Luke Elwes at Art First 2002
Exhibition text byAndrew Lambirth. London, May 2002
Luke Elwes (b. 1961) is a painter-traveller, making pictures which are at once about the particular places he has visited and a record of that journey into self which is the lot of the true contemplative. In his recent evocations of Osea Island off the Essex coast, Elwes maps the almost-submerged land where earth and sea not only meet but mingle intimately. He writes of the making of these elusive paintings (apparently empty yet full of detail) as encompassing 'the pursuit of silence, a balance between something and nothing, that holds the eye and stills the impulse to literal transcription'. The map is nearly erased, a distressed palimpsest; it's difficult to decipher a single clear meaning. The viewer must, like a scryer, read the signs and interpret accordingly.