Andrea Bolima | The Colour Before Colour
3 – 21 June
Andrea Bolima’s paintings assert their physical presence but perhaps more importantly, they allow dreamy associations to be made in the paint. Bolima’s paintings sit in an ambiguous zone between abstraction and representation and as such one can find themselves in flux between ‘here’ and ‘there’, in focus and out of focus. Her paintings are led not so much by representation as sensation.
Inspired from memory and the natural world, Bolima paints ambiguous organic forms, areas of paint may resemble cloud currents in a sky scape or leaves and trees in a whimsical garden. Her forms are never explicit. Colour and active gesture spark the feeling of such places without letting go of a painterly materialism and abstract aesthetic. Through colour and form they remind us of unspecific places and moments that are simultaneously personal, private and universal.
For Bolima, colour precedes composition in process, fields of colour are applied before surface textured marks are applied. She will apply and mix colour directly on the canvas and in doing so, creates a site of change from which she can then respond to intuitively. A practice that is characterised by varying degrees of control and lack of control, spontaneity, play and intuition.
Ivon Hitchens, whom Bolima admires, said “The essence of my theory is that colour is space and space is colour”. Bolima too uses the optical qualities of colour in order to create atmospheric space on the canvas, moving from abstraction into representation and suggestive expressions.
Bolima also uses colour for the associations they hold. A reminder of how colour is essential to our perception of the world and recognising and identifying things. We naturally try to make abstract forms and colours into signs. Pink on blue becomes clouds on sky. Her works play this game with titles such as Lavender Orange Leaves, Stormy blue, Pink Storm, Paint Garden, Where the Birds Sing and Dirty Aubergine.
The sense of change and movement in the colour tonal shifts of Bolima’s paintings is also seen in her emotive mark making. Bolima talks of ‘dreamy moments in paint’ and a time dimension is certainly felt by these paintings. Her work is informed by colour field painters such as Helen Frankenthaler, as well as landscape expressionism such as Toss Woollaston. However, where Woollaston’s paintings are rooted in landscape specificity and place, Bolima hints at landscapes that are at once familiar and general.
In her painting Bolima is interested in finding beauty in what is given to us. Her sensitive, spontaneous and colourful paintings, they allow us to attach our own associations to them, a personal response.
Benjamin Abdale-Weir 2021