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Pontone Gallery is proud to present Timothy Spall’s exhibition of new paintings. These atmospheric and sometimes surreal landscapes record scenes selected en passant from a peripatetic working life, where the artist is on the move and seldom still. Spall puts together an anthology of disparate places which have all caught his watchful eye. The pictures depict the elemental forces of weather and the evocative modulations of sun and moonlight on topologies as various as Birkenhead, the Straits of Messina and Iceland.
Spall sticks close to his motif, describing what is seen with a painstaking, analytical eye. He uses a subdued palette, with a tonal emphasis, which serves to describe the effect of light. A favourite theme is roiling, boiling skies that show the sun’s rays bursting through banks of stormy cloud, reflecting in dark and turbid seas. A tendency to the sombre is relieved by tints of tangerine orange and lemon yellow in his sunsets and dusky shades of ultramarine and indigo in sky and sea. In his Icelandic scenes, translucent emerald-green streaks describe the eerie effects of the Northern lights.
In contrast to his more vaporous and gestural handling of landscape, the painter often introduces graphic and detailed images of dramatically gothic trees, intricate architectural silhouettes and close-ups of geological features. These give focus and assert a sense of actual place. Spall wants us to know that the elemental maelstrom and the sublime awe of primal turmoil that he witnesses, and delights in, operates in the specific here and now.
It could be said that there are two types of landscape painter: one who is embedded in a sense of place and one who records what he sees in passing. Constable and Turner are the two great examples of each type. Timothy Spall, in what he describes as his ‘Peregrinations’, falls into the latter category. Moving through the world, he grabs at that which best makes sense of his unique journey.
Pontone & Albemarle Galleries
74 Newman Street
London W1T 3DB