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Artist Spotlight: Gareth Kemp

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See Gareth Kemp's work on the Click & Buy Collection now

Gareth Kemp is a painter of fictional landscapes, working in acrylics to create striking and deceptively simple compositions where landscape elements are transformed into evocative motif. Gareth’s style is inspired by the nineteenth century painters Caspar David Friedrich and Frederic Edwin Church, as well as Peter Doig and David Hockney among his contemporaries. Each of these artists presents landscape in a new, dynamic way; “they might not even call themselves landscape painters”, Kemp muses.

Goya's Window

To study these alternative modes of perception Kemp created a series of imagined views through artists’ windows. Gareth isolated a marginal element of a masterwork that he found inspiring, reduced that element to a stylised motif, and presented it floating in space and out of context; exploring how meaning transforms when an image is rendered locationless. Goya’s Window, depicting mottled foliage on a white canvas, may suggest natural tranquillity, yet its subject is lifted from Francisco Goya’s The Disasters of War series.

To unfix an image from its landscape Kemp will often paint out an initial subject but allow it to show through the succeeding layers of paint. “It’s like being asked to show your working out in a Maths lesson”, the artist remarks. As in Midnight Sun, this technique produces a blurring of foreground and background, allowing the placement of the viewer to remain mobile. Using varnish in between the layers of paint also creates an impression that the surface image floats, detached, on the skin of the painting. 

Midnight Sun - Available now on the Mall Galleries Click & Buy Collection

“I don’t want my paintings to feel tied to a specific place and time” Kemp asserts; “I want them to go beyond that.” Through studying the exotic plants housed at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Gareth has populated his artwork with images from nature suggestive of diverse climates. In this way the artist’s portfolio has a global feel and his fictional landscapes seem simultaneously to evoke everywhere and nowhere.

Gareth’s painting has evolved from a largely monochromatic style to incorporate a bright colour palette of pure greens, oranges and pinks. Kemp’s latest series of American Landscapes sees his interest in colour and sound come together in striking works inspired by the music of Nick Cave and The Band. “I have my record player in the studio and a box of records”, Kemp remarks, “it’s a great place to go to”. Gareth’s musical influence is clear in the names of his pieces which are often song titles and lyrics. Listening to the song which has inspired the work creates a rich multi-sensory experience, where landscape is redefined and the power to construct new meaning is given to the experiencer.

Gareth Kemp is currently exhibiting at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool as part of the John Moores Painting Prize and his work also features in this year’s ING Discerning Eye at Mall Galleries, 17-27 November 2016.

See Gareth Kemp's work on the Click & Buy Collection now

 

By Beatrice Bowles-Bray

Image credit

Gareth Kemp, Midnight Sun

Artist Spotlight: Laura Smith

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Laura Smith is a figurative artist based in London with a deep proclivity to abstract art. She graduated from her MFA at the Slade School of Fine Art in 2012, won the Clare Winsten Memorial Award and was shortlisted in 2011 and 2016 for the Columbia Threadneedle Prize. She has always thought that being an artist was the only way to live as from a very young age she understood her passion to create.

Her influences are always changing as she often finds herself inspired by the work of her peers. This being said her initial inspiration was drawn from Giorgio Morandi for his sensitivity to colour and compositional balance and one of her most admired artists is Rembrandt for his humanity and the expression of deep feelings.

Shakers - Available now on the Mall Galleries Click & Buy Collection

Smith’s colour palette is constantly evolving. She is keen on using subdued colours and subtle tones –usually some earthen yellows and grey blues – to create an atmospheric ambience. A recent visit to the Royal Academy’s Painting the Modern Garden exhibition drew her towards Monet’s palette and since then she has tried to reach for more vibrant and loose colours. ‘I have always liked the way bright colours sing when surrounded by more muted colours’, she admits. Most of the time she uses strong brushstroke gestures to catch the feeling of the light and reveal the depth of the colour. Objects have a controlled structure and the arrangements are of pure form, a sign that Morandi’s work has a substantial impact on her. She uses wisely her perception of negative spaces, lighting and colour to provoke a sense of introspection in the viewer.

Laura uses still life to experiment with the way we - as viewers - perceive objects in space and time. “I love the way inanimate objects evolve into anthropomorphic paintings”, she muses. A quiet simplicity, her work gravitates towards everyday objects to represent a reality that is not dressed to impress, but  symbolises the potential of the future as well as memories of the past.

