John Virtue Towner Gallery Eastbourne

This exhibition is quite overwhelming. The scale of the paintings is magnificent. The triptychs are 21 feet wide. You have to really negotiate the canvas with your eyes to take in the whole composition (and that’s the point, it makes you feel so small against the sea). As a confirmed colourist I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the paintings but I was bowled over by them. And they don’t lack colour – the greys are so expressive. I really enjoyed the light grey over black, with white overlaid and them some dark grey on top and so on. The marks are amazing, as are the layers of texture and paint on the surface of the painting.
I hadn’t been aware of his association with the National Gallery and that he had completed a residency there from 2003-2005.

John Virtue The Sea

John Virtue The Sea

The was my favourite painting from the exhibition. The simplicity is very disarming and I really like the light square in the top right hand corner.

Brian Rutenberg Studio Visit 39 – YouTube

Brian Rutenberg Studio Visit 39 – YouTube.

accessed 27 June 2014
Not for the first time, Brian Rutenberg talks about ‘disappearance’ in painting – he is a landscape painter but he paints until the image of landscape disappears. This is such a helpful comment to me at the moment. I am starting to ‘get’ this and see how it could happen in my paintings – in fact making something appear, without trying is also starting to happen.

Brian also talks about William Edmondson in this episode

Heather Duncan – Morcambelake Art Wave West

Heather Duncan’s paintings are joyful representations of the landscape. I liked her compositions, especial one painting with a dark sky and light ground, called At the top of my World.

Heather Duncan

Heather Duncan

She created a clever cruciform with a wide light area going up to the top of the painting and then a narrower dark area going down to meet the bottom edge – very effective.

Her painting called Tamar was the best interpretation of the viaduct that I have seen – so often it is quaint and twee. It is an exciting painting and I like the use of colour – I found there was too much in the painting for my taste, but again I liked the way she had created a kind of a grid – a pattern emerging here.

Heather Duncan

Heather Duncan

The promotional material for the exhibition showed another grid based painting: allotment

Heather Duncan

Heather Duncan

Ashley Hanson Open Studio at Shire Hall Bodmin

Visited Ashley Hanson who was operating a 3 week Open Studio in Shire Hall, instead of working in his usual space – his garage. His paintings were large and colourful and for me, very appealing. His use of complementary colours was excellent. I also like the way he used aerial vision and then subverted it with upright depictions of tall buildings. The City of Glass series is based on a detective novel written about Manhatten. Ashley lived in New York for a while.

The grids in the paintings are road layouts, the people represent people in the book. It’s a very interesting approach to finding source material for paintings. He showed me a diptych, each painting with a figure carrying a case, and seen from behind. They represented two characters in the book who were seen leaving a train.

Both characters fit the description of a man that the detective was meant to be following. The paintings are about the choice which character should be followed. The arrangement of colours and composition of the paintings lead the viewer to favour one choice rather than the other.
Ashley told me that he always works with two complementaries and one other colour in his paintings. He certainly has excellent sensitivity as to which red he puts with which green. He was achieving the Hans Hofmann effect of push and pull.
Ashley had been exhibited in the National Open at Chichester – not sure which year.

Mike Walker at Gallery Muse Petersfield

Mike Walker - Artists' Talk

Mike Walker – Artists’ Talk

Mike Walker at Gallery Muse, Petersfield
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Artist’s Talk at Gallery Muse

Mike Walker

Mike introduced us to his show ‘Sequence’ and discussed how his recent work has surprised him with the quality of what had started out as samples, after creating 4 new, large scale lino blocks. His original plan was to join these together to make a very large print (4xA1), but he recognised that his ‘samples’ were in fact important prints in their own right. He continued to create layers on top and develop the work as individual pieces. This reinforced, for me, the need to have an open mind whilst working, so as not to judge work too hastily.

Mike spoke about his attempt to capture energy in his work and I think he succeeds in this – some areas of his prints are ‘crackling’ with activity (another member of the audience’s description) yet somehow the overall effect of the work is a sense of calm. Several people mentioned this aspect.

Mike’s influences are Pollock, Callum Innes and the writings of Bridget Riley. He has avoided ‘copying’ Pollock by insisting that his drawn lines come off the picture plane (unlike Pollock where they are contained within the picture) but he says that he now has the confidence to allow the lines to loop back into the image.

Gallery Muse is a small gallery in Petersfield, and is an ideal venue for a solo show for emerging artists.