Evolving from French’s Duality series, TRANSCEND continues to incorporate figurative elements and the artists’ signature use of illusion, while embracing abstraction more than previous works.
In the slant towards abstraction, French allows for his work to be interpreted on multiple levels. He commented: “Abstraction is less obvious, so the images are open to a wider range of meanings and interpretations. It’s intended to offer the viewer a more personal experience - different people will see different things and read the images in their own ways.”
French is fascinated with exploring the relationship between the conscious and subconscious and this is communicated through his paintings. The figurative elements of his work represent the conscious, with characters absorbed in their own actions. The abstracted portraits in which they sit representing the subconscious, the instinctual yet hidden human drives that shape and determine the blissfully unaware subjects and make up the bigger picture.
While retaining his favoured monochromatic palette, blending charcoal, ink and paint, French’s processes have evolved with his shift in focus. He said: “These latest paintings are formed through a more abstract, improvised and free flowing approach. Rather than extensively pre-planning the structure of the paintings as done previously, for this series I worked straight onto canvas with only a very loose idea of the outcome. This allowed the images to naturally evolve, while I intuitively worked out placement and composition as they progressed.”
The show’s title reflects the fluid viewing experience of the artworks, the word TRANSCEND summarising an important part of the illusionary experience. French explains: “As the nature of the image becomes apparent, what is viewed changes and evolves. The doubled up use of imagery creates an experience greater than the sum of its individual parts. The interpretations of the characters and actions within the paintings transcend upon realisation of the bigger picture, and visa versa.”
All exhibited work is new and previously unseen; the largest pieces stand around two meters wide and the smallest 30cm. As well as highly sought originals, a number of exclusive prints have been created for the show.