Paul Benney and Simon Edmondson both believe in the power of old masterly painting techniques, but turn to more modern subjects suggested by dreams and the imagination, though they are not always easy to pin down.
In his introduction to the catalogue, film historian, Mark le Fanu, points out that both have been influenced by the post- apocalyptic visions of cult filmmaker, Andrei Tarkovsky. In Benney’s Auto-da-fé, an array of electrostatic charges leap off the water’s surface, ‘recalling the haunting shafts of artificial lights illuminating the sky in the river-crossing scene under enemy fire in Ivan’s Childhood. Similarly, the massed collection of paper debris that is piled up against the staircase in Edmundson’s blue and sepia oil sketch, Pasamanos, is reminiscent of the dream sequence in Tarkovsky’s final film, The Sacrifice, where - in the midst of some imagined future disaster - scatterings of litter float from the sky.’
With Tarkovsky, they also share a fondness for roofless ruins, temples without a God, in which a certain peace and beauty can be found, says le Fanu. But, he adds, ‘the sinister and the demonic have their place in these paintings too. So there are dreams and there are nightmares…both have a call on us.’
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