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Darren Almond | Full Circle

Darren Almond

Full Circle

4 October – 14 November 2021


4 October – 14 November 2021



‘Full Circle’, a new group of paintings by Darren Almond, takes the four seasons as a given structure for conceptual abstraction. Almond looks to nature and the constructs of time, contrasting the modern numerical quantification of time with a more ancient, celestial rhythm.

With these ‘landscapes’, Almond expands and extends the language of his earlier works with the addition of a compositional counterpart. In these new paintings diagonal batons of colour now appear to rain across the picture plane, a binary action that ‘redefines spatial awareness’. As the artist states, ‘two sides of a limitless logic are now drawn together and united through the nature of vision’.

An installation shot with two Darren Almond paintings hung in a corner An installation shot with two Darren Almond paintings hung in a corner
A cropped image of Darren Almond's photograph 'Fifteen Minute Moon' (2000)

‘There are two things...the eye for the vision of nature and the brain for the logic of organized sensations.’

— Paul Cezanne
Digital image of Paul Cézanne's painting 'Foliage (recto)' (1895)

Paul Cézanne, Foliage (recto), 1895
Watercolor and pencil on paper, Collection of MoMA, New York

Digital image © The Museum of Modern Art/Scala, Florence

Darren Almond

Mont Sainte-Victoire (Pink Moon), 2021

Almond's fragmented numerical integers, as drawn from base ten (the reductive method of assigning a place value to numbers), are now freed from the conceptual rigours which were previously informed by order and logic. Combined with cascading accents of colour that appear to float across the grid of canvases, the compositions are informed by the representation of nature in Japanese aesthetics and its ability to capture seasonal change and the sublime landscape − the very essence of beauty. Treating the grid as a gateway to the abstract and numbers as the conduit of a ‘common language’, Almond’s paintings are an abstract field of representation, a codified pattern rooted in memory and sensorial experience, and the artist’s own encounters with the landscape.

A photographic image of a zen rock garden

‘There are many ways of seeing, but the truest and best is with intuition, for it takes in the whole, whereas the intellect only takes in a part. Pattern is born when one reproduces the intuitively perceived essence.’

— Yanagi Sōetsu
A digital image of a Japanese scroll, cropped to highlight a detail of a red circle over what looks like a foggy body of water

Japanese scroll (detail), date unknown, artist's collection

A third element enters the ‘timeframe of reading when looking at these paintings’. Across their surfaces' Almond has applied and burnished precious metals and alloys that are integral to the compositions. These elements reference the tradition of icon painting and also the conflicting ​ideas of wealth, power and spirituality. The very nature of these materials is such that any glimmer of ambient light situates the paintings in real time, so their surfaces operate at that almost imperceivable, liminal distance between memory and the present.

A photo of forest trees with red and orange leaves and what looks like a stream running through the middle

Although no one has yet seen them fall, The colourful maple leaves in the mountains are the gold brocade of the nights.

— Ki-no-Tsurayuki, Kokin wakashu, ca.tenth century

Darren Almond

Nikkò Fall, 2021

A cropped image of Darren Almond's 'Fullmoon Baltic Horizon' (2015)

‘The eye and fantasy feel more attracted by nebulous distance than by that which is close and distinct.’

— Caspar David Friedrich
A detail of a Darren Almond painting featuring diagonal marks in different colours
Portrait of the artist, Darren Almond

Darren Almond

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