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In The End of Abstraction


In The End of Abstraction


Callum Green

What possibilities remain for abstract painting in the 21st century? Callum Green's paintings explore the potentials of the modernist drive to formalism and abstraction in the wake of commercialism, painting's exhaustion and the collapse of medium specificity.

I see my practice as very much grounded though not constrained to painting. It deals with ideas of surface, colour and objecthood as well as modernist sensibilities in the history of abstract painting. My approach embraces the history of abstraction and the seductive qualities of the painterly but is also inherently cynical in dealing with what it means to operate as an abstract painter in the 21st century. I hope that somewhere in this juxtaposition is a kind of knowing contradiction; the work is both a celebration and cynical self-parody. In previous work I approached this through a use of poise and balance in sculptural/painterly works that were often quite precarious or utilised surfaces that would fall apart but more recent work has dealt more with gesture using predominantly glossy, tacky or plasticky surfaces    

Colour plays a major role in the work; confronting a history of the use of colour as subject in painting, my work takes inspiration from commercial sources, like Nike trainer colour-ways. I think there is something here in the idea of individualism produced and sold through mass production that holds against the idea of the painterly gesture and the need for the artist to innovate and be original by re-hashing and recycling gestures and styles. For instance the use of the 'bean' brushstroke motif which seems so ubiquitous in certain strands of contemporary painting but also harks back to post-modernist patterns designed by memphis. I also find inspiration in the names of colours selected by trainer manufacturers and these often become titles for the work as well as inspiration for colour schemes: (Stadium Green/ Mid-Violet, Purple Oasis, Mango Sunset, Obsidian/ Pink, Hyper Fuse, Hot Lava).


© 2015  Callum Green


Callum Green is an artist currently living and working in London.