texts/catalogues exhibitions   collections   1990 - 1999   2000 - 2013 2014 - 2023
contact   1969 - 1975 1976 - 1980 1980 - 1989

Colin Crumplin is a painter who has had solo shows in London, Brussels, at MOMA Oxford, the John Hansard Gallery in Southampton, Arnolfini in Bristol and galleries in Salisbury,Cheltenham, Brussels and Bath and he has taken part in group shows throughout Britain and in Milan, Luzern and New York. He has curated shows in London, Southampton and Luzern.

His work is in many collections including those of the Arts Council, British Council, Cecil Higgins Art Gallery, Chippenham Museum, Contemporary Art Society, Creasey, Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, Russell Coates, Saatchi, Southampton City Art Gallery, Southampton
University and Ulster Museum and Art Gallery.

Born in Hertfordshire in 1946, he studied in Leicester and at Chelsea and the Slade and taught at several schools of art, principally Bath Academy of Art – now Bath Spa University – latterly as Reader in Fine Art.

The white pieces made between 1969-75 were shown in Oxford, New York, and in London at the ICA and Garage. They are concerned with looking and seeing. Handmade white surfaces have patterns of small drilled holes, making full stop sized, definitive marks which are at the
limits of visibility, making an experience akin to looking at the night sky. They use the recognition of repeating patterns, many using chance configurations and, in later works, an increasing use of different sizes of marks, each visible from a different distance.

At the same time, the 100 Hommage a Queneau drawings, a compendium of references and manners of drawing made in response to Raymond Queneau's 'Exercises in Style', were made between 1972 and 1975 and published as a book in 1977, as well as being shown in Oxford, London and Salisbury.

From this point almost all works start with a swiftly made chance-based event which is then paired with a slowly constructed image or object 'suggested' by the first event.

The first of these works explored the basics of painting in both material and stylistic terms. Acrylic paint of limited palette - typically red, yellow and blue or green, orange and violet - were spread, folded or thrown or some combination of these. These 'starts' were the basis for a copy
of some kind. All are governed by simple rules. For example the 'Folded' paintings lay out a sequence of folds that are then 'copied' using different painting manners, somewhat akin to the “Hommage a Queneau' drawings, and the 'Coincidence' group typically proceed with a 'game'
of throwing and systematically copying spoonfuls of paint until two events coincide on the canvas, at which point the work is complete. The 'Spread' paintings use handfuls of paint to make a gesture across the canvas which is then reworked. Works of this kind were shown in
London in 1977 and 1979 and in Milan and elsewhere.

The objects made between 1980 and 1984 developed the use of 'chance' starts, typically hand gestures in wet plaster or clay. The groups and assemblies of objects used casting and moulding as methods of copying and resulted in more allusive forms than those in paintings up
to this time. Work of this kind was shown in London, Arnolfini, New York and Bath.

In subsequent work a folded and blotted start - again typically made with red, yellow and blue or orange, violet and green acrylic paint - is paired, over time and sometimes many years, with an image either taken from the news, provided by others, or from a photograph made specifically, and a painting is made from this. Works of this kind have been shown throughout Britain, in Brussels and in New York.