Building a relationship between hand and eye – Abstraction of a close reality.

I’ve been looking at Prunella Clough after a suggestion by T.A.

The Tate have a good Archive of her work along with associated visual research she had collected over time.

Her photographic collection of ideas says, to me, that she saw the world in a similar way to me when looking through a camera lens.

“Clough was attracted to the abstract qualities of everyday objects, which she photographed in surprising ways, such as in close-up or cropped. Sometimes she cropped a photograph after it had been taken by choosing a section of it, cutting that section out and framing it. Cropping dislocated the viewer’s perception of size and scale, making it easier to see an object as a pattern or shape.”(@Tate, 2019a)

I’m quite intrigued by the way she reworked things. Something sadly very lacking in my own practice. It is something I should endeavour to build in to my relationship with my work. I think this way of working will inspire a way of mark making which is still governed by chance, and having decided not to work with the waste laser cut boards I now need to find a way to build an element of chance into my processes in a different way.

The Tate’s Biography of her work and approaches speaks of her ability to capture not only the working lives of those who were around her but also her ability to capture the texture and colour of the landscape around her. Not the pretty open countryside but the factories and lorries, the “seemingly commonplace, the brightness of the plastic detritus and the grimy texture of the buildings” become “beguiling” under her hand.(@tate, 2019b)

“The abstracted images Clough developed from her studies of these commodities constitute a unique episode in the artist’s sustained meditation on the gradual movement from an industrial to a post-industrial economy in Britain”. (Spencer, 2019)


The titles of her work reflect the concerns she had i.e. Wrapper (1985), Iridescent (1987), Sugar Hearts (1987), Toypack: Sword (1988), Sweetpack (1988), Vacuum Pack (1988), Plastic Bag (1988), and Party Pack (1989).


This change in tack had a cumulative and positive effect on her career. With Art Critic Patrick Heron writing the introductory Essay to her Catalogue for Kettles Yard in 1996 in which he said ““fascinated . . . by many of those products of the present age whose magical potential she alone has perceived and in her paintings has insisted on celebrating”  Shortly before her death in 1999 she received the Jerwood Prize for Drawing.(Spencer, 2019)