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  • Writer's pictureHaydn Dickenson

LANDSCAPES IN THE CLOSET.




In 2019, I produced a somewhat hysterical painting, FRACTURED.



FRACTURED - Haydn Dickenson (2019)



Not long afterwards, I chanced upon the press report of a record Paris auction sale of a painting by the French artist Nicolas de Staël (1914-55) illustrated below.




PARC DES PRINCES (LES GRANDS FOOTBALLEURS) - Nicolas De Staël (1952)



De Staël's magnificent painting sold for $39 million. What struck me was the degree of similarity between De Staël's piece – which I had never before seen - and my own 'Fractured'. There's hope for us all, I guess!


Only a few days ago, someone mentioned that same de Staël painting to me again, as reminding her of my work in general; so it's not just me!


I see myself as a pretty pure abstractionist; but am I? My paintings genuinely do emerge out of 'nowhere' and, if I'm lucky, go 'somewhere'. I have written about this in the following articles https://www.artfullyabstractedblog.com/post/stages-and-changes and https://www.artfullyabstractedblog.com/post/in-the-beginning


I am pleased if my creative process ends up in a place where a delight in form, colour, balance, chaos, beauty and alarm can all coexist for their own sake, rather than for to evoke some theme or programme. My titles are intentionally cryptic. Though I hide it well, I am a shy person. I do not court the spotlight and, though I love talking about my work, I don't want to let you know too much about it.


I am reminded of the great pianist Glenn Gould who, before being interviewed by Yehudi Menuhin (with whom he collaborated in performance) presented the perplexed violinist with a script containing Menuhin's questions as well as Gould's answers! I think many of us like to be 'in control'. I only want you to know 'so much'. I do not invite interpretations of my work - which of course does not stop them being offered! Painting is so intensely personal that some mystique must remain tantalisingly hidden.


In an interview with Beata Piechocka in 2020, I was asked “What do you want to give people through your art”.





Art that fails to stimulate thought and emotion, or does not seek to do so, can so easily drift into lazy and anodyne waters; and there is too much of the anodyne in today's world.


Nicolas de Staël was often described as an 'abstract landscape' painter. I would not like to label myself as such, despite undeniable 'resonances' of nature being present. I prefer to think of myself as voyager who sets out, artistic knapsack on his back, knowing not where he is going.


Another painter renowned for his landscape-infused work is the American Richard Diebenkorn (1922-93). Diebenkorn, like me, saw himself as a pure abstractionist, but his mature work emerged out of earlier figuration.





In 2015 I visited the Diebenkorn retrospective at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, an exhibition which left a profound impression on me. Pages from a leaflet picked up at the exhibition are still pinned to my studio wall. On these, evidence of Diebenkorn's early figurative and landscape work can be seen.











For Diebenkorn, it was the space and the light of California that gave him energy. For me, it is the Languedoc in Southern France, where I spent some of my happiest and most fulfilled years. https://www.artfullyabstractedblog.com/post/art-and-terroir




ECHOING BACK - Haydn Dickenson (2021)





AFRODISIA - Haydn Dickenson (2015)



As with Diebenkorn, my profound love of the natural world leads to elements from that realm sliding into my abstract imagery. How can we refrain from articulating nuggets of truth that reside deep in our core? Thus it is that several of my paintings embody unintentional landscape and seascape qualities.




EMPOWERMENT - Haydn Dickenson (2022)





PROPULSION - Haydn Dickenson (2022)


My paintings illustrated above (except FRACTURED and ASFRODISIA) are available either as originals or as Fine Art Prints from Iologies Fine Art at https://www.iologies.com/


Fifteen others are currently on exhibition at Lambdens of Woburn, MK17 0PZ. Details are available from Iologies Fine Art as above.





Copyright Haydn Dickenson 2023



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