Geometry has been a recurring theme in the history of art: from Platonic solids to Roman pavements; from Gothic paintings to Victorian households; from Russian Suprematism to the academic analyses of Paul Klee.
Exploring regular geometrical tessellations, Melvyn Robinson creates a system of painting comprising five inter-related categories.
Beginning with I Representation, Robinson imitates reality in a series of predominantly art school sketches from his home town of Barnsley, South Yorkshire.
In the following category, II Analysis, these early works are revisited and reworked in a form of structural or geometric reduction.
Next, in III Forms, Robinson explores the two-dimensional possibilities in some regular geometric tessellations.
In IV Phenomena, a new dimension is created within the geometric tessellations, that of ambiguous phenomena as well as three-dimensional perspectives.
Finally, in V Transformations, Robinson develops the previous two categories to create works where a kind of transcendental representation emerges from the geometric abstraction. Thus, the categories come full circle.
Robinson believes that these themes have emerged in his work almost by happenstance but also that they parallel some developments in 20th century philosopy.
To quote Merleau-Ponty in Eye and Mind, 1960:
“The effort of modern painting has been directed not so much toward choosing between line and colour or even between figurative depiction and the creation of signs, as it has been toward multiplying the systems of equivalences . . .”