Christopher le Brun
December sees the opening of Art Space Gallery's annual Winter Journey exhibition, an exhibition that takes its name from Schubert's Winterreise song cycle set to Wilhelm Müller's poems which describe an allegorical journey of the heart. Reeling from the loss of his loved-one the songs represent the voice of the heartbroken poet who, reconciled to his loneliness, describes his journey through the cold, darkness and sombre winter landscape which mirrors the mood in his heart.
This year's Winter Journey again brings together the work of six artists who are deeply concerned with the nature of the world they live in and their relationship to it. Drawing on their own personal histories and references to myth, literature and to philosophy we see each artist seeking out their own identity through the act of looking and painting. Like Schubert's hero they describe a journey both painful and enlightening.
Christopher Le Brun's haunting canvases of dark forests, pale moons and lengthening shadows have an air of disquieting calm and tense melancholy. Martin Greenland, who was first prizewinner in the 2004 John Moores, brings about a unique marriage of the realist and the visionary. Utilising light, shadow and illusion to great effect, the resulting vistas are appealingly familiar yet vast and foreboding.
Julian Cooper & George Rowlett go out into the landscape to work and each has the rare ability to look at landscape and see its material reality and its spiritual potential. Cooper attends to the scarring of the Lakeland landscape by those who quarried for stone and minerals and Rowlett offers an expressionist handling of obsolete fishing boats slowly rotting on a Kent beach: icons of a seafaring tradition and the perilous journeys they once made to dangerous waters.àÂ
Jeffery Camp has long focused on the fragility and flux of nature. His are images of supreme sensitivity where real places are overlaid with imaginary events that offer a fractured but poetic and dream-like view of the world. Stephen Finer on the other hand gives us darksome, melancholic figures in an abstract landscape space which he balances with traditional painterly concerns that convey a deeply felt sense of a pained human presence.
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