I spend a fair amount of time scrolling down through hashtags like #abstractpainting looking for work that notes my immediate acknowledgement. By that I mean not necessarily works with which I am already aware of artists that have bookmarked their place in my ‘ooh I love your work’ section. My search is for the unfamiliar and genuine surprise.

I feel I have to quickly add that my diversions into new work are entirely based on my taste and the language I am used to reading … and talking. However, for this advent greeting, I may try to expand my appetite.

I also have to express my disappointment that even when I find work I am enjoying there is nearly always, no text to support or seduce my enquiry …. why, why WHY?

BUT TODAY… I am delighted to find an artist that offered a warm handshake and a ‘come on in and take a seat in the front row’ when I came across her work.

Constance de Maistre

Constance de Maistre

As a student, I studied and practiced dance as part of my expressive arts degree. It taught me a huge amount about energy and space, both filled and empty. In this piece by French artist @constancedemaistre I was presented with aspects of energy that I recognise from my dance study; kinetic, resting and the embrace of space both full and empty, grand and focussed.

The solid and earthbound centre of the work is red and rife with natural elemental ore, the colour of clay, the moulding of life and its natural passage through time. It holds together, as a constant, the flung frivolity of episodes and desires we pursue through moments of diversion about the periphery.

The weaker grey in the top left a tentative exploration of a large empty area where the brush has swept through … to taste. The movement so very light and hushed that we almost might not notice. A quiet cry for attention with a slashed and angry route back home … a rejection and retort.

Fluttering beneath, yet more dominant to the right is an intense smoky grey; devious and capable of dominance but carefully revealed to show just enough of a wild side. All edges, frayed and flicked in casual movement, still capable of freedom and will.

And that green to the bottom right, nurtured by the protective and slightly straighter shoulder of protection, blanketed by a brighter and fragile coat. It is less prone to random movement, tunnelled now in vision… focussed. Even the two light marks which seem to suggest eyes are ready to peer forward. Like the arm, now a wire from which to hang, it breaks the frame of the painting and is looking outside.

This energy and dance, which I see successfully utilised in painting so rarely, is a fundamental part of a release. We are so tentative and careful about how we express. Our movement is becoming stifled and our understanding of our potential is yet thinner.

Like this painting, look outwards… break the frame and feel free to dance.