Wendy Mulford Press Release

Wendy Mulford writes about Tassie Russell’s Series of paintings titled ‘Holding Space’

Tassie Russell has always been a master of imaginary architectural spaces. We have seen canvases devoted to paying homage to the golden mean, using proportion, dismemberment and reconstruction of 2- dimensional space to compel us to re-vision it as a 3- dimensional experience. Here are worlds created in which there are thresholds to step across, vertical planes that may or may not be solid, interiors we may or may not be able to penetrate. You could say it is a sleight of hand; but perhaps all art is to an extent. This is part of its magic.

Russell’s  paintings,  continue to demonstrate her skill in treating the canvas as an extension of the three-dimensional imagination. A new and interesting addition, I find, is the use of colour structurally: slabs of bright colour beguile and point up the spatial relationships within the painting.

‘Holding Space’ No1 , illustrated on the exhibition card, uses Russell’s familiar reticent palette of greys, cream and ochre: the richness of the foreground invites the viewer into pictorial space, summons you to seek what lies beyond the vertical planes. It’s a tease, an enigma, that this painter sets up : there’s an ambiguous relationship between vertical plane, and the ground.

In other canvases, a dramatic use of bold colour can be seen. In, for example, ‘Holding Space’ (No4) where white, red,  and yellow define component forms; in ‘Outside In’ (No1 and ‘No2) and this recurs in the series of smaller canvases entitled ‘Imagined Space’.

Wendy Mulford is a poet writer. She has worked with artists, as a publisher, and has published many poems relating to the arts, including the sequence The  Bay of Naples – devoted to Howard Hodgkin.  Her writing has appeared in Modern Painters and other contemporary journals of the visual arts.