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Clyde Hopkins: Abstraction as experience

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Hopkins’ painterly abstraction reflects on a universe of disordering contingencies in everyday experience, questioning how painting can refer to such qualities of experience without engaging in representation. The immediate act of placing paint on the canvas extends to metaphorical concerns with process: how to maintain that sensation of immediacy if repetitions occur within a sequence of gestural responses. Hopkins’ work adopts different approaches at different stages; degrees of immediacy remain a consideration while attachment to a variety of motifs develops. Paintings remain continuously open to change as more reflexive approaches to the ironies of maintaining immediacy in re-presentation emerge. Resources are both visual and philosophical: the questioning of logic with ‘associationism’ found in the writings of David Hume and influencing Lawrence Sterne, a fascination with Spanish painting and its influence on Robert Motherwell, who was in turn influenced by A. N. Whitehead.

Keywords: A. N. Whitehead; Clyde Hopkins; David Hume; Lawrence Sterne; The Flourish; experience; painting

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000098306702University for the Creative Arts

Publication date: October 1, 2019

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  • Journal of Contemporary Painting responds to the territory and practice of contemporary painting in its broadest sense, viewing painting as a context for discussion, exploring its sphere of history and influence, rather than as a medium specific debate. The JCP combines a thematic approach with an open call, each issue opening up and problematising pressing concerns in contemporary painting.

    As well as contributions to current debates on contemporary art, a particular feature of the Journal of Contemporary Painting is the publication of archival or newly translated texts alongside current responsive articles, based on the premise that contemporary painting cannot be understood without reflecting on its history. Dedication to understanding the nature and forms of painting research has also led to the inclusions of an original visual essay for every edition. Additionally we respond to current exhibitions, books and symposia, nationally and internationally, in our reviews section.

    Our aim is to be responsive to current debates in painting and related art practices, drawing from a wide geographical field and across discipline boundaries to provide a discursive space in which a range of subject specialisms can be brought to bear on the culture of painting. We are particularly interested in writing emerging from practice-based research as well as from academics working in different disciplines.

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