(This image is linked to a very large version for idle perusal.)
Ron Bloore would set to work on any paper that came to hand, from the back of an envelope to a large sheet of 300 lb cold pressed french art paper like this one (or this one at the AGP). Here we have a page of unsigned, undated and unrelated explorations of forms.
Bloore’s art is always non-representational so these doodles can remind us of any kind of thing and we cannot be wrong. Here, going beyond even that, in these exploratory sketches, the figures and the interplay between them are completely unencumbered by any preconceived aesthetic purposes.
Some passages may bring to mind the recreational open air sketches of 1987-99. In these “intellectual exercises” Bloore explored various concepts from the rendering of space and spacial relationships and their implications in regards to content to the manipulation of simultaneous contrasts.
It is often said that inside the seed of a tree is all you need to make it, but really that is only the germ of the idea of the tree. It takes a lot to build the sculptural forms; the support, the scaffold and the surfaces that amount to a tree.
Meaning is not separable from purpose. And colour has a problematic relation to purpose because our extraordinary sensitivity to colour evolved much later than our basic sense of purpose. Bloore perennially wrestled with the roles colour could play in his work, always wary of drama and preferring spectacle. Still, he would occasionally dip his pen in his coffee and, voila! colour. Fortunately golden. Byzantium sorted out a role for gold in art long before Bloore and he found it easily useable too.
Bloore pursued drawing as an autonomous art form intermittently through the sixties. These pen and ink line drawings are, on the one hand, highly improvisational like the sketches but also deeply devotional like the paintings. Their dependance on rhythm and pattern is offset by an organic mutability. Meticulous precision with constant variation.
Symmetry focusses our attention. Like a flower attracts a bee and the face of a predator makes us flee. Symmetry says something very well balanced, right in front of us means business. If what’s on the left is the past and the right is the future, symmetry says they are the same as far as it is concerned. There is no time in symmetry. It is balanced, immobile, immediate and eternal.
Spectacle begins with monumentality under tension. Then thingness meets eventfulness and spectacle ensues. The artist has a deep bag of tricks for suggesting movement or tension which he uses to tip the viewer from regarding the work as a made thing to looking into it at an image of a world, a world of confusion and emergence, insecurity and meaning.
Drama takes us into our emotions but out of ourselves and symbols can trigger this process. Bloore flirted with recognizable symbols fairly often, giving the explanation that they were pretty much impossible to avoid. They are so plentiful they can come up accidentally; and they are so meaningful that they may be resorted to unconsciously. Bloore preferred to invent his own “symbol-like” elements and emphasized their almost-randomness.
In Time there is one thing and then another. Gazing at the endless walls and immense friezes of Egypt’s ancient temples, as Bloore did in 1962, we can see a great art of flow and fullness; multiplicity and monumentality, poetry and musicality, history and fantasy in the service of civility. Rhythm and imagination and spirit goes on and on and on.