Garry Currin, This Earth
Until October 8
Reviewed by John Daly-Peoples
Gary Currin’s landscapes can be seen as a continuation of the apocalyptic paintings of the nineteenth century artist such as J.M.W. Turner and John Martin. Their approach saw the landscape depicted in a theatrical fashion with an emphasis on dramatic events and panoramas depicting both the actual and the imaginary. They were often allegories or metaphors for social and political ideas or reflections on the artists concerns.
While his paintings are descriptions of the landscape they are also attempts to understand the land and the forces which have created it. They suggest that we are at the mercy of Nature and the elements
Currin creates landscapes which are in a state of turmoil, the earth agitated by internal forces . In “The Weight“ the land seems to be on fire and in “Weight III” with its great ball of fire we seem to be witnessing a cataclysmic event. In “This Earth” this upheaval looks as much like roiling sea as scoured earth
Other works are less dramatic as with “The Earth I” where the central detail of the painting is of the land is ripped with an almost photographic depiction of soil slump. This is like the instances in some of the great classical paintings where a minor incident within the painting references larger concerns.
Central to his work is light which heightens the drama in his landscapes. There is the light which illuminates his scenes but also light which issues from the land itself. It is used intensely in some cases and delicately in others, in some cases revealing textures and details in the landscape at other times veiling them. Many of the images feel as though they are conjured from memory, through a haze of history and fiction.
The surfaces of his paintings are alive with subtle nuances of colour which help create spectacular atmospheres sometimes claustrophobic as with the smaller “This Earth II” or panoramic as with the larger “This Earth II”. Depending on the viewers distance from the surface, the works morph between realistic depiction and abstract fields of colour and shape. It is this balance that the artist achieves that make the works so startling and rewarding.