Tarpey Gallery, Castle Donington, Earth and Wealth
What’s to see in Castle Donington as well as motor racing, Download festival and a historic church building?
There’s a lovely show of paintings still on at Tarpey Gallery
but hurry! It ends on 20 August.
And at last, I find abstract paintings on show not 20 miles away from where I live! I don’t know how I could have missed this contemporary art space, it has been open since 2009, and today was the first I knew of it. (Except that as I look through a number of emails I notice that it has been mentioned to me before , yet somehow it must not have registered).
The current show is of paintings by David Manley, entitled From the Earth Wealth. Lots of modestly sized, landscape related abstracts, derived from and named after the settlements of North West Leicestershire. This one, for example, is Diseworth.
There may be a sense in which it brings back some experience of Diseworth, there is surely an element of representation. Is it a fence or a gate perhaps, with something propped up against it? And is that a cloud over a field… of sea? If it does represent, what we are seeing is highly generalised and the sense of specific place is lost. Or maybe the representation has dream like qualities, so it’s not so much that particular place as that place half remembered as in a dream. Another option could be that we are dealing here with the very act of representing, and the deletions, generalisations and distortions that naturally take place as part of that process. Or, then again, it could be misleading to think of them as representations at all. They are, in fact abstract. They are so in the sense of “abstracted from”, Leicestershire settlements providing a starting point only. The singularity of each painting has to do with what is happening there on the canvas rather than the singular experience of being in, for example, Hemington.
Again, thinking representationally, it looks like a wooden structure of some kind. There is figuration, for example there is a consistent light source. Perhaps I could even imagine climbing this structure…until I try to work out how I would actually do it. Where would I start? Which is the front? Am I looking down on it? Is it horizontal or vertical? What size is it? etc
The place names are ‘real’ origins, however. Each painting is based on, “abstracted from”, photographs taken by the artist at that specific location and then digitally manipulated.
For me, it’s an interesting way of beginning, that leads then to a manipulation of painted shape and colour that has a lot more to do with early modernist painting, than it has to do with any of the starting points, and arriving at abstract pictures that are wonderfully rewarding to view. Here at Tarpey Gallery in Castle Donington, abstracted from the earth, are a wealth of painted forms for our enjoyment, it’s not too late to go and see them, if you hurry!
(Since writing this post I discovered that David Manley has an excellent wordpress blog and photos of the paintings from this exhibition can be seen there, Here’s a link)