The first of our previews for the forthcoming Material Matters: Pigment symposium is: Rock Pigment Scissors: Andrew Grassie and Juan Bolivar in conversation.

Artists Juan Bolivar (Camberwell College of Arts; The Fine Art Collective) and Andrew Grassie (City & Guilds of London Art School), who started their careers together at St Martin’s School of Art in the late 1980’s, will discuss how their painting practice has developed and reflect on the role that their use of pigments has had in their work. They will explain how their relationship to material discipline has impacted on the unfolding ideological shifts in their practice and what indeed for them has remained constant. Both artists employ strategies of appropriating – including colour from external sources – yet the specificity of their exact palette and choice of medium give their works an individuality and consistent identity.

Juan Bolivar, Can I Sit Next to You Girl (after Malevich, 1930-31)
Acrylic on canvas, 142 x 164 cm

By various means of reduction, Bolivar has worked with acrylics to create playful puns on early European abstraction showing equal admiration for Malevich and the Australian rock band AC/DC , whilst Grassie uses egg tempera to paint near photographic images of virtual exhibitions and behind the scenes insights into the mechanics of the art world; each in their own way mischievously executing their own ‘riffs’.

Andrew Grassie, Archive: after Jan Merta, 2010
tempera on paper on board, 16 x 21 cm