Eleanor Wood

Turlock, California, USA

At first glance my work appears to have strong affinities with recent Minimalist art. It is distinct, however, in being acutely tactile and imaginatively open-ended, evoking wide-ranging haptic as well as visual associations that give the work a wistful sense of age and wear. This sense is reinforced by the fact that support and medium are so thoroughly fused that it is difficult to distinguish between them.

The works are made in series and typically exhibited in groups. Stretched linen pieces have an assertion of the physical, the linen openly confessing its textile-ness. In these works the small box-like stretchers are reinforced by wax lines (or sometimes thread) which cross the surface and go around the edge towards the wall on which they hang. The materials used are very particular: oilbar, wax, thread, and Belgian linen stretched over surprisingly deep stretchers considering the modest scale of the works. The earth-like color of the linen itself varies, reminding us that the cloth is made from flax.

In the works on paper, organic and subtle color is applied in a highly diluted form in superimposed layers, each being allowed to dry before being overlaid by another. The watercolor forms a soft and blurred edge around the central geometric form, evoking the organic, while the geometry establishes an insistent sense of order. The forms float both spatially and in their relationship to the paper’s edge. There is something of aerial views or architectural plans about many of them, and there is the suggestion of the allusion to open space seen from a distance, far beyond the parameters of the paper.

The relationship between the back and the front of the work is made by pinpricks which are used in addition to pencil marks to demarcate and divide. The pinpricks bring to mind those making skills predominantly used by women which utilize pins and thread.

Titles reflect my preoccupation with boundaries, borders and parallels. These interest me both as compositional devices and because of their references to divisions between countries and between my two homes (I spend about half of the year in Central California and the remaining time in Britain).

I was born and grew up in London, and for many years I was based in Norfolk near the east coast of England. Here I was surrounded by expanses of arable fields, huge skies, and the vast open beaches that edge the North Sea. Both this particular landscape and the Californian light have had a marked impact on my work.

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