Published Inside Cornwall, 2009
Kaisa Karikoski and Daphne Turner have a strikingly similar method of responding to landscape through abstract forms, yet this is resolved into two divergent styles. The result is a fascinating dialogue about what abstraction means and how shapes, lines and colours are moulded through an intuitive sense of form. Accumulated memory is juxtaposed with the stripping back of time; a sense of mining into the past.
This is not austere, staunchly abstract art with its own autonomous language only accessible to an initiated few. Far from “abandoning the representation of the kind of space that recognisable three-dimensional objects can inhabit”, which Clement Greenberg described, Daphne and Kaisa beckon the viewer into a pictorial space of great depth, rich in allusions to landscape.
Daphne’s work is descended from the St Ives School of the 1950s, Paul Feiler and Peter Lanyon in particular. Feiler’s gestural abstractions of natural forms have been a particularly strong influence. Daphne’s previous work as a textile artist also informs the balance of tone, colour, shape and texture.
Kaisa grew up in Norway before coming to England to study, eventually at Falmouth. Her work is very painterly in its approach. She admires the “simplicity and silence” of the Italian artist Giorgio Morandi, who patiently captured simple forms at different angles and varying lights, never tiring of the possibilities of paint.
Despite these different backgrounds and influences, the two are united in their intuitive approach. Daphne describes this as “trying to find the subject or feeling by means other than usual observation”. Kaisa says: “We both create form through our visual memory.”
Kaisa shuns false effects, painstakingly accumulating very thin layers of oil paint to create a subtle, sensual graduation of colour, a genuine building of light out of darkness. Witness the edges of the canvas, unseen colours that silently contribute to the impression of depth, the “reflection of a landscape of shade and light, breathing and suggesting a memory fading or coming into being”.
For this exhibition Kaisa has been “playing with the inherent tension between the vertical and the horizontal” – tree roots have been a particular source of imagery. They are imagined journeying down into the earth, while aiding growth and upward movement towards the light.
The layers of the earth are also one of Daphne’s central themes. “I have explored contrasts between above and below ground, the past and the present, the industrial remnants and the natural landscape, the massive permanent granite and the fleeting nature of man’s activity.” Muted greys, greens and blues dominate, with glimpses of burnt sienna suggesting seams in the rock. The painting process is related to the mining industry that fascinates her, a journey through layers of the landscape, weaving together past and present.
Daphne’s work has more references to recognisable features – the curve of a harbour, a ladder, a cliff top – simple lines act as descriptive signs. Daphne uses texture to a greater extent, Kaisa tonality. However, both paint with an intuitive awareness of nature, an ability to capture the ephemeral and examine it for a fleeting moment in the light.