Obscure Secure

26 February – 1 March

Claudia Boese, Hayley Field and Jacqueline Utley

Obscure Secure is a project in which Claudia Böse, Hayley Field and Jacqueline Utley researched twentieth century women artists in Ipswich Borough Council’s collection and made new work in response. This resulted in an exhibition of paintings, a display of archival material and a series of talks at The Wolsey Art Gallery, Ipswich.

Obscure Secure at studio1.1 sees a reconfiguration of this exhibition. Works made in response by the artists will be shown alongside photographic documentation of the work selected from the museum collection.

A discussion event at studio1.1 led by artist and writer Stephanie Moran will reflect on the project.

Join Böse, Field and Utley in conversation, examining questions raised by the exhibition – in particular around painting, process, intuition and abstraction – that are addressed in Moran’s exhibition text.


“If thought is an act, and painting a process modelling thought, what structures these thought-acts? Intuition is a component of thinking, a grasping of patterns in order to operate in a hostile, inherently foreign and deeply unknowable world environment [1] For Reza Negarestani intuition constitutes a basic level of abstraction. Where intuition demonstrates a fundamental human neuro-biological response, instinct may form its embodied counterpart qua set of sense memory reflexes. [2]

“The use of intuition maintains the “emotional and intuitional” tradition of abstraction outlined by Alfred Barr [3], continued through 80’s psychological readings by writers such as Kristeva and Fuller, and still persisting in an ‘affective turn’. Intuition as a premise may be overly vague, anti-intellectual mystification, obscuration or reaction; it may over-privilege the body, in ‘embodiment’ and reliance on instinct in itself without the necessary ‘intertwining of intuition and reason’ to complete the ‘act of thought’. The kind of potential Negarestani describes for ‘bootlegging’ and ‘changing the shape of thought’ through mathematical abstraction may have an equivalent in abstract affectivity and its ‘structures of feeling’, but these need to be thought rigorously and specifically in art to be meaningful or useful.”

“How much are creative processes connected to gender? When biologically and neuro-biologically founded instinct and intuition inform working processes, does that make painting inherently gendered? Or is there a process of temporal retrieval of painting substance that comes from a pre-subjective, pre-gendered biological?”

[1] Reza Negarestani and James Trafford speaking at ‘Radical Geometries’, Tate Britain, 10 December 2014

[2] Reza Negarestani, ‘Torture Concrete’, 2014

[3] Alfred H. Barr Jr, catalogue introduction ‘Cubism and Abstract Art’, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1936, p19.

Extract from a text by Stephanie Moran.

for a copy of the full text email Stephanie@marmiteprize.org