Chris grew up in Winscombe and after Art School in Bath and Norwich, has lived and taught in Weston for many years. He has exhibited in London, Bristol and North Somerset.
Whilst based loosely on locations in Somerset, Chris’s semi-imagined scenes are intended as a retreat into the fiction of a nostalgic rural idyll: a landscape of shadows; at dusk or in the cool morning light in which we might call to mind, birdsong or the wind rustling the leaves on a tree. Such a world is transient and insubstantial and so, in seeking to capture it, the specifics of a scene give way to shape, colour and pattern that remain in the mind’s eye after the detail has faded from memory.
Chris takes his cue from a variety of sources; notably 19th and mid-20th century British landscape painting. Although he employs all the tropes used at these times: water, sunsets, churches hidden among trees and paths leading into the distance, he remakes them by heightening the colour or altering the size and scale of objects and their shadows. In doing so, he is re-modelling various forms of Romanticism, in particular that which found a renewal in the abstracted forms of British painting, when the visual experience or sensation of a space became synonymous with its organisation.
These connections will form part of the talk Chris will give at the Museum on 21st March.
The paintings in 'Indefinite Places' are not fixed by time or location: instead, a collection of transient moments are depicted within the same still image, each relying upon strong linear elements to fix them in the landscape. As such, the importance of drawing and composition is evident in Chris’s paintings and it is good to see a selection of line and tonal drawings alongside them.