Oliver Bevan: Difference between revisions

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[[Image:1965 OLIVER BEVAN Both Ways 1.jpg|thumb|300px|''Both Ways 1'', 1965, by Oliver Bevan ([[:Image:1965 OLIVER BEVAN Both Ways 1.jpg|details]]).]]
[[Image:1978 OLIVER BEVAN Co Incidence.jpg|thumb|''Co-Incidence'', 1978, by Oliver Bevan ([[:Image:1978 OLIVER BEVAN Co Incidence.jpg|details]]).]]
[[File:CONOR CRUISE OBRIEN Camus 1970.jpg|thumb|''Camus'' by Conor Cruise O'Brien, published by Fontana Books in 1970. Cover by Oliver Bevan.]]
Bevan's first solo exhibition at the [[Grabowski Gallery]], London, in 1965 featured eight Op Art paintings with [[Hard-edge painting|hard edges]] and [[Color Field|colour fields]] in black, white and shades of grey, plus red and blue in ''Both Ways 1'' and ''2''. The paintings were based on isometric projections of a cube and played on the viewer's visual perception through tonal flicker, [[Figure-ground (perception)|figure-ground reversals]] and other optical ambiguities which Bevan described as ‘a conflict between the certainty of the geometry and the uncertainty of the perceptual mechanism in dealing with it’, adding that the paintings are ‘clues to what might be possible’.<ref>''Stanislaw Frenkiel and Oliver Bevan''. Grabowski Gallery, London, 1965.</ref> The exhibition attracted favourable reviews from critics such as [[John Dunbar (artist)|John Dunbar]], [[Norbert Lynton]] and Guy Brett,<ref>John Dunbar, 'Stimulus of Opposites'. ''The Scotsman'', 7 August 1965.</ref><ref>Norbert Lynton, 'Frenkiel and Bevan Exhibition'. ''The Guardian'', 14 August 1965.</ref><ref>Guy Brett, 'Expressionism and After'. ''The Times'', 16 August 1965.</ref><ref>Norbert Lynton, 'London Letter'. ''Art International'', September 1965.</ref> with the latter concluding that it 'achieves its aim of intensifying our awareness of our perceptual processes, which implies our awareness of the visible world'. A second exhibition of ten new paintings at the Grabowski Gallery in 1967 introduced [[shaped canvas]]es and a larger colour palette to further 'provoke the viewer into an active relationship with the work'.<ref>''Double Take: Lois Matcham and Oliver Bevan''. Grabowski Gallery, London, 1967.</ref> This concept of viewer participation – whereby each person brings their own perceptual interpretation to the paintings and thus contributes to the creative process – was made tangible in a third exhibition at the Grabowski Gallery in 1969.<ref>''Oliver Bevan, Jules de Goede and Graham Gilchrist''. Grabowski Gallery, London, 1969.</ref> This featured seventeen new works, including a tabletop piece consisting of sixteen square tiles which were each divided diagonally into two of four colours and could be rearranged by the viewer to create different combinations of figure and ground. Bevan then developed the idea further, using six magnetic tiles on a square steel sheet that was covered with black canvas and could be hung on the wall like a painting. This new work, ''Connections'', was shown at the [[Institute of Contemporary Arts]] in 1969–70 as part of ''Play Orbit'', an exhibition of artworks that visitors could interact or 'play' with in the manner of toys and games.<ref>[[Jasia Reichardt]] (Ed), ''Play Orbit''. London: Studio International, 1969.</ref><ref>[http://www.fontanamodernmasters.org/03.html ''Connections'', Institute of Contemporary Arts, 1969–70]</ref> Meanwhile, a chance visit to the Grabowski exhibition by John Constable, the Art Director at Fontana Books, led to a commission for Bevan to create the cover paintings for the first twenty titles in a series on vanguard thinkers and theorists called the [[Fontana Modern Masters]]. For this Bevan drew directly on his ''Connections'' piece, creating two sets of geometric cover designs that the reader could arrange as ‘tiles’ in a larger artwork.<ref>[http://www.wire-frame.net/news.html#00007 James Pardey, 'The Shape of the Century'.] {{Webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20120328102011/http://www.wire-frame.net/news.html#00007 |date=28 March 2012 }} ''[[Eye (magazine)|Eye Magazine]]'', Winter 2009, pp.6–8.</ref> The books were published in 1970–73, by which time Bevan had also collaborated with the composers Brian Dennis and Grahame Dudley on a production at the [[Cockpit Theatre (Marylebone)|Cockpit Theatre]] of Dennis's ''Z'Noc'', a thirty-minute experimental piece in which the musicians take their cues from a constantly changing display of abstract colours, shapes and shadows that Bevan created by projecting light onto three [[Mobile (sculpture)|mobiles]].<ref>Brian Dennis, 'Experimental School Music'. ''The Musical Times'', August 1972.</ref> This led Bevan to experiment with [[Polaroid (polarizer)|Polaroid]] as a medium for other types of [[kinetic art]], and in 1973 he produced the first of his [[lightbox]]es using polarising filters and fluorescent tubes, with more complex versions employing electric motors and sets of slowly rotating discs. These lightboxes became the canvases for 'chromatropic paintings' which, as Bevan explained, enable 'colours to be selected in time as well as space',<ref>''Oliver Bevan''. The Electric Gallery, Toronto, 1978.</ref> resulting in a mesmerising display of changing colours and shifting shapes as forms dissolved and reappeared.