Frederic Anderson

 Frederic Anderson’s practice constitutes an emotional shorthand, a self-referential language of abstract calligraphic marks and annotations of line, form and colour that are nonetheless understood by other minds. The colours are thick, sticky and pungent, the forms fugitive and the lines sparse, dissonant and aching. Situated at the origin of language, there is no beginning or end to the paintings, just an on-going ontological engagement with the processes and outcomes of drawing and painting themselves, creating something that calls for something else, like an intuition seeking a concept. 

Frederic Anderson’s paintings are at first sight free from narrative content and have no immediately decipherable meaning. Instead, they rely on spontaneous, uninhibited chromatic and compositional choices to generate charged emotional states. Sparse, dissonant arrangements of sprayed lines are laid over expanses of saturated colour. A personal vocabulary of marks is brought into play, with hesitant, juddering lines juxtaposed with loose jots, truncated signs, colourful bruises, cuts and grazes. Whether urgent and sinewy or distant and distracted, the marks ultimately remain ungraspable – the spray-paint technique employed to make the paintings communicates the specific nuance and timbre of each mark, at the same time as blurring and obscuring them. The fields they tentatively rest on provide no visual foothold either, formed as they are of ephemeral mists of diaphanous intensity. The combined effect confounds any firm positioning of the painting’s surface, placing it in a visual no man’s land between thought and materiality.

The working process embraces accident, spontaneity and improvisation. There are no pre-determined outcomes – ideas are formed, adapted, annotated, deleted, overwritten, rinsed and buried as the work unfolds. A loose colour scheme or compositional structure might provide an initial impetus, but is quickly abandoned as the specific demands of each working session become apparent. The paintings are made with momentum and urgency in order to outpace hesitation and doubt – with a rigorous and protracted editing process providing a necessary counterbalance. Evanescent marks and lines recede back through layers of adaptation and censorship, creating movement and texture – echoing the weathered urban environment, in which the quick expressionistic gestures of graffiti are applied, erased and appended.

Anderson’s practice constitutes an emotional shorthand, a self-referential language of abstract calligraphic marks and annotations of line, form and colour. The colours are thick, sticky and pungent, the forms fugitive and the lines sparse, dissonant and aching. Situated at the origin of language, there is no beginning or end to the paintings, just an on-going ontological engagement with the processes and outcomes of drawing and painting themselves, creating something that calls for something else, like an intuition seeking a concept.

Works