Boo Saville Q&A

Boo Saville: Palindrome

We spoke with British artist Boo Saville about her latest series of editions, Palindrome (Illi, Amma, Ecce, and Oro).

The title of the series, Palindrome, refers to a word or phrase that reads the same backward or forward. What first drew you to this idea?

Boo: The work and the symmetry in the work came first and then the idea of a palindrome made sense as a way to explain it. I am often looking for words and phrases which best align with an abstract idea.

These editions are inspired by your latest series of Division paintings, which are a recent extension of your abstract colourfield series. Can you tell us a bit more about how this series came about?

Boo: I have been working on ways to change the structure of the paintings for a while. I felt I was slowly disappearing into the void of the colourfield and wanted to disrupt it somehow. I had been working with shifting bands of horizontal colour and wondered what would happen if I used the centre as the starting/focal point and work out from there. The centre line then became an interesting place conceptually for me.

Did you have any artistic references in mind when developing the Palindrome series and Division paintings?

Boo: Yes, I was looking at Loie Hollowell’s work and the wider influence of Neo tantric painting. Also Barnett Newman and Agnes Martin.

The Palindrome series shifts under your gaze, and the sharpness of the parallel lines depends on the viewer’s proximity to the works. How do you explore visual perception and opticality in the new editions?

Boo: I am interested in how your perception changes from day to day, depending on many things: how you have slept, what you have eaten or if you are thirsty. Also, how time effects your understanding of a situation or memory. I also love colour relationships, I am always looking at how one colour changes within your visual register when placed next to another one. The impressionists were very interested in that too.

How do you think your painting practice influences the development of your editions, and vice versa?

Boo: I think as an artist it feels like I am just trying to ask the same question over and over again. Working with different materials helps you come at that question in a different way and may lead to new questions, which is always exciting.