Struan Teague’s art lies in the context of abstraction and particularly in the realm of a more sophisticated version of abstraction that demonstrates meaningfully aesthetic narratives.
He is interested in the layering of time; in other words, the artist relies on the potential dynamic of the instantaneous communication with his canvas embracing the value of creative spontaneity. In this respect, Teague aims to construct a visual vocabulary which is based on intuition allowing it to determine his artistic process. Less preparation, yet more effort on quick decisions while painting, engages not only elements of creative confidence or excitement, but also painterly uncertainty. Probably, these seemingly irreparable painting resolutions are visually crucial for the final identity of his paintings.
Words: Yannis Kostarias
Characterized by elegant line-based compositions on beautifully pale hues in background, Teague’s paintings bring up a minimal perception of motion and stillness based on his potentially unalterable painting decisions. Combinations of strong gestural strokes, such as in Say Something painting series, or softer linear markings which are almost fading away on canvas, such as in A love of contradictions, demonstrate a remarkable variety in contemporary abstraction. These opposing states between a mixture of pale colours next to detailed scratches in the painting surface create a dynamic result. On this account, these visual reflections highlight how the artist’s perception is affected by the subjectivity of the mind and its linking experiences each time.
Drawing or printmaking are also a significant part of Teague’s artistic process. They are shaped by the same artistic motifs and ideas of abstraction. Cy Twombly’s wide-range visual and abstract vocabulary came to my mind. Similarly, Teague’s artworks present crisp visual depictions and impressive contrasts rather than showcasing single subjects. The viewer’s eye becomes inventive while presuming the artist’s hand movements during the painting process that interestingly fuses oil, pastel, dirt, enamel and acrylic.
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Struan Teague (b.1991) lives and works in London and Düsseldorf. He got his bachelor degree in Fine Art from the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design. His work has been exhibited worldwide from Spain, Germany and Italy to Mexico and China. He also selected to undertake an art residency at the Lepsien Art Foundation aiming to enhance his artistic development. Now, the Art Verge is in conversation with this very talented emerging artist, trying to investigate some other interesting aspects of this promising career and life.
Can you tell us about the process of making your work?
I use very simple materials and try to avoid thinking too much about process. There’s always a few paintings in the studio which I work on for a long time and become very heavy, but my favourite paintings are the fastest ones which come as a total surprise. Every day the lay out of my studio totally changes as I move works around, and it’s through this process of movement and looking that marks and decisions are made.
Do you have a favourite book, film or painting, which inspires you?
Man in the Holocene by Max Frisch
When was the latest video you watched on social media and had an impact on your mood? Which one?
I was sent a video of an elderly couple trying to walk the wrong way down an escalator this morning, they never reached the bottom but refused to turn back, I guess you could say it was motivational. Shout out Subway Creatures.
Creating a new painting is a solitary process. If this applies to you, when you concentrate on a new artwork does it affect your social life at all?
Yeah for sure, I tend to work really intensely for a couple of weeks at a time, spending long hours in the studio. But then it’s so important to take time off regularly and be a normal person again for a few days.
How do you know when a painting is finished?
When it’s a really good painting it’s easy to know, there’s nothing worse than an overworked painting.
Which exhibition did you visit last?
Richard Tuttle at Modern Art
What does your mum think about your art?
I’m lucky, my mum’s a really good painter and often understands my work better than I do myself.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Neither, I like a slow morning and an early night.
Which are your plans for the near future?
The next couple of months I’m finishing off my residency at the Lepsien Art Foundation in Düsseldorf, then I’m moving to London in the summer to set up a new studio and get a better view of the total collapse of the United Kingdom.