Galerie Förster

Ray Malone

Paintings & Drawings

September 4th - October 17th, 2009


Ray Malone’s drawings and paintings are beautiful objects whose apparent simplicity belies the complex concerns which inform their making. His work is 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 abstract art and other art forms, in particular architecture, music and photography; and the relationship between writing and art.

In both the Dimensional and Meridian series of paintings, Malone explores our perception of tonal variation. It is ‘slow’ work, needing time to allow the subtlety of the form to reveal itself. Both series use three tones of one colour. After the initial intensity of the colour, continued looking rewards the viewer with fugitive tonal shifts, the surface remaining active in contradiction to our desire to ‘fix’ it. There is a constant play between the viewer and the painting, and this extends to the objectivity of the work, the canvas seeming to float from the wall. Malone’s concern for the edge and “what happens there, what attention it should be given” made manifest.

The “Beckett drawings” relate to words chosen from the work of Samuel Beckett. By numbering the alphabet, the individual letters may be used to determine both the order of the vertical lines and the distances, or ‘intervals’, between them. In this way, a short piece of language, a word or phrase, is brought into relation with a drastically reduced drawing, the strange waywardness of the words into relation with the apparently merciless straightness of the lines. Ray Malone’s work is shot through with wit and philosophy. He delights in the slightly ‘disturbed’ nature of the drawings and in the possibility of ‘disturbing’ the viewer’s habitual ways of looking and thinking.

It is impossible for the viewer to remain passive in front of Malone’s work. It must be ‘met’, whether it is the intense emotional response to the power of colour, the way it moves and signifies; the pleasure in the geometric arrangements and divisions which root us both in a real and an implied architectural space; or the pleasure in the rhythm of the disposed lines. In these hurried times this meticulous, but passionate work offers a respite, a contemplative hiatus in which to re-connect with our own internal and external worlds.

(Text by Gabriele Förster and Christina Wahle)