Thursday, October 18, 2018


The first version of the construction Entrance to the Temple was a painting in acrylic on paper.

Working in a non-objective manner - ie not depicting any familiar objects - is a process I've always found fascinating even if I never, unlike some artists I highly admire, took the radical decision to give up representation altogether. I might still do that, time permitting. What is representation anyway? All in the eye of.

The interesting thing I've noticed is that my mind goes into a completely different place when working in an abstract, as opposed to a figurative manner. Maybe a left brain/right brain shift but there is definitely a change in perception. Obviously every artist will have different experiences but for me, making an abstract work is more like digging in the earth or deep-sea diving to uncover some pre-existing thing than looking and interpreting what my eye sees.

Entrance to the temple, first version. Acrylic on paper (52 x 67 cms
Another abstract....though it has definite subject matter for me, music in this case. I had a studio in Belsham Street, Hackney, at the time and for some reason I can't remember, I cut off the left-hand section of this canvas. It was a stupid decision. A snapshot remains of it hanging in the studio before my auto-vandalism. I still like this painting as it is now (first photo).

Music of Love. 1994 Oil on canvas 50 x 60 cms

Belsham Street studio 1994. NdA with unfinished self-portrait and "Music of Love" before I cut off part of the left-hand side of the canvas.


Catalyst said...

You are a talented artist, Natalie.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Thank you Bruce. I've always thought so but always glad to hear it confirmed!

Beth said...

Why do we rashly cut up our work sometimes? And yet, if we never did that, it would mean a sort of timidity or even reverence for a "finished" image that I think many of us abhore. I like both the original and the cut version, here, Natalie, and I'm also intrigued by this abstract canvas - it would also be an incredible design for a wool rug or tapestry wall hanging. The striped motifs in the "Temple" image remind me of Egyptian patterns and also Mamluk architecture from the Middle East, but the color you've added takes them into an entirely different dimension. What do you think kept you returning to representational art after these forays into abstraction?

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Beth, thanks and sorry for delay in responding. These days I usually assume there won't be any comments over here so I tend to be late checking in.

Wholly agree about not being over-respectful of one's work, whether past or present. Cutting up is sometimes a good thing!

"What do you think kept you returning to representational art after these forays into abstraction?"

I've always played with abstraction though not given it as much focused attention as to figurative work but I can't say I ever gave up one for the other. However it's the 'abstract' elements in all art which interest me and which draw me to pre-Renaissance art, especially Egyptian, Middle Eastern, Byzantine etc. as well as to modern artists like Miro, Klee, Kandinsky, Howard Hodgkin and many others.

Interestingly Hodgkin always said he wasn't an abstract artist and that all his paintings were memories of specific moments in his life. That's certainly the case with the painting I titled "Music of Love" but of course it's also a pattern of colours and shapes. As all paintings are, whether figurative or abstract!

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David Shannon said...

This looks amazing! I am blown off by your talent.
Best Regards