I use geometry and pattern as a means of animating the canvas: an armature on which to build colours. Linear systems are used only as a basis – the effect of colour is by far the most important factor. The geometry is simple, and the hope is that some sort of poetic meaning will float free of this framework.
I rarely plan a painting in advance – it is in the act of painting that I develop a pictorial idea, which may start with something as simple as a square of colour; it is only by making and doing (and un-doing) that I can find my way to something approaching a satisfactory result.
With colours carefully tuned to balance within pared-down compositions, the light, fresh surfaces of Lavinia’s paintings belie much deliberation and revision. No part of the painting is less thorough and considered than another. There is often a sense that the colours strain against containment, and the shapes, rather than being straight-jackets, turn out to be fluid as a result of shifting nuances between colours. A tension is generated here that dissolves the cliched polemic between ‘abstract’ and ‘figurative’ and asks: what in fact feels more real? Such questions and uncertainties are at the heart of any art worth engaging with.
This is an ongoing journey that anyone knowing these paintings over the years will recognise as continually unfolding. Though her work is grounded in a strand of modernism that includes such luminaries as Albers, Malevich, and Reinhardt, these paintings also draw from a deeper well of inquiry encompassing the works of historic painters who have examined the fundamental relations of plane to picture plane, of colour and tone, adjusting these elements to hold the eye.
Oliver Gosling ARCA