studio1.1, London is delighted to be showing new work by the Flemish painter Yves Beaumont, together with the UK artist Ruth Philo, in an exhibition which traces the progress from place to abstraction, from topography into paint.
The title, inspired by Gainsborough's famous words - 'I'm sick of portraits and wish very much to take my Viol da Gamba and walk off to some sweet village, where I can paint Landskips' gives the broad connection between Beaumont and Philo's abstract/ed paintings. That Gainsborough's language recalls for us his love of the Dutch landscape tradition brings us to another connection between the two, Beaumont and Philo habitually using the flat North Sea coasts of Belgium and England respectively as starting points for their wanderings.
We are also reminded that the landscape needed to be invented for pictorial ends, pulled forward from its place behind and beyond some alfresco Madonna to become the entire subject of the painting, and that it was painters from the Low Countries who on the whole produced this revolution. Philo in her more distanced paintings goes further, invents a new landscape, indeed 'paintscape', not a view of the outside world but of her recollected experience of it, in paint and canvas. Toughly material, (in paint and canvas), these paintings fix a fleeting moment, a record - revealing condensed histories within their surfaces.
Beaumont for his part, records histories written upon the land by wind and water as well as human intervention, presenting us with clear landscape signifiers bringing location into the abstract question. His works are time- and site-specific. Using a bleak, generally two-tone palette to convey the monotony of the Flanders waterlands, where scrub meets a sky the same colour and substance as the bodies of water that interrupt it, the subtle differences in each section of land result in paintings that are very far from monotonous.
Either way this is landscape (mindscape) on an intimate scale. Both painters play things close to their chests, giving just enough away to make their point, and both providing an intensity of feeling, at the precise point where Minimalism and Abstract Expressionism meet.