Boo Saville: Gaussian

We spoke with British artist Boo Saville about her latest edition, Gaussian, and the process behind creating her colourfield compositions.

How did you create the ‘blend’ for Gaussian?

Boo: I have been using software on my computer for a long time to play around with colours and to create compositions and just get ideas, which has been part of my practice now for a while.

For this print I started using a blur function on the software called ‘gaussian’, which enabled me to make a similar blend as I was doing with my brushwork. Every time you use the function it mutes [the composition] somewhat, and so it’s that game of bringing in the colour, taking it away, and then bringing it back in to see how much energy you want to bring to the vibrancy of the piece as well as the balance of the blend and how your eye travels across the surface of the work.

Why did you decide to title this print after ‘gaussian’?

Boo: When I researched the term more, I found that it was named after a mathematician in the early 19th century, Carl Friedrich Gauss, who designed the theory of Gaussian distribution. Its use within astronomy and tracking planetary orbits particularly interested me, as I have been naming my paintings after star constellations and moons for years, so everything seemed to come together.

You have spoken a bit before about how the lockdown impacted the creation of this print.

Boo: I felt that sense of isolation and the boundary of our lives became very limited. I would go for walks and I started working in the studio really early. I liked that there was no one around and I enjoy that sort of isolation as an artist. I wanted, for my own benefit, to energise myself through the pure enjoyment of all of these colours.

And colour mixing, which is obviously a huge part of your work.

Boo: Yes it’s a huge part. For me that comes in to my work through exploring, how can I communicate something just with this very simple abstraction? How have I dealt with alleviating anxiety and the trauma in my own life? That has always been through engaging with abstraction and colour.

Is there anything you want people to get a sense of when they look at Gaussian?

Boo: All I can do is do whatever makes me feel something and then let it in to the world. I try not to inflict too much of my own agenda. I just knew that this made me feel good, feel activated in my brain. People will bring their own interpretation and I find that exciting. For me, relinquishing control when you let it out in to the world is part of the joy of making art.