Sunday, 21 June 2015
‘It was the Law of the Sea, they said. Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top.’
So wrote the US author and counterculturalist Hunter S. Thompson, and it’s a sentiment seemingly shared by several of the artists in this month’s joint exhibition Coast to Coast in the Union Gallery.
One of my favourite works was Mark Nicholas Edward’s otherworldly and unsettling 'Rosacea' – rendered with great realism but also a sense of almost sacred drama. Maybe it's all those blues that do it, or the radiant solemnity, or the viewer's position below the bells and hoods and at lightning level.
Imogen Alabaster also revels in the rich strangeness of underwater life and perception. In the work below, a seahorse rides the bubbling tumult, its life oddly reinterpreted in the painting’s title: ‘Tell her I'll be waiting in all the usual places’. The wit of a well-chosen song lyric, the touching ridiculousness of a fish finding himself a slave to love, is typical of Alabaster’s style. Hers is a very nicely judged balance of colour, motion and incongruity.
Darker and more worrying are three impactful depictions of waves coming ashore.
‘Sundown’ by Hazel Cashmore is a rather brooding study, thoughtful and seaweedy despite the energy of the water.
‘Ailsa Storms’ by Ian Rawnsley employs a similar palate of colours, and is similarly unsentimental about its subject. I was intrigued by the subtle shafts of light and smearing rainclouds in the background, and by the heavier use of paint and palate knife in the churning foam. I like this developing semi-abstraction in Rawnsley's work and look forward to seeing more of it...
Read the full review at the Spurtle website