John Cheall – Synthesising the Sublime
Tarpey Gallery is proud to present ’Synthesising the Sublime’ an exhibition of new works by Nottingham based painter John Cheall. As the winner of our solo exhibition prize at Nottingham Castle Open last year, part of our ongoing sponsorship of this prestigious open exhibition, the artist has produced a stunning new collection that will be on display in our main exhibition space from 24th September - 30th October, 2016.
These paintings form a continuation from the ideas explored in the two prize-winning pictures shown at the 2015 Nottingham Castle Open. All are inspired by the mountain ranges of the Isle of Skye in Scotland, specifically the Black Cuillins. This is a choice based purely on the drama and visual spectacle of these rugged coastal mountains, expressing the thrilling, disorienting sense of vertigo and exposure.
John has developed new methods and a more imaginative approach whilst retaining a concern for realism and also balancing that with the aesthetics of the paint surface itself in a desire to do justice to the awe-inspiring nature of this unique landscape. These new methods, involve the building of a digital model of locations using real topographical data. It offers the opportunity to step away from the usual viewpoints and perspectives and enables the artist to finely tune composition, atmosphere and lighting.
“The process was fascinating and quickly drew me in, there was a compelling sense of control over this new world and it soon took its own direction as unforeseen results and mutations invited exploration. Taking it further I could see it was possible dramatize forms beyond the current reality and maybe capture more of the spectacle outside what is attainable by the usual means. Rather than occasional painting expeditions, doing my best under grey skies I can now create the landscape myself, orchestrating the lighting from multiple sources, placing the cloud, aligning the sun, editing, fine tuning the elements and translating them into a visual language that I can paint.From this process of landscape construction I was drawn like an artist of the Hudson River School to not only explore the new frontier but also creating it as I go! In awe of the possibilities and at the same time demystifying creation itself.
John Cheall, 2016
Selecting from among many hundreds of these synthetic images of real locations, strange forms emerge, dramatic radial compositions, twisted mountains and exaggerations of the landscape produce a new and compelling topography. By manipulating these natural elements to compose these new works, John is merging the boundaries of a digital and analogue world to create a dramatic and compelling landscape of impossible peaks and theatrical skies.