EXHIBITION INTRODUCTION BY YOLANDA CRUZ-SUAREZ OF STORE STREET GALLERY.
We at Store Street Gallery are delighted to launch Brian Neish’s latest collection of paintings: his ‘Manhattan’ series. As a gallery we’ve had a long commitment to showcasing unique and innovative artworks and Brian has been one of our highly acclaimed artists since opening in 2011. In those five years we’ve seen his work change and develop, always distinctively bold in composition, thick with impasto paint, jostling with colour but growing ever more ambitious with each new collection.
Fading Panels (2015)
Oil on canvas
18 x 24″ / 46 x 61cm
I’ve long been impressed by Brian’s rigorous approach and technique, his sketchbooks full of colour studies and ideas and it’s this commitment to research that feeds back into his paintings. Throughout his career, Brian has maintained a fascination with architecture, more specifically the beauty to be found in neglected buildings which have fallen into disrepair and decay – ‘Noble Decay’ as he so succinctly puts it. It’s these worn and distressed surfaces in which he finds endless charm and inspiration.
Initially it was old buildings in France and Italy that inspired; windows and crumbling doors found their way into his abstracts – evident in his panels of colour which echoed the forms he had seen. This diversified with his ‘Road Trip’ series having explored the south-west of the US by car, where the architecture became more industrial in scale – corrugated metal and bright weather worn paintwork on garage doors brought about experimentation in styles and technique.
Staying Stateside Brian’s paintings have gained momentum. When he visited New York in 2012 it was Manhattan’s Meat Packing district that had the strongest pull. Boarded-up windows and warehouses, soon to be demolished for expensive housing, reignited his artistic aesthetic. Evolving his earlier styles and themes, the ‘Manhattan’ series is more sophisticated, introducing geometric panels and playfully juxtaposing colours.
These new paintings cleverly create tension between opposites: muted and grey tones next to saturated oranges and blues, dry matt paint next to shiny gloss paint – replicating a fresh lick of paint that is endlessly drying. Almost sculptural in application, his handling of paint also excites; paint is dragged and spread across the canvas revealing and concealing layers underneath, at times spilling over the canvas edited adding an element of chaos within the imposed formality of the overlying squares and rectangles. The pull and push between the artist’s level of control and the paint’s intrinsic qualities sensitively exposed.
Brian Neish’s paintings are both familiar and unexpected: we recognise something in the forms such as floorboards, flaking paint, patchwork, yet they aren’t literal representations. Instead he has heightened our emotional response to them. They remind us about seeing the beauty in the everyday, in the overlooked, in what is the abandoned around us, and this is the lasting effect the imprinted upon us.
EXHIBITION DATES: FEBRUARY – MARCH 2016
A selection of pieces from the Manhattan show can be seen below. All works are for sale, please contact Brian for prices and further details.