This image - suggesting both a springing forth and a seasonal shift - is derived from a large oak tree that sits by the water’s edge on the east coast: a totemic presence, at once resisting and shaped by the elemental force of tides and weather. What appears at ground level to be silhouetted branches rising up into a bright blue expanse of sky and water might also be viewed from above as an intricate web of lines recalling the branching tributaries of a river. It is a territory punctuated with yellow markings, scattered fragments of sunlight that also suggest an eruption of spring growth.
A web of black birch and silver on water, on pasture,
Netting the pillars of colour, lacing the pillars of light,
A reticulation of ambiguous space we gaze into, through,
Yet always end on the surface, where we start.
This is a time to take refuge in the connectedness of things and
Forsake the privileged instant for the gradual and continuous.
Our moments mate and spawn like the forfeit of
One decision towards a greater shared reality,
Improving truth with pattern,
The solid dissolving in a new winterlight,
A branching and echoing interruption of
Horizon or vanishing point.
In the business of looking, I collect, you surrender:
But the least push deserves an answering pull.
Christmas Poem 2015 by Andrew Lambirth
In his recent work Luke Elwes conjures up a particular space where land and water meet, where the shifting light radiates through a tree line or across coastal marshland and where the tides move back and forth through a delicate maze of creeks and channels. They reveal chance encounters with a myriad of visual stimuli: passing birds, rolling mist, scattered flora, wind blown leaves or drifting shapes, floating on, reflected in, the passing streams.
They are a fragile record of process and time, the uncertain result of a particular moment of elemental engagement, made without correction in one sitting. The location varies - sometimes close to home, sometimes in remote locations - and provides just a beginning, a way of collecting particles of colour and light, and a way of observing the play of prevailing conditions on a surface which, once it is scattered with incidental markings and stained with coloured pigment and organic matter, is then allowed to become saturated by the surrounding waters. And each time the resulting image belongs as much to the elements as to the artist who began it.
Final weeks painting in the resident artists's studio at the Albers foundation in Connecticut USA
The Albers Foundation in Connecticut USA, founded in 1971, is devoted to preserving and promoting the enduring achievements of Josef and Anni Albers, and the aesthetic and philosophical principles by which they lived.
'The Foundation maintains residence studios for select visiting artists exemplifying the seriousness of purpose that characterized both Anni and Josef Albers. No aesthetic connection to the Alberses' work is necessary; only the intention to work in a concentrated way on one's art in idyllic conditions at a remove from the art world'.
During April and May 2015 I have been invited to work in one of the Foundation's studios, where previous British artists in residence have included Ian McKeever, Michael Porter, Rebecca Salter and Ian Davenport.
The opening event of 'Vital Signs: work on paper by 12 London Artists' at Clifford Chance Gallery began with a talk by Catherine Lampert about this group of painters. The exhibition continues until 24 April in London before travelling to a number of venues in Italy during Autumn 2015.
9 March - 24 April 2015, Clifford Chance, Canary Wharf, London E14 5JJ
Tony Bevan, Christopher Le Brun, Luke Elwes, Timothy Hyman, Andrzej Jackowski, Merlin James, Glenys Johnson, Alex Lowery, Lino Mannocci, Thomas Newbolt, Arturo Di Stefano, Charlotte Verity.
Vital signs presents an important opportunity to reflect on the intimate relationship these artists have with paper, whether working directly into it by hand or impressing an image onto its surface. Through the differing approach of each of these 12 London based artists we can see not only their visual thought processes at work, but also some of the ways in which themes and ideas common to their more familiar practice as painters are explored and refined on paper. There will be a catalogue edited by Luke Elwes & the exhibition transfers to Museum & gallery venues in Italy (Alba, Turin, Pisa, Bergamo) during 2015 and 2016.