The current group show at the Vyner Studio hosts a mixture of techniques, worldviews, and approaches to treating a subject. We considered the show as a whole and then focussed particularly on paintings by Jon Braley.
Alessia Avellino’s heavily reworked architectural structures are overlaid by ghostly echoes of the human subject they imply. Nina Gehl on the other hand offers us the truly absent subject. Images of missing people rendered in ash resist the clarity of photography. They instead propose an attitude of mourning for something lost. Natuka Honrubia’s focus is subjectivity itself, in the form of the Artist and the subconscious. Ecstatic, harrowing and finely wrought visions set a confessional tone which foregrounds a self-confrontational artistic process.
Although visually disparate, these works embrace themes that come together in a set of paintings by Jon Braley. In his carefully structured ‘colourscapes’ bold and deliberate gestures vie with the delicate and accidental. Black on red pigments and resins are allowed to spread into patterns that hint at the natural landscape as subject. Natural beauty is transmuted into the beauty of materials and techniques afforded only by modern technology. We are asked to consider whether an unmediated encounter with the natural can be possible when these are the terms of engagement.
Similarly ‘the human’ is in one sense absent from Braley’s practice. It is not depicted. The human viewer as spectator of the sublime, however, is at the centre of everything. It is only the work done by the human mind that will see in these abstract contours an infinite horizon, the suggestion of a sunset, an echo of Turner or Rothko. In a surprising turn, it is a piece of non-painting that drives home the message in this work. A gap in the horizon of one diptych demonstrates our tendency to link the unlinked, see pattern in accident and bring human meaning to the non-human. Review: Ruben Hale

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