Thursday, 15 February 2018
Russell Frampton was born in Warsash on the Hampshire coast in 1961, he studied art and more specifically painting at Portsmouth College of Art, Exeter college of Art and Design and Plymouth University where he gained an MA in Fine Art in 2002. He currently is based in Devon where he lectures in Painting, Drawing and Printmaking at Plymouth college of Art and Screendance and experimental digital dance practice at Plymouth University. Russell has work in many national and international collections including the University of Cambridge, Plymouth University, Exeter University and Lloyds bank.
Russell’s work stems from deep connections with the experience of landscape, specifically the moorlands and coasts of the West Country and the coastal fringes of West Brittany where he had a studio for many years. Recent trips to Australia and New Zealand and the Basque country of Northern Spain have provided rich new seams to explore and elements of these landscapes appear in some of the work exhibited at The View Gallery.
Russell’s paintings engage in a process of inscribing and re-inscribing the often disparate elements that constitute a place. Multiple layers describe an accreted surface of almost geological depth, building overlain details and colour and form juxtapose, aiming for the point of balance, both within the formal concerns of the painting and the artists connection with the physical landscape, acting perhaps as a form of mediator or facilitator. Mixed media and collage elements play a role in enhancing literary, historical and mythological elements and Russell’s distinctive autographic mark making and colour palette create the framework within which the paintings can manifest themselves. This very painterly framework is informed by intuition, theoretical and practical concerns and underpinned by a proximal connection to materials and their application.
The connections between different areas of Russell’s wider practice, [film making, music production and digital image making] are apparent in many of the processes inherent in the construction of the work. The editing and re shaping of forms, the description of temporality and a sense of rhythm and movement that permeates many paintings, all contribute to an interdisciplinary ethos of production. Painterly understandings are being continually formed and reformed and this allows work to be supple and flexible, resisting constraint and maintaining an informed state of fluidity.
Some of the paintings locate ideas of ritualised space and archaeological stratification/artifact as central concepts. The resulting paintings can be seen as two dimensional depictions of a three dimensional space, within which objects, markers or reference points are positioned to evoke a sense of the distillation of a liminal architecture. Indeed the creation of a liminal space, often a component of both painting and film, seems the most effective way of allowing paintings to exist on the edge, between states of abstraction and representation, in a form of dynamic flux.
Whilst many of the paintings are direct responses to places and experiences within landscapes, the formal structure of the work can be seen in some respects as being abstract, in the sense that the work is not representing degrees of ‘realistic’ representation. This is because the concerns are as much with the making of an object and the building of a painting that refers as much to painting itself as to content, as Roger Hilton notes:
“Abstract art is the result of an attempt to make pictures more real, an attempt to come nearer to the essence of painting.”
In many ways it is the continual search for this illusive essence that drives the painter to undertake a lifetime of research and practice. We can often recognise it, sometimes replicate it, and occasionally capture it to make the paintings ‘more real’ but this essence is never fixed. The paintings in this exhibition are the documents of this very search.