I got back from my trip to London on Saturday, and saw some good exhibitions. The one that stuck out the most was Arshile Gorky at Tate Modern. I'd been looking forward to this for a long time.
Gorky's relationship to the landscape was something that came through in the exhibition - though not in a overly representational way.
At the beginning of the exhibition he was painting big abstract works, with the influence of cubism running through them. He really piled on the paint, resulting in thick canvases, with ridges and crevasses helping to define the thick lines of the forms. They looked really heavy and hard won canvases, with lots of layering going on.
Halfway through the exhibition, there were a series of pen, ink and wax coloured drawings - all titled 'Virginia Landscape'. This is where the show really came alive, as his lines and colours were able to interact freely across the paper.
He made these works in the countryside in Virginia. I really took something from this, as he was inspired and spurred on to create new and freer works in response to these new surroundings - but not in a a representational manner. It's more the simple fact of being in this new environment that then gave him the impetus and energy to create new work.
I took heart that these abstract paintings with all manner of marks, shapes and formations in them, could still be rooted in the real world around him.