EXHIBITION INTRODUCTION BY KATE MAPLE, EXHIBITIONS OFFICER, OTTER GALLERY. Brian Neish began his painting in the early 1980s. His paintings reflect a deep love and respect for natural landscapes, especially lonely and solitary ones. His early work was influenced by his inner experience in response to walking in densely packed forests. The experience of such spaces has had a profound influence on his art.
Years later he says, “I am still grappling with these feelings, the almost abstract nature of natural pillars either silhouetted against piercing light or glowing with organic colour.”
His paintings being with their roots firmly planted in the representation of trees, especially the thin vertical lines of poplar trees. Abstract in essence, they convey the beauty and stillness of the trees’ quiet presence. Over time Neish begins to play with the lines that he makes and begins to question their purpose – are they trees, or just marks? Is there colour, or not? Are the lines a gate, barriers or bars? His work continues to develop with elements of colour becoming more and more prominent and the trees, less and less tree-like. Sometimes his paintings become like slashes on a canvas, the edges messy and torn, the thickness of each line exploited and varied. He exposes the notion of mark making, reducing it sometimes to simply the texture of the paint on the canvas.
His painting reflects the emotions of someone who feels that they are an outsider looking in or sometimes an insider looking out and who is being drawn through the perception of a natural landscape into another world.
Neish concludes, “Whether it is being drawn through the space of a natural landscape, or the space of a doorway, perhaps one of the things a painting can do is to take us somewhere else, in the way a portal does, to a space where our imaginations can run free.”
EXHIBITION DATES 28th JANUARY – 22nd FEBRUARY 2009
GALLERY: CHIUNI.AC.UK/OTTERGALLERY (show 28 paintings sold out)