Simon Callery



Not on display

Simon Callery born 1960
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 2540 × 3600 mm
Presented by Derek Power 1996

Technique and condition

The following entry is based on an interview with the artist, 5th December, 1996

The picture is painted on a piece of 12oz cotton duck canvas, supplied by Russell & Chapple, stretched over a wooden strainer made by the artist. The canvas was prepared with three layers of Golden's Acrylic Gesso Primer. The thin initial coat was diluted with water which had the desired effect of stretching the canvas until it was taut and flat. The second coat was applied full strength, and the final coat had a small addition of water added to the primer before it was brushed out to form a smooth, even layer.

The composition is executed with oil paint of a certain kind of consistency made by Callery himself. The actual paint is lead white which I've made from lead white pigment from Cornelissens ... I mix it with refined linseed oil, so it's just a straight forward oil paint with no fillers or anything else in it. The primed surface was covered with a layer of lead white paint into which the lines were then worked. The thin coloured lines were made with Sennelier chalk pastel sticks, drawn across the dry and still wet areas of turpentine thinned paint where the pastel has bled into the paint, creating the appearance of lines strewn across and below the white painted surface. Callery worked with brushes and a scalpel to adjust a line, or to scrape back and remove areas of paint. He described his method of painting the work as, not process orientated in the sense that there is one layer of paint, one layer of line, one layer of paint, one layer of line ... it is much more organic. I might put an area of paint, an area of line, take off a line, or put in another area of paint. It's built up unevenly and worked in sections really. I can't work over the entire surface at the same time, although when I start the first thing I do is cover the whole thing in white oil and then work into that. The whole painting becomes, a process of countless little marks, removing and adding paint until I get to the point where I can see it's a finished work.

The painting is not framed as the artist prefers to, think about the painting in terms of it's physicality as an object that exists the way I made it ... the edges, the depth, all those things are integral parts of the work, anything put on that would change the work.

Jo Crook
December 1997

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