Matisse influences

Matisse stands out as a major influence in my work. As much for his approach to art as the results. He practised his art in a methodical way with such an emphasis on questioning that his visual language never seems tired or mannered. Obviously his use of colour is far-reaching in impact on painters  - yet it is personal at heart. His paintings were about spaces rather than places. The colours add up as they did earlier in Cezanne to create space and an overall light  - Matisse never relied on local colour or sought local light/atmosphere - even when landscape was overt. I am always acutely aware of his making of the painting - the knock about of composition. One of the greatest lessons is his reworking - so much abstract   art has a "hit and hope" approach (more prevalent in North American abstraction possibly than Europe - probably due to numbers though) Matisse is maybe less a celebrated artist there than say Cezanne or even many renaissance painters. These others simply look more "art-like" in their palettes. Greenberg (I met him in 1991) used to ponder that Morris Louis's best works were his veils (knocked back into artness by that black/brown wash) - look instead at the columns/stripes (never thought of Louis as a stripe painter) - here the language is more radical - colour builds momentum and more importantly builds rather than occupies space - this is out of Matisse in ambition.