Carol Robertson’s paintings remain firmly rooted within reductive abstract conventions. Although she doesn’t seek to confirm or record the way the world looks, her work is never disconnected from it. She continues to make an informal relationship with landscape, architecture, nature and the environment. Her current work still employs familiar geometric formations, particularly circles, but in recent years she has also deconstructed the circle into arcs, thereby exploring a more disruptive asymmetry. Throughout her career she has chosen to use the square, rectangle and circle for their ideal power, for their aesthetic beauty.
“The power and beauty of geometric form and detail provides me with a catalyst for ways to make art. Adopting the formal restraints of a reductive and often repetitive geometric language takes the chaos out of what otherwise would be an impossibly vast set of visual options upon which to pin my existence. Geometry allows me to concentrate on the essential. It allows me the freedom to channel sensory or poetic material through its refined parameters. Over time my work evolves in tandem with whatever is happening in my life, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually and physically. The enduring constant is my commitment to working with the non-hierarchical and pragmatic language of geometric abstraction”.
“The circle is the most archetypal of all the forms I use: it has a universal resonance, so frequently found in art, architecture and ritual: an evocation of the universe and the heavens: the journey inwards, or outward, to or from the centre: a symbol of wholeness, completion and infinity: the unbroken line with no beginning or end: the eternal cycle”.
From 2005 onwards all her paintings are prepared with poured and stained grounds, often in many layers. These atmospheric and unstructured colour fields complement the carefully drawn and over-painted geometry. Her colour registrations evolve intuitively and are often associative: they can change frequently during the painting process. She looks carefully at the effect of each colour against or upon another. Colour is Robertson’s key to unlocking her meditations. Every painting contains a complete history of colour, each a version of memory and sensory experience.
Between 2009 – 2013 Robertson responded more directly to a state of flux and impermanence, recording notions of transience and change. Multi-coloured circles or arcs began to traverse her canvasses, sometimes with collisions and crossovers registering flashes of chance and coincidence, or summoning reminiscences of small arcane details that fleetingly curve across one’s vision.
Carol Robertson lives and works in London and is married to fellow artist Trevor Sutton. She is primarily a painter and printmaker, represented in the UK and USA by Flowers Gallery and by Peter Foolen Editions in the Netherlands. In 2005 she won first prize in the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition. She was Research Fellow in Painting at Cardiff School of Art & Design from 2003 – 2008. Her work has been exhibited extensively internationally, most recently in Sweden France, Switzerland and the USA. Since 2001 she has been a Returning Fellow at the Ballinglen Arts Foundation in Ireland. In 2012 she was artist in residence at the Kunstgarten in Graz, where she has made 3D objects for the first time. In 2013 she showed a new series of paintings titled Circular Stories at Galerie allerArt, Bludenz, Austria. Many of her paintings have been made in response to a series of residencies in the Midi Pyrenees region over the last ten years.
In the autumn of 2014 she published a fully illustrated 96 page hard-back book with her husband. Carol Robertson & Trevor Sutton – French Paintings, published by Peter Foolen Editions in Eindhoven. She exhibited large new paintings from the Circular Stories series at Flowers Gallery, London, winter 2014 -15. In 2015 She returned to the Ballinglen Arts Foundation, in Co Mayo, for a month-long Artist Residency. In 2016 she experimented with new structural elements, developing a significant body of new work employing star and triangular motifs. In 2017, with this new work, she had a solo show, Pointstar, at Flowers Gallery and showed for the first time at Galerie Gisèle Linder in Switzerland, Imprints Galerie in France and Cinnabar Gallery in Texas. In 2018 she completed a large body of silkscreen monoprints, Free Fall, launched with Flowers Gallery. She was elected an Academician by the Royal West of England Academy in 2018. In 2020 she exhibited in Sweden for the first time, at the Nordic Art Agency in Malmö.