An Autumn Window in Somerset. Photograph by Stephen Riley
On an autumn morning in an old Somerset cottage, I saw these marks on a window. A mixture of slug trails, condensation effects and vaguely visible vegetation outside, the various shapes have created an abstract arrangement against the softly diffused morning light.
We often hear the argument that a child or a chimp could create an abstract painting, usually as a means of making the philistine point that abstract art is invalid. One might go further and say that nature itself accidentally produces abstract art, as it has here. But then, one of the things abstract art shows us is that beauty or, at least, fascination, need not rely on realistic representation (even though I have to rely on realistic representation of the abstract to bring this to your attention!).
It could be that what drew me to this vista and what made me see parallels to painting were equivalents within it to Jackson Pollock’s mark-making and, as if to illustrate the point, one of his works is actually called ‘Autumn Rhythm’.