Art on show in Brighton and Hove & East and West Sussex
The 20 Painters exhibition at Brighton’s Phoenix gallery showcases the vigourous resurgence of figurative painting and the painterly style in contemporary art. Review by Russell Honeyman 8 February 2014.
The works on show fill the senses with vibrant colour and energy in a way that only large scale painting can, and the excited reaction of the crowd provided confirmation – if any is needed – that figurative painting is back in vogue. By figurative painting, I mean painting that is neither representational, nor abstract, but somewhere in between. Traditional painting that’s been informed by photography, abstraction, and digital art to yield a new painterly abstraction.
Tom Banks’ huge canvas ‘Canopy’ greets the visitor. A pleasing combination of orange and deep purple with flashes of red and green turns out to be a life size painting of a caravan hidden behind some greenery. It’s night. The inky-darkness is almost velvety in texture. The light inside the caravan beckons, private. The interplay of light and dark on the forest floor looks like the ripples on a sea bed. The subtleties of colour and texture must come from observation of life. The artist says in his statement that he gets his inspiration from walking at night. The precision feels photographic. But the luxurious sensuality of the oils enhance the heavy darks and bright highlights and takes the painting beyond realism and beyond photography.
Deeper into the gallery, I was absorbed by the more expressionist work of Geoff Hands and Julia Barnes, and I peered for a while into Jake Wood-Evans painting that references Francis Bacon’s visceral examination of the nature of the human clay. Becky Rose’s blooms of colour feel like stormy skies, but there’s a dirty discomfort – these angry clouds are man-made. These works and others are pictured below.
Phoenix Brighton’s artistic manager Karin Mori said the gallery is committed to providing a platform for local artists and to facilitating collaboration between artists. The artists selected for this exhibition are based in Sussex, Surrey and Kent.
An excited crowd of scores of artists and admirers thronged the preview. Sussex Artbeat was among them and took these photos (below). These are event pics, not studio photos, so the colours may not be accurate. To experience the full impact of this wonderful exhibition of contemporary painting, you need to get down to the gallery and take a look yourself. It’s free to enter and open Weds – Sun 11am – 5pm, 8 February – 30 March 2014.
See below for selected pictures of the show. For more info, list of the 20 artists selected for the show, workshops for painters taking place during the show, etc: click here >>> http://wp.me/p488Yn-dl
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