Grape Lane Gallery, York 1988

illustrated: Fifteenth Variation 1988 

Enigmatic Variations by David Platts – Grape Lane Gallery, York, June 1988

A Programme Note:

It is preferable not to seek to ‘understand’ these paintings in an intellectual sense any more than one would expect to understand a Beethoven Symphony or a Chopin piano concerto. Allow the eye the freedom one would willingly accord the ear at an orchestral concert. Let the subtle harmonies of colour, the tonal variations and the lyrical qualities envelop you… this is the key to the appreciation of these colourful works, if indeed a key be needed.

As in all abstract art of quality, these works have a firm foundation in reality; not the ephemeral ‘objective’ world we see around us but the more lasting, durable world of life’s reality, the innermost reality of the human condition. They are a reflection of feelings, emotions and desires which are most definitely earthbound — a distillation of life’s experience and certainly not mere ‘pattern making’.

Although David Platts’ work is not an interpretation of the objective world, invariably certain shapes which appear have their origin in the natural world, or rather ‘in the memory’ of the natural world. At times it can be the shapes of fields, the topography of land, the solid mass of certain aspects of the land, at others, it is the delicate linear forms that criss-cross landscape to distant horizons. The shapes are from the sub-conscious, whether it be a cloud, a field or a tree; they are all borrowed and juxtaposed in harmony with each other.

Colour is always used to emit an emotional state, whether it be ‘joie de vivre’ and energy as in Variations 1, 2, 6, 10, a quieter subtler mood as in Variations 3, 4, peace and tranquility as in Variations 8, 9, profundity as in Variations 7, 18, or lyricism as in Variations 11, 12, 13, 14. The use of flat vivid colour tones emerges in all its glory in Variations 15, 16, 17 where the analogy with music reaches a climax — the bright colours sing out a loud sound like that emitted by a full symphony orchestra; it is as though all the parts of the orchestra are playing and the sound has been caught in a single split second.

These works are to be viewed with an open heart.

Nicholas Carlyle



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