Matt Bodimeade’s new oil paintings on canvas are completed in his studio from drawings, and pastel drawings created on site in an area of the South Downs which he knows well. The area around South Stoke and Offham was his playground as a child and first work place as a farm hand in his teens.
In most of these works there’s central motif: a wall, a track, a river or a railway. It is no coincidence that this division is often scythe or sickle shaped and seems to slice the landscape apart; the fields and woods suggest work, movement and energy, shaped like plough blades, discs, or saw teeth on either side of the central divide.
So as you stroll through Matt’s lanscapes, stopping beside the flint wall, or looking down a track to the river, enjoying the arrangement of colour and form, light and shade, rhythm and texture, and deep, vertigninous perspectives, there’s always going to be something niggling at you from the side.
And that niggle is probably just a horsefly or phytophototoxic blister from the giant hogweed but there’s definitely something a bit edgy about Matt’s pastoral landscapes.
The paintings are carefully drawn, often from charcoal sketches made out in the field. The new departure into oil painting reveals an enjoyment of colour for its own sake rather than a photographic representation. Pinks, oranges, acid yellows; whatever suits the mood he’s trying to capture.
Having studied at West Sussex College of Art and Design and Brighton Polytecnic, Matt worked on a number of public and private commissions throughout the UK (including the Cass Sculpture Foundation).