Gwyne Howell James | Artist
Oil Painting #1
Landscape Painting
  • Dimensions99.0cm x 99.0cm x 0.9cm
  • Year2020
  • MaterialsOil on canvas
Oil Painting #5
Landscape Painting

Artwork

I work with a variety of media yet consider my art to be derived at through the media of painting i.e. format, construction, and aesthetics.

Fine Art is often inherently elitist, in that to understand the meaning or purpose of an item of art the observer needs to understand various aspects about the artwork and often the artist, my priority is, by the use of symbol and colour , to produce exoteric paintings, as Terry Frost put it, ‘the painting has to stand and fall by itself’.

About me

I have drawn and painted since being old enough to hold the tools in my hand, I didn’t choose to be an artist, artist is not my vocation, art for me has always been a means for a shy, insecure individual to communicate openly and freely. If you had been given a language that only you and a handful of people could understand wouldn’t you use it, ( I like to think that we all or at least the lucky ones among us have, in some form or other, this same comfort blanket ), I don’t make art to sell (yes it sells) or to make a living, perhaps, fortunately I’ve had other options and have never been forced into that situation, and it wasn’t until much later that I returned to studying fine art, with an A level from Whitelodge College in Folkestone, a 1st for my BA(hons) at what was then KIAD, Kent Institute of Art and Design followed by an MA at the same University which was subsequently named the UCA the University for Creative Arts at Canterbury

My small village small impact upbringing created an outsider and allowed my imagination to construct its own boundaries, I would say that, as opposed to some divine gift, drawing , painting, writing and creating is a construct more aligned to a form of self-harming, not to belittle the impact of such a psychological dilemma in any way but a way of momentarily dispatching my cares. It’s to this reference that a lot of my artwork has taken on a mission, all be it a very introverted and personal one, to comment on the captive tethers of our built-in emotions as opposed to the freedom of our physical possibilities. I would say I have something to prove…but only to myself.

My Work

I work with a variety of media yet consider my art to be derived at through the media of painting i.e. format, construction, and aesthetics. Fine Art is often inherently elitist, in that to understand the meaning or purpose of an item of art the observer needs to understand various aspects about the artwork and often the artist, my priority is, by the use of symbol and colour , to produce exoteric paintings, as Terry Frost put it, ‘the painting has to stand and fall by itself’. For me to create abstract art I need a story and a theme to guide my paintbrush, but I don’t expect everyone to be able to follow this although there are many in the art world who can read them, remember you don’t see objects as they are, you see them as you are. People bring their own experiences to a painting, so it’s the colour, format and presence of the piece that defines it, as much as the reasoning.

Firstly, and most importantly, taking a lead from the Surrealist artist Max Ernst who talked about creating a synthesis of the outer ‘real’ world and our  ‘inner world’, which to me means the inner world of emotion, feeling and experience of our own personnel world.

I use the outer real world images of landscape and fuse these with colour and symbols, to relay my feelings and emotions, following the long tradition of Romantic and Expressionist artists from the late eighteenth century to some Neo Romantic artists of the present day. The symbols I created where to represent basic emotions. The colour usage I have gleamed from the writings of Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee, as well as some religious text. Note. Here I’m talking about a specific painting.

A list of artists who have had an influence on my work from whom I’ve taken ideas would be endless so to name a few, J M W Turner, Casper David Friedrich, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Emil Nolde, Edvard Munch, Max Ernst, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Anselem Kiefer, Graham Sutherland, David Tress, John Virtue, Michael Porter, John Walker, Terry Frost and Ian McKeever. Other Influences on my work and specifically my mode of thought include the philosophers, Friedrich Nietzsche and Ludwig Wittgenstein, Psychoanalysis, Physics, Human Biology, Science Fiction and Poetry.

Poetry first entered into my artwork during an ‘Artist’s Book’ printing project in college, Later I used my own poetry to emphasise points I was making in my professional practise, it then physically appeared in my paintings in the ‘Reflections’ triptych.

Each painting and project have inherited something different, something of what I have been experimenting with, in terms of applying paint to canvas. Sometimes the paint is sprayed, or I throw powder paint over it, I paint with oils over enamels which in certain light seep through to the surface, I drip, drag and splash paint all over various types of stencil, incidentally all of my paintings are on canvas, going through the process of making a canvas, priming it, creating a workable surface; all of this attention to detail makes me feel precious about the work as part of a tradition.

A feature of my paintings, the application of sand to the primer mix, which allows me to physically shape the surface, has become a trademark of my paintings. Whilst the shapes or symbols I create in my paintings give them a sculptured, a three-dimensional aspect yet they are painted on an almost perfectly flat surface. This optical illusion is one aspect of my paintings which, I feel, make them openly accessible.

The symbols have all been drawn up mathematically, using the technical drawing skill I acquired in my youth, of course this is nothing new in fine art since the use of mathematical formulae in painting can be dated back to the Renaissance.

View art

The sight specific artwork was done during a collaboration with other artists, the giant birds nest was situated in a bird sanctuary run by the RSPB commissioned by the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve for a visitors open day and the image of a fishwife made out of old fishing nets was created to commemorate the sinking of the ‘Mary Stanford’ lifeboat, as part of a sculpture walk at Rye Harbour, East Sussex.

Life Drawing and Still Life are a pleasure and basically a means of honing skills , dealing with different textures.

Portraiture is my most enduring skill from teachers in school to caricatures of work colleagues, a likeness came automatically along with the more honest portraits of family and friends and later commissions.

Photography in a way is set aside from the rest of my artwork and is mostly rooted in my walks around the beautiful Pembrokeshire coast where I was born and raised, it does assist with framing a picture which is a great help in structuring a canvas. It used to be about choosing the light and moment to shoot but now in the digital age I can take an infinite number of shots and render them in my studio.

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