Artist's description:

Wikipedia: Circle - the set of all points in a plane that are at a given distance from a given point; equivalently it is the curve traced out by a point that moves so that its distance from a given point is constant.


We all know what a circle is but reading a stark definition is disorienting in the extreme.

What we need is The Short Hisory of the Painted Circle.

Wassily Kandinsky's (1866-1944) most famous work 'Squares with Concentric Circles' was not supposed to be a painting at all. It was merely a study, by the putative father of abstract art, to check colour combinations. SwCC - a patchwork of squares each containing multicoloured concentric circles - looks like it took Kandinsky about an hour and forty minutes to execute one dull afternoon while he was waiting for an Amazon delivery. And yet now, the last time I checked, you could pick up a copy of this simple creation in the poster department of your handy Nordic flatpack furniture depot to stick on the wall above your Kivik sofa. The handpainted circles are rough, ready - a competent 7 year old trained elephant could make a decent stab at them - but undeniably striking.

In fact SwCC is so eye catching that our very own Newlyn magpie - Sir Terry Frost RA (1915-2003) - must have spotted it shining out like a silver bangle in a silage heap and thought it would be a good wheeze to adapt the idea for his series of prints 'Orchard Tambourines.' Sir Terry, who was resident professor at The Bright Simple Shape School of Art and Design, might have made the circles brighter, simpler shapelier than Kandinsky, but the provenance is clear.

Now fast forward to 1988 when Damien Hirst (b 1965) went one better than WasKan and Sir TelFro with his own infamous Spot Paintings - a tidy grid of accurately painted circles on a white background, painted with house paint (the same colour rarely re-used), the space between the circles being equal to the diameter of the circles, and all of them given a tongue-twister title from an index of prescription drugs (Iodomethane- 13c, Abalone Acetone Powder etc). Hirst admits to painting only five of his spot paintings with the other 995ish done by Hirst Serfs, or possibly, these days, industrial robots. Hirst took Kandinsky's original idea and simplified it to the max. The next step down is either the Japanese flag or a black hole on a black background.

It would have been a satisfying story arc in this not so rounded history of the painted circle to revisit and somehow rework Kandinsky's circles but, alas, art doesn't work like that; art moves on. I have flown off on a considerably more complicated and involving tangent than Kandinsky, Frost or Hirst with my own addition to the circular canon, City Lights, which may look like a traffic jam of planets in a crowded galaxy far away but in reality is more mundane - a collection lights in a city.

Wikipedia: City Lights - painting by Steve White comprising a random collection of coloured circles on a black background representing night lights in a city which looks very nice and is very reasonably priced.

Materials used:

Acrylic paint

City Lights (2017)


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This artwork is sold by Steve White from Netherlands

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