These abstract oil paintings progress from a chaotic beginning towards meticulous, systemic order.


The subject matter here is concerned with the process itself.  Imagery is generated through successive strategies which recall how material inconsistencies within the paint have been categorised and organised, in an intricate correlation of complex networks.  


Hasty, exaggerated gestures form the grounds of the works.  Sometimes fluid, sometime viscous, paint is often poured on, or thrown at the canvas.  Occasionally, dried residue from earlier work, or palette shavings, are scattered on the surface.  The layout is arrived at by chance.  Prominent and recurrent features within the background are identified and classified according to a set of conceived criteria that are mentally archived. The grooves of brushstrokes may be demarcated in a contrasting colour, for instance, or similar flecks are linked in a chain. 


This practice humanises computation and programming.  The systems that are devised to impose rationale on random configurations of paint-splashes are ultimately subjective. The memory of unwritten rules and regulations is vulnerable to decay and preferential bias.  Through implementation, some precepts are forgotten or sidelined, while others gain prominence.  At times the instruction is too vague or the formula is true for more than one value, requiring interpretation and a judicial intervention.  This artistic legislature is in fact a means to managing intuition in the work, so that choices are small but swift in frequency. The directives that govern painterly decisions masquerade as the automation of the creative process, but the idiosyncrasy of the paintings demonstrate that its nature is fundamentally instinctive.


These paintings reflect how humans organise, socially and politically.  The use of rules reflects the dilemmas of societal regulation and the limits in implementation of the law: there is inevitable friction between regulation and freedom as well as limits to jurisdiction. Complex systems proliferate throughout our socio-political and economic structures: these paintings speculate on the impact of policy and variants in societal frameworks. 

© 2018  Katie Pratt

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