‘Compromise places you behind the curve. Belief in the work places you ahead of it’.
For me Art and Music are inexorably linked. It is distinctly possible that I am synesthetic. I experience a ‘union of the senses’ which goes some way to explaining my passion for abstract art. The music I listen to whilst working helps me to formulate a language of forms, textures and colour schemes which possibly only relate to the moment in which they were created or rather ‘received’. I am however equally interested in both internal and external realms as I experience them. As an artist I can only relate my own feelings about the human experience from one perspective. Mine. I realised that abstract art excited a curiosity in me from the moment I encountered it in my mid teens. Up until that point I had been taught and guided in such a way that drawing and painting could only be considered a method of recreating or describing what can be termed ‘reality’ or ‘the real world’. When I saw paintings and drawings by Picasso, I realised that there was so much more to this endeavour. Before I went to Glasgow School of Art I had experienced some of the great exponents of abstract art on a school trip to London. Possibilities were expanded greatly after seeing work by Eduardo Paolozzi and Victor Pasmore. The otherworldliness of the forms and content fired my own fevered imagination. By the time I attended GSA (1979-1983) I had discovered the work of Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, John Cage and other alumni of Black Mountain College in North Carolina. This was where my heart lay and where my journey began. The only problem for me then and today is that there was and is, no tradition of abstraction in Scotland to speak of a fact that has caused some degree of consternation in my life as a practicing artist. This problem was circumvented by my enduring love of landscape painting. I decided to split my practice into three distinct areas of output:
It is my wish to explore every facet of my work to the best of my abilities regardless of current trends. I came to realise that the World of Art (the world I inhabit) and the Art World (where trends are set and commerce takes place) are two almost mutually exclusive areas.
Much of my abstract work takes place initially in my sketchbooks. There I can explore textures and compositional ideas. Much of the work in those involves ‘automatic drawing’ or what Kandinsky described as ‘taking a line for a walk’. The idea behind this work method is to invite inspiration without having any preconceived ideas. Picasso said’ ‘Inspiration exists but it must find you working’. I take my lead from Agnes Martin in as much as I let things happen. I instinctively know which direction to take even though the process is highly experimental. Up to this point, for practical reasons I use traditional mark making implements and water based media. Most (but not all) of the work is completed on high quality A1 600gsm watercolour paper.
Each facet of my work overlaps. I have a rigorous work ethic and I set a great deal of store by observational drawing. In the field of landscape work I am greatly influenced by Impressionism and the work of the Scottish Colourists.
I regard my entire output as conceptual.
Latest Artwork From Brian McFie
Artwork Medium: Watercolour on paper
Artwork Size: 850mm x 600mm
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