Art on show in Brighton and Hove & East and West Sussex
A radiant atmosphere envelops you as you step into Naked Eye’s Gallery to view Trevor Scobie’s show. Sure, the space is light and airy, but there’s also a sort of illumination that seems to come from the paintings themselves: well lit and rich in complementaries: deep mauves and pale yellow ochres, avocado greens and bleached-out reds. Like the hype says, this show has a touch of the ‘spiritual’. The show is on during July, see the Exhibition details for further info. Russell Honeyman wrote this review, Marta Ptaszkiewicz took the photos. From a few feet away, Trevor’s paintings demand comparison with high definition photography. A complex moment in time, a unique blending of light and colour, has been caught in the flash of a camera’s shutter. But somehow there’s more depth and brilliance here. This is where painting comes into its own. Painting can add another dimension to the photographic source, whether by artistic composition – refinement of the inspiration by nature – or by the physical nature of the painting itself. For printing and photographic process can only imitate the brilliance of pure pigment painted onto canvas. The yellow ochre used in these paintings really is a complex oxide of iron, not a blend of silver bromide complexes in a photo. This yellow ochre is a clean and unmuddied tint, and it glows. Part of the secret is in the unsaturated purples in the ground, making the saturated compliments ‘pop’. This is painting and photography living in synergy, each adding to the other. Photography capturing the elusive moment; painting adding optical and conceptual depth. Now, photographers and painters inspire and feed each other. Trevor is the first to admit his inspiration comes from photographic expeditions to local rock pools, where something as innocuous as seaweed contains the colours and forms he needs to inspire a painting process that is almost metaphysical, calling forth a composition in those pale ochres and mauves. Trevor says his process is simply to keep on painting, using photographic references, until it looks right. A single painting may take several months of obsessive work to complete. He becomes lost in the process. The painter who paints to exactly reproduce what he sees in the photograph is a photo-realist, who blends the paint to look exactly like the original photo. Hyper-realists subtly play with definition of colour complements and harmonies to add atmosphere. Craig Wiley’s portraits reproduce everything from skin pores to photographic artefacts, in glossy, blended perfection and something more than photographic. What surprised me in Trevor’s paintings was only visible when I got really close. Then I found that this photo-realistic effect was not produced by blending, but by an impressionist or even expressionist painting style, apparently superimposed on photo-realistic painting. Impasto textures evoke white clay boulders, blended glossy layers evoke flint. Ripples and refractions trace filigree patters across the surface – and bang! I noticed the creatures of light dancing in the patterns. So, that’s where they found the ‘spiritual’ feeling. The photos below give a feel of the venue, but really, you need to see these paintings in the flesh to understand them at all. RH 2015.