Clough was always interested in the trade and tackle of labour; workmen’s gear and machine forms provided her with helpful visual information throughout her career, since they provided her with the necessary ‘ready-made abstract shapes’ she could appropriate for her paintings. These were translated into a formal arrangement generally hovering somewhere between abstraction and figuration. In her earlier works, such as Lorry with Ladder I, she included figures, and these, without exception, were treated as formally as surrounding objects from the building site on which they worked.
Clough’s choice of colour here is made up of a series of muted earth pigments – burnt and raw umbers, subdued oranges and low-key greys. These, while communicating something of the reality of worksite labour, also create a harmonious and economical palette. The composition is carefully balanced into a pattern of pictorial forms – diagonals, horizontals and verticals carefully structured and adjusted into a resolved arrangement.
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