I have a confession to make. I’ve never been a fan of modern art. I realise this makes me a staid and boring traditionalist, but I just cannot find deep meaning in something created by random paint splatters, or the ugliness of cubism. Banksy’s work has a leavening dash of wit and political awareness, but even then it’s amusing for a moment and then has no further interest. And as for unmade beds and urinals put in galleries, they have long since lost all novelty value. Even the works of Monet and the other impressionists often look crude and childlike next to a Leonardo or a Michelangelo.
Now I’ve got that off my chest, there are one or two artists who are making me reconsider the genre. They’re not terribly well known, but they do things which are new and interesting, without sacrificing beauty on the altar of shock value. In short, they create paintings I would happily share a home with.
The first is a young artist called Robin Eckardt. She creates dazzling mixed media pieces on a grand scale – she has a website here, but the gallery shots really don’t capture the depth of colour or the detail of such huge works. It’s absolutely worth seeking out her shows if you can. The first painting of hers I saw was this one at an affordable art fair, and it stood head and shoulders above everything around it. More recently I’ve been drawn to what she calls her “grown-up” style paintings like this one – the way she can capture the shimmering colours of water in resin is really quite remarkable. The only thing that has so far stopped me investing is that my adorable little country cottage would struggle to physically accommodate a six foot long painting!
The other is Peter Brown, an en plein air artist who is often found painting on the streets of my home city of Bath. A few years back he did a little series of “unfinished” oils, which were partly painted in his usual free, slightly impressionist style, but incomplete with paint dripping down the remaining exposed canvas and some penciled notes of how he felt about the scene he was painting. They were really quite charming, like peeking into his sketchbook, and they captured something of the atmosphere of Bath as a place; but sadly I haven’t been able to find any images of them online! If anyone spots them please do get in touch….