

Here is another one of these orphan images which slink around my desktop in search of a home. If my memory is still solvent I am 99% sure that it's by Duncan Grant of the Bloomsbury crowd, and I think it came from one of the books I have about these remarkably talented and eccentric Brits. I like to look at it sometimes which is one of the main reasons that all my desktops are cluttered with images. My screens look like teenager's bedrooms.

This image above I believe is a gouache and perhaps a study of a stone sculpture which one might see around the gardens at Bloomsbury. The main house which is quite small in fact, with very low ceilings and not a lot of natural light is surrounded by a myriad of old red brick walls with many artistic additions here and there which always surprise the visitor. This gouache looks to be like something which might have been resting atop one of the many  brick walls zigzagging the gardens. 

I like it for its pure sensuality and the tactile emotional imprint, qualities achievable with gouache in the right hands. It is an image of an ornament but also for me, it is just a pure piece of abstraction. These muted colours also lend themselves to a somewhat primitive sort of application which indicates that this was painted by a poet, not a technician. The colours feel almost archaic; a broken black lifted from Pompeii and two Sienese favourites; red and salmon, as if chipped off an old villa.   

I love that it just exists in space expressed easily without too much thought. An idea put forth visually, but then too, as if were were no rhyme or reason for it. And for me, it truly feels like a an abstract work done for pure pleasure. It possesses self-expression but without the pretension of it. And even upside down it is remarkably intact.

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