Friday, 29 June 2018

Etudes and Fugues by Siu Ling Carter at The Long Gallery, Newcastle University

Etudes and Fugues is an exhibition of paintings by the late Siu Ling Carter, who died suddenly in August 2017. She is known for her ceramic sculptures and vessels, but for over a decade she had been working steadily on a coherent body of more than thirty paintings. This exhibition showcases a selection of these, none of which have been exhibited before.

A perfectionist, Siu Ling Carter thought that these paintings were not quite ready to be exhibited, and she even regarded some as being unfinished. Rarely are an audience party to an artist's work mid-process. I enjoy this insight into the artists working process, but do feel a little uneasy about whether the artist would have been upset that they are exhibited in this state.

The paintings have a great sense of rhythm and harmony, and the link to music is referenced in the exhibition's title, Etudes and Fugues. Siu Ling Carter spoke about the parallels between the construction of her paintings and the composition of a musical  score. 

When she was a Masters student at Newcastle University Siu Ling Carter collaborated with musicians Mick Wright and Bennett Hogg. For the current exhibition Bennett has composed a new piece of piano music which visitors can listen to as they view the exhibition.  

The paintings remind me of woven textiles or the patterns made when strips of paper are weaved in and out of each other to form a grid. The subtle variations in colour schemes between the works elicited different emotional responses. Some are fairly tranquil and soft, but others have a faster pace and have more of a relationship with the hustle and bustle of Newcastle city life.

The exhibition is open to the public between 26 June and 8 July and is worth a visit.

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