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MH/2 by Colin Cina


Cina's shaped canvases around the time of his visit to New York in 1966 and his experience of Frank Stella's work involved illusionistic elements contradicting the reading of the literal shape of the canvas. This sort of response to New York reductionism was not untypical of post-Situation British abstraction, as can be seen in John Walker's shaped canvases. Cina's subsequent paintings, however, returned to the rectangle as container of pictorial incident. The CNAA painting comes from a decade-long 'MH' series based on drawings dealing with a flow of lines and obliques across the canvas.
Subsequent work reflected on earlier 20th century abstraction and certain underlying assumptions. Cina's 1978 statement for John Moores 11, for example, talked about opposing 'simultaneity and unsuccessive juxtaposition with his own 'transitional modes of composition', fusing stasis and movement and shedding' the cosmic space surface of Suprematism' in favour of 'a geometric ritual analogous to surface weight'. Those remarks seem apposite to MH/2 with its progressive diminishing of vertical spacings suggesting movement across the canvas and (were it not for the placing of the angles of bands on the bottom edge consistently) into depth. At the same time, the furthest blue vertical visually arrests one's lateral scan. Cina uses dynamic diagonals flatly painted but edged with a piping and diagonally sliced as if to suggest volume and space, though the ground seems brought into spatial readings. Although a systematic procedure forms a starting-point, the 'geometric ritual' needs to be formed into its own independent order rather than becoming illustrative of the originating logic.
Artist:Colin Cina
Artwork type:painting
Material:acrylic on 12 oz cotton duck
Measurements:1676 x 2438 mm
Technique:painting
Date:1969
Location:British Academy, Carlton House Terrace, London. View by appointment; please contact Ms. Jo Blore on 020 7969 5225
Rights owner:Colin Cina
Rights status:UK HE use only
Institution:Council for National Academic Awards

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