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‘Stepping On and Off’ Acrylic on canvas 100x70x3.5cm x2, 2012


‘Stepping On and Off’ is painted in acrylic on two canvases. This

description focuses on its context, technique and message.


Context is how the painting fits into my portfolio and range of work.

What I felt at the time of painting, the influences and experience to that

point. Viewing a work through context is to recognise and appreciate the

process with reference to inform the viewing experience.


I painted ‘Stepping On and Off’ part of a range of Perceptual Abstract works, having an optical effect with strong geometric lines to create a three dimensional illusion to give depth and perspective. The image is adapted into a painting from the ascending descending conundrum.


I admire the work of other artists like Piet Mondrian, Victor Vasarely, Bridget Riley, Carl Benjamin, Frank Stella and Sarah Morris who have explored geometric abstract themes to investigate how shape, line and colour interact.


Through observation and investigation into abstraction I formed my own techniques to show tone and depth. I purposely allow the viewer to interact by using their own perspective, experience and interpretation to make sense of the painting and allow a visual mystery. By designing some regular and familiar forms, the viewer, feels more confident to be lead into what is unfamiliar and out-of-place which may demand a deeper appreciation.


Before undertaking the composition I defined a set of mathematical and predictable parameters. These rules or principles are my guide to completing a work and include width of colour bands, distances, reductions to show depth, perspective position and relationship of shape and distance apart. This systems approach feels natural and instinctive.


Stepping On and Off’ is a play on perspective, tone and colour to show depth, movement and illusion, painted on two canvases, which appear to be mirror images but to be viewed as a whole. The gap between the canvases is 35mm the width of a stripe the viewer can use the space to connect but also to isolate each canvas. If the viewer looks at both canvases together attention is drawn to the centre, the lightest area, as if looking up or down into a box, but as the eye moves along the diagonals to radiate out the emphasis becomes different.


The colours represent light and dark, sun rise and sun set, a beginning and an end but a continual throbbing, vibrant movement. The palette is within a tonal range with graduated colour changes, from yellows, oranges, and reds to browns to give depth. The striped bands of colour are repeated in the ledge with an interval of two spaces. The diagonal area can be seen as a ledge or an over-hang. The stripes give balance and direction, the viewer can decide if the significant dominant stripe is black with the colour being illuminated from behind with graduated tonal colour change, or the stripe is the graduated colour change on a black background.

                                                                                                                                                                                           John Petch, April 2015

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