Thursday, 19 September 2013

The Height of Sophistication

Hello everyone,

In my last blog I promised we would take a closer look at something fishy in our Autumn exhibition.
Here it is:

'See no Fish, Hear no Fish, Catch no Fish', acrylic on canvas by James Newton Adams.

OK, so the fishermen might look a little comical with their big yellow gloves and rubbery red overalls, but James Newton Adams is making reference to the very serious issue of the declining fishing industry in Scotland. I love the glum expressions of their faces.

And there's more:

'Mallaig Fishermen' acrylic on canvas by James Newton Adams.

Now this is a painting I really wanted to take a closer look at!
I have often heard people refer to James as a 'niave' or 'primitive' painter. Yes there is a deliberate stylising of the figures, which in themselves appear childlike, and that of course is part of the appeal of James' work, but there's so much more to his work and this is a brilliant example of it.
There is nothing primitive about James' techniques as an artist: indeed every mark on his paintings is premeditated, skillfully rendered.

Just look at that fisherman's head!
In what seems to be an awkward and anatomically impossible face, the gruelling and relentless conditions which he has endured for many years are etched on his chiseled features.
It's so authentic you can practically smell him!
I also really enjoy the movement in this painting. The composition is clever, chopping up the canvas to mimic the choppy seas on which it's all 'niavely' balanced.
It is a buoyant and brilliant painting.

Come back soon to catch more marvels of the Autumn Exhibition :)

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