November 6 - 28, 2015
The first thing that needs be said about Paintings 1–7, the new body of work shown here by Brenda Nightingale, is that there are 9 paintings hung – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing! No, and on a more serious note, this is Nightingale’s first brush with acrylics, following on from watercolour and landscape work that has dominated her practice for a few years now.
Critically however, Nightingale is now relishing more and more the language of paint. Let us call it here, the language of abstraction. And this is a very good thing. Compositionally, the tree is a recurrent motif, but with various and changing horizon lines, the works comprise many fragments and many views, as opposed to a single coherent panorama. It is too, with a compelling range of brushstrokes – from the delicate to the broad, the fluid, the dry, and the horizontally expressive alongside the filigree of many a cascade – that these paintings are held together.
Finally, and equally important within this syntax of abstraction, is Nightingale’s quite startling use of colour. There is a small diptych, Painting 1, whose two panels meet in a vermillion tree. This freely brushed spectre foregrounds a composition full also of different blues, a magenta, various greens, a pink, and not inconsiderable areas in the painting where the white primed canvas is allowed to show through. It is the full panoply of colour: intense, vivid and free. To enjoy these works and their painted edge frames, is to relish painting that is knowing and playful, that is grounded yet intuitive, and all just within the bounds of risk and control.
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Details of works
All works are acrylic on primed linen, from 2015.