LondonBiggs & Collings: The Teraphim in the Camel's Furniture: Six Icons of Light
Biggs & Collings paintings are always about colour, but in this series, they focus on movement too. Everyone’s social and political reality is dramatically exploding at the moment – it’s movement in the extreme – and the ripples, spikes and semi-logical perturbations in these new paintings respond to that. The titles all come from Genesis; a book that is about weird newness and perpetual sameness both at once.
“Teraphim: disgraceful objects (household idols) Camel’s furniture: camel’s saddle
According to Genesis 31, Rachel takes the teraphim belonging to her father Laban when her husband Jacob escapes. She hides them in a saddlebag and sits on them when Laban comes looking for them, and claims that she cannot get up because she is menstruating.
From this, it can be deduced that they were small, perhaps 30–35 cm.
Her exact motive is subject to controversy amongst the commentators. Some argue she took the teraphim in order that her father not have idolatrous paraphernalia, while others explain that she wanted to use them herself.”
– Biggs & Collings.
Biggs and Collings limit their abstract compositions to grids which employ elementary shapes, mostly triangles, in order to force a type of painting dependent on colour, texture and touch. Their paintings emerge organically and reflect remembered elements from the past and present and informed by a deep interest in the history of colour organisation in modern and pre-modern art.
A colour goes next to another one, not arbitrarily but with something in mind; a relationship, and that relationship will repeat elsewhere or there’ll be an opposite or some kind of variation of it. The artists want the organisation to be logical, but it must also open and changeable, like reality. The paintings are continuously adjusted, each new colour or method of application effecting and reorganising the others.
Emma Biggs studied Fine Art at Leeds University 1976-80. She has worked as a mosaic artist for over 25 years, setting up Mosaic Workshop in 1987, a craft-based mosaic company. She has worked in cathedrals and mosques in the UK and abroad. She is Senior Tutor in mosaic at West Dean College.
Matthew Collings studied painting at the Byam Shaw Art School 1974-78, and Goldsmith’s College 1990-92. He edited Artscribe International and was the art critic on BBC2’s The Late Show. He has written many books on art and won a BAFTA for his Channel 4 series, “This is Modern Art”. He began collaborating with Emma (as Biggs & Collings) in 2001.
Biggs & Collings, High Sounding Cymbals, 2019. Oil on Canvas 130 x 130 cm 51 1/8 x 51 1/8 inches