[Image at top: Andrea Belag, Wave, 2014, oil on linen, 56 x 48 inches.]
Belag's process begins with color. When she was in Japan last year, she found a pocket-sized catalog of color combinations (above, on the table), and the colors for her paintings are chosen directly from the book. Thinned with stand oil and Dorland's Wax, the paint, mixed in plastic food storage containers, is transparent and deeply saturated. To avoid dripping, Belag lays her stretched canvases flat on a table, where she applies the paint with different tools, including a huge, 18-inch wide brush, spatulas, and various painting rags.
Belag's brushes soaking in medium on the window sill.
We talked about ancient Chinese landscape paintings which were created in one go, and Belag mentioned that a visit to Kyoto’s Zen gardens last year had had a big impact on her work. She also cited Mary Heilmann, French conceptual painter Bernard Frize, early French abstractionist Hans Hartung, and ceramicist Takuro Kuwata as important influences.
Andrea Belag, Close, 2014, oil on linen, 56 x 48 inches.
As with the best gestural abstraction, the viewer sees evidence of the artist's process and has a sense of being present during the creation of each piece.To my mind, Belag's paintings, although they may seem quick, are not casual or provisional. By virtue of their dynamic brushstrokes and fluid geometry, they have a distinctly kinetic quality that reflects their being made in a single whirl and perhaps finished before the first daub of paint has dried, but, in a classical sense, they are fully realized and complete.
Artists who curate: "Creating opportunities for felicitous constellations" (2011)
Parlato and Saccoccio: retooling gestural abstraction (2008)
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