R o b i n . S p e r l i n g

a b s t r a c t . p a i n t e r

e-mail sperlingrobin@hotmail.com

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Of course, making things simpler is easier said than done. Cutting away, scratching away at unwanted elements can be a dispiriting, frustrating process. It is one thing to find purity, quite another to explain it, to show how it works.

Harder still is convincing anybody today of the mysticism of geometry - that line and pure form can actually have power. Defining power, cleansing power, divining power. And not just as a metaphor - power for real.

A bottle scored [a technique known as 'intaglio'] with another of Sperling's grids of lines

Not everybody wants their life simplified. And almost nobody believes that pictures can be more than metaphors, that they can exert force over the world.

But when someone is engaged in a serious search, Sperling believes, sincerely looking for something clear and fundamental enough to be spiritual... other people can usually recognise that, whether they like it or not.

A design for the cover of an exhibition catalogue

Sperling is concerned with three aspects: the authenticity of the creative process, the materials he uses, and last but not least, looking at the thing itself... at the limits of the visible world.

A piece of chipboard used as a base for stonecutting

His kitchen has a map of northern Scotland on one wall for family reasons, and he worked for half a year restoring a house in the windy, bleak borderworld of Brittany on the northern coast of France, where the last surviving Celtic language outside the British Isles is still spoken. More than once he describes the Hungarian puszta as a kind of coast, even though it is hundreds of miles from the nearest sea. A kind of coast at the edge of the inland ocean - the largest landmass in the world. A beach on which history continues to wash up traces of the past and the future.

As suits his peculiar mix of the formal and the mystical, Sperling has finally found somewhere really outside - a unique vantage point from where he can look in.

Photograph by Sperling of his 1998 show at a West London gallery called 'Space8', as seen from the street

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