Madder

11 September – 10 October 2014

Griffin Art Prize 2013 winners, Luke George and Elizabeth Rose present their solo show at Griffin Gallery; the result of six months intense investigation into the particular properties of the madder root and its use as an artists’ pigment.

Luke George and Elizabeth Rose | Griffin Art Prize Winners 2013

George and Rose, who are both a couple and united artistic force, present their solo show at Griffin Gallery; the result of six months intense investigation into the particular properties of the madder root and its use as an artists’ pigment.

After winning the Griffin Art Prize in November 2013 with their show-stopping abstract piece, Gate, George and Rose moved into the purpose built studio in March 2014 and since then have been working closely with the Winsor & Newton Innovation and Development Department situated next to their studio.

They were particularly fascinated by the story of Madder, and its historical connection with Winsor & Newton.  By 1804, George Field, an outstanding colourman and chemist, managed to turn the madder extract, which was soluble in water, into a solid pigment that was insoluble. This resulted in what was known as a madder lake. It had a longer-lasting colour and could be used in creating paints.  Field wrote 10 volumes of notes and experiments on how to improve the quality of pigments and these notes were considered so important by William Winsor, the co-founder of Winsor & Newton, that he bought the lot.  It takes about 13 weeks to produce madder pigments for both oil and water colours.  Many other methods old and new have been tried to produce the pigment.  However, none have been found to match the unique properties of the Rose Madder produced following Field’s methods and, since 1835, Winsor & Newton is proud to be part of an age old tradition which produces real madder and not a synthetic version.

George and Rose have experimented with madder pigment development to create a new body of work that captures the physicality and explosive nature of the precipitation process.  Smoothly sanded gesso surfaces collide with violent splashes and drips of pink, red and brown, crystallised into intricate filigree patterns across the surface of the canvas.  George and Rose have allowed the process and the material to dictate the direction of the work, yet taking control of the final product – much in the way Winsor & Newton have developed the unmatched Rose Madder pigment for over a hundred and fifty years.

This body of work is as much an exploration of history and tradition in colourmaking as it is a vision of the future – these two young and extraordinarily committed artists carry the canon of art history on their shoulders, but they wear it lightly, delicately picking their way through the stories of others to create a new vision of their own.  The exhibition will include several drawings and new paintings on canvas, including one very large piece that they will be working on in-situ in the week leading up to the opening night.  The exhibition will pack a punch, and visitors should expect to leave the gallery feeling as if they have been through a physical experience, just as Luke and Lizzie have in creating it.

History and production of the madder pigment

After winning the Griffin Art Prize in November 2013 with their show-stopping abstract piece, Gate, George and Rose moved into the purpose built studio in March 2014 and since then have been working closely with the Winsor & Newton Innovation and Development Department situated next to their studio.

They were particularly fascinated by the story of Madder, and its historical connection with Winsor & Newton.  By 1804, George Field, an outstanding colourman and chemist, managed to turn the madder extract, which was soluble in water, into a solid pigment that was insoluble. This resulted in what was known as a madder lake. It had a longer-lasting colour and could be used in creating paints.  Field wrote 10 volumes of notes and experiments on how to improve the quality of pigments and these notes were considered so important by William Winsor, the co-founder of Winsor & Newton, that he bought the lot.  It takes about 13 weeks to produce madder pigments for both oil and water colours.  Many other methods old and new have been tried to produce the pigment.  However, none have been found to match the unique properties of the Rose Madder produced following Field’s methods and, since 1835, Winsor & Newton is proud to be part of an age old tradition which produces real madder and not a synthetic version.

George and Rose have experimented with madder pigment development to create a new body of work that captures the physicality and explosive nature of the precipitation process.  Smoothly sanded gesso surfaces collide with violent splashes and drips of pink, red and brown, crystallised into intricate filigree patterns across the surface of the canvas.  George and Rose have allowed the process and the material to dictate the direction of the work, yet taking control of the final product – much in the way Winsor & Newton have developed the unmatched Rose Madder pigment for over a hundred and fifty years.

This body of work is as much an exploration of history and tradition in colourmaking as it is a vision of the future – these two young and extraordinarily committed artists carry the canon of art history on their shoulders, but they wear it lightly, delicately picking their way through the stories of others to create a new vision of their own.  The exhibition will include several drawings and new paintings on canvas, including one very large piece that they will be working on in-situ in the week leading up to the opening night.  The exhibition will pack a punch, and visitors should expect to leave the gallery feeling as if they have been through a physical experience, just as Luke and Lizzie have in creating it.

History and production of the madder pigment:

http://www.winsornewton.com/uk/discover/articles-and-inspiration/history-and-production-of-rose-madder-pigments

Private View for Madder on Wednesday 10th October

Our private views are open to all, if you would like to attend please email info@griffingallery.co.uk.

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