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Luminous LIGHT COLOUR IMAGINATION

It’s not long to go until Luminous LIGHT COLOUR IMAGINATION, my next London show at Benjamin Rhodes Arts. I’m excited to be exhibiting with Emrys Williams whom I have followed and respected for many years.

We share a passion for light, colour, and imagination, so this makes the perfect title.

Emrys Williams

Emrys Williams is a painter based in Llandudno, Wales.

Of course, Benjamin is our link – he believed in us both as young artists in our twenties. As students at the Slade, we shared respect for artist and writer Sir Lawrence Gowing, Principle of the Slade School of Fine Art, 1975-1985. At the time, I was thrilled that Lawrence Gowing wrote a piece for my very first exhibition. These days, we are bound by the natural world and a fixation on the sea and colour.

My Manifesto of Painting

This new show will continue my Manifesto of Painting which I started in Plymouth and then on the Albers Foundation Residency, USA.

Most importantly, the paintings that Benjamin will be showing form part of a larger philosophical investigation of The Practice of Colour which I began whilst teaching at the Slade School of Fine Art in 1998. I proposed the question ‘Is colour a language?’ If ‘yes’, then can it be taught and expressed in a practical way?

Twenty-five years later, I’m still considering the same question with this ‘Manifesto of Painting’, now responding to the colour green. Another key point: this needed to be without words and the first part was shown at Benjamin Rhodes Arts early in 2023.

Each new colour quest is like scaling Everest, taking years. I see what happens emotionally, intellectually, and philosophically as I try to fathom the colour, making my paint from pigments from the earth. I immerse myself and respond within the limitation of the colour. And then, I let associations and conversations begin. I improvise, connect, and ask each colour ‘who are you?’

How to approach a new colour

For me, approaching a new colour is like entering a nation. I am the explorer anticipating a new continent. I already have a sense of its personality. I then discover unthought connections and conversations. Eventually, an actual personality and voice emerges.

What does each colour mean to me?

Yellow was about thought. Orange was for listening, and Red was concerned with creativity. Then, there were the three contrasts: A Warm / Cold Contrast for touch; a Light / Dark Contrast (Paradise Lost) for hope; and finally, An Equal Saturation was about Harmony.

So, who is greenness?

Green is about the idea of language. I’m pushing into green as far as I can possibly take it.

I believe in painting

Painting is universal, ancient and contemporary, always a language outside of words. As an artist and vocational teacher, teaching is a way of life. Consequently, I consider myself very lucky to live and work here at Arts University Plymouth with the inspiration of the sea on my doorstep.

In essence, teaching and painting are like the ebb and flow of the tide. It is who I am. I follow my creator. I listen, wait, reflect, and dream. I listen to colour; I feel it and live inside of it by making this visual poetry.

Finally, three of the works in this forthcoming exhibition will be linked to Paradise Lost and herald the publication of Webb, R., Issa, I. and Duran, A. (2023), The Synergies of Drawing and Painting Paradise Lost, chapter 17 in Milton Across Borders and Media, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 978019284474.

Please do join us for the private views on Thursday 7th & Wednesday 13th December 6-8.30pm.

Luminous LIGHT . COLOUR . IMAGINATION

Richard Kenton Webb & Emrys Williams

8 Dec 2023 – 17 Feb 2024

Benjamin Rhodes Arts, Shoreditch, London, E2 7HP