Steven Rendall

(Text to accompany 2011 exhibition at Sarah Scout)

SR: So Bryan do you have a preference regarding which font we should use for this text?

BS: Shut up Steven. That’s not what we should talk about. I think we should talk about these paintings. (Here Spier gestures to a chromatically replete and optically charged painting which is hanging amongst the expended materials and detritus of the studio space.)

SR: Oh. All right. Analytical models I find useful might be found in Gilles Deleuze’s cliché, catastrophe, diagram and modulation trajectories in relation to the act of painting(1). Do you find any allegiance with these models?

BS: Listen closely – there is a residue of representation in the diagrammatic aspect of these paintings. The rhythm and striation you see in these paintings weren’t made on a whim. They come from an incidental outline that is made specific through drawing and this drawn outline is then sequenced and mutated through the paintings.

SR: …but the primary aspect I see is an articulation of colour. I don’t recognize the drawn shape. But I do recognize, if that’s the word, the colour and your direction of its performance in these paintings.

BS: Hue. Chroma. Value. Yes. But the drawn shape and how it is represented is important – it is evidently abstract and deliberately specific despite it’s apparently incidental origin. Colour emerges through this paradoxical drawing process.

SR: On the subjects of abstraction, process and specifics I would like to ask about the title of one of your recent paintings – Sydney Road Boogie Woogie. This title obviously refers to Mondrian.

BS: Obviously. But weren’t we were talking about colour and paradox?

SR: Um. Yes. But I was wondering if you might talk about that particular title.

BS: … well it goes back to my point that the shapes and forms you see in the paintings aren’t arbitrary. They are deliberate and planned sequences of investigations into the dialectic between space and abstraction via colour. That particular title arrests anonymity and cliché by locating the geographical and abstract considerations that the painting is dependant upon. Mondrian and Sydney Road can coexist and correspond.

SR: On coexistence and correspondence, would you agree that the coexistence of modulated colour and stuttering line correspond with the cascade of instability that you have said is the heart of your concern with colour?

BS: The colour is held in a haze. The haze… instability… (At this point Spier’s comments become indiscernible) … a sequence of pictures that each represents a particular number of instances, in this case the sequences of carefully mixed colours that are already functional but not utilized. Which brings me back to the specificity of the drawing aspect I mentioned earlier… the drawing… (Again Spier’s words become indiscernible).

SR: …but instead of suggesting obscurity or vagueness the term ‘haze’ that you used to describe the mood of this painting could infer the mist that is caused by the aggregation of particles and dust in the atmosphere. In other words a suspended substance causes the manifestation of chemically accountable colour in the atmosphere. Could this be analogous to your comment that “To tackle colour I find it necessary to make abstract pictures” ? (3)

BS: Hmmm. That might be a rather simple analogy but I suppose it’s workable. The atmosphere after all is in constant motion and I have mentioned the motion studies that might be found in Duchamp or Muybridge. A haze, or a cloud of extraordinary complexity can be generated from the simplest gesture, in the case of these particular paintings, the tracing and dividing of a specific shape. Also this time I have permitted the colours to multiply their interaction through transparent layering of modulated and, because they interact, modulating colours. This gesture provides the kick off, the cue for phased striations across and through any perceived space.

SR: Any perceived space?

Steven Rendall 2011 (4)


  1. Gilles Deleuze, Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation, trans. Daniel W. Smith (London: Continuum, 2003), see chapter 12 in relation to the diagram.
  2. Piet Mondrian, Broadway Boogie Woogie, 1942-43. Victory Boogie Woogie, 1942-44 should also be recalled especially as the title was not appended by Mondrian but applied later in reference to victory in World War 2.
  3. Comment taken from a transcript of a talk given by the artist at Heide MOMA, 18th February 2011 as part of a public program to coincide with the exhibition Colour Bazaar (curated by Sue Cramer).
  4. Despite appearances, Rendall fabricated this interview excerpt. It is partly based on the retrieved memory of conversations with the artist. Apologies for any misrepresentations are heartfelt and genuine.
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