“For these pictures to look so simple takes a surprisingly long time”
The British artist Aaron Kasmin considers abstract and figurative painting to be intrinsically compatible with each other.
As he told Wall Street International in 2013 “Although my work is known for being abstract I have also made figurative still life drawings, though until now I have kept them private. But really the chasm between abstraction and figuration is not so huge, because one is dealing with the same concepts - composition, scale, size and color. It is just the finished pictures that are radically different."
Kasmin is comfortable with these different appearances because his underlying desire is produce work that provides an aesthetic journey for the viewer.
About which he says in his gallery biography “What I am trying to convey in my work is the pleasure and beauty of looking. I compose small images which play with scale, balance, space, colour and harmony. I enjoy the idiosyncrasies of the freely drawn line. The mood and character of each work is determined by the imperfections of the human eye recreating and interpreting exactly what is in front of it.”
An interpretation that has seen the Chelsea School of Art trained artist, now in his early fifties, allow his still life drawings of everyday day objects out of the closet.
As he told the Elephant Magazine’s Emily Steer “I have had quite a few shows recently of still life drawings. I love working with chalk pencils because you can mix the colors with a high degree of sophistication. The effect of these pencils seems to evoke a beautiful vintage quality.”
A quality that Kasmin has enhanced through his choice of subject matter in his latest series of works.
About which he has said “The work I am showing is all inspired by my collection of American feature matchbooks which had their heyday from the 1930s to the 1950s. I have been collecting these matchbooks for a number of years and have managed to integrate them in to my work. The subject matter is incredibly diverse, ranging from advertising laundry services, bakers, kitchen outfitters, paint shops and restaurants to nightclubs… I love the way these small ephemeral objects portray American life and the perceived glamour of its time. Smoking and drinking were represented as cool and sophisticated–these match books remind me of the novels of Raymond Chandler and of films starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. They could easily be found in Some Like It Hot! I just wanted to celebrate these little master works and bring them to a wider, new audience.”
Kasmin’s current exhibition Lucky Strike is on show at London’s Sims Reed Gallery until the 5th of February.