Fourteen images each in one of three sizes favoured by Blake for years now – are beautifully displayed in a gentle embrace of pristine white walls.
They are reminiscent of abstract paintings rewarded in 2006 by the Turner Price for “…vigorous and consistent approach to painting”. Tomma Abts (b 1967) uses consistently a format of 48 x 38 centimetres in acrylic and oil paint. This is a detail from her Heit, 2011, Arts Council Collection.
The following was written about Abts and seems to embrace Blake’s work seamlessly.
“Planes that appear to be located in the foreground also remain embedded within the structure of the painting itself; shapes are both overlapping and integrated. Abstract elements might hover on the edge of representation but are then undermined by an incongruous perspective or colour scheme.”
The incongruous perspective clashes with titles that associate with habitual meaning, like building or blanket and is completely free of any when title holds abstraction of verbal kind, like peace, time … There is a reason for both – to force or deny association by selecting particular words to name the image. But with abstraction such a link is a treacherous condition, a sort of penalty, as those words injure the visual marvel of incongruity falling into a whole tacitly.
Blake trusts her sense for contrast in tonality and repetitiveness in shapes, something well rehearsed in history of art and design, born in the laws of optical perception and illusion. Accent is on seeing.
Each is an image that stands for itself, sparingly referring to something outside the visible, like the tactile value in the Baby Blanket. They share luminosity and strict denial of a reason coming from outside the painting itself. This hard nosed autonomy does not fit the ubiquitous demand for art to achieve something outside itself, like health or elimination of violence. Nevertheless, each and all of these unassuming private messengers insists on moral standards as those are subsumed in the aesthetics. Nihil novum sub sole: the classical Greece understood that in their thinking as kalos agathos.
Liking one of Blake’s oil on linen, elevates you from your mundane habitus – into imagined harmony, your own. The painting is the trigger. Being abstract it houses numerous ways to succeed, given the chance. Play is these paintings intrinsic and instrumental value. Similar to music in that way.
Images courtesy Helen G Blake, uploaded from her Facebook page, these are only to remind you/me what each looked like.