One hundred and ninety nine


2010 by Francesca Simon
The Empire Gallery, Vyner Street;

Simon’s work has always been preoccupied with surface, letting older paintings become visible through new ones, with much of her abstract work stemming from the observation of patterns of age on old stone walls in North Yorkshire. These stone inspired abstract works were subtle canvases of flat grey with the hones and cracks of time gently worked into the surface. This delicate concern with altered texture and markings is evident in her newer work, which uses this grey as a base. The background of the canvas is seeped with translucent layers of grey beige; the subtlety of the colour oozing naturalism, carried by the changing density of the surface. The background is by no means flat, and is covered in line-like shadows and highlights that criss-cross and play across the screen of the painting. Unlike her previous work, here Simon also introduces colour and shape, bringing further meaning to these subtle compositions. Colour is by no means harsh but is articulated is dull, and again translucent, tones. Shape is used in interlocking triangles, though even these fail to be harshly complete as their edges lie faint or indeed are unfinished altogether. This harmony of subtle and explorative pattern and shape gives these paintings an atmosphere of reflection, of calm and indeed an awareness of time. The black square, outlined in bright and luminous white, is the only dominating component of this painting, definite in both colour and density. Slightly ominous in this play of organic pattern and tone the square is clearly on the outer surface of this composition; the new perhaps floating above the old.


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