10 artists, 10 weeks-Week 6. Anne Adamson
I am in Anne’s studio in Bristol eating my lunch and looking at a small canvas. There is a dog trotting purposefully towards an unseen destination. He will soon be out of sight. The location is indistinct , shapes of buildings rise up out of the haze. The time could be early morning or late afternoon. There are other small paintings of solitary dogs, a poodle pauses to listen, one paw raised. I have a strong feeling that these domesticated animals will soon become feral.
Larger paintings and drawings describe Lillipudlian landscapes, silent and remote. Geography and geology dominate. Mountains and deserts emanate abandonment. There are signs of both ancient and modern habitation. Tiny adobe style dwellings, standing stones, wind turbines, telegraph poles and relics of industrial architecture drawn in pen are dotted about a vast wilderness. A small statue of a figure on a plinth in a foreground stares into the distance hinting at a forgotten civic society. Paths lead through mountain passes into the distance.
I am attracted to these renderings of strange silent places reclaimed by nature, where small dogs roam. They are both remote and familiar, a memorial to human beginnings and a reminder of our inevitable extinction.
July 29 2012
10 artists, 10 weeks-Week 5. Melanie Russell
Melanie Russell’s paintings are a fine example of how good art can bring pleasure to any moment of daily life. It is now impossible for me to flatten a cardboard box for re-cycling without being reminded of her work.
A little knowledge of how a painting came into being can infiltrate and alter your idea of reality transforming the simplest task into an existential experience.
Its pretty obvious that Melanie loves paint in the same way that Willem de Kooning did and she makes me remember that I love paint and getting messy. She has fun with titles too. The trifle paintings are my current favourite. Not trifling as in inconsequential but the dessert. I love food and especially puddings. They evoke memories of adolescent sleep over’s and fridge raids in the dark hours.
Of course we all know that flatness isn’t flat, its just an illusion but Melanie brings joy and exuberance to the concept with her speedy confident brushstrokes and zingy colours. Its as if she can’t get it all down quickly enough. They grab your attention and pretty much hold on to it. They call ‘look at me’ and you don’t mind looking at all.
But when you look you understand that these are not frivolous paintings. They are firmly rooted in abstractionist principals just on the cusp of representation. There are distinct controlled shapes with defined ‘masked’ edges that contain the loosely applied paint, backgrounds can be muted pale colours that sometimes mix a little with stronger colours applied before the previous layer is dry. In appearance they are now only distantly connected with the everyday found object that might have kick started the process and they can start to resemble human heads or truncated bodies.
Melanie joyfully transforms encounters with the detritus of our daily lives into compelling and spontaneous desirable objects that resonate in the corners of our peripheral vision.
10 artists, 10 weeks-Week 4. Stephen Buckeridge
Stephen’s enigmatic paintings are like slowly moving warm weather systems seen from high up above the earth.
Thinly painted layers float one above the other creating a veiled delicacy. Every now and then there are gaps in the cloud layer allowing glimpses of hot earthy colours and bright moments of just after the rain freshness.
‘Falaise’, has a decorative beauty. In the centre the milky white glaze parts as if for a moment, inviting the viewer to imagine an endless fall through layers of soft pale yellow. But, there is evidence here of controlled strength and structure, irregular dark shapes guard the edges of the canvas and for a moment it feels like looking through a pane of glass into another dimension.
In ‘C form’ and ‘Prow’ the gauzy veiling has become more chalky and opaque, in places, the edges shrink away from the boundaries of the panel and linear harder edged forms are visible describing a very different landscape.
For me the real success of the work lies in a primeval quality and a growing sense of an unknown presence lurking behind the haze. Suddenly the paintings are watching. Ghostly faces float up to the surface and eyes look through gaps in the mist.
Ruth Piper July 2012
10 artists, 10 weeks-Week 3. Brendan Lancaster
For several years Brendan has been quietly exciting the attention of both artists and buyers.
His energetic intimate paintings are at the same time instantly recognisable and strange.
At first sight they deliver a soft emotional blow, then you wonder at their immediacy. Pretty soon you realise that there is so much more to know. But the pleasure is in the mystery and complexity.
Brendan’s brushstrokes are confident, tentative and questioning, he cleverly incorporates a whiff of traditional Englishness with a restless, almost joyful contemporary originality.
His recent inclusion in the John Moores painting prize exhibition confirms Brendan as a strong presence in the move towards a greater understanding and acceptance of abstraction.
Ruth Piper-July 2012
10 artists, 10 weeks-Week 2. Alexander Korzer-Robinson
Alex carves a living out of transforming antiquarian encyclopedias into multilayered scenic wonders of theatrical intensity. By breathing new life into these utilitarian books he is creating unique delectable modern masterpieces, already in much demand by collectors in the UK and abroad.
These cleverly deconstructed books are a window into a land of strange juxtapositions and unexpected sequences, revealed by his careful sculpting of the pages.
Alex has recently begun to make layered hand cut pigment prints that have all the appeal of his altered books but bring his work within reach of aspiring collectors on a limited budget.
This year he has been successful for the second time with his submission to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in London, and his work features prominently in the catalogue.
In 2011 he starred in an edition of the BBC’s Culture Show following entrants through the application process.
Ruth Piper-June 2012