That Art Gallery
Friday, October 18, 2019
Saturday, November 9, 2019
17 Christmas Steps, Bristol, BS1 5BS
South West England
That Art Gallery

‘The direct gaze can be compelling, offering frank emotional engagement between us, but this vital connection is increasingly absent in our digital age, when we look at each other mostly via smartphones. Against the trend, and inspired by my love of early Flemish portraiture, I search the faces of people around me. 

I make drawings from life in an attempt to discover how the features of the face fit together to create the unique qualities of the sitter. In drawing from life, a new version of the person in front of me emerges. Subtle changes in the placing or the weight of line, alter the suggested narrative of facial expression. I find this process exciting and will often go on to make a painting from the drawing, thereby creating yet another version of the sitter on which I have imposed more of my own thoughts. This constant recreation of new persona is totally and endlessly absorbing.

I make a small number of still life paintings exploring the play of light over objects and surface textures found in the discarded detritus of domesticity. Close study of these objects in turn inspire elements which I incorporate into the portraits. The resulting portraits are intended to pose questions about time and place and perhaps to suggest a narrative. I hope to convey to the viewer something of the mystery implicit in facial expressions, to engage the viewer in speculation about the origins of the portraits and their relevance to the present day.

In more recent work, incorporating two or more figures, I’m beginning to consider the emotional implications of the spaces we leave between us. I’m interested in the tensions we create in the way we position ourselves physically in relation to others, and I want to explore the possibilities of recreating those tensions within a painting.

For me, the excitement of producing art is inextricably linked to the unpredictability of its progression, the ever present preoccupation of striving to achieve a definitive piece of work.’

Rosalind Robinson. September 2019