“I hope my paintings create some amount of confusion in the viewer which would lead to a fascination with the process.”
The use of wool and yarn in Brent Wadden’s paintings softens the graphic lines and edges of repeating geometric forms, rejecting the usual predetermined systems and austerity attached to geometric abstraction.
The texture and unpredictability of how the wool acts resembles the accidental drips or gestural brushstrokes that might occur in a painting, while the fibre of the wool maintains the kind of emotional warmth that is deliberately absent in a flat painted surface.
By choosing to work with second-hand, or pre-used yarns and wool, Wadden is often short of the amount he needs and so compensates with matching filler which – along with the inherent process – affects the consistency of the final work and combines the aspirations of reductive modernist painting with the ’make-do-and-mend’ of a poorer domesticity.
In his Alignment paintings 10, 13 and 21, Wadden successfully merges the surface beauty and decorative connotations attached to weaving with the high-minded concerns of geometric abstraction, and echoes the ideas present in the work of such artists as Jim Iserman, Sheila Hicks and Anni Albers; openly celebrating the uneasy area between folk art and fine art.
Text by Gemma de Cruz