Christian Mieves ‘On the Beach’

christian mieves - grumi di merci 4

Thoroughly enjoyed Christian Mieves’ exhibition of paintings that evoked and explored the beach and geographical and political associations with the beach as a ‘boundary’ land.  The colour palette used is consistent throughout the works – pale greeny-blues and blue-greens, dull ochre rather than sandy-gold.  These ‘off’ colours create a sense of dimness or distance, giving a sense of age, dim memory or dull pain.  The paintings are constructed vigorously, with bold brushstrokes defining a limb or the strut of a boat.  The style reminded me vaguely of Bomberg in the confidence of the brushstrokes, but the style was looser, and the paint thinner.  Mostly you can see the surface of the canvas, wood panel, tiles, or aluminium – he’s experimental with types of surface.  He’s also not afraid to vary the scale.  Some filled a gallery wall, several feet wide.  Others, such as this one, were tiny – only 11×7.5cm on mdf.  I loved these paintings, the drips and pencil marks and bits of bare canvas.  They weren’t afraid to show their making, and were highly desirable objects.   Some of them explored the site of the beach as a landing place, and not always a successful one.  Two hinted at shipwrecked hulls, and my favourite was of a figure draped over the bow of a boat, listless, exhausted, or dead.  The exhibition is on at South Square Gallery near Bradford until 30th November 2009.

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