Colour and Texture at The Victoria GalleryMarch 14, 2012
There are two interesting and related artists being exhibited at the Victoria Gallery in Bath. Gillian Ayres and David Brayne. Both artists have local connections, living and working in the Bath area.
Both artists have colour and texture as a central aspect of their work. One uses earthy and natural colours in a subtle manner, whilst the other uses manufactured and man-made colours in a bolder, more vivid manner. The complementary textural qualities in the artists’ work are created through the unique and individual processes they use. The physical activity and technique is very important to both artists, and the viewer is keenly aware of the materials and the way they have been manipulated to create a particular effect.
David Brayne has an unusual painting method, using rare pigments or sourcing and grinding his own pigments, some from local mines. He is literally painting with earth and the landscape itself, using dust bound together by a glue or gum (arabic). There are delicate and gentle variations in colour, tone and texture, created through meticulous layering on paper. The imagery of flat, watery landscapes is familiar, and has local references. The figurative aspect is the part I find weakest, and I prefer the images that focus on large abstract shapes, allowing you to study the pigment and texture.
The Gillian Ayres works cover her career, and include prints, drawings and paintings. All demonstrate her love of vivid and bright colours, and abstract, expressive shape, reminiscent of either Matisse or Kandinsky. She uses a range of printmaking processes, which seem complex and physical, often lending a textured and relief quality to the images.
The way Ayres uses titles reminded me of Howard Hodgkin, who I later realised she had taught alongside, and worked closely with, for a time in the 1960′s, and gives clues to their intention and inspiration. I do remember first seeing Gillian Ayres work, years ago whilst studying A Level or Foundation, at a point when I was beginning to enjoy the fluid textural qualities and vibrant colours of oil paint. Subsequently my interests developed in a different direction.
Apologies for the poor photographs which don’t do the pictures justice.