with Caroline Wallis, Geometrician
With a grant from Artists Books and Writings Inc. New York
288 pages. Over 400 colour illustrations
Publication date: 1st December 2011 Softback £48
A collection of 16 essays on the artist’s painting and works for the theatre between 1910 and 1924. The essays explore the colour theories that gave rise to her abstract painting and the basic laws of structure that gave order to her Cubist, Simultaneist, Non-Objective painting and her stage and costume design. Contemporary accounts of her three plays, Famira Kifared, Salome, and Romeo and Juliet are included together with extracts from Alexander Tairov’s, Notes of a Director (1921). The book closes with a detailed and illustrated Chronology of Exter’s exhibitions and paintings.
From review by Christina Lodder, Journal of InCoRM, 2013, 67-8
“While some of Exter’s Cubist canvases can appear rather tentative and do not seem to depart radically from Western prototypes, her abstract paintings demonstrate a bold and original approach to the orchestration of pictorial form. They are powerful and dynamic, using colour and shape to create a great sense of energy. These mature works are breathtaking. Precisely how Exter managed to produce such effects forms the substance of this book by Dr Patricia Railing.
In fact, this is a unique volume. Not only is it one of the first in-depth studies of Alexandra Exter in English, but it also focuses on the works themselves: the way that they are structured in terms of composition and colour, and the optical effects generated. Dr Railing analyses the works in great detail, examining the theory and practice of Exter’s approach to colour, elucidating the geometrical precision underlying the pictorial compositions, and relating the approach to the art discourse of the period. This type of profound investigation provides the reader with a real understanding of the process behind the making of these paintings, while the author’s probing remarks and focus on the nature of seeing and viewing actually make the reader look at the works themselves in a new way.”