Signed, titled & dated verso, August 1978-December1979
Acrylic on canvas
PROVENANCE : Artists Estate
LITERATURE : Brian Fielding, Paintings 1979-1987, No 2
RELATED TO : Partsong 4 (1980) Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne
‘My paintings are made of marks and colours which do not refer to specific objects or thoughts. The marks and colours combine together in their own way to create a sense of space and movement. I hope to generate a sense of completeness, of fullness, and I believe that a successful painting will appeal to a fundamental level of human response which need not be affected by cultural barriers’
By the middle of the 1970’s Fielding had reached an impasse..To break the cycle he returned, after almost a decade of deliberate structure and control, to the immediate, expressive quality of the brushstroke: a calligraphy that wasn’t a signifier of language, but of feeling. The Partsong series, and related works, are the apotheosis of this return to the gestural… While these works look totally spontaneous, Fielding was intent that they should also have structure: underneath the flickering surfaces lies what he called ‘the basic nine square grid’ as used in traditional Chinese calligraphy. He thought Abstract Expressionism’s aversion to structure had led to interpretation of the figure/ground relationship as being either figurative or landscape.
‘ Brian made stunning, unique, masterful paintings, unbelievably beautiful yet vigorously tough. He was a magician; his touch was invariably sure, powerful yet sensitive. And when you talked to him, he’d roll himself another fag and deliver some observation so perceptive it took your breath away ‘ Albert Irvin
Fielding was born in Sheffield. He studied at Sheffield College of Art from 1950 to 1954, and the Royal College of Art from 1954 to 1957. He received an Abbey Minor Travelling Scholarship to Italy and France in 1958. He began participating in group exhibitions in 1954. In 1958 he held his first solo exhibition, at Hibbert Gallery, Sheffield. Other solo exhibitions were held at Rowan Gallery, London (1962, 1964), Sheffield University (1969), Consort Gallery, London (1974), St Paul’s Gallery, Leeds (1980), Morley Gallery, London (1984), and other venues. A retrospective of his work was held at Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield in 1986. From 1969 to 1982 he taught at Ravensbourne College of Art and Design.
In common with many other painters of his generation, the experience of seeing American Abstract Expressionist painting at the Tate Gallery in exhibitions held there in 1956 and 1959 was decisive and formative, leading to his subsequent conversion to painterly abstraction. From 1960 until the artist’s early death in 1986, he remained committed to an approach to painting in which abstract form (albeit of a kind resonant with association), colour, drawing, and an emphasis on painterly brushwork are key elements.
Works in Public Collections – UK
Bolton Museum & Art Gallery
Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield
Sheffield City Polytechnic
University of Sheffield
Royal College of Art
Towner Art Gallery Eastbourne
Yorkshire Education Committee
Ministry of Culture, Amman, Jordan
This post was written by joecollinson