Ultra Red Light
2010 by Sarah Gilbert
Central St Martins MA Show; http://www.sarahgilbert.fr
After Simon’s textured surface of yesterday – a deliberately mottled and movement filled canvas – the smooth sheened finish of Gilbert’s work is an acute contrast. As if Gilbert’s architecturally accurate right angles weren’t enough, she also paints on stainless steel ensuring a completely even plane of surface. Undisturbed by painterly texture her colours are bright, consistent and unfailing, highlighted through gloss paint. There is nothing organic about Gilbert’s treatment of paint; it is rather man’s triumph over the natural, with colours too bright and too perfect. The satisfaction of geometric certainty is just as gleeful. Failing to be contested, as shape was in Simon’s painting, Gilbert’s lines are all encompassing, dominating this composition with their definite and mathematical stance. Perspective is gloriously emphasised, played with and carried by the strips of light and shadow that are cast and illuminated throughout. The stamp of the ‘ultra red’ is an arrogant stance, as each rectangle imposes itself on the rest of the painting with its awesome sized shadow. Light is manipulated here for its power and ability to illuminate and enhance shape and form. It is this eye for a creation of enlivening environment that makes Gilbert’s work architectural, her work is a manipulation of space; indeed, postcard 205 showed her creation of a house. There is something calming about the surety of Gilbert’s angles and building of blocks of colour; there is a clarity and cleanness about her work that leaves the viewer with a sense of reassurance.