Katrina Blannin recently graduated with a Painting by Practice PhD at Worcester University completing the project in 2021. Due to Covid restrictions a viva show was unfeasible but now it has been possible to invite her back to install some of the resulting art works in a new configuration for the Art House Gallery.
Ma is for mother. For the last seven years Katrina Blannin has been investigating the formal structures and patterns found in the Madonna del Parto (1465) by Piero della Francesca; a visibly pregnant Madonna flanked by two angels holding open the door of a tent which creates a frame for the ensemble. The fresco has a shallow depth of field, and the surviving fragment is perfectly square. The resulting paintings and prints could be described as transpositions where various aspects of the overall construction of the fresco; its bilateral or heraldic symmetry; its figural layout and the chromatic and spatial relationships are translated into geometric constructions.
The title Ma also refers to the Japanese artistic term for the negative space between objects – a pause or perhaps an interval that is given the same importance as positive space (shapes/events): a space that is simultaneously empty and full. Considered to be essential to the balance of an artwork or literature, the concept also describes the space between two opponents in karate. Katrina Blannin’s current practice explores the notion of ‘flat space’ and geometric construction where both negative and positive space (figure and field) are considered equally and create a foundational premise for systems-based chromatic patterns. Both the binary nature of Ma and the Ma in Piero’s fresco is appropriated to provide a double meaning for the exhibition.