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Yellow Grid and Blue by John Edwards

Roger Coleman's introduction to the 1960 RBA Galleries 'Situation' exhibition talked about a new conception of space in painting' and 'new conception of the spectator's relationship to a painting.' Coleman talked about this group of painters employing a simple division of the canvas but producing 'a kind of stable/unstable surface', so that these paintings were 'cartographically simple but perceptually complex'. John Edwards' early work emerges from such art discourse of perceptual ambiguity generated from the painted surface and visually handling the spectator by means of scale. Edwards' density of colour and softly brushed edges recall Rothko, but instead of a drama of embodiment and disembodiment, we have here an abstract grid which reads spatially like part of an Albertian pavement.
Our eye is filled by the breadth of scale and stretched from corner to corner, but uncertain in its reading of surface and space, part and whole. This willingness to jettison a priori claims to significance in order to test out one's ability to respond anew to artistic configurations, with its attendant risk of constructing its spectator in limited terms of visually analytic rigour, makes Edwards' painting a perfect exemplar of the qualities of 1960's modernism. Yellow Grid and Blue was painted in Kingston-upon- Thames in October 1969 and shown in Edwards' third one-man exhibition at the Rowan Gallery in March-April 1970, which received a lengthy review from Charles Harrison in Studio International (March 1970).
Artist:John Edwards
Artwork type:painting
Material:acrylic on cotton duck
Measurements:914 x 2134 mm
Location:Arts & Humanities Research Council, Whitefriars, Lewins Mead, Bristol, BS1 2AE. View by appointment; please contact the AHRC's Facilities Manager on 01179 876 500
Rights owner:John Edwards
Rights status:UK HE use only
Institution:Council for National Academic Awards

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