The genre of Landscape painting has been central to the development of the language of paint over the centuries. The subject has fallen in and out of favour with artists, but this exhibition highlights the continuing allure of landscape to contemporary painters. In particular, the search for the ‘sublime’ which is central to the six contemporary painters in this exhibition but has its roots in the work of 18th century artists such as Turner, John Martin and the German painter Caspar David Friedrich.
Modern life styles mean artists are moving to rural locations in ever increasing numbers and as they do so they are searching for relevant meaning in the shrinking landscape. The English landscape is more garden than wilderness; organised and controlled by the hand of man, but this does not make it less inspiring for artists as they search for meaning in the landscape. This search is enhanced as science continues to reveal and explain the mysteries of the natural world. As the human imagination tries to visualise the world of science, so the artist turns to landscape as a metaphor for the forces of nature that can only be imagined. Mysterious links between light, space and time are central to this and our understanding of the relationship between these elements are key to our appreciation of their beauty.
This exhibition has brought together six painters for whom landscape as a subject is central to their practise. All six have a mature, individual and distinctive language. But all six also have far more that links them than sets them apart. What is common to these artists is that the process of how the work is made reveals their subject. The artists all choose photography as source material over ‘plein air’; the photograph liberates these painters and has enabled them to develop highly original working methods with a wide range of materials.