A LETTER TO HAROLD SPEED
21 – 24 May
2020 marks the passing of 100 years since the seminal Oil Painting Techniques and Materials by Harold Speed was first published. That it remains in print today is testimony to its instructional value; however, it is perhaps most notable for the opening chapter in which the author launches a powerful attack on ‘modern’ art, and what he sees as its crude methods, violent use of colours and shoddy pictures.
At the centre of his own exhibition of pictures is a letter Chris has written across the century to Speed, in which he breaks the news that the likes of Picasso and Cezanne now sit at the centre of the Western canon – a necessary response to the realities of modernity, but perhaps not so far removed from his aesthetic principles as he feared
Chris fell into painting in 2012 when he was supposed to be doing something else and, fatally distracted, hasn’t been able to find his way back to where he was – not that he has tried particularly hard. He paints mainly in oil and acrylics, and tries not to limit himself in terms of subject – he paints people, interiors and from the natural world, often in combination. He says: “I suppose my paintings are about these things, then, and the narratives they suggest. However, I would like to think that if they are about anything, then really my pictures are about their own making. For me, a painting is ‘finished’ when it is starting to head to where it wants to go, but still shows the traces of how it has got to where it is. ”
Chris’ work is owned by collectors in the UK, continental Europe, the United States, Africa, the Caribbean and the far East.