Galerie Förster

unbound red - Ray Malone

"Unbound" (red), 2003, Acryl and charcoal on paper, 50 x 50 cm

Ray Malone

Intermediate Spaces

Drawings and paintings

Febraury 3rd - March 17th, 2012



It is difficult to say whether the so-called “Unbound” works are drawings or paintings. The ground is certainly “painted”, and the charcoal may be said to be “drawn” - but in fact and effect they occupy a shadow area somewhere between the one and the other.

The ground is paper, a medium used for both painting and drawing, the process simple. The area to be painted, the square, is masked off, and coloured with an acrylic wash. The formal elements are outlined and masked off in their turn, and charcoal is worked in with brush and fingers. Charcoal is then worked across the surface of the coloured ground. The whole is fixed and unmasked.

The formal arrangement - the narrow column, the broad column, and the slender crosspiece that connects them - is a constant through the series, though the elements may be shifted in relation to each other. The black of the charcoal and the coloured ground are also constants, though the latter is, of course, infinitely variable.

The notion of them being “unbound” is dependent on the establishing characteristics, of the variability of the ground and the moveability of the composite of forms: an apparently “bound” space, that is, proposes itself as “un-bound” in being open to its own permutation.


The Art Object

We’re perhaps accustomed to seeing art objects as autonomous, self-sufficient things. However, such things, wherever we come across them - on the wall of a gallery or museum, or in some all too familiar place at home - hang there in some way in relation to what surrounds them: the wall itself, the light at the moment of being noticed, the mood of the observer, and so on.

That is, they occupy a space, somewhere between the world - be it only the limited, supposedly neutral world of a white gallery wall - and the observing presence, the viewer: an “intermediate” space. And in their designed or accidental way, they not only act on what surrounds them and who observes them, but, in so far as each delimits its own space, they may be said to constitute intermediate spaces in themselves.

There has to be a moment of apprehension: something has to be seen, to attract our attention. At that moment - though it may hardly be noticed as a “moment” - we’re faced with an almost imperceptible choice: either to attend further, or turn away. Such moments are crucial to every object in the world, and not only to what we choose to call the “art object”: we respond to its implicit demand to be seen, or not.

Such moments either pass, or, if the object and its observer “meet”, if the moment extends beyond mere noticing to pausing before the object, then there is the possibility of what might be called true attention.

Every space posits possibilities, literal and/or metaphorical: the possibility of approach, in the first instance, of entry and further negotiation, of all manner of ensuing sensations and tensions, of contemplation, and finally, of course, the possibility of exit, or in the case of the art object, of turning away.

To attend - that is, to do more than notice - is to “enter” the space that the object occupies, and that it constitutes. That is, to meet, to encounter, to connect with the object - in the same way that one person may connect with another, while both remaining isolated individuals in a world teeming with the “un-connected”, the  “un-encountered”, the “un-met”.  As with the object before which we momentarily pause, perhaps unaware of the possibility it silently offers, what is required is the authority of the other’s presence.

© Ray Malone, January 2012