Interview with Abi Kremer / June 2010
ST - When you're making a work, where do you begin?
AK - My work tends to happen in sequences, so I'm very much responding to previous thinking and developments. Also of course responses to unplanned stimuli, serendipity being my favourite beginning!
ST - You are obviously inspired by the natural landscape, how does this influence the generation of your abstract work?
AK - This is a fundamental starting point, certain landscapes create a fantasy dreamworld in which intuitive reponses to nature generate their own train of thought. This then leads to abstraction as a logical development.
ST - As Peter Davies put it in the catalogue of your retrospective, "... there is a dichotomy between abstract and representational intentions, the one holding the other in check." This would imply that your work can be viewed in both formalist and naturalist terms. Do you think that 'holding the other in check' is a good thing? Could the abstraction go further, or would it be to lose something positive in the dynamic?
AK - I think it is a good thing, the duality of response gives me a variety of language which I find refreshing.
ST - As David Hockney said in an interview with Peter Fuller (1977) "...it's very difficult not to deal with modernism. You cannot ignore it. The painters who do must be making a mistake. I see my own painting, continually, as a struggle. I do not think I have found any real solutions yet." You seem to have always embraced modernism. Is your painting process a struggle to find answers?
AK - Correct! Creating my visual language is a huge struggle, I only feel I have made any meaurable progress in the last few years at Holton Lee.
ST - What do you find are the especial difficulties and challenges of making your work?
AK - Fitting it in with a demanding teaching career, which only existed to support the painting.
ST - Have there been more specific challenges during your career because of being a woman artist?
AK - Just the usual, bringing up my son amidst everything else.
ST - Does your abstract work explore an 'aesthetic unconcious'; that which 'can't be said'?
AK - This is the element that drives me on, the communication of thoughts and sensations that are purely visual.
ST - Perhaps this type of awareness has been under-appreciated over the past thirty years or so?
AK - In Britain maybe, there has been such an emphasis on conceptual art that we are in danger of ignoring the fundamental 'Pleasures of Sight' (essay by Bridget Riley )
ST - How do you see the future of abstraction?
AK - It can go on and on as far as I'm concerned. It is just another form of communication.
ST - I see your work as existing somewhere between Bridget Riley's and Helen Frankenthaler's. Riley because of the influence of landscape and Frakenthaler because of unconcious influences. Do you think this is an accurate assessment?
AK - Really spot on, if you throw in a dash of Winifred Nicholson!
ST - Which contemporary artists impress you?
AK - I love Therese Oulton's work, and William Tillyer. Jeremy Gardiner is a friend whose work I admire.
ST - Is your 'knowledge of the psyche, the singular formations and hidden operations of the human mind, ... ahead of that of the scientists' in your work? As in Element 6 or Garden 2 and 3?
AK - I wouldn't presume to be ahead of scientists!
ST - Is this perhaps part of the influence of Surrealism and the Dorset landscape?
AK - There is definitely something in the coming together of landscape and imagination in my own thinking that leads towards Surrealism, we will see how it develops...
Abi Kremer - Colour and Inspiration