Rhythm – definition and etymology

Following on from the previous post, I continue thinking about Jason Gaiger’s question, Can a Painting have a Rhythm? Remembering a previous post looking at what the notion of rhythm might actually encompass, I move towards a consideration of the flow of the work. Also, I have in connection with the circular and spiral, a notion concerning the possibility of circadian rhythms governing the painting in progress in some visible invisible way, imbuing the painting with a particular kind of rhythm yet to be fully identified. The painting’s latest but still very early stage is shown below:

Rhythm / ‘to flow’

Can a Painting have a Rhythm?

Reading Jason Gaiger’s paper, Can a Painting have a Rhythm? some time ago has given me an axis of thought around which to re-orientate my own ideas concerning the implications of the circular gesture and its development into the spiral – something I touched on during the MA: this being a link to the Second Symposium as a reminder.

I am in the studio currently working intensively on two large paintings (approx 125 x 125 cm) as a continuum with the MA paintings of equivalent dimensions. I am also working on a new size in oil on aluminium (approx 61 x 61 cm) reminding myself of how different the relationship with a painting is due to the scale of that painting. The painting, as I make it bears an inescapable relationship to my own bodily capacity and hence to that of the viewer.

It is important to note that I find myself in the position of the viewer rather than maker at countless intervals along the way as I step back to assess what I have done and made and how to take things forward. I find that in this shift of mode from maker to viewer which I am continuously compelled to make, is something essential to the potential affectivity of the work due to the very considerable tension that lies within the position of viewer and maker when they are one and the same. This tension can be explained by pointing out that the viewer, when the viewer is other than myself, is free to take the work as they find it but when the viewer is me and I am in the midst of the making and doing of it, I do not have that place of rest and sanctuary. I have to resolve this from within the work, working with both its resistance and its compliance; that is the deep nature of it and a reflection of my own, not the surface impression of things but rather a shaping of the invisible that has its origin from within.

Below, the beginnings of the next larger work in progress, the circular gesture providing the source of motion that leads to a spiral evolution, building the painting’s inner rhythm from the outset:

Paintings in Progress

Several paintings in progress in the studio – I have to make best possible use of this time of year when conditions in the studio are optimal. The painting below does not look like anything other than itself. I can’t know how it will eventually look until it actually appears at its conclusion, so I keep going. I have been at this place many times before and I know where I am.

There was and there Never was a Time Like this. Oil on aluminium 125 x 127 cm