David Atherton - Drawing Aside the Journey

Harbour Crane
Harbour Crane
  • 7 August –
    6 September10:00 – 15:00

Free entry – no ticket required.

Painting, Printmaking and Mixed-media work by David Atherton

Before any planning for the current exhibition had been considered I was wondering what my work is all about.  It divides up - though not neatly or permanently -  into several different themes; there are portraits, largely, though by no means exclusively, realised in acrylic paint, which have emerged from a period of creating portraits wherein each sitter was reflected in a printmaking technique and drawing style that best suited them.  There are landscapes, created using a variety of media from pencil and watercolour, to monoprint and collage (depending on what I feel best depicts the element that I’m picturing), that playfully explore our environment; and there are groups of imagery derived from machinery and man-made objects, often in the form of handmade prints* using the traditional techniques of etching, lithography, relief and screen and the not-so traditional techniques of collography. Within these the drawing and found-objects are fused together in different ways to comment on evoked feelings and particular times in history.


These creative vehicles are utilised to explore different emotions, topics and mental perspectives; such as yearning, time-passing, textures, towers, transformation, the seasons, humour, industrial heritage and social comment, the themes and attendant devices  can sit separately or take on an uneasy relationship with each other – and I like that sense of unease.
I have always found it relatively easy to make a piece of work that people might like or praise but especially difficult to combine the qualities that engender those responses with the depiction of contentious issues, unpleasant topics or subjects that viewers could deem ugly  –  and yet it is the challenge of doing just  this that I relish; and the more I do the work, the greater the sense of urgency to succeed in that balance between discourse and beauty; between the eye-catching and the thought-provoking – after all, if one is able to make plausible images, surely it is incumbent on any artist to attempt to say something more than just ‘here’s a bonny picture’.


And, although the work is wide-ranging and diverse, sprinkled throughout with clear, reasonably uniform suites, it is all experimental and pieces of seemingly unrelated work continually inform and inspire the production of other pieces.  One could liken this to the undertaking of a journey during which one’s growing knowledge of language, custom, geography and history, often from diverse sources, leads to a greater understanding, and enjoyment, of a community or country and it is perhaps not surprising that the notion of ‘place’ itself occurs frequently in the works.


I have avoided including any ‘for example...’ in this introduction since I feel that the work should stand up by itself, without the necessity of an information sheet to support it.  True, each piece will have a story behind it - a story that will probably link to some of the points raised above, a story that the title of the piece will give a clue to and a story that, if pressed, I could easily recall, but there will be other stories - other ideas, feelings and emotions - that the viewer may bring to them and that is just as important to me as my own thoughts, if not more so.


David Atherton
*Note; all the prints correspond to Category A of the BSI Classification of Prints (BS7876: 1996) meaning that the artist alone has created the matrix and made impressions from it; none of the ‘prints’ are reproductions and each is unique.

Dates

  • 7 August –
    6 September10:00 – 15:00

Free entry – no ticket required.