'From this to that' by Neil Tunnecliff & Ian Fink.
Exhibition Dates: 6 May – 3 June.
Exhibition venue: Cupola Gallery, 178a Middlewood Road. Sheffield S6 1TD
Ian Fink, previously known for politically charged installation works, is currently exhibiting a body of original paintings for the first time which he describes as follows:
“I always struggle trying to put a creative process into words.
This work is new territory for me and the best I can describe it is a spontaneous emotional response to the moment expressed through colour and mark. A form of introspective meditation made manifest.”
Ian's exhibition consists of mounted unglazed works on board using spray paint and pastel plus a collection of glazed pastels ranging in size from only 11x11cms up to approximately 48x48 cms.
'The narrow gate' is the largest piece in the exhibition. It is a diptych measuring approximately 160 x 60cms. There is an element of other worldliness about the piece due to the rich turquoise colour which dominates the work contrasting with a shocking orange neon highlight in the centre of a pink vertical swathe positioned along the centre edges of both panels. The 'narrow gate' title seems to hint at the idea of a portal to another world. Ian has used neon paint on the reverse of all his wall mounted panels which adds a subtle but noticeable glow around the edges of each piece.
Most of Ian's work has a dominant colour which is then brought into relief with the addition of a bright or complimentary colour. The pastel work despite it's use of rich colours, for example cobolt and prussian blue enflamed with cadmium orange and yellow flashes still retain a softness or gentle quality due to the way the colours have been blended and arranged. Some images might remind the viewer of a blistering sunset or a fantastic coloured galactic nebula but nothing is distinct and you are left to respond to the colours and interpret the work in your own way. There is always a subtlety in the work that invites a second or deeper look.
Ian graduated from fine art at the University of Nottingham in 1980.
Neil Tunnecliff has been exhibiting with Cupola for a number of years and this new body of work delivers some of the qualities we would expect to find in Neil's work but also pieces with distinctly new elements. Neil says of his work:
“Experimentation and chance play major roles in the work I produce. The methods are developed through layering, deconstructing and recomposing existing visual elements. I try to lose myself completely in this process.”
Neil likes to work on a relatively large scale with many of his pieces around 120 x 60-80cms in size. His painting are usually fully abstracted colour fields created via building thick layers of paint which are then vigorously sanded back to reveal the colours from the various previously applied layers. Often the resulting pieces are reminiscent of landscape or seascape due to the shifting colour patterning and choice of colour palette, despite the lack of recognisable imagery or horizon lines. Neil's method of production also produces visual effects similar to the work of a very prominent abstract expressionist artist.
In this new body of work Neil has included, for the first time, a figure, and in another geometric shapes seem to describe a roof top skyline. The rich patterning and layering is still prominent in these paintings but the recognisable elements have created quite a dynamic shift in the way a viewer might engage with or 'read' the images. Fully abstract pieces are more than half of the exhibition but this is clearly a change in direction. We do not, as yet know, if this is an experimental phase or a foray into an entirely new direction. Only time will tell. It is noticeable that the abstract pieces generally have a cooler or more limited colour palette of green, yellow and white, whereas the images with recognisable elements are generally full of deeper, darker and more dramatic colours.