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Ray Malone

Statement A

Since 1990 I have produced a large body of abstract work. While I initially worked very freely, and to some extent experimentally, my work has come to be based on a number of fundamental interests:

  • the ‘language’ of abstract art itself, and the possibility of either adding to or extending the scope of that language;
  • the connections that may be said to exist between abstraction and other art forms, including architecture, music, and photography;
  • the relationship between writing and art;
  • and, of course, the work of other artists.

While my work itself will reveal more specific connections, such as an affinity to so-called geometric abstraction, or to minimalism, or certain aspects of Japanese aesthetics, I try to remain open to other possibilities in pursuit of my own understanding and practice. I also devote time to writing about my own art, and about broader interests, such as the relationship between painting and music.

I tend to work in series, and am usually pursuing a number of projects at any one time, some very closely connected, and others not so. While I also tend to work with traditional media when drawing, and with acrylic paint when painting, I am constantly exploring other less familiar media, methods and/or materials.

Statement B

I began drawing ‘seriously’ as a 15/16-year-old, continuing to draw, and paint, off and on for more than thirty years. Apart from A-level art at school, I am entirely self-taught. I left full-time employment in 1989 to devote myself to art. Since then I have produced a considerable body of abstract work in a variety of media, and usually in the form of specific projects, or series, exploring particular aspects of abstraction—among them:

  • the notion of the edge/periphery of the painted surface and its effect/s on the pictorial space; the relationship between colour, scale, and space;
  • the relationship between architecture, photography and drawing/painting; the possible connections between painting and music;
  • and, more generally, the abstract values represented by minimalism and geometric abstraction;
  • all my work is informed by my reading, not only about art, but also of certain authors and possible extra-literary connections. Current projects include:
  • a series exploring the notion of the edge or periphery of the painted surface and its effect/s on the ‘pictorial space’, as well as the relationship between colour, scale and space;
  • work on aluminium with its origin in architectural photographs, looking at the relationship between the three disciplines;
  • and a series representing a particular interest in the connections to be made between painting and music.

Statement C

Extract from a letter

Before a painting can enter the symbolic realm (which, in any case, I take to be entirely contingent upon the imagination/experience of the spectator) it must establish its essential quality as an object—think of any single painting, by someone else, that you admire—which is as much a matter of facture, the way it’s made, as either form or content.

Every painting is the expression of a problem, or set of problems, each or all ultimately aesthetic—and ‘aesthetic’ I understand to include the ‘technical’ in all its aspects (the range here will depend on the relative simplicity or complexity of any particular painting as well as the limits within which the particular artist works).

Therefore, every painting must necessarily present itself as a possible solution, or set of solutions, to the problem, or problems—and regardless of the artist’s awareness of either (no-one, I would guess, sees all the problems, so no-one is likely to find all the solutions).

Quote from Christina Burke (Art Terracina)

“How is it that minimalist abstraction can give us this sense of eternal expansion? With b-a-c-h Ray (Malone) has achieved this exquisite combination in not so simple charcoal. It is startling that Ray’s intellectual strength backed by intricate precision opens every possible avenue of playfulness and interpretation to the viewer. His specific interest lies in the very particular relationship between the pictorial space of the painting and the real space in which the painting finds its ‘home’. With his latest experiment, the ‘Dimensional paintings’, he is pushing the boundaries even further.”

Extract from an email

So, I think of a painting as something to look at, not into, or out of. Further, I see it, or try to achieve it, as, on the one hand, a distinct object, and on the other as an object in the world. Therefore, I can at no point completely ignore the object a painting is (which is never just a surface), and how it relates to its immediate environment: the shadow it casts, for instance, or its distance from the wall, or its effect on the wall, or indeed other things (or vice versa, naturally). There is, of course, a ‘space of the painting’, which is both my focus and hopefully the focus of those who view it, but it is also a ‘painting in a space’. (25 June 2006)