The spiritual in painting – no ordinary skies

illustrated: The artist seated in front of Nimbus 1980-81 in 1981

Artist’s statement, 1981

It is not true that the world of the visual arts and especially of painting, possesses a unique language of its own. It is therefore both inappropriate and superfluous for the artist to write about it, as the work must be allowed to speak for itself. However, I submit the following statement, written by someone who knows my work well. David Platts.

It is a commonplace that art is a mirror of the times: a survey of much contemporary painting would confirm that we are living in an age where the material has supplanted the spiritual almost to the point of drumming it out of existence. The current vogue for photo-realism with its glossy, brash, superficial portrayal of some of the more mundane aspects of modern life; or the insensitive, facile, ugly shapes of paint laid down on many a non-figurative canvas, are cases in point.

The work of David Platts is in a very different category. Here is beauty in its purest form. Its source of inspiration is nature itself. In his treatment of natural phenomena, he transcends the physical appearances of things and reveals aspects of ‘soul’. His skies are no ordinary skies. Made up of hundreds and thousands of marks of colour individually applied to the canvas, they can be ‘read’ on three different levels – firstly as pure representation, secondly as abstract patterns of colour and thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, they have a very strong spiritual content.

The very medium in which paintings are executed – pastel and chalk on canvas – makes the highest technical demands upon the artist. Furthermore, this manner of application of pure, unadulterated colour imparts a serene fragility which is in complete accord with the very spiritual nature of his work.

Nicholas Coombes

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