MOCA London invited Sue Arrowsmith and Mathew Weir for a duoexhibition to open up a dialogue between their works. During studio visits we discussed the connection between their use of lights - lightboxes and projectors - and how they shift our focus back and forth from a minuscule mark to the complete image. Both Arrowsmith and Weir utilise light to transfer their gestures and marks onto complex painterly surfaces.
Weir is exhibiting working drawings for his paintings for the first time in Transference. He traces the source images in pen on to polyester drafting flm, creating intricate patterns. Like physiognomy, each shape corresponds to a mark, a spot of colour, shades and light, to defne and build up the complete image. When working in the studio Weir uses smaller light boxes he can place on tables or physically engage with. At MOCA London the drawings are displayed on a large slightly angled vertical light box leaning against the bookcase. There is an element of archival display, but on the other hand we get an intimate layered glimpse into Weir’s studio practice. As we enter the exhibition we see these drawings have been taken back to a source of light. It draws us into the detailed nature of Weir’s paintings, made by meticulously transferring these images on to the canvas; they are cut-up in the process and here we see them reassembled. As we lean over and physically adjust our postures to engage with the drawings, allowing our gaze to trace the contours, we notice the subtle changes of light absorption where they are layered together.
Facing opposite Weir, is Arrowsmith’s large black on black painting You can see the dream. Arrowsmith also uses light, as she photographs images from nature and projects these on to her canvas or panel, taking elements from the original source, extracting and abstracting to create her work. The artist’s fully laden brush traces the projection, mapping the monochromatic surface. Leaning against the gallery wall, her painting captures the refections from the window and Weir’s lightbox. As we move in front of the work our gaze notices the subtle nuances between matt and gloss; encouraging us to move closer, to unveil the delicate distinctions in the surface. Black marks on the black ground oscillate, never staying still, the viewer becoming part of the work with the absorption and refection of light. Looking closer there are lines within lines and traces of Arrowsmith’s fngers, as well as from her carefully chosen paintbrushes.
For Lacan and Freud, transference is a projection of memories and desires from the past melting together in the presence of the analyst. There is counter-transference between the unconscious reaction from the analyst and the transference itself from the client. Whilst looking at these works by Arrowsmith andWeir, one sees images and re-seeing them creates a momentum of deconstruction and reconstruction. There is a layered transference between the projected light, the artists’ gaze, the painterly hand gestures and the viewer’s unconscious reading of the works. Arrowsmith and Weir bring us closer to their constructed view but have abstracted the timelines between the original source, the traced past and the present figurations.
Roberto Ekholm, 2018
Ebook Version 1 (Mathew Weir) Ebook Version 2 (Sue Arrowsmith)
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