Everyone wants to understand art

illustrated: Elergy 1989

David Platts: ‘Works on Paper’ – One person show at the Grape Lane Gallery, York 1989

Everyone wants to understand art. Why not try to understand the song of a bird? Why does one love the night, flowers, everything around one, without trying to understand them? But in the case of painting, people have to understand… People who try to explain pictures are usually barking up the wrong tree. Picasso

It is with a certain degree of trepidation that one would attempt to “explain” these works by David Platts, for in the final analysis, no explanation is needed. They speak for themselves. They are what they are. As their titles suggest, they ring with the rhythms and music of life. ‘Pastorale’ is a celebration of the countryside in all its glory… ‘Aubade’ is reminiscent of an early Summer morning with bright light on open fields and ‘Nocturne’ of an evening walk beneath an August moon. It is, however, highly unlikely that the artist intended any such specific associations but, nonetheless, the works are full of such associations. And this is as it should be for, being in the very best tradition of abstract art, they are a distillation of life’s experience.

What is here for all to see are superbly constructed works of compelling composition – an intricate variety of forms, shapes and texture combined with a vivid and subtle use of colour which give the works a highly charged emotional content. If we glimpse a field here, a clump of trees there and at the same time feel a certain ‘joire de vivre’, then we are entering the inner realms of what these paintings are about. The artist’s deep love of nature and his profound understanding of the human condition have come together to produce works of great lyrical and spiritual quality.

Robert Lewellyn

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