Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Interview with Alison Watt

Between Your Eye and Your Mind
Interview with Alison Watt
in the catalogue to accompany 
Alison Watt: The Sun Never Knew How Wonderful It Was
17 March - 7 May 2016


As someone depicting fabric with paint, how important is the materiality of the paint itself to you? Do you work with layers? Do you feel there is any analogy between the paint and the drapery itself? In their trompe l’oeil nature, are your paintings seeking not just to represent but to recreate or become?

I have an obsession with surface in my own work. I’m really interested in how we read the surface of a painting and in how paint is employed. Rubens created very different effects on the surface of his canvas. If you look at the edge of the cloth that’s wrapped around Cupid’s shoulders, for example, where it merges with and dissolves into the darkness, it almost vibrates. There’s a kind of fizz, a kind of thrum on the surface of the canvas. But that is in contrast with other areas of the painting, which are rounded and bathed in light. The contrast of these two elements creates an incredible pictorial drama. A tension and dynamism in relation to the weight and form. That contrast had an effect on the way I used light and dark in my own paintings. At the same time, however, there are passages of paint where the shifts in tone are incredibly subtle. I wanted to make paintings that have an almost marmoreal quality but, at the same time, possess a softness.

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