Edited by Sandra Crisp LG
Sandra Crisp LG: In a recent post on The London Group Instagram account you describe the many diverse materials and processes used in your painting, both traditional and experimental techniques. It will be really interesting to hear more about these in more detail.
My paintings are like stories or journeys that have no fixed destination. They are made up as they go along, constructing open-ended narrative space, a slippery sort of state where transitory connections can be made through a mixture of chance and fragmentary intentions. Things turn into something else or into traces and echoes. Journeys that start somewhere, try to get to somewhere else, but keep getting diverted, ending up in unexpected places.
My practice consists of large scale paintings, small paintings, composite paintings, drawings and small objects/sculptures.
My recent ‘Fall’ series of paintings are all the same size, 178cm x 68cm. The materials and processes that I use embody disorder, chance, and division. They are crucial to the reading of the work. The materials I use include acrylic paint, collage – usually fragments of maps and playing cards, detritus, sand, sawdust, plastic glitter, cardboard, string, nails.
All my paintings start with drawing, usually in chalk, an automatic and spontaneous process, that remains as a kind of guide and residue throughout the making of the work. In the large works there are torn holes and splits in the canvas, cardboard strips that channel the paint that flows down the surface and makes configurations, occasionally forming words such as NO, FALL, HOPE, STOP. There are traces of drawing, patches of sand and detritus, acrylic paint.
The small paintings use similar materials and processes, and also often have things attached to the sides of the stretcher such as broken cupboard handles or little ladders. Sometimes these are individual pieces or composite works made of a group of paintings.
I have been making these on and off for years. They are a form of play. The materials are things like cocktail sticks, plaster & cardboard, anything going that comes to hand. One thing I like about making these is that I get largely occupied by the problems of construction, and don’t worry too much about what they might be or mean. Sometimes they emerge from simple concerns with trying to build something that doesn’t fall over, and also I respond to things in the world around me; bus shelters, constructions at the side of railway lines, fallen trees, tunnels etc.
There is a clear but unintended connection between these practices. Making groups of small objects, mostly unconsciously, feeds into the drawing process that initiates all the subsequent works.
Alex Ramsay LG 2023
The London Group at Scarborough, Old Parcels Office, Westborough YO11 1TU1 April – 30 April 2023