“The way objects are arranged can evoke a wide variety of emotions.”, Laura says.

Shell and Bell - Available now on the Mall Galleries Click & Buy Collection

There is a dialogue between the viewer and Smith’s paintings; a mysterious gap between intention and introspection which gives freedom and space for reflection. She has the ability to turn everyday items into personal subjective senses, promoting the symbolic status of a visual concept.

By Maria-Christina Antoniou

 

See Laura Smith's work on the Click & Buy Collection now

Image credit

Laura Smith, Shells

Artist Spotlight: Bernadett Timko

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Timko is a rising star at Mall Galleries. Esoteric interiors and bewitching portraits have secured her the First Prize in the Winsor & Newton Young Artist Award 2015; The Phyllis Roberts Award in the Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition 2015; and most recently the 2016 Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize Young Artist Award. Nevertheless, the twenty-four year old remains modest, insisting that she 'doesn’t want to be attached to yesterday’s success'.

The dawn of Bernadett's career seems to cast its soft, pearlescent light onto all her paintings - Timko adopts a muted colour palate, without strong contrasts, because it feels 'melancholic and eternal'. She finds solace in those quiet moments when time appears to slow down, and feels compelled to preserve them on canvas. Hence, it is hardly surprising that the Hungarian-born artist is drawn to the solitary settings of early morning and dusk.

Despite its aesthetic harmony, Bernadett's work is often tumultuous beneath the surface. Second Floor Sink, for example, is an act of rebellion - fed up with a self portrait project at Heatherley's School of Fine Art where she has studied (Timko believes 'self portraits should be painted in solitude, not in a studio with twelve other people'), she aimlessly wandered around the building before stumbling across a small, unassuming washroom. Its grimy tiles and rust stained sink suddenly seemed 'beautiful' to Bernadett; they looked 'exactly the way [she] felt in that moment'. In the words of the artist, 'a mirror could have not shown a more real reflection of me than that room'.

Hungarian paintings, 'which have always been quite emotional and dark', continue to exert their influence over Bernadett. Self studies, such as Self Portrait Age 22 are often used to probe at internal conflicts, reaching deeper than a mirror or photograph ever could. In this particular piece, her eyes confront the viewer with an empty glare, contributing to the overall sullen demeanour. Bernadett adds that 'leaving the eyes blank and undefined wasn’t a conscious choice; it came out that way and it felt honest'.

Timko is 'fascinated by people and the atmosphere their presence can create', so figurative painting was and will always remain her main focus. However she has also found unexpected joy in depicting interiors, and, come September, will switch to studying sculpture full time at Heatherley's. The artist is particularly excited to see how sculpture will affect her painting. For Bernadett, drawing, painting and sculpture are 'not separable'; rather, they go 'hand in hand'. 

Bernadett Timko, Self Portrait at the age of 22

In her view, art and society also share a close dynamic. 'It’s kind of a chicken and egg question', she muses. 'I think society affects art, and vice versa - the artist has always had the perfect reason to create. Art need not be controversial, or touch upon monumental subjects like religion or politics, to impact society. We are visual creatures, we remember images more than words. Art has always said things that words could not'. 

Therefore, the words in this article can’t adequately describe the brilliance of Timko’s work - instead, I urge you to go and experience the paintings in Mall Galleries exhibitions and on Buy Art | Buy Now.

By Anatascia Ismaylova

Image credit

Bernadett Timko, Printroom Sink (detail)

Mall Galleries Click & Buy Collection

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For the last few months the Mall Galleries team has been working on an exciting project: The Click and Buy Collection. This new online gallery showcases over a hundred artists and allows you to purchase art directly through the website including free delivery across mainland UK.

The artists featuring in the Collection have been carefully selected to represent Mall Galleries as a whole and are drawn from member-artists of the Federation of British Artists and past exhibitors in the gallery’s open exhibitions and prizes.

The Collection is constantly changing and visitors have a four month window to view each work of art before it disappears from the site, so we encourage you to keeping checking back or sign up for email updates. 

David Newens Assoc RP, Cacti and Jug

We see the platform as both a way to discover new artists and support the ones you love by buying their work throughout the year.  Each work is accompanied by some words from the artist about their work of art, some even include videos on their process of creation. 

You can find the Mall Galleries Click & Buy Collection here. We’ve had a lot of fun putting this platform together and hope that you will enjoy browsing it, learning from it and following its updates.

Image credit

Sarah Spencer, Whitstable With Breakwaters (detail